Cuban Journalist Arleen Rodríguez: “The Family Code is a Step Forward that Was Owed”

By Geraldina Colotti on September 23, 2022

Arleen Rodriquez, photo: Roberto Garaicoa

Arleen Carlota Rodríguez Derivet is a recognized face of Cuban and Latin American journalism. Graduated in journalism in 1982, she has been a provincial correspondent, economic editor, deputy director and director of the Juventud Rebelde newspaper until 1997. Between 1998 and 2005 she worked as editorialist, radio program host and director of Tricontinental magazine. Since 2005 she has been a panelist, alternate moderator and deputy editorial director of the Mesa Redonda, the main political program of Cuban Television. Collaborator of the Communication Team of the Presidency, she also maintains two programs on national radio. She is part of the presidency of the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC).

– Arleen, thank you for taking the time for this interview. What did it mean yesterday and what does it mean in today’s Cuba to be a communist and a committed journalist?

I was a young communist with important responsibilities as director of the UJC newspaper. Today I am still a communist militant although I am no longer young, I am 63 years old. Then and now being a communist in Cuba means first of all commitment. And before that, participation, sacrifices, example, dedication to all the tasks that contributes to the Revolution.

-Catastrophic news about the situation in Cuba are arriving here, there is talk of the departure of the largest number of migrants, of stratospheric prices and of a discontent that could lead to other protests. Is the ground being prepared for a new destabilizing campaign?

Yes, there is increased migration and stratospheric prices and discontent. That has been the plan of the United States since it broke off relations with Cuba for not submitting, for carrying out Agrarian Reform, for trying to achieve a just society and mostly for considering socialism 90 miles from them. What surprises me is that many people are surprised – excuse the redundancy – because we have economic problems and high migration and terrible shortages. This is what happens to a country blockaded to extremes and faced with a cynical policy that squeezes and blames the victim for its crime. We have been blockaded for 60 years, now reinforced with 240 measures and a brutal media war that is also total because of the diversity of the media in the Internet era.

As for migration, it is even more cynical: we are the only Third World migrants with a law that protects and stimulates migration to the United States.

A Mexican and a Cuban arrive by the same route to the U.S. border. The Cuban is received, interrogated and it is enough that she declares herself persecuted to be given refugee status, while the Mexican, whose ancestors lived in those lands stolen from Mexico, will be deported without any procedure, even if she is fleeing from a possible criminal.

I would not say that the ground is being prepared for a new destabilizing campaign. I would say that it is about giving the final blow to the Revolution. The current Democratic administration has inherited from the Republican administration a criminal policy towards Cuba and there is a logical attrition as a result of that escalation coinciding with the impact of the pandemic at the local and global level. They feel that just one more squeeze is needed for the declared purpose since 1959 and so they are squeezing harder: now they have just approved a new measure to prevent the recovery of tourism by requiring a visa for all Europeans who travel to Cuba beforehand. Anything goes in the IV generation war.

But Cuba is also trained in resistance. Here we are, fighting. The news is not that so many are leaving, but that even more of us are staying.

-The Cuban medical brigades have moved the world, as well as imposed respect for the level of scientific research on Cuban vaccines. At what point is the recognition of vaccines at the international level?

The vaccines created by the Cuban scientific community, in response to President Diaz Canel’s request to guarantee sovereignty in the confrontation with COVID-19, is a tremendous proof that there are many good, brilliant and patriotic people on the side of the Revolution. They created not one but 5 vaccine candidates, 3 of which are vaccines recognized and applied in several countries, with the best results. But they also created care protocols, unique medicines and complementary equipment. A call from the country’s leadership was enough to unleash the creation with the minimum of resources. That is why the leaders of these projects are considered heroes of Labor.

– The referendum on the New Family Code is about to be voted. What does it consist of and what is it the most relevant news? Why did Cuba need to renew its family code?

The Family Code is a step forward for something that we owed ourselves many years ago. It is the end of entering the 21st century and overcoming the burdens and prejudices of other times in family law. As the new Constitution of the Republic, approved in 2019, originally included the recognition of marriage between persons of the same sex and that generated an intense controversy at that time, the National Assembly decided to approve a general modification – the difference of sexes is no longer mentioned in the definition of marriage -, but it was decided to take everything related to families to a referendum and the project we are approving has been wonderfully, innovative, very just and humane. Because I am sure that we will approve it, in spite of the attacks and disqualifications of some institutions and very conservative people.

Source: Cuba En Resumen