To say that April 1 was a boisterous day at the Freedom Tower would be an understatement.
An hour before Yoani Sánchez was set to speak, crowds filled with her supporters and fans lined up outside the tower, and the streets around the Bayfront Area were dotted with protesters.
The Cuban blogger has attracted a lot of support as well as controversy during her world tour, drawing people who call her a traitor to her country.
In any other situation, going against your government would label you a traitor, but when that government is an oppressive tyrannical government like that of Cuba, I think the word heroine suits her best.
The only way Cuba will change is if we know what is happening on the inside, and Sánchez is leading the movement to keep the Castro regime in check and create an unrestrained Cuba with pressure from the international sphere by exposing the oppressed lives of the Cuban people.
Sánchez has definitely set afire change, she has ignited both sides, those who want to help her and those who want to attack her, to act.
I was sitting at the Freedom Tower where Sánchez spoke when an outburst from a member of the audience, calling Sánchez a “liar.”
I witnessed the backlash from the rest of the audience members as they wasted no time in turning against that protester.
Outside, speakers tried to discredit Sánchez and disrupt the event by creating loud noises that were easily heard inside.
I believe that Yoani Sánchez is only the beginning. The world is changing and becoming more connected and even the Cuban government can’t censor everything going into the country or coming out.
With the growth of easy access to media, Sánchez’s “Generation Y” might very well be the generation that changes Cuba forever.
Sánchez’s words opened my eyes: “Cuba is changing at the level of the Cubans.”
It’s time for the extreme right and extreme left to put the Cold War mentality behind them and work toward discussions about the future.
Cubans from across the political spectrum are beginning to open themselves to peaceful dialogue, despite the protesters that have stood outside of just about every event Sánchez has been at since she arrived in the US, and that is a powerful thing.
It’s thanks largely to the work of writers such as Sánchez, who are creating these virtual forums like “Generation Y,” to express the plurality of views about Cuba to be shared with the world.
Sánchez said she that every problem she has faced has been because something she has said. We should applaud her for her courage to speak out and face the issues that oppress her. She said we must narrate ourselves, she’s right. If we don’t tell our own stories, no one else will care about the problems facing us, and change will never take effect.