Mariela Castro Espin, daughter of Cuban dictator Raul Castro and director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), used a visit to the U.S. to criticize American policy and endorse President Obama.
Last week, Castro received a U.S. visa for the first time in 10 years to attend the Latin American Studies Association Conference in San Francisco. This at a time when Cubans who speak up against the misery, hopelessness, and repression on the island are repeatedly jailed, harassed or, like dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, denied authorization to travel.
Castro called those who support preserving the Cuban embargo until there is real democracy on the island “a Cuban mafia” and a “small group of delinquents” with ‘no scruples.” Castro defended the rights of all Americans to travel to Cuba but said nothing about the onerous controls and denial of exit visas routinely practiced by the Cuban regime. Castro has also been an active spokesperson for the Cuban regime in challenging the legality of the conviction and imprisonment of five Cuban intelligence operatives in Florida in the late 1990s.
Castro was fulsome in praising her father and uncle Fidel’s regime: “The Revolution has grown in Cuba, and it’s been more than 50 years now. The Cuban people have been the victims of state terrorists, of the economic blockade against Cuba, campaigns to…misinform the world’s population about the power of a revolution.” She praised the “power of emancipation through socialism.” On the other hand, anyone opposed to the Castro regime she has denounced as a “despicable parasite” in “the pay of the U.S.” Yet who, asked Yoani Sanchez, has questioned Castro’s role as a “mercenary” of the Castro regime?