Camila Vallejo Visits Cuba
HAVANA, CUBA – Vice-president of the Universidad de Chile Federation of Students (Fech) Camila Vallejo has gone to Cuba with secretary-general of the Communist Youth of Chile, Karol Cariola, to participate in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Cuba’s Union of Young Communists (UJC).
Her visit has already included a three-hour meeting with Fidel Castro, a figure whom she regards as “one of the most important leaders in the world” and “a great visionary”.
Vallejo stressed the importance of Castro’s ideology to the student movement in Chile, saying that “all the reflections that Fidel has represent light and hope for Chile”.
“We really value what Cuba has been and what has led this revolutionary process…For us, what he says, observes, and point out is like a road map”.
Cuba “light-years” ahead of Chile
Vallejo was also complimentary of the way Cuban police dealt with protests in comparison to Chile.
“At no point did I see a water cannon or tear gas emitters, I saw only policemen patrolling the city, just in their uniforms, without helmets or arms of any kind,” she stated, in reference to Chilean police who have frequently resorted to water cannons and tear gas to control crowds of protesting students.
“This kind of civic culture … is light years ahead of the repression suffered by the student movement last year or that which left fellow countrymen in the Aysén region seriously injured.”
Vallejo conceded that “Cuba is not a perfect society, nor does Chile need to follow in its footsteps,” expressing her belief that Chile should find its own way “to overcome inequality, lack of law, lack of democratic and participatory space, and keep working towards achieving political, economical, and intellectual sovereignty.”
Vallejo’s generally positive response to her visit in Cuba has sparked response from Yoani Sanchez, the award-winning Cuban blogger who is highly critical of Cuba’s government.
She has often expressed her distaste for the government over twitter, and the Cuban government has reportedly tried to intercept her contacts abroad across the social network.
Sánchez contacted Vallejo over twitter, tweeting that “If I could talk to her, I would try to tell @Camila_Vallejo of that other Cuba which is hidden or silenced by official propaganda,” but commenting that Vallejo’s entourage was “impregnable”.
Chile has recently condemned Cuba for human rights violations in the wake of the death of a dissident after a hunger strike while in prison.