Fabiola Santiago

Mariela Castro’s real agenda: Keep family in power

Mariela Castro wasn’t able to leave the safe cocoon of the USA this week without revealing her true agenda.

Feeling comfortable and invincible in the company of adulatory California poolside liberals with a dated playbook, the daughter of Raúl and niece of Fidel dropped the humanitarian mask and got down to the dirty business of pushing the Castro brothers’ single-issue agenda: staying in power.

“A group from the Cuban mafia in the United States, why are they taking the rights of the American people to travel to Cuba? That is not fair,” she said at a conference on the medical issues of gay and transgender people. “You are millions of people against a small mafia of unscrupulous people…. We are fighting for the rights of Cubans and for the rights of the American people.”

On and on the vociferous First Daughter digressed, lucky to be in a democratic country that issues visas even to self-proclaimed enemies who easily find a friendly forum of fools to deliver propaganda cloaked as humanitarian endeavor.

Did anyone think Mariela Castro traveled to San Francisco to contribute to the worthy cause of equal rights for the gay community?

Please. The Cuban government and its emissaries are always predictable. They use gay rights now the way they used the race-equality card in the 1960s — to bestow respectability on a repressive regime.

But Mariela Castro is the emissary of a regime that sent gays to concentration camps, calling their sexual orientation “ideological diversion.”

She comes from a regime that locked up people with AIDS in a sanitarium far from their loved ones.

She comes from a 53-year-old regime that denies people the most basic of human rights and jails them for asking for what only the privileged like her have in Cuba — to travel abroad, speak freely and enjoy life’s perks.

She’s here for no reason other than to extend the life of the regime, to ensure a post-Fidel and post-Raúl future for the children of the dictatorship.

But, as one can see in her talks and her Twitter attacks against other Cubans on the island — like the internationally recognized journalist-blogger Yoani Sánchez — this is a woman who doesn’t know how to engage in open debate without resorting to insults.

She may wrap herself in the rainbow colors of the gay-rights movement, but her tired rhetoric about Miami exiles as “the Cuban mafia” is the same as her father’s and her uncle’s.

But what Cuban mafia does she find unscrupulous? The one that sends to Cuba hundreds of millions of dollars a year in medicine, clothes, appliances and cash?

What embargo? The one the Castro brothers keep alive as an excuse to enslave people to an ideology aimed at keeping the island-farm in their hands? (If they wanted the embargo lifted they wouldn’t shoot down U.S. planes in international waters when an administration is ready to end it; they wouldn’t arrest independent journalists and librarians when another administration is making friendly gestures).

“This is what we want — the power of emancipation through socialism,” Mariela Castro says.

That’s what the Castros want. What about the Cuban people, gay and straight?