Cuban Ambassador to Brazil, Adolfo Curbelo Castellanos, at the Red Festival. Photo: Fernando Udo

Present at the Red Festival held in Salvador on the 22nd and 23rd of March, the Cuban ambassador to Brazil, Adolfo Curbelo Castellanos, presents the current scenario on the Island, especially after a recent protest that occurred due to blackouts in the city of Santiago, to the east .

In an exclusive interview with Red Portal, Castellanos explained the real reasons behind the demonstration and assured that everything occurred without any type of repression. He also compared the current crisis experienced by the country to the ‘Special Period in Times of Peace’, which corresponds to the years between 1990 and 2005 and which was marked by the greatest economic difficulty ever faced since the Revolution in 1959.

The Cuban ambassador also assessed the economic blockade and highlighted the future prospects of the Island, which, despite the challenges, is, according to him, firm, united and optimistic. Read the full interview:

What is the scenario of these protests taking place in Cuba? Does it have to do with the blockade?

Adolfo Castellanos – Now, a group was really unhappy with the essentially electricity cuts on March 17th and they demonstrated in the eastern part of Cuba with absolute normality and peace. They received an explanation of the problem: the real problem is that the electricity cuts are motivated by the situation that causes the blockade against Cuba. The United States government confirmed its douleur morale [dor moral] to complain, from its embassy in Cuba, that the Cuban government would have to meet these demands.

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We consider this, frankly, an absolute interference in Cuba’s internal affairs, which led to the charge d’affaires of that country’s embassy being called and a strong protest and rejection from the Cuban people and government to this interference demonstration. . Why? Because they provoke the situation with the pursuit of fuel that comes to Cuba to generate a tense situation and provoke the overthrow of the Revolution. So, the situation is normal. A situation that occurred on March 17th, which passed peacefully and normally.

Government and party authorities explained the situation in a peaceful way, without any police intervention, repression or anything like that. We believe the fundamental explanation is the US blockade. So, there is a situation of normality in Cuba, at a tense moment in the economy, caused fundamentally by this tightening of the blockade policy, which did not change during the government [do presidente] Biden and who aspires to overthrow the Revolution. We have consistently noticed that the people are united. Day before yesterday [quarta-feira, 20]the president went to the same place where the protests took place and there was a large, overwhelming demonstration of support for the position of our revolution.

There are those who say that Cuba is experiencing the second Special Period. Do you agree?

Adolfo Castellanos – It is a situation of truly great economic tension. We first remember that the Donald Trump (USA) government, which preceded the Biden government, applied 243 new blockade measures to Cuba. Second, the Trump administration used the pandemic as an ally to increase the criminal effect of the blockade, and the pandemic had an effect throughout the world and a very important effect in Cuba.

We lost sources of income, because tourism disappeared during this entire period, and the blockade increased. An important part of the blocking measures is aimed at preventing the entry of resources into Cuba and also at persecuting all of Cuba’s efforts to purchase everything from food, medicines and fuel. Therefore, the direct impact on the Cuban people is very important and very large. It is true that it is a very tense situation. I wouldn’t compare, but I believe that the situation is much more difficult than the one we experienced. I don’t like to make comparisons because I probably wouldn’t have all the elements, but, in my opinion, the situation in our country is much more difficult at the moment.

What are the expectations of the party and government regarding this scenario?

Adolfo Castellanos – First, we believe that we will get out of this situation that we are facing, because we have and count on the unity of the people of Cuba, with the support of the Revolution, which is most important.

The intentions of the United States are always aimed at breaking the unity of the Cuban people. If we maintain unity, we have the main condition to reverse the situation.

Second, constant work to ensure that some topics are affected by the international situation. For example: the recovery of tourism is an effort that is taking place, but it is gradual and takes time.

The reality of lockdown affects every aspect of life in our country. Now, the plan is to maintain unity, resist and be creative. Creative to find practical solutions to the everyday problems we face and which we naturally find a lot of sympathy in the world, with important international support.

The fundamental idea is to overlay it with our own effort, work to solve the problems, for food security, increase food production, solve the problems we have with the energy matrix, which is dependent on the import of hydrocarbons, and make a transition in a difficult time, but necessary. So, we have important advances in the scientific and technical sphere. Link science more closely to government, industry and the economy as a way to solve problems and seek our own solutions as well.

As for the end of the lockdown, is there optimism?

Adolfo Castellanos – The Cuban people and the Cuban government are optimistic about the condition that we will face and emerge victorious from this situation, but I do not believe that the prospect of an end to the blockade is something that will happen in the short or medium term.

It is important to maintain the fight against the blockade, a criminal policy directed against the people of Cuba and against the independence and freedom of the Cuban people. It is unacceptable to consent and live with this, but our optimism has to do, above all, with the firm belief that we can overcome this situation of economic difficulty with effort combined with rity.


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