The first entry appears under a photo that shows a Cuban passport in a meat grinder and the second appears under a photo that shows a bird sitting on a wire fence. Both are powerful images. And Sánchez is irrepressible. Witness this posting dated March 30, only days after her visa to go to Prague was denied:

An unforgettable night yesterday at the Wilfredo Lam Center, thanks to the performance artist Tania Bruguera. A podium with microphones, in front of an enormous red curtain, formed part of the interactive installation in the central courtyard. Everyone who wanted to could use the podium to deliver -- in just one minute -- any rousing speech they pleased.

As microphones are rare, certainly I never met up with any in my time as a Young Pioneer reciting patriotic verses, I took the opportunity of the occasion. Advised ahead of time by friends in the know, I prepared a speech on freedom of expression, censorship, blogs, and that elusive tool that is the Internet. In front of the lenses of national television and protected by the foreign guests at the Havana Biennial, I was followed by shouts of "Freedom," "Democracy," and even open challenges to the Cuban authorities. I remember one boy of twenty who confessed that he had never felt more free.

Yoani Sanchez

Compare two prior efforts to inject change into Cuban politics: the Varela Project and the Ladies in White. The Varela Project was launched in 1998 by Oswaldo Payá of the Christian Liberation Movement. It was named for a famous Cuban religious leader. The project circulated a proposed law -- in the U.S. we would call it an "initiative" -- calling for a referendum on democratic reforms in Cuba, including freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of press, freedom to start private businesses, greater freedom of religion, and free elections. The proponents relied on the Cuban Constitution, which allowed citizens to propose laws if 10,000 people who were registered to vote signed the petition and included their national identification numbers and addresses.

Having gathered over 11,020 signatures, the Varela Project presented its proposed law to the Cuban National Assembly in 2002. The Assembly immediately gave it to the Constitution and Legal Affairs Committee. Meanwhile the Communist Party arranged for a number of trade unions, student groups, and other organizations to respond with their own counter-initiative to make permanent the socialist nature of the Cuban State.

Votes were held and the counter-initiative won, according to the government, with 99 percent approval. The BBC reported that many Cubans felt pressured to vote for the counter-initiative and the U.S. State Department claimed widespread harassment, arrests, and detentions of Varela activists. Some of them were accused by the Cuban government of accepting foreign political support from the U.S. government -- which is illegal in both Cuba and the U.S. -- though the activists denied these charges.

In March of 2003, the State arrested 75 dissidents and activists, many associated with the Varela Project. They were tried, convicted, and jailed for a variety of offenses, some related to their political activities, some not. Arturo is careful to note that 3 men were convicted of high-jacking a boat, with guns and knives, "to escape to freedom." Their cases, he says, are distinguishable because the State has a legitimate interest in preserving the public order. Often these distinctions are not so carefully made.