By Leo Byrne, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The visit of Cuba’s most renowned dissident in recent years, blogger Yoani María Sánchez Cordero was the center of a mild furore outside of Brazil’s National Congress yesterday. Sympathizers of the Cuban Government made their displeasure with Sánchez known, while supporters, journalists and security all added to tumult.

Cuban dissident Yoani Sánchez as she arrived in Brasília, photo by Marcello Casal Jr/ABr.

The famous dissident’s visit has been igniting controversy since her arrival on Monday in Pernambuco, where a group of protesters greeted her at the Recife airport with shouts of ‘CIA agent’ and ‘sell out’.

Sánchez was at the National Congress in Brasília to meet with politicians and attend the screening of a documentary entitled ‘Cuba-Honduras Connection’. This was her second attempt to see the film, in which she criticizes the Cuban government, but an earlier screening in Bahia on Monday was disrupted by protesters.

Upon her arrival at the Congress building she was met with further demonstrations, while her supporters added to the ruckus by yelling “down with dictatorship”.

An unperturbed Sánchez later responded to the protesters by saying “”I dream of the day when we Cubans can express ourselves freely, and have a legislature where all opinions can be heard. The legislature of my country has a sad record. It has never said ‘no’ to any law proposed by the government.”

The famous blogger’s trip to Brazil is the result of five years of waiting and over twenty attempts to obtain a passport. “My name did not sound in the [airport] speakers, [police did] not led me to a room to undress me or scold me. Everything is going well,” she tweeted as she left Cuba.

The well-known dissident is most famous for her blog ‘Generación Y’ (Generation Y), in which openly criticized the Cuban administration. The blog has won numerous awards which she has up until now been unable to collect; while in 2008 she was listed by Time Magazine as one of the world’s top hundred most influential people.

After leaving Brazil, Sanchez will embark on the next stage of a whistle stop tour of twelve countries in eighty days.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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