Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES – Critics of the Cuban Revolution ignore or want to ignore (whether that’s out of ignorance, a misunderstanding, because they prefer to be capitalists, or because they want to work for the Imperialist enemy) the fact that Cuba (in spite of suffering an economic, commercial and financial blockade for nearly 60 years) has what millions of people in the world want and can’t have because they live in a system where meeting the needs of its people isn’t the most important thing on its agenda.
Every year, Cuba receives thousands of professionals from every academic field, who attend international events. Likewise, thousands of young people from all over the world, especially underdeveloped countries, come to Cuba to study and all of them who visit us and stay to study a few years agree on the fact that Cuba has what they wished they had in their own countries, even with all of the limitations our country faces due to the US blockade.
Education is of the things that foreigners mention when they compare their countries to Cuba because despite our country being poor and blockaded, it offers every Cuban child and young person a quality education which is constantly improving and is free, from preschool to university, including polytechnic universities, where mid level technicians graduate and have a workplace guaranteed for him. They can even continue to study a university degree in evening courses designed for workers.
Sports are another branch of our education system, which also ranges from initiation into a sport to university studies. This means that every child, teenager or young person with a natural talent for sport has the opportunity to develop their skills.
Cuba also has art schools, which range from elementary to advanced studies, which makes it very hard for someone with a natural artistic gift (in any of its manifestations) to not have the opportunity to develop their skills to the best of their ability and for free.
Special education is one part of our education system that arouses the admiration of nearly everyone who visits us. It is offered to children, teenagers and young people with special learning needs, whether that’s because they are intellectually and developmentally challenged, have motor learning difficulties, are physically handicapped, blind or visually impaired, deaf or have a hearing impediment, to name a few.
They are educated and trained to be useful members of society and are guaranteed a dignified job (as long as their condition allows them to work) so that they don’t feel useless, which is what happens in many countries, where these people aren’t protected by the State and the most they can do is beg for money.
Healthcare is another thing people compare with the rest of underdeveloped and developed countries. In Cuba, healthcare is free from primary to tertiary medical care. Plus, medicines for people admitted into hospital are free and are subsidized by the State for those not in hospital, no matter how much imported medicines cost abroad, or how much it costs the country to manufacture them (Cuba manufactures over 60% of its essential drugs).
Medical training of doctors and paramedics is still very high, even when Cuba is training doctors and nurses not only to meet its own national needs, but also other countries’ needs who don’t have these professionals or the infrastructure to train them.
Over a hundred countries have received Cuban medical cooperation efforts, which are free for those who can’t afford to pay them. Millions of people have recovered or got better eyesight via Operacion Milagro, which continues today in dozens of countries.
I have tried to summarize some of the advantages of our social system in this brief space. We are still able to have and enjoy what millions of people in the world long for in spite of the strict US blockade that is trying to suffocate us so we give up in our attempt to live in a better world.