A Cuban woman has been given permission to visit her relatives in Argentina for the first time since 1994. This was made possible after the woman, Hilda Molina, 66, appealed to Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to intervene in her case and allow her to visit her son, his wife and their two children whom she has never met.
The top neurosurgeon, Molina, has been trying for more than ten years to get permission to visit her family in Argentina. Dr Molina broke ranks with the government in 1994 over the ethics of stem cell treatment for conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease. She also criticised the country’s health care system, saying Cuba was offering better services to foreign patients who pay fees.
Her son, Roberto Quinones, who moved to Argentina in 1994 with his wife, said of the sitation; “my mother had a difference of opinion with the government about work-related issues. This was interpreted as something political and she had to quit her job”.
Dr Molina was once a Communist Party Member, lawmaker and personal friend of former president, Fidel Castro.
After a refusal in 2004, then president of Argentina, Nestor Kirchner, wrote to Castro to ask personally that she be given permission to visit her family in Argentina. Castro refused, instead suggesting that her family visit her in Havana. A spokesman for the Argentina embassy in Havana called the political situation at the time “tense”.
In an interview with the Associated Press from her home in Havana, Dr Molina said she was “surprised” buy the decision. Speaking on the subject, she commented that she thinks”things will only change in this regard when no-one has to ask for permission to leave Cuba.”
She flew to Ezeizia airport in Buenos Aires on Saturday and has a permit to stay out of Cuba for a maximum of three months.