The revolution lives on in the child of Che Guevara
The blockade is always to the fore. “Without the blockade we would be much happier.” She cites the example of powdered milk. “We need this for our children, but no neighbour will sell it to us, so we get it from New Zealand. The price rises because it is so far away. And we need boats, but the owner of the boat company charges us three times what [he charges] others because if he goes to Cuba then he can’t call into a US port for six months after that.
“Imagine if we did not have that problem. Imagine if we could buy the milk from the US, 90 miles away. Imagine how much money we could save and what we could do with that money.” She believes the embargo remains because her country “demonstrated that we could live in another manner, but to live in that manner people need to own what they produce, and for the US this was our great sin, our great crime”.
But what about restrictions on freedom of expression and movement in Cuba, and the absence of a free press or free elections? This question is, she says, “ridiculous”. Why? “Every time I come to Europe it is ridiculous for me. I have done thousands of interviews, but only a few journalists say what I actually say. Some have said to me that if they did not change my words they would not be able to publish the interviews”, because the newspaper owners would not allow her dissenting voice to be heard.
In Cuba every newspaper is owned by the state. She accepts this but claims they “respond to the needs of the people. We don’t have gossip in our papers and our people don’t care who slept with who or who shot who. People want to read only about social and economic issues. The state represents us because it is chosen by the people. It is not imposed on anyone.”
She returns to the blockade. “If America does not want to do business with us then that is its right, but what right does it have to stop other countries doing business with us? It is not only us who suffers. Cuba has created many vaccines, for cancer, meningitis and hepatitis, but we can not share them with the rest of the world because of the blockade.”