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Cuban dissident faces protests on first day in Brazil

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 18 (EFE).- Cuban dissident Yoani Sanchez was received Monday with protests by a group of militant communists at the airport in the northeastern Brazilian city of Salvador.

A score of people waited for Sanchez at the Luis Eduardo Magalhaes airport with posters on which they had written "mercenary," an epithet Cuba's Communist government frequently hurls at dissidents.

A similar situation occurred earlier at the Recife airport, where Sanchez arrived on a flight from Panama and was welcomed by filmmaker Dado Galvao, her host in Brazil.

"According to Unicef, there are 140 million malnourished children in the world. None of them is Cuban," said one of the signs carried by leftist militants in Recife, where a roughly equal number of people turned up to praise Sanchez's "struggle for democracy" and demand "freedom for Cuba."

When asked about these incidents, Sanchez told reporters that "that's how democracy is and should be, the same democracy that we want for Cuba."

"Regrettably, in Cuba thinking differently is punished and having an opinion against the government brings terrible consequences, arbitrary imprisonment and ongoing monitoring," she said.

Sanchez said that while she was somewhat "concerned" about family members who remained behind in Havana, she was sure that she would not receive "bad news" during her 80-day trip through about 10 countries because "there have been some advances in terms of rights," like the immigration reform that had allowed her to leave her country after she was denied an exit permit on 20 separate occasions.

She said, however, that "the dreamed-of reform, which is that of freedom of association and freedom of expression, apparently is not going to be achieved so soon."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/taxonomy/term/35779/130226/cuban-dissident-faces-protests-first-day-brazil