CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) — People revolting in the streets in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia seemed unlikely to many just a few months ago, but their success is spawning new questions about the stability other oppressive regimes.
Alina Fernandez is the out-of-wedlock daughter of Fidel Castro.
An outspoken critic of her father’s communist regime, she fled the island nation in 1993. She tells me she identifies with the struggle for freedom going on in North Africa.
“One of the Cuban tragedies is that once you don’t think the way they think or want you to think, you become the enemy, and they treat you likewise,” Fernandez said.
I spoke with Fernandez in an exclusive one-on-one interview Wednesday night, before a lecture she gave at Rutgers-Camden for Women’s History Month.
What is happening now in North Africa and the way it happened won’t happen in Cuba, Fernandez says, and it is because of one very big difference.
The internet and social media have played a key role in the recent uprisings in other countries, and it’s a tool that Cubans just don’t have.
“There is no way you are going tell somebody else to go and gather some place to protest. That doesn’t exist in Cuba,” Fernandez said. “A few people have access to the internet. It is very controlled,” she said.
On occasion, Fernandez speaks to her mother, who still lives in Cuba.
She says her father’s regime–which is now being run by her uncle–still holds a tight grip over what information Cubans have access to.
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Reported by Todd Quinones, CBS 3