Cuba Has What Millions in the World Long For

Elio Delgado Legon

Foto: Nestor Mora Gonzalez

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.

Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.

Elio Delgado Legon has 246 posts and counting. See all posts by Elio Delgado Legon

28 thoughts on “Cuba Has What Millions in the World Long For

  • I hope to visit Cuba some day. I’ll be in Ecuador next month….maybe I’ll swing by.

  • The Uk is being run by a right wing press now, we are slowly turning into a semi nazi state. Wake up MacDuff. Social security – gone, NHS , being destroyed, schools, crunbling, university, prohibitive, house rents, colossal, as are house prices. Wages ? pathetic. Homeless ? Everywhere and increasing. Yes the U.K is indeed paradise.

  • Carla, Elio have a lot of love for Cuba, I don´t know if he has the same for Cubans.

  • Speaking about religion, do you know that saying (translation is mine so…) “the best trick done by the Devil is to make us believe he doesn´t exists”, jejeje, in your case friend Nick, I think you don´t believe there are evil anywhere, mmmm are you the Devil? jejeje.

    I didn’t say they are evil persons, I said those are or were evil regimes.

    I think Bertrand Ruseell was a good leader.

    how this regimes came to power, with whom they treated and all that is a different analyze than we can do.

  • Elio, I admire your love for your country. Thank you for continuing to share.

  • Repatriado, I have to disagree with you.
    I just don’t look at history or at the present and divide governments or leaders into ‘good’ and ‘evil’. I just don’t see the point in discussing such things with quasi-religious terminology. You have given a list which includes a selection of (mainly) 20th Century leaders and described them as ‘evil’. This avoids any examination of how these leaders came to power, who colluded with them, who did deals with them, who propped them up, who preceded them or what was the alternative to them. If certain of these leaders were supported by other countries/leaders, does that make those other leaders ‘evil’ by association?
    And if you choose to describe these individuals as ‘evil’ then who exactly would you describe as ‘good’ leaders ?
    If you do not think that these matters are ‘relative’, that’s fine.
    But I hold the view that they are.
    And I say that any rational and intelligent debate is nullified by the use of this simplistic, quasi-religious terminology.

  • “The usual suspects” what a great film¡

    Nick, I don´t ask you to jump a good versus evil point of view, but I ask you to come a conclusion because that is the substance of dialogue.

    Not everything is relative as you say, that phrase is a circular contradiction itself, if everything is relative, them that phrase is also relative. Things are not always relative, but we people can relativize everything, when you do that with Cuba´s situation under Castro by saying there are good things, you are legitimizing Castro´s regime. That is just my opinion.

    I think that you can talk about the good things we have in Cuba, I do it dome times, I even made a post about it published here in HT, but when you do that I think that, as Catton the Old, always you have to finish your argumentation with a fix phrase, something like “beside the good things Cuban´s have, they suffer under a cruel and evil dictatorship”

    Now I am going to talk like the lady lawyer in “Philadelphia” another great film.

    Hitler`s regime is evil, fact
    Stalin`s regime is evil, fact
    Papa Doc`s regime is evil, fact
    Franco´s regime is evil, fact
    Pinochet´s regime is evil, fact
    Mugabe´s regime is evil, fact
    Somoza´s regime is evil, fact
    Ortega´s regime is evil, fact
    And the last but not the least, Castro`s regime is evil, fact (I can be prosecuted just for writing that)

    Did they did some good things? Sure

    Do those good things justify how evil their regime have being? Not for me, that is my conclusion.

    Do you think that good thing we have in Cuba justify or compensate the evilness of the regime?

    Or maybe you don´t think Castro´s regime is evil

  • Mr MacD, I have been fortunate to have lived in various parts of the world – some parts more capitalist than others – some parts much less capitalist than others.
    It is ridiculous to suggest that I condemn freedoms of any type.
    It is ridiculous to suggest that I am ‘attacking’ you by mentioning that you choose to spend a lot of time in Cuba. I am merely pointing out a basic fact which seems at odds with much of the content of your comments.
    It is also ridiculous to suggest that I am in any way attacking you for loving your wife. What on earth are you talking about there ???

