Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — I could begin by saying that I lived under a capitalist regime for long enough to be able to make comparisons. It would nonetheless suffice to make a general statement: 60 years elapsed from the time Cuba achieved independence from Spanish domination to the triumph of the revolution and the country made very little or next to no progress.
The same can be said about most Latin American countries: 200 years after achieving independence, what has prevailed there is the pillaging of natural resources and the exploitation of the best lands by transnational corporations that have only left behind contaminated waters and lands and more poverty for the vast majorities in the countryside.
In Cuba as in the rest of Latin America, only socialism has brought progress for the vast popular majorities.
Illiteracy, an ill that was corroding society, was eradicated in Cuba. The sciences have been developed to levels found in developed countries. We can say something similar about education: the New York Times recently published a note saying that Cuba is one of the countries with the highest levels of education in the hemisphere. The same holds for public health: the World Health Organization (WHO) has once again declared that Cuba is to be held up as an example for other countries around the world. Neither the New York Times nor the WHO are socialist organizations. The results, however, are plain to see, even though the revolution’s detractors work hard to prove otherwise.
The development of sports and culture has gone hand in hand with that of education, for it is unacceptable to let any talent, be it scientific, sporting or cultural, go to waste under socialism.
One of the most eloquent examples of how socialism has brought progress to Latin America is Bolivia, a country which, following 200 years of pillaging and exploitation, remained the second poorest country in the continent, behind only Haiti. Bolivia, however, possesses large reserves of natural resources that only socialism, with Evo Morales at the helm, has placed at the service of the people, redistributing wealth in the form of healthcare and education and creating jobs to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. All of this explains why Evo Morales has been re-elected for a third term in office with over 60 percent of the votes.
Bolivia has also eradicated illiteracy and offers free medical attention to all of the population, with Cuba’s aid in both cases.
Another country that was pillaged by capitalist transnationals for 200 years while its people languished in hunger, insalubrity and illiteracy is Venezuela, a country with the largest oil reserves in the world. What it got in exchange for the exploitation of these resources were, however, laughable figures, the greater part of which served to fatten the bank accounts of the national oligarchy and corrupt politicians.
Ever since the late Hugo Chavez came to power and nationalized the oil industry, his government undertook several campaigns to eradicate illiteracy, the lack of medical attention, unemployment, the shortage of homes and the development of other sectors such as sports and culture. In the fields of education, sports and culture, Venezuela has relied on the aid of our small, underdeveloped country, which doesn’t have many natural resources and has been blockaded for over 50 years by the world’s greatest military power, a country that has survived all such adversity thanks to the fact it has a socialist government.
This small country was the first to respond to the UN’s call to combat the outbreak of Ebola in Western Africa. While capitalist countries have only sent soldiers and small quantities of money, Cuban health personnel are on the frontlines of the struggle against this terrible disease – and this is possible only because Cuba has a socialist system of government.
Because of this and many other things that could not fit in the limited space of a post, I defend socialism and am willing to defend it, not only with ideas, but also to the last breath.