It turns out that some Spanish citizens are not just fans of the Castro dictatorship in Cuba, they are also fans of the repressive dictatorship in North Korea as well.
North Korea’s public relations man is a Spaniard with a tough job
Meet Alejandro Cao de Benós, the only non-Korean employee of North Korea’s foreign ministry. The Spaniard is taking the PR message of North Korea’s greatness across Europe.
While news reports, defectors, and human rights organizations are in close agreement on the harsh evidence of poverty, famine, and torture in secretive North Korea, Alejandro Cao de Benós paints a very different picture.
The representative from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry describes a country devoid of hunger, poverty, and political repression. Every citizen receives their housing, salary, and plentiful sacks of rice directly from the government, he says, pointing to photos of smiling children and sharply-dressed adults – ice skating, on smartphones, and enjoying rides at amusement parks as proof of prosperity.
In North Korea people wouldn’t ever want to leave the country, he says, even if they could.
Aside from the fact that experts say the reality in the impoverished food stricken country is much different for most of the nation of 24 million, Mr. Cao de Benós’s carefully scripted picture highlights a new tack the North is taking: Alongside the recent escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula, Pyongyang has been playing a softer international strategy with Cao de Benós’s help.
“For North Korea, it is about expanding their ‘influence’ to anywhere it can,” says Virginie Grzelczyk, a North Korea specialist at Nottingham Trent University in the UK. “This helps justify the regime, and it is also seen as a beacon for some countries and some people.”
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H/T Tania M.