Elian Gonzalez: “If Cuba stopped being socialist it would be like Haiti” / Cubanet

Elian Gonzalez, "the little rafter," now 21
Elian Gonzalez, “the little Cuban rafter,” now 21

“And I read Fidel, I love to read Fidel. He likes to give me books, and sends me one whenever he can.”

cubanet square logoEFE, Havana, 27 June 2015 — Elián González, the “little Cuban rafter”, believes that if Cuba ceased to be socialist would be “a colony” and a poor country like Haiti, according to what he says in an interview published today in the official newspaper Granma.

“It should be clear that if Cuba ceased to be socialist, it would not be like the United States, it would be a colony, it would be Haiti, a poor country, much poorer than it is, and it would lose everything it has achieved,” says Gonzalez, 21, warning that sometimes young people believe that with capitalism the island would be a developed country like the United States, France or Italy.

Asked how he would like to see the future of Cuba, Gonzalez stressed that his hopes for the country are that it “develops” and he feels that in this sense it is “on the right track.”

“If Cuba loses its essence, it loses everything it has achieved with the Revolution, with Fidel and Raul in front, I would be very disappointed. It would reject all progress, all that has been done,” said Gonzalez, who at age five miraculously survived the shipwreck of a raft of illegal immigrants traveling to the United States with his mother, who died in the accident.

The “little rafter” was rescued by US fishermen and taken to relatives in Miami, Florida who took temporary custody of him, sparking a bitter legal, family and political dispute between the governments of the United States and Cuba, whose then president Fidel Castro supported Elian’s father, who lived on the island, in his desire to recover his son.

In his interview with the newspaper Granma, Elián González also referred to his career plans and reported that plans to join the military.

“Now I am studying at the Camilo Cienfuegos University of Matanzas, in my the fourth year of Industrial Engineering. I am a cadet planning to serve the Revolutionary Armed Forces when I finish my studies,” he said.

Gonzalez admits he likes studying, hanging out with his brothers and friends, watching TV shoes and movies, listening to music, in particular says he has learned to enjoy a genre not very popular in his generation, repentismo – a form of improvised oral poetry – and also enjoys swimming, baseball and football, although he is not a “fanatic” of the latter sport.

“And I read Fidel, I love to read Fidel. He likes to give me books, and sends me one whenever he can, and for me that is like a homework assignment and have to read it,” he said.

His opinion is that he does “nothing different” from other young people, “I simply have to be a young person of our times, knowing how to have fun, share, play sports, but also tied to the tasks of the Revolution, not losing the essence of how important it is for young people to carry out the country’s development.”