[Marxism] Nikon Camera and Washington's blockade of Cuba
walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Oct 10 04:45:40 MDT 2006
Face to face with the Blockade
Interview with 13-year-old Raysel Rojas, recipient of an
international award on the environment. He was not able
to receive his prize.
By Elson Concepcion
Taken from Granma
PHOTO OF CHILD AND ORIGINAL TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW:
UNITED NATIONS PRESS RELEASE INCLUDING CHILD WINNER:
The 13-year-old Cuban boy Raysel Sosa Rojas won a United Nations
award but could never receive its prize because it had US components.
Surrounded by his grandmother —his mother was at work— other
relatives and friends, Raysel answered questions from this Granma
reporter on the balcony of his apartment in the Havana district of
Raysel spoke about the love he feels for painting, the international
award he won, and the camera he never received because it had US
components, forbidden under the US government’s blockade on Cuba.
While, in his presence, other prize-winning children from Europe,
Africa, Asia and Latin America received their cameras. He did not.
How did you hear that you had won the prize?
One day I was sleeping there (he points to his bedroom) and early in
the morning the phone rang. My mother was already leaving for work,
and as we never get calls that early she was surprised. It was my
teacher who was calling to tell us the news, that I had received the
award for Latin America and the Caribbean, from the International
Children’s Contest sponsored by the United Nations Environment
Where was the awarding ceremony?
In Algeria. There were children from Yugoslavia, Thailand, and
Ecuador. There was also another from Africa, one from Japan and I.
And the award?
It was a Nikon camera. It was not given to me. I was told that since
I am Cuban I could not receive it.
How did you feel when faced with such discrimination?
I was very sad when I saw that everybody else received their prize
and I didn’t.
What’s your opinion about this measure?
The blockade causes all sorts of problems. Even children are
affected. I could never imagine that such measure could be used
against young people who paint to protect the environment. I couldn’t
believe it could go that far.
What did your family have to say about the prize you never got?
My family was sad and still is because that is not supposed to happen
to children. I hope that one day the blockade disappears and that the
US stops murdering families around the world. I have seen how the US
Army attacks and destroys houses where children live. How they
demolish houses, how they kill pregnant women.
As a Cuban, do you feel you are lacking anything?
No, I have everything here. In the polyclinics I receive good
healthcare services and free of charge. The same goes for the
hospitals. That doesn’t happen in many other countries, where an
operation can cost a fortune. [RayselHe suffers from haemophilia, a
difficulty with blood coagulation].
And what is the treatment you receive for your illness?
I have received all the vaccinations free of charge. Last year, I had
to be hospitalized in the intensive care unit of the Juan Manuel
Fajardo Pediatric hospital. I received everything I needed, all free.
The same applies to school. To go to school here does not cost a
cent, however, they impose a blockade on us.
Where did your desire to paint come from?
Our art teacher, Jorge, started a community workshop. I saw that lots
of children were attending. I talked to him, he gave me several
tests, and then I became involved with the workshop that was called
"Coloring my Neighborhood."
How did you create the painting that won you the award?
Thinking. I put my imagination on drawing paper.
My painting shows that before, everything was more beautiful. It
talks about the protection of nature. When there was no pollution,
the environment was better protected. Trees were not destroyed and
animals were not killed.
What do you want to study?
I want to be a painter. When I complete my studies at the Olof Palme
High School, I want to enroll at the San Alejandro painting and
US Blocks Cuban Boy from UN Prize
Havana, Oct 4 (ACN) A Cuban teenager, the recent winner of the UN's
international environmental contest, was not allowed to receive his
prize owing to the US blockade of his country.
The 13-year-old boy, Raysel Sosa, won the Latin American and the
Caribbean award of the International Children's Contest on the
Environment, sponsored by the United Nations Environmental Program.
Raysel, who suffers from hemophilia, traveled to Algeria to receive
the award consisting in a Nikon camera. This was not given to him
however because the American anti-Cuba legislation strictly forbids
Cubans from obtaining any products containing US parts.
In an interview with a Granma reporter, the youth said, "In Algeria,
I could see other children from Yugoslavia, Thailand and Ecuador,
receiving their prizes," adding that he was very sad for having been
The boy said he and his family are very disappointed because "you
don't do that to a child." He said he could not believe there was an
action of this kind directed against a youth who had only painted to
protect the environment.
Raysel said he hopes the blockade is eliminated some day and "the US
army stops destroying houses in the world where children live."
The painting that won him the award portrays the world without
pollution. "It talks about the protection of nature," Raysel
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