    But I will agree when you state that I have said Cuba has its faults, but also has its good points. That is absolutely correct. I would always point this out. It is particularly relevant to point this out when folks are raving on about binary ‘good vs evil’ fantasy worlds.

    I shall reiterate what I have said elsewhere on this thread:
    I would suggest that Elio’s one-sided articles often paint a false narrative.
    But if your only response is simply to provide an opposing false narrative, then the debate itself is ultimately self-defeating.

  • According to ‘The Usual Suspects’ we all need to jump aboard the simplistic ‘good vs evil’ bandwagon.
    Putting across the reality or merely providing fact-based context is described as ‘a defence of Cuba’.
    Mr P, you describe Elio’s article as ‘total B.S.’. This is both unpleasant and factually erroneous. It is erroneous because Elio’s claim that millions would long for some of the aspects of life in Cuba is actually correct.
    Having said this, I would suggest that Elio one-sided articles often paint a false narrative.
    But if the response is simply to provide an opposing false narrative, then the debate itself is ultimately self-defeating.

  • Now you are showing your true colours Nick. The posing as being balanced or neutral is over. In all your contributions you have not once condemned the Castro regime. Oh yes, you have said it has its faults, but also said it has its good points. You choose to live in a capitalist country, but obviously condemn the freedoms which are a consequence of that system rather than the oppression and denial of basic human rights and freedom of communist dictatorship. In my native Scotland, such an attitude of trying to have your cake and eat it is described as being “mealy mouthed”.
    As for attacking me for loving my Cuban wife deeply and spending much time at home in Cuba with her and other members of the family, it just displays your calibre as a man. The fact that we can afford a reasonable level of comfort, does not obscure the poverty and living standards of the community to which we belong. It does not obscure the reality that is there to observe and it does not obscure the wish that so many Cubans have for the freedoms that you are able to enjoy.

  • Jean Fisher…LOL, surely, you jest!! I am a US citizen and I would not like to live under a Cuban regime!! I like my freedom, I like the fact that the standard of living is higher; that I am not being watched; that I can say anything I want; that I am not limited to how much I can make or limited in what I can eat. I like that I can afford things, that I can read any papers, that books abound and that I have choices!!!

  • Again, if your defense of Cuba is saying that certain conditions in Haiti or El Salvador are worse, than simply admit that your standard of success is “not being the worst” By that standard, yes, Cuba may have a positive aspect or two. But is that really a standard to be measured by? Not being the poorest, or most dangerous country in the world is the life you wish for Cubans?

  • Mr MacD….
    More unadulterated baloney from you.
    You have a conservative capitalist viewpoint and anyone with a less narrow and more neutral viewpoint is, in your opinion, supporting ‘totalitarian dictatorship of the left’.
    It is an fact that there are a huge number of people in the world who would be envious of many aspects of life in Cuba. I can personally attest that this is the case because over the last 20+ years I have met many people from other parts of the world in Cuba who have said exactly that.
    According to UNICEF 22,000 children die per day due to poverty in our largely capitalist-run world. Perhaps you and your fellow right wing capitalists would suggest that, in reporting such statistics, UNICEF has it’s ‘mind clogged with socialist theories’?
    The perennial problem with your remarks is that they are long on rhetoric but short on facts.
    Your constant ideological attacks on Cuba are actually KO’d by your own lifestyle choice. Life in Cuba is not a harsh reality for you, it is purely a personal choice.
    If Cuba was as terrible as you try to make out, you would not choose to spend so much time there.

  • If you study Nick’s response to your comments above Repatriado, you will understand my comment about the danger posed by fellow travellers.

