Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez will makes her first public appearance in the U.S. this week as part of her 80-day world tour on which she has been discussing her life as a dissident under Havana's communist government.
Sanchez is scheduled to speak in New York at Columbia University this Thursday at 8 p.m. She will also meet with members of Congress in Washington, D.C., next week.
Until recently, Sanchez had been repeatedly denied the required exit visa to leave Cuba. In January, the Cuban government lifted the restrictions and later issued Sanchez a passport.
“For five years, I’ve tried on 20 occasions to travel,” Sanchez told the Washington Post. “So this is a trip that I owe myself to be able to recoup a little bit of what was denied me by my government.”
Last month, Sanchez began her tour, stopping first in Brazil, and has since traveled to the Czech Republic, Spain and Mexico.
In order to post her writings while living there, she has had to rely on a network of friends and supporters to upload her posts online through limited access points in hotels and other such venues.
“There are moments when my knees shake, and I ask myself: Why did I get into this? ” Sanchez told the Post. “But there is no turning back now. I can’t stop, and they can’t erase what’s in the blog.”