Elio Delgado Legon

Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. Photo archive: cubadebate.cu

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.

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.

62 thoughts on “Cuba: Why I Defend Socialism

  • Only if you manage to live in Cuba as an everyday “citizen”, for one year, deprived of all rights, privileges, comforts and yes: FREEDOM that despite whatever you may say, you enjoy in the U.S., you would be deserving of any credibility in describing “the benefits of life in Cuba”. Until then, you are a -hopefully healthier- Michael Moore. Otherwise you are just being paternalistic and racist, as you suggest that what is being dished out there is adequate for my family, but it’s not something you should endure because of your origin.

  • Great! Cuba needs the Castros as absolute owners of the farm because the U.S. is poised to gobble it up? Should the rest of the world be condemned to endless dictatorships as well? Being 90 or 90,000 miles from anywhere means nothing nowadays, as missiles and drones can be pinpointed from the other side of the world. You are quoting the decades-old manufactured paranoia of Castro billboards in Matanzas. The invasion that never happened. It’s fascinating to see how far into ridicule a feudal ruling family will go in order to defend its ownership of the farm…

  • So dictatorship should be the only option!

  • Believe me, if Fidel had stayed in the US -or anywhere else!- Cuba would be doing extremely well, thank you!

  • No clue? Being in business here for over 36 years has given me more than my share of clues.

    I think you are studying your “patria” from afar, using very dog-eared political mantras. In my business, we’ve been importing from China, Phillippines, Costa Rica and other countries for more than 36 years! The “can’t enter international agreements” line is a decades-old soundbyte of the PIP (pro-independence party), as if we didn’t have enough international opportunities that the present idiot economy keeps squashing!

    Please, update your Cliff Notes! Thank God the Government-run phone company was sold more than 20 years ago, while a land-line based, poorly maintained phone business still had buyers. Otherwise we’d still be hostage to a bankrupt monopoly as we are with the water and electricity utilities. Imagine not being able to switch your cell phone provider when better rates are available from competing companies. Right now, the AEE (Electrical Authority) is bankrupt, still relying on oil and issuing junk bonds at 8% interest and charging upwards of $0.30 the kWh.

    For someone who’s not a supporter of the populares, you sure parrot their slogans. Fortuño didn’t cut 30,000 jobs, though he should have had the guts to do it. It was less than 12,000 jobs at government agencies. Half the population here works for a government that is inefficient, wasteful and incapable of sustaining itself, as we taxpayers are being squeezed dry to keep it pathetically unchanged. Much bigger cuts are on the way, as the island heads towards default and total system collapse. Coffee? The government can’t promote any kind of business with daily tax increases, higher than ever electricity and water cost and endless jingoism.

    And last… please, don’t embarrass yourself parroting stuff like people are leaving because capitalism is collapsing. Everyone is flocking out of here into the mainland, where capitalism continues to thrive. Unless I missed something, I haven’t heard of anyone moving to Venezuela or North Korea. Worst of all, it’s the tax-paying middle class that’s quickly moving away, making this situation even more desperate.

    Puerto Rico’s colonial status worked reasonably well for many years while the island needed an influx of cash and development. The expiration date of this backwards system has long gone by and a big change is unavoidable. The present economic woes make the future seem blurrier than ever. Still, we are American citizens and independence (including its more confusing labels, like “associated republic”) gets less than 3% of the vote, so when the time comes to make a forced choice, the decision is obvious.

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