  • Ah Repatriado, those to whom you refer inevitably compare that which is worst in their own societies with the life of the average Cuban. Their endeavor is to support totalitarian dictatorship of the left, but to condemn dictatorship when it is by the extreme right.
    They do not share a concern for the lives of Cubans or for the future of Cuba’s children, but by their support for the Castro regime, hope to perpetuate the misery of others living under communism – but not of course for themselves! For them, Cuba represents an experiment in ‘socialist ideals’ as preached in the 19th century by Karl Marx. You and I both have experience of living with those ‘socialist ideals’, for us they are not a theory, but a harsh reality.
    But at least it is possible to easily refute those with their minds clogged with the ‘socialist’ theories. Perhaps those who pose as having concern to mildly criticize the worst aspects of the Castro dictatorship, whilst finding wherever possible reasons to praise other aspects by talk of good points, are the larger more effective opposition to Cubans obtaining freedom.
    Back in the 1940s and 1950s, when they were very active in the UK, they were called: “fellow travellers”. The hard core communists were clearly discernible, but it was those fellow travellers who actually posed the larger threat to the individual freedoms of society.

  • Repatriado,
    Cuba has many good aspects. But it is less than perfect.
    Regarding certain aspects – very much less than perfect.
    The world we live in is also less than perfect.
    It is a fact that there are parts of the world where people would be envious of some of the better aspects of life in your country.
    It is about perspective. Surely all is relative.

  • The thing that I don´t understand is how some people do not HATE or DETEST dictators and dictatorships, I don´t understand how this people remark the good things than have being done under those assassins.

    There were great achievements under Stalin, Haiti and Guatemala were worst that USSR even under Stalin, do that justify Stalin´s regime??

    Do that people need to see a bloody repression in the streets to understand how evil dictators are?? All dictators

    I simply done care if there are a lot of other failures countries, I am sorry for them and hope they find their way, but that is not a relieve for Cuban people daily situation.

    Healthcare free?, so so, but very bad services and using the tech and the science created in the capitalism because communist system, so far, do not generate nothing useful.

    Educations free? Noooo, that was long before, education today cost a lot for Cubans, and if you do not spend a lot in your children education and only relay in that very basic, and bad, that the state guarantee, your children will be functionally illiterate.

    Please stop saying Cuba is better that Europe or North America in something¡¡¡ Please stop relativizing this dictatorship just saying we have some problems¡¡¡¡ Please do not justify what is deeply wrong here by saying you have problems there¡¡¡¡

  • You have obviously never lived in Cuba. I’m guessing never visited either.

  • I note with a marked degree of amusement Kennedy Earle Clarke, your use of “we” when writing of “Fidel, Raul and other comrades have liberated us from the dungeons of illiteracy”. So Kennedy Earle Clarke, as you sit fuming in your comfortable island retreat, well away from the hard reality of communist dictatorship in Cuba, do you do so as a consequence of being “liberated” by the Castros? You appear to be fixated with the problems of the US. I have to confess Kennedy Earle Clarke to having actually visited the US – the last time was over twenty years ago, but I would not choose to live there. Yes, you are correct in saying that I spend part (the larger part) of my life in Cuba, unlike you. That is what enables me to know the detailed reality of Cuba, of its people and of the Castro communist dictatorship.
    As for my children, all are university graduates but from neither US or Cuban universities. But you describe my contributions as “pure trash, discarded rubbage” revealing your frustration at my describing the realities of communism. However Kennedy Earle Clarke, if you really do seek to find a piece of “pure trash” look no further than your comment:
    “the USA where the standard of education is not even as high as that of Cuba.”
    Really! How is it that eight of the top ten universities in the World are in the USA?
    If the USA is such a pitiful place, why is it that Cuban emigres living in the USA manage to send some $4 billion per year to their apparently (according to you) more fortunate relatives in Cuba?
    What was it you wrote? Oh Yes, RUBBAGE.
    I do not attack Elio, but the repetition of the views of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba, which he faithfully records.
    Finally Kennedy Earle Clarke, I wish to assure other readers that i have no relationship to you, I am not your brother – and for that am thankful!

  • There is an obvious and simple answer to your question Nigel Cook:
    “how can we in the northern hemisphere (I guess you actually mean the UK) achieve what the Cubans have,”
    is to abandon democracy and adopt communist totalitarian dictatorship.
    Electing Marxist Jeremy Corbyn as your Prime Minister, would be a good start in that direction.
    But, just remember, as long as you have a communist totalitarian dictatorship, you will like the people of Cuba, have a pitiful income, no freedom of expression, no freedom of the media and no choice. ENJOY!

