Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:0AM
President Raul Castro of Cuba gives a speech during the opening of the VII Congress of Communist Party (PCC) at Convention Palace in Havana, Cuba, April 16, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
President Raul Castro of Cuba gives a speech during the opening of the VII Congress of Communist Party (PCC) at Convention Palace in Havana, Cuba, April 16, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
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Gloria Estela La Riva is a Latin America expert from San Francisco. She was interviewed by Press TV about President Raul Castro’s warning against US meddling in internal affairs of Cuba.

A rough transcription of the interview follows.

Press TV: How serious in your opinion should President Castro’s warning be taken in terms of the US threats to the country and the establishment, the revolution that is?

La Riva: President Castro’s message to the people on the opening day of the VII Party Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba is what many many Cuban intellectuals, writers, journalists and people in the mass organizations have been saying from the very moment that President Obama landed in Havana that his message was one of trying to create a wedge between the Cuban people and the Cubans’ socialist state, as if the gains that the Cuban people have made were really by their own individual effort and many people have rejected that. I think President Castro’s message today is one of strengthening that view of being vigilant to the US aims.

Press TV: In terms of what you said, being vigilant on the US strategy and aims being pursued in the region, there must be some sort of a counter policy envisaged as well, where the country might be countering some US threats or policies as they are being referred to as such. Now does the country enjoy the wherewithal and the capabilities, the tools at hand to actually counter those threats by the US and if not why did they essentially open up to the US in the first place?

La Riva: What Cuba needs most of all is a true normalization of the relations between both countries. It is the United States since the 19th century that has imposed many many restrictions and hardships on the Cuban people; from the invasion in 1898 to the neo-colony and to the economic policies that allowed a very guerilla dictator like Batista rule for several years until he was overthrown.

And the US wants simply to return to that status of a neo-colony with neo-liberal policies and trying to create the idea in Latin America that you must never do what Cuba did, that it is have a socialist revolution. But I think measures that Cuba is taking is what they’ve done all along. They have resisted 57 years of US blockade, of US invasion, political isolation, all the weapons that the US has used and has failed. This is why President Obama in 2014 said that the blockade had failed to advance US interests, those interests being the overthrow of the socialist revolution.

So Cuba must have economic growth, release many more people from state employment to allow that initiative to take place among individuals, because the state cannot provide healthcare, education for free and all the other necessities to the people without also having economic growth and that’s the intention. I think that the people are confident in their own ability to produce what they need.