FIU prepares for Cuban blogger's visit

Yoani Sanchez speaking at Florida International University

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Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez poses at Miami's version of the "malecon" at The Shrine of Our Lady of Charity.

MIAMI - Florida International University is preparing to host Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez for a lecture next week.

Sanchez is scheduled to speak at Miami Dade College's Freedom Tower before her lecture at FIU on Monday.

Jorge Duany, a professor at FIU's Cuban Research Institute, said her lecture comes at a pivotal time in Cuba's history.

"She has been able to galvanize a very broad sector of people with different idea and different views on how to construct Cuba's future both on the island and abroad," he said.

Sanchez is expected to discuss the role social media has in a democratic Cuba. Her "Generation Y" blog narrates the plight of the Cuban people from a perspective that isn't seen or broadcast on government-run television or newspapers, getting millions of hits a month.

Sanchez is also active on Twitter where she has nearly half a million followers.

"Very few people actually have access to her ideas in Cuba, although she has written that there are other ways of disseminating her idea," said Duany. "They make copies of her blogs and distribute it on USB drives."

Sanchez tweeted her arrival at Miami International Airport on Thursday afternoon. Miami is one of many stops for Sanchez, who is currently on an 80-day world tour that has taken her to Brazil, Prague, Amsterdam, Mexico, New York and Washington, D.C.  

"She noted herself the contradictions of her being able to travel for the first time freely, where as other fellow travelers, so to speak, in the cross are not," said Duany.

In anticipation of protests, the school set aside areas for demonstrations. Sanchez has said she wants the U.S. to end the Cuban embargo.

"There's clearly a division of opinion there, and many people, especially the younger generation and those that come after 1994 to Miami, feel that its not really a productive strategy," said Duany.

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