Cuba: Freedom's charm

Development as freedom – these three words – the title of Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen’s book – kept coming back to me as I was listening to the opening remarks of the second international meeting of economists on globalisation and development problems in Cuba at the end of January. There were four opening addresses, and to my surprise, all were about six year old Elian Gonzalez and the ‘imperialist’ ultra-right country – the United States – which prevented his return home. There was a mixture of propaganda and real concern for the boy’s well-being.

The World Today Published 1 March 2000 Updated 27 October 2020 3 minute READ

Brigitte Granville

Little Elian is a superb present to the regime, I judged from watching Fidel Castro listening to these interventions. Demonstrating for Elian does not feed the eleven million Cubans, but it does divert public opinion from the regime’s failures. It also provides a unique opportunity to crack down on opponents – so-called counter-revolutionaries.

When Elian’s mother decided to risk her and her son’s life, it must have been because she thought that beyond the dark sea lay a better world. Freedom may have been the reason for her fatal escape to the US.

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