  • Elio’s comments are famously one-sided.
    As are some of the spluttering rebuttals from his detractors.
    Of course Cuba has it’s problems. It has a system of governance that a great many would take issue with and which presumably will change at some point (hopefully for the better).
    However I must point out that there are over 7 Billion people in the world. And unfortunately many live in abject poverty without basics such as day-to-day safety, adequate healthcare and access to education. In some parts of the world child malnutrition is rife. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. This level of life-threatening poverty does not exist in Cuba.

    Despite the problems that Cuba does have (and it has many) there are a great many people in the world who would indeed long for some of the good points that Cuba has.
    Would that be millions ?
    I would say well over a billion……

  • I thoroughly enjoyed and agree with Elio’s article. It is refreshing to read independent writers speak positively of Cuba and in particular its social achievements. Evidently, Elio’s honesty is not so welcomed by some commentators. Entrenched in that age-old narrative of being ‘free to do this’ or ‘free to do that’ these keyboard critics fail to even dent, let alone demolish, the universally acknowledged truth that which Elio states. Healthcare and eduction are main factors used in measuring a country’s real wealth.

    I live in the UK where our health service is being broken down and shared out to private businesses. Healthcare is now no longer about eleveating suffering and extending life but merely seen as a commodity from which to amass huge profits. Likewise with education. Many UK graduates on leaving University will have incurred a debt in excess of £50, 000. Most will not get jobs in the fields for which they studied. Of the many and varied political parties that exists in our ‘democratic’ country all of them support this situation.

    Similarly with the US, the so called land of the free. Over two million of its citizens are rotting in prison. Over half a million wretched citizens are reduced to sleeping on the streets. Racism is rife and in some States institutionalised, where people of colour or Hispanic origin are routinely murdered or assaulted by the police. Considering that 64% of US citizens do not have a passport forcefully demonstrates just how ‘unfree’ Americans really are.

    So for me, the critic’s childish rants that we should all go live in Cuba because we simply recognise some of its social achievements is irrelevant. The real burning question should be, how can we in the northern hemisphere achieve what the Cubans have?

    Thank you Elio and I look froward to reading more from you soon.

  • Brother Moses, The same hogwash as usual, every time Brother Elio writes something positive about the country of his birth, these two enemies of the working class peoples of the world always attack him! Brother Mc.Duff is a living example of the deception he wants to implant on the readers of Elio’s post. If Cuba was so bad, why doesn’t Brother Carlyle jump on a raft and sail his family to freedom? I get the impression that he spends part of his life in Cuba and the rest somewhere else. Despite the fact that Brother Carlyle has the ability to choose, he prefers his family to stay in Cuba where the Education is free; where Medical Attention is free; where the survival of his family is 100% more secured than in the USA where many of those who left are prostituting themselves in order to survive. Brother Carlyle seems to have the freedom to come and go in Cuba as he likes; yet he speaks about repression! Come on Brother Carlyle, we are not living under the Batista Regime. Fidel, Raul and the other comrades have liberated us from the dungeons of illiteracy; we are now able to think for ourselves. Brothers Moses and Carlyle always attack Elio when he speaks glowingly about his country. How much would it cost Brother Carlyle to educate his children in the USA where the standard of education is not even as high as that of Cuba? The World Bank in 2014, rated Cuba very highly (even higher than more prosperous countries without an embago imposed upon them) for its expenditure on the education of its people I must congratulate H.T.which does not have an office in Havana for printing Elio’s comments. I am a bit baffled though, as to how it gets hold of these comments to print them. Winter time is coming in a few months time and I would advise Brother Carlyle to travel to the USA where he will observe all those homeless souls wandering up and down the streets in the dead of winter, cold, hopeless, homeless, hungry and ill-clad to face the rigours of the freezig cold. Brother Carlyle, if Cuba was that bad, no amount of warmth could have compelled the RUSSIANS to reside in such a horrid country. Your posts are pure trash, discarded rubbage!

