published: 27.02.2013, 18:05 | updated: 27.02.2013 18:20:12
Prague - The changes implemented by Cuban President Raul Castro are only partial and the world should not be misled by them, Cuban dissident Yoani Sanchez told CTK during her visit to Prague today.
The persecution of the opposition in Cuba is as intensive as under the rule of his brother Fidel Castro, the number of political prisoners is not falling and information is strictly censored, Sanchez, 37 said.
The Cuban authorities let Sanchez, a political writer, travel from the country after years of her vain attempts at travelling from Cuba.
In January, the Cuban Communist regime amended the migration law under which Cubans can travel only with a valid passport while previously they also needed a special permit.
After enacting private business, this is another of the changes the Communist regime has made under the pressure of economic dire straits.
Sanchez said the essential problem of the country, political oppression, had remained unchanged.
The view is spreading across the world that Cuba is changing, but this is dangerous, Sanchez said.
It may happen that a great deal of people and international organisations will stop focusing on Cuba whose government will maintain in an easier way its tough political control, she added.
Castro's secret police persecutes Sanchez because she maintains the independent blog Generacion Y where she criticises the regime's practices.
She said the situation of opponents of the Cuban regime was very similar to what dissidents in the former Czechoslovakia had experienced during the re-Stalinisation era in the 1970-1980s.
A preventive detention, day-to-day shadowing, wiretappings, she added.
Sanchez said she knew well the faces of the agents who were in charge of her.
She said she was often shadowed by the same persons who stand outside her house, being behind her when she strolls through the town.
Sanchez said she recalled the German film The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) in which one of the secret service agents started adopting a critical attitude to the regime.
She said she was also trying to change the police and state security agents.
The Time magazine has named Sanchez one of the 100 most influential personalities of the world.
She said the dissemination of independent information in Cuba was not simple.
Along with the threat of imprisonment and reprisals against relatives and friends, there is also the barrier the government created between people and information, Sanchez said.
Official statistics says one-fifth of Cubans have access to the Internet. But this is not true as people can use e-mail and intranet, but only 3 percent of them have access to the full-fledged Internet, she added.
This is why copies of her increasingly popular blog are distributed on flash discs and DVDs from hand to hand. Sanchez said.
The atmosphere in society is slowly changing, as evidenced by people commonly speaking with her in the streets, criticising the government on the basis of her articles, she added.
She said the regime was firmly backed by about one-tenth out of the 11 million Cubans, while a similar part is firmly against Castro, Sanchez said.
The sympathies of the remaining population may change depending on the state of the economy, she added.
At present, the situation of Cubans is appalling, Sanchez said.
Most families only survive thanks to illegal activities and money from relatives living in exile, she added.
If free elections were held in which the opposition were given space in the media for a long time, it would score a clear victory, Sanchez said.
She said she had come to the Czech Republic to gather the experience the society here had made on its road from the Communist totalitarian regime to freedom.
Sanchez said she believed Cuba, too, would sooner or later head in the direction.
She said the joint experience of Czechs and Cubans was vital.
It is difficult to explain the Cuban experience to someone who did not live in a Communist regime, Sanchez said.
She said Czechs understood her very well.
Sanchez came to Prague from Brazil. Next week, she will continue to Spain and then to Mexico, the USA and other countries.
She said if she were not allowed to return to her homeland, she would do it illegally.
Sanchez said she would become a refugee in the opposite direction.
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