‘Yes, we do need the empire, or aliens, to give us everything’
JORGE ENRIQUE RODRÍGUEZ | La Habana | 1 Abr 2016 – 9:44 am.
The article by Fidel Castro published Monday by state media, entitled
“Brother Obama,” has sparked strong criticism in the streets of Havana.
The text, in which “the historic leader of the revolution” – as the
regime likes to call him – rejected the open hand extended by US
President Barack Obama in his speech at the Gran Teatro de La Habana,
was seen as a warning, dampening the hopes of civil society and the
diaspora. “We are able to produce the food and material wealth we need
through the effort and intelligence of our people. We don’t need the
empire to give us anything,” Castro snapped.
“You’ve got to have some nerve to spout such nonsense. We don’t even
have enough here to produce tampons,” said Madelin Reygada, a worker at
a construction company.
“I guess the intelligence he’s referring to is the kind that Cuban women
need to have to put food on the table on what a worker makes and the
paltry amount of food guaranteed by the State. And the effort it takes
to educate and raise our children in a country with such social
inequality that we’re forced to steal from the Government itself,” said
Magdalena Arencibia, who works for a printing company.
“What retirement and what salary is Fidel talking about? That of the
teachers they expelled from the education system for offering private
tutoring? Mine? 350 pesos [about 14 CUC], after 25 years as a professor
at the University of Havana?” asked retiree Elena Calero, referring to
another part of Castro’s text.
“I don’t think Fidel knows what kind of country he’s living in. In Cuba,
nothing works. In fact, there are three Cubas: the one they live in, the
one on the news, and the one we live in,” complained Natalia Falcon, an
assistant teacher. “Yes, we do need the empire, or aliens, to give us
everything. They [the Government] may not, but the Cuban people do.”
Both the article by Fidel Castro and statements by officials with the
regime demonstrate that the ruling elite prefers to cling to the
economic embargo and, with it, confrontation with “imperialism,”
indicated several people when asked.
“The government needs the embargo to justify its own failure. The poor
state of the transport system is historic. It’s as old as the
revolution,” said Nelson Martín, a driver for a tourism company.
“Havana is falling apart, while, in contrast, the private sector
businesses that aggravate the social inequality afflicting the country
flourish. It is obvious that part of this set of businesses is a cover
for fortunes amassed by the military elite,” said Maikel Pozo.
“Neighborhood after neighborhood, they’re falling down,” every time
there is a rainstorm. “There are people in those places that have been
living under subhuman conditions for 15 or 20 years,” said Aleida
Gordillo, a resident of the Juanelo quarter, referring to the
dilapidated state of the housing on the island, in need of urgent and
“I was told that Cardinal Jaime Ortega spoke of forgiveness and not
forgetting history. Well, I think that the cardinal is right, and Fidel
has to apologize to the people for every Cuban boat person who has
perished in the Straits of Florida,” said H. Crespo. “He has to
apologize to the families of the three people shot in April, 2003. He
has to apologize for every Cuban who has been a victim of repression. He
has to apologize to every child who no longer gets any more compote when
they turn 3, or milk when they turn 7. And he has to apologize to 11
million Cubans who are prisoners of silence.”
The independent journalist Lucía Corrales finds it “an outrage” that in
his article Fidel Castro referred to Antonio Maceo as “the black
leader,” and later reproaches Obama for not mentioning “that racial
discrimination was swept away by the Revolution.”
“This regime should bite its tongue on certain issues. Absolute silence.
Its fear is evident, as it has never had its enemy so close, right in
its living room, as it were. It was immoral and cynical. Not his
warning, but his threat that “we are able to produce food and material
wealth.” In a country where you cannot even bury your loved ones with
any dignity. The cemeteries and funeral homes provide tangible evidence
of the total collapse,” he said.
A leader of the municipal CTC (worker’s union) in Cerro, who requested
anonymity, said “that article by Fidel was out of line. What the hell
are we going to export to produce food and material wealth: Flowers?
Cheese? Sicklebush? Suppose we get to that point. Who will benefit from
these foods and riches? I imagine it will be their children, nephews and
grandchildren. The ones who vacation in Turkey and Greece.”
Source: ‘Yes, we do need the empire, or aliens, to give us everything’ |
Diario de Cuba – www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1459500285_21364.html