  • This post, like most of what Elio writes, is total B.S.!! Well, not total but 99%. Yes, education is “free”. If by free he means that Teachers solicit funds directly from parents to pay for air-conditioning, chalk, paper, and even books to replace the 20 year-old books that the Castro system supplies. Free except for the tests and even grades that are sold. And free if you want crumbling school infrastructures. Even post-doctoral graduates are forced to either accept jobs outside of their fields of study at far less than living wages or seek jobs in the private sector as waiters or tourist guides. But yes, in this respect, education is “free”. Like education, healthcare in Cuba is free says Elio. Free medicines except for the lack of even aspirin in government pharmacies. Free services except for what you have to pay doctors on the side for timely diagnosis and treatment. Free in spite of the reality of supplying your own bedding and medical supplies for hospital stays. And, like education, healthcare infrastructure is horrible…but yes, free. Elio would have you believe that what Cuba offers is unique. His lack of personal travel or even awareness of what exists in the rest of the world is pathetic. Universal education and healthcare is available in many countries around the world. And it exists without the tyrannical dictatorship that goes along with it in Cuba. One more thing: for those commenters who sing the praises of Cuba, especially the one who claims to be Cuban? So why don’t you live in Cuba? We know why. ‘Cuz living in Cuba, despite the “free” stuff, SUCKS!! Were this not the case, as Carlyle MacDuff, who DOES live in Cuba part of the year, writes: foreign-born inmigration would reflect the good life that Elio would have you to believe exists in Cuba. It does not. Cubans who can leave Cuba are doing so in record numbers every year. Don’t believe the hype. Nothing in Cuba is really free and everyone who is honest and knows Cuba will tell you that.

  • Jean, why don’t you go and live in Cuba?
    Is it the repression with no freedom of speech?
    Is it the restricted diet with food rations?
    Is it the average earnings of less than $21 per month?
    Is it having no access to free media?
    or is it that you prefer freedom in a capitalist country with all its faults?
    Cuba is a wonderful country with wonderful people prevented from pursuing individuality, dreams and striving to provide a better future for their children.
    Don’t get confused between democratic socialism and the Communist Party of Cuba policies.
    I wish I could take you for a walk and introduce you to the Cuban reality that I know as a consequence of having my home there and a Cuban family. Somewhat different from an regime approved tour!

  • This is all true as I found out on an Elderhostel trip in 2004. Cuba is a wonderful country. If only the US was like Cuba.. The blockade is kept so the people won’t find out how wonderful Cuba is. But people like Bernie Sanders are trying hard.

  • The picture painted by Elio Delgado Legon is such that the world “Millions in the World Long For” will be so irresistible that they will flock to Cuba as immigrants!

    WAIT a moment!

    Why has that not occurred Elio? Why is it that the last national census in Cuba (2012) revealed that only a mere 5,500 residents in Cuba were born elsewhere and most of those were Russians who preferred the warmth of Cuba to the cold of Siberia and chose to remain.

    Why is it that the desperate people seeking freedom were risking their lives on the open seas trying to leave Cuba and as far as I am aware, few if any, since the arrival of Granma have sought to sail to Cuba?

    Elio speaks of the many thousands of professionals who flock to international events in Cuba, why do not they observe its advantages and seek to stay there?

    Oh ! I forgot, of course, Its the embargo stupid!

  • My Dear Mr. Delgado, I am a Cuban living abroad for a few years, and perhaps many will not agree with your statement but I am sure that many others plus myself agree with you 100%. Besides the universal health and schooling, our Cuba is peace, music, an atmosphere that only living there you can feel it, all we have to do its just look what’s going on around the world, the violence that exist in all level of society, kids in schools massacring each other, gangs, drugs poisoning entire populations or cities, wars that have been for ever with no ends. I am convinced that those politicians responsible for the blockade against Cuba,( Mr. Rubio, Mr.Diaz-Balart, Mrs. Ros, Mr. Menendez), are afraid to see Cuba as a fully developed country, they are afraid that the rest of the world could see that our system works for our people, that’s why they manipulate the politics in the U.S. They have the power to do so, but with blockade or not “OUR CUBA VA, NO MATTER WHAT”…

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