Cuba’s Reputation on the Rise Worldwide

By Elio Delgado Legon

Cuban doctors training for their Ébola fighting mission in West Africa.

HAVANA TIMES – Cuba is a small archipelago in the Caribbean, which the world hardly spoke of before 1959. It was one of the poorest, most underdeveloped, illiterate and unhealthy countries in the world, which was only any good for foreign agricultural companies (mostly US) for 60 years, who made great profits at the expense of Cuban peasants’ hunger and misery. However, when the Revolution triumphed and came into power, everything began to change.

What used to be a country of illiterates living in complete underdevelopment, is today a State that is making steady progress towards development and winning a reputation worldwide for its seriousness and breakthroughs in different fields, in spite of a strict blockade which makes even the simplest bank transfer anywhere in the world difficult.

Educated in internationalism, without selfishness and offering those who need it a little of what we have, the Cuban people’s solidarity efforts and altruism have ensured us the friendships of most countries. From the gratitude of African nations for the role Cuba played in the way history played out on this continent, to its medical collaborations in over 165 countries, Cuba has sowed friendships, which has immeasurable value.

When I talk about Cuba’s “reputation”, I’m thinking about the high esteem and comments from countries where Cuba’s excellent medical services are offered, comments made to the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization about the Cuban health system. It still isn’t as perfect as we would like as the US blockade makes it hard for us to get a hold of cutting-edge technology, but still, UN officials use Cuba as an example within the underdeveloped world and beyond.

When there was an Ebola outbreak in three countries in Western Africa, the World Health Organization turned to Cuba asking it to collaborate in wiping out the virus, which threatened to spread to other parts of the world. This is an obvious testament to the great reputation that Cuban medicine now has.

Scientific research centers in our country have had astonishing results, developing unique drugs and vaccines of their kind in the world and others which, haven’t been the first, but are far superior to those that already exist. This consolidates the reputation Cuban science and its research facilities have which Bush’s plan to restore capitalism on the island said had to be closed down, because an underdeveloped country couldn’t have these kinds of centers as they resemble progress.

Every scientific breakthrough on the island, and those that are in progress (which is what we are working towards) is a result of progress made in Cuban education, which wiped out illiteracy in 1961 and has a universal, free high-quality education system, which has been recognized by high-ranking UNESCO officials. Plus, Cuba has worked with other nations to erradicate illiteracy and to reduce it in others, even developed nations, which has also contributed to securing Cuba’s prestige in this field.

Closely-linked to our education system, we can also say that great headway has been made in all art forms, especially music, which has great prestige worldwide. Training to become a musician in any capitalist country costs a lot of money, which is why the majority of talent is lost because they can’t afford to pay for their studies; however, it doesn’t cost a dime in Cuba. This is why there are Cuban musicians working in countless countries and they are highly-prized.

I have only mentioned some of the points that have contributed to Cuba’s great reputation in the world, but I could also add the political point, because when a Cuban leader speaks at an international evemt, they do with truth in the palm of their hand and they say what many would like to. That’s why Cuba’s reputation is on the rise worldwide.

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.

19 thoughts on “Cuba’s Reputation on the Rise Worldwide

  • How about the way people are treated in Cuba? I too Bonnie am disturbed by the treatment of animals in Cuba and think several factors are in play.
    Firstly the Spanish colonialists brought traditional Spanish cruelty to animals with them, believing as Catholics that animals have no soul. Bull fighting and cock fighting are to them entertaining sports – the latter still being widespread in Cuba. Secondly the well below poverty level income (I use UN standards) means that the older generations have to daily struggle to feed their children and themselves using the food rations as a basis, they put their own survival ahead of that of animals. As for the Castro regime, they give not a damn as it doesn’t affect their power and control.
    Communism certainly is not empathetic and some would say not civilized either as human welfare is secondary.

  • This comment by Zeus Omega has the real touch of Adolf Hitler and his German National Socialist Party. It was he who described the Jewish people as: “sub-human”. Remember the consequences!
    But also let’s hope that others will scorn this comment – which merits total rejection.

