Cubans want more reforms: dissident blogger

President Raul Castro's economic reforms "have whetted the appetite of Cubans" who now want more, opposition blogger Yoani Sanchez said in an interview with a Brazilian newspaper Thursday.

"I am not naive about the changes in Cuba, about the small economic adjustments which Castro introduced," the prominent Cuban dissident, who recently received a passport allowing her to travel abroad, said from Havana.

"Cuba is ready to enter the 21st century," Sanchez said, in the interview with the daily Folha de Sao Paulo.

She has just obtained a visa to visit Brazil, which will be her first stop on a foreign tour that will begin February 17.

In a bid to revive the communist-ruled island's economy, Castro has undertaken a series of cautious reforms since taking over from his ailing brother Fidel in 2006, including legalizing the private real estate market and allowing more private businesses.

Cuba has also allowed citizens to travel abroad for the first time without a reviled and costly exit visa.

During her stay in Brazil, the blogger will attend the opening of Brazilian filmmaker Dado Galvao's 2009 documentary "Connection Cuba-Honduras," in which she is interviewed.

Galvao had launched a campaign to secure Sanchez's visit to Brazil.

Sanchez, who often criticizes the government in her "Generation Y" blog, had a visa to visit Brazil last year but was unable to make the trip because she had no passport and was refused one.

During a planned February 20-21 stay in Sao Paulo, the blogger will attend the launch of her book, "From Cuba with Affection," and give interviews to local media, according to Contexto, the publisher.

After Brazil, she plans to visit Peru, the Czech Republic and Mexico, where she is to attend a meeting of the Inter-American Press Association on March 8.

She won the Ortega y Gasset prize for best online journalism, granted by Spain's El Pais newspaper, in 2008.

She was also named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in 2008, and CNN has called her blog among the world's 25 best.

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