* Dissident blogger says she'll carry on writing
* Says detention, beating were government warning
* Cuban government has said nothing about incident
By Jeff Franks
HAVANA, Nov 9 Cuban dissident blogger Yoani
Sanchez vowed on Monday to keep on writing her Generation Y Web
log, which is critical of the government, despite being beaten
last week by men she thinks were state security agents.
Sanchez, 34, said she experienced "25 minutes of terror"
during the incident on Friday. She said she and another
opposition blogger, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, were held down,
and struck repeatedly after being bundled into an unmarked car
by three men she believed to be government security officials.
Cuba's communist government has so far not commented on the
incident, which was condemned by the U.S. administration and by
U.S.-based Human Rights Watch.
Sanchez's Generation Y blog, which is often critical of
Cuba's one-party communist system, has won international
awards, but is little known in her Caribbean island homeland
because of limited Internet access.
Recounting details of her brief detention to Reuters, she
moved stiffly around her Havana apartment, using a crutch
because of sore muscles and a sore back.
Sanchez said she and fellow bloggers Pardo and Claudia
Cadelo were walking to an anti-violence demonstration when the
men she believed to be security agents forced her and Pardo
into an unmarked, China-built car.
She said they were struck several times before being thrown
from the vehicle near her home in what she viewed as a warning
from the government to cease her dissident blogging.
"Tell Yoani to shut up," one of the men said repeatedly to
Pardo as he held him down.
When she shouted for bystanders to help, the men warned
them away, saying the two were "counter-revolutionaries."
Sanchez said they hit her on the head, legs and buttocks as
they pinned her against a car seat.
Cadelo was taken away in a separate police car and quickly
Sitting beside a table with vials of liquid vitamins and
medicine for her ailments, Sanchez said the incident had left
her badly shaken, but if the intent was to stop her blogging,
it had failed.
She had already written two blogs since then. "I'm going to
keep writing. The blogger spirit is intact," Sanchez said.
EXPRESSIONS OF SUPPORT
Cuba's government sees Sanchez and other dissidents as
traitors who work for foreign enemies to discredit the island's
leaders and the socialist system put in place following a 1959
The Cuban dissident blogger has received expressions of
support from both home and abroad after her brief detention.
She said she had received sympathetic phone calls from
foreign diplomats based in Havana and from parliament officials
in Germany and Spain who said they would propose resolutions
denouncing the detention.
On Monday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Sara
Mangiaracina told reporters in Washington the United States
"strongly deplores the assault" and had expressed its "deep
concern" to the Cuban government.
"We call on the government of Cuba to ensure the protection
of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all its citizens,"
she said, pointing out that President Barack Obama had
proclaimed Monday "World Freedom Day."
Human Rights Watch on the weekend called for the global
community to "condemn attacks on those who peacefully exercise
their basic rights to freedom of expression."
The independent Cuban Commission on Human Rights estimates
that Cuba has 200 political prisoners, but says the government
now favors brief detentions over long sentences because they
intimidate without damaging Cuba's image abroad.
Obama this year took steps to slightly ease the 47-year-old
U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, but has called on its
government to reciprocate by freeing detained dissidents and
improving human rights.
Cuban President Raul Castro has ruled out any unilateral
political concessions or any shift towards capitalism.
(The website is desdecuba.com/generationy/ )
(Additional reporting by Andy Quinn in Washington; Editing by
Pascal Fletcher and Eric Walsh)