  • It is seldom that I disagree with Moses Patterson. But Moses, the very word computer was first used in a paper given by Alan Turing at Cambridge University in 1935, when he said in describing what was in his mind: “Let’s call it a computer.”
    The world’s first computer was Colossus designed by Dr. Tommy Flower at Bletchley House an MI6 facility. Ten copies were made and all destroyed after the Second World War for secrecy reasons. But the US now accepts that Colossus preceded INEAC. It was Bletchley House that de-coded the Nazi (and Japanese) ENIGMA messages giving initially Britain and later after Germany declared war on the US and it joined in the fight (December 1941, two years and three months after the war commenced) the US a huge advantage.
    The Internet was introduced some 27 years ago by Sir Tim Berners-Lee of the UK.
    So the US cannot claim the invention or introduction of either computers or the Internet. Berners-Lee incidentally is still alive.
    It is interesting to recall that in his memoirs, Winston Churchill wrote of those of genius level who were selected to work at Bletchley House: “They were the geese who laid the golden egg and they never cackled.”
    There are nay-sayers of Churchill who contribute to these pages, but they should recall that in 1940, the British Labour Party (Socialist) at its Annual Conference voted 2,450,000 to 170,000 to support Churchill to become Prime Minister (93% in favour). This was perhaps that Party’s “Finest Hour” Subsequently a vote in the House of Commons resulted in 380 to 0 in favour of Churchill as Prime Minister.

  • Just a correction Anton!
    Average earnings in Cuba equal $21 (US) per month. The pension is 200 pesos per month ($8).

  • Yes Miguel. From the Roncali lighthouse on the Guanahacabibes peninsula to Baracoa is 1300 kilometres. In 1773 George III of Great Britain exchanged Cuba for Florida with the Spanish, only to lose that in 1776 with the American Revolution. The land area almost equates with England (not the UK). As far as I know, the only University Professor of drumming in the world is at the University of Havana. Cuban music is not Spanish music, it is Afro-Cubano and wonderful! The oldest house in the Americas (North and South) is in Santiago de Cuba, completed in 1517 (the house of Velequez) The city of Trinidad de Cuba is now 504 years old. Talk of Cuba as if it is an emerging Third World country is ridiculous, it has more European influence history than virtually any other country in the Americas, not all of it good (the Spanish were awful colonialists), but undeniable even by the innocent (ignorant by choice?) like Elio Legon.

  • What’s natural about not having food,been paid under U$100 a month which can afford you nothing,30 years in prision for unauthorized killing of a pig,having police enter your home for trash inspection (suspected of ilegal chicken trade)

  • Elio’s article reads like a 1930s Italian proclaiming that the trains run on time.

  • Hahaha. Don’t hould back. Please tell us how you really feel. You probably shouldn’t use your laptop to write it though. And forget about sending your response via the internet. Both of those tools were developed by us uncivilized folks.

  • Your country, the United States, is uncivilized! You and all of your americans are sub human parasites.

  • Elio
    I have promised myself not to look back
    At what once was , what was lost or the mistakes that where made .my grandfathers ,fathers, uncles aunts and family lived with it. I wonder how. Long it took them to forget the past and live in the here and now.
    I left at the age of 5 and became an American . So my regrets are here in the US.. i live in the here and now . The people in cuba are living now not in the past .
    They live now and with what they have.
    They see how others live and what they have now. The past dies and the future lives on . Open your heart and except the future . Let go

  • Vicente you are right in all you wrote about Cuba! And all it’s accomplishment! It bothers me when they say Cuba the small island in the Caribbean, it actually is the biggest island. If you but Cuba on a map next to Florida it’s pretty much the same size. Cuba has created some of the best musician in the world and Latin American. I am Cuban American and very proud of my roots.

  • Que reporte más completo e interesante del sr. Martin,nadie puede tapar el sol con un dedo..El señor Elio Legado…es simplemente un loco q escribe lo q le dictan,,aunque el mismo no lo crea..pero no le queda otra..pero una cosa q al Sr. Elio se le olvidó mencionar q es muy cierto es que Cuba ocupa unos de los primeros lugares en prostitucion a nivel mundial,,el burdel de Iberoamérica,,sexo barato y de primera.

  • I support your reply I love Cuba for it’s natural life style, simplified way of mentality and secured personal environment

  • De madre, tremendo copy and paste el ultimo reply , casi nada de lo que se dice ahi son indicadores economicos para valorar un pais capitalista, mas bien es producto del chovinismo de una parte del pueblo cubano, Cuba antes de 1959 no tenia ni sistema de cuentas nacionales que se empezo a crear despues de los años 50, de acuerdo a datos de instituciones americanas, el per capita de Cuba era super tercermundista republica bananera como mismo nos llamaban los americanos, por otro lado con una desigualdad social muy grande y un desarrollo no proporcional del pais, donde casi toda la inversion de los ricos era en la habana, fijense que un solo municipio de todo el pais tenia un edificio de mas de 20 plantas, ese era el desarrollo que habia en Cuba, la desigualdad mas grande que podia tener un pais, que siguio en guerra despues de su indepencia por que no habia justicia social.

  • My translation from a comment made by Martin in HT in spanish.

