A boy in Cuba
This happens every year at about this time. Why? Because this is the lead up to the annual debate by the United Nations on what the Havana boys describe as the “imperialist blockade”.
And every year, the tightly-controlled Cuban media publish dozens of increasingly bizarre stories about how the Americans are hurting ordinary, hard-working Cubans by imposing this evil “blockade” on the tiny but proud island nation, etc, etc.
This year the media appear to have exceeded expectations.
Best of the crop so far is a yarn in today’s online edition of Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, about a 13 year old Cuban school boy identified as Raysel Rojas, from Havana.
According to the article, Raysel, who happens to be a haemophiliac, won a United Nations environmental prize for one of his paintings. The paper does not identify when the prize was awarded, but let’s not quibble ...
Apparently, when he turned up at Algeria to pick up a Nikon camera as his prize – along with children from Thailand, Yugoslavia, Ecuador, etc – he was told he was not entitled to the camera as it had US components and therefore, was subject to the “blockade”.
Raysel is undaunted, however.
Under less than subtle questioning from the reporter, he says the “blockade” is horrible and should be lifted at once because it affects children like him.
What’s more, he wishes the United States would stop “assassinating families around the world”. He says American soldiers “destroy houses where children live” and kill and maim entire families, “even pregnant women”.
Nikon or no Nikon, Raysel is adamant he would not live anywhere else in the world because only in Cuba does he get free health care (“In other countries, it costs a pile of money”), and free education (“You don’t have to pay a cent.”).
When he grows up, he wants to be a painter.
I hope Raysel gets his wish and I hope he is hugely successful.
I also hope he can do so in a country free from the type of cheap and nasty and pathetic political indoctrination to which this obviously talented child has been subjected.