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Dissenters lambaste lecturer

Victor Dreke-Cruz wanted to tell people about the relationship between Cuba and Africa, but instead he was called a “puppet of Fidel Castro.”

A lecture about the close bond between Cuba and Africa Tuesday night turned into an open forum for those in opposition of the Cuban revolution.

Both Dreke-Cruz and Ana Morales-Varela intended to speak about the relationship between Cuba and Africa, but instead were challenged about their views by Cubans in the audience.

The two speakers are visiting universities across the nation to discuss the bond that has developed between Cuba and Africa since 1963.

One Cuban man in the audience said Dreke-Cruz’s statements about the status of people living in Cuba were false.

The man asked Dreke-Cruz why the people still living in Cuba did not own any of the land, but that people of other races and ethnicities in the country do.

This same man said that Dreke-Cruz was a puppet of Cuban leader Fidel Castro because he was echoing Castro’s idealistic views.

Dreke-Cruz said the Cuban people did own the land in spirit, and some Cuban people are on the island do own land.

After Dreke-Cruz presented his information, he proceeded to field questions from the audience about various topics.

But as he began answering questions, various people in the audience interrupted his responses by shouting oppositions to his answers.

Some people accused Dreke-Cruz of misleading audience members about the current conditions of the people in Cuba.

The question and answer session continued with the same interruptions by those who felt what they had to say was the only truth to be heard, Dreke-Cruz said.

“These people had their beliefs about the revolution and were not willing to accept anyone else’s about it,” Dreke-Cruz said.

Ernest Mailhot, one the committee workers of the lecture, said the lecture was still a success.

“He told us that he wanted people to come to this meeting to bring up things they wanted to hear,” Mailhot said. “This is a big victory for him in that he got to speak to 150 people so that he could clear up some misconceptions people might have had.”

Senior Jermaine Donaldson said the lecture provided him with a clearer view of Cuba.

“I think this was a good learning experience, and the university should have this more often,” said Donaldson. “People and students as Americans are not given the full view of Cuba, and it’s nice to have both sides of the story presented.”

Dreke-Cruz said he was unable to get his point across to some of the people in the audience.

“I believe that (those people who chose to interrupt) were irrational and had nothing more to do but to scream,” Dreke-Cruz said. “(These people) were squashed by the truths (that I stated).”

Morales-Varela said she felt the events eclipsed the true intent of the evening.

“I believe what happened tonight was ugly in the sense that we did not have our time to speak about the topic at hand,” Morales-Varela said. “I regret not being able to speak more to the students who wanted to know more about Cuba.”