(CNN) -- Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez visited the White House on Wednesday, a milestone in her being allowed to travel outside the communist island.
Sanchez is visiting the United States as part of an 80-day tour of 10 countries that she began in February.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden described Sanchez, a winner of the State Department's International Women of Courage Award, as "a respected advocate for the freedom of information."
"The United States looks forward to the day when all Cubans will have the opportunity to express themselves in public without fear and we will continue to support policies that encourage the free flow of information to, from and within Cuba," Hayden said.
In the White House on Wednesday, Sanchez met the senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs, Ricardo Zuniga, who is a special assistant to President Obama.
She discussed her efforts to promote free speech in Cuba. Sanchez is a vocal critic of Raul and Fidel Castro, the revolutionary brothers who have been running the country for more than 50 years.
Last week, Sanchez visited Columbia University in New York.
For several years, Sanchez said the government retaliated against her criticism by repeatedly refusing to give her an exit visa.
In January, Cuba ended its unpopular policy of requiring citizens to obtain a letter of invitation and an exit permit before leaving the country.
Dissidents said the policy was used to punish them for their anti-government advocacy.
While other government critics have left the country under the new law, Sanchez is the highest-profile figure in the dissident community to test the easing of restrictions.
Much of the funding for her trip, Sanchez has said, came from donors and from people offering her a free place to stay.
Sanchez has more than 400,000 followers on Twitter, but with limited access to the Internet in Cuba, she said she had been forced to communicate with the public by sending cell phone text messages that are uploaded to the social messaging service.
She said beyond attending technology forums and enjoying easier access to high-speed Internet, she was looking forward to meeting some of the volunteers who translate her writings from Spanish to other languages.
MJ Porter, who helps translate Sanchez's blogs into English from her apartment in Seattle, told CNN last year she couldn't wait to meet the Cuban blogger.
"I am a big crier, so I will probably cry for about an hour," Porter said. "Then I will laugh and then cry some more. It's hard for me to imagine."
Sanchez said she was surprised to be able to travel, especially because some Cubans still face restrictions on leaving the country.
The government still prohibits the travel of some officials, sports stars and citizens whose travel abroad violates "public interest."
A handful of other dissidents have reported that they were informed by the government they would be barred from leaving the country.
Longtime dissident Gisela Delgado said she was told by officials that even though she has a valid passport, she is on the list of Cubans who aren't permitted to travel.
"The state decides who can leave and who can't," Delgado said. "For 54 years, it's been a way to manipulate us and divide us, the whole Cuban family."
CNN's Patrick Oppman in Havana contributed to this report.