Cuban Blogger Says She is Briefly Detained

By: Andrea Rodriguez - AP Writer
By: Andrea Rodriguez - AP Writer

A Cuban blogger who has gained international attention for her searing commentary about life on the communist island said she was briefly detained Friday and warned by state security agents about her opposition activity.

Yoani Sanchez, who runs a blog called "Generation Y" and whose
writings have appeared in several international publications and
Web sites, told The Associated Press that two state agents in
civilian clothes stopped her in Havana's Vedado neighborhood as she
and several friends made their way to a protest march in central
Havana.

The agents ordered her and one of her friends to get into their
car and pulled her hair and kicked her when she initially refused,
Sanchez said.

"It was very violent," she said.

Once in the car, Sanchez said, the agents told her she had gone
too far with her writings, which vividly tells of problems of a
country where the government controls nearly all aspects of life.
Sanchez said that after issuing their warning, the agents let her
and her friend go.

The Cuban government had no immediate comment, and it was
impossible to independently verify Sanchez's charges. Many Cuban
opposition leaders say they are harassed from time to time by the
state, particularly if they try to attend or plan street
demonstrations.

The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation
says there are more than 200 political prisoners in Cuba, a number
that has dropped sharply since Fidel Castro ceded power to his
brother Raul in 2006. The government does not recognize the
legitimacy of the opposition, saying they are paid mercenaries of
Washington.

Earlier this year, Time magazine named Sanchez one of the
world's 100 most influential people. In October, the government
denied her permission to travel to New York to receive a top
journalism prize, the second time this year she has been refused
permission to leave the island.

While her blog gets about 1 million hits a month, Sanchez enjoys
more of a following off the island than on it. Internet access to
the blog is often blocked in Cuba and Sanchez blames the
government, which has refused to comment.

The communist government severely limits freedom of speech and
assembly and controls all newspapers, radio and television
stations.


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