There were high hopes that when Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff visited Cuba this past week she would speak out in defense of dissidents and encourage the Cuban government to grant an exit visa to award-winning blogger Yoani Sánchez.
But the world was disappointed.
Sanchez was invited to Brazil to attend a screening of a documentary by Claudio Galvao da Silva entitled “Conexion Cuba-Honduras,” which deals with the repression and freedom of expression on the Caribbean island and during the coup d’etat that deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in 2009.
Brazil gave her a visa to ENTER the country a week before Dilma’s visit to Cuba. This raised expectations that Dilma would weigh in on Sanchez’ behalf.
After all Dilma said, about the time of her inauguration:
“I prefer a million critical voices before the silence of the dictatorships.”
She distanced herself from her predecessor’s foreign policy views of being close to Iran. And given her personal experiences with dictatorships, she was expected to stand up to Cuba, again something Lula never did.
But she said nothing publically. She did not meet with Sanchez. When Sanchez was denied an EXIT visa by the Cuban government Dilma said nothing.
She also appealed to Dilma (and the Brazilian people) on YouTube: