14ymedio, Havana, 29 November 2023 — “The rules do not apply to Hugo. Hugo insists, Hugo arrives, Hugo persists.” It was one of the numerous mantras that the Cuban-American businessman Hugo Cancio repeated during the interview he gave this Tuesday to his own newspaper, OnCuba. Two hours of conversation with the media’s director, Milena Recio, helped him draw his self-portrait: he does not define himself as a “communist,” the regime has not given him “privileges” and he has “plans” – many – for the future of the Island.
OnCuba , which had announced the interview for this Tuesday morning with great fanfare, ended up publishing it five hours late without giving any explanations. Cancio had been ignoring media requests for statements for more than ten years, but Recio’s insistence, he explains, led him to leave his “comfort zone.”
There were no surprises. Cancio recalled how little Cubans know about him, his exile during the Mariel exodus – he was 16 years old – his return as a successful businessman to produce the film dedicated to the vocal group Los Zafiros, of which his father and uncle were members, and the creation of several businesses, “children of necessity” on the Island, such as the Katapulk digital market.
If he exposes himself to the cameras it is because, he argues, Cuba is going through a “key” moment “of transformation”
If he exposes himself to the cameras it is because, he argues, Cuba is going through a “key” moment, “of transformation,” where he and the rest of the emigrated businessmen play “a leading role.” However, he affirms, despite the attempts at rapprochement between both shores, he believes it is necessary to “expose the things that are happening in our country.”
Cancio does not feel any stigma for being a “marielito” and the money he has put into Cuba frees him from any doubt. The return, he summarizes, “gave a 180 degree turn” in his life and he understood that, by pressing the right buttons – for him it was financing independent cinema – the regime was willing to create “links” with people like him.