For the first time since he assumed the presidency of Cuba in April, Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez granted an in-depth interview to a foreign media outlet.
Journalist Patricia Villegas of the multinational channel teleSUR, founded precisely as a voice for progressive movements of Our America and the rest of the world, and as an alternative to mass hegemonic media, conversed with the Cuban President in the Palace of the Revolution.
Díaz-Canel explained that his four months in the post, following his appointment by the National Assembly on April 19, have offered a wealth of experiences.
He noted that Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba’s speech at the close of the Constituent Session of the 9th Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power has served as a guide for the actions he has taken since assuming the presidency.
Following extensive analysis in the Council of Ministers, some of the key elements of government identified were the need to be in constant proximity to the population, tackling bureaucracy and bringing government closer to the people, requiring leaders to use the media and information technologies effectively, especially as regards social media.
Díaz-Canel stressed that the Cuban press has defended the Revolution with great professionalism and efficiency, but that at times the public agenda has not been effectively reflected.
He noted that it is increasingly important, especially given the extensive use of social media by younger generations, to “flood” these spaces with content that counterpoises that which distorts the Cuban reality.
The President was emphatic in defining the problem that most impacts the daily life of Cubans and the economic and social development of the country: the blockade. He described the hostile U.S. policy, imposed for more than half a century, as a brutal practice, and explained that it has been significantly tightened, especially under the Trump administration.
“We want to live in the normal conditions of a country, we are not a threat to anyone, all we want is to build a better country, a better world… greater social justice and the main threat to achieving this remains the brutal blockade,” he remarked.
The President went on to respond to questions regarding the updating of Cuba’s Constitution, which currently sees the island engaged in a nationwide popular consultation process.