    • The first nation of Iberian-America that used steam ships was Cuba in 1829.
    • The first nation of Iberian-America and third of the world (after England and USA) that had railroad, it was Cuba in 1837.
    • Cuba was the first nation of Iberian-America that apply anesthesia with ether in 1847.
    • The first world demonstration of an industry moved by electricity was in the Havana in 1877.
    • In 1881, Cuban doctor, Carlos J. Finlay, discovered the transmission agent of the yellow fever.
    • The first system of public illumination of all Iberoamérica was in Cuba in 1889.
    • Between 1825 and 1897 Spain received from Cuba between the 60 and 75% of all the gross revenues of the exterior.
    • The first tram that was known in Latin America circulated in the Havana in the year 1900.
    • Also in 1900, before to any other country of Latin America, arrived to Havana the first automobile.
    • Cuban writer Renée Méndez Capote was the first Latin American woman in driving a car.
    • The first Latin American Olympic champion was a Cuban. In 1900, Ramón Font.
    • The first city of the world in having telephony with direct dialed (without operator’s necessity) it was Havana in 1906.
    • In 1907 opened in Havana the first department of rays X of Iberoamérica.
    • May 19 1913 were carried out the first flight in Latin American by the Cuban Agustín Parla and Domingo Rosillo, which lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes between Cuba and Key West.
    • In 1915 the first Cuban currency is coined, with a value identical to that of the dollar, in many occasions up to 1959, surpassing a cent to the value of the North American dollar.
    • The first Ibero-American in winning a world Championship of chess, it was the Cuban José Raúl Capablanca, the first world champion of chess born in a sub-developed nation. It was the winner of all the world championships between 1921 and 1927.
    • In 1922 Cuba was the second world nation in inaugurating a radio station, (The PWX) and the first nation of the world in radiating a music concert and in presenting a radial journal.
    • The first woman speaker of the world was a Cuban: Esther Pairs of the Tower.
    • In 1928 Cuba already had 61 radio stations, 43 of them in Havana, occupying the fourth place of the world, only overcome by USA, Canada and the Soviet Union. It was Cuba the first of the world in number of radio stations for inhabitants’ number and territorial extension.
    • In 1937 Cuba decrees for the first time in Iberoamérica the Law of Labor Day of eight hours, the minimum wage and the university autonomy.
    • In 1940, Cuba becomes the first country of Iberoamérica in having a president of the black race, elect for universal vote and for absolute majority when its population’s great majority was of the white race. 68 years before that the USA
    • In 1940, Cuba approved the most advanced in all the constitutions of the world in that time. It was the first one in Iberian-America in recognizing the vote to the women, the equality of rights between sexes and races and the right of the woman to the work. The first feminist movement of Iberoamérica appeared at the end of the thirty in Cuba.
    • In 1942, a Cuba had the first Ibero-American Musical Director of a world class film studio, and the First Iberian-American in receiving nominations to an Oscar. His name: Ernesto Lecuona.
    • The first Iberian-American woman in singing at the Scala of Milán (1946) was the Cuban Zoila Gálvez. The second were Marta Pérez in 1950.
    • The second country of the world that emitted television formally was Cuba in 1950.
    • In 1950 a Cuban musician marked a world record, not reached by Elvis Presley neither The Beatles. It was Dámaso Pérez Prado with his piece “Patricia” (mambo) that was 15 serial weeks in the Hit Parade of USA
    • In 1951 a Cuban becomes the most important producer in North American television: Desi Arnaz, also the first one in the world in the use of a third camera in television programs
    • The first country of the world that built a hotel with central air conditioned was built in the Havana: The Hotel Riviera, 1951
    • The first building of world built with armed concrete was made in the Havana: (The Focsa) in 1952.
    • In 1953 was built in this building the most modern TV studies of the world in that moment: (C.M.Q. Television).
    • In 1954, Cuba possesses a cow for each inhabitant. It occupies the third position in Iberoamérica (after Argentina and Uruguay) in the meat consumption per person.
    • In 1955, Cuba is the second country of Iberoamérica with the smaller infantile mortality. (33.4 for each thousand born)
    • In 1956 the UN recognizes Cuba like the second country of Iberian-America with the lowest indexes of illiteracy (only 23.6%). Haiti had 90%, Spain, El Salvador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Guatemala and Republic Of the Dominican Republic 50%
    • In 1957 the UN recognizes to Cuba like the best country in Iberian-America in doctors’ number per person (1 for each 957 inhabitants), with the biggest percentage of electrified housings (82.9%) and housings with own bathrooms (79.9%) and the second country of Iberian-America (after Uruguay) in the caloric consumption: (2870).
    • In 1957 the Havana becomes the second city of the world in having cinema in 3D and multi screens (The Cinema Radio centers today Yara)
    • In 1958 Cuba is the second country of the world in diffusing television to color and it possesses the third channel of TV in color of the world in color.
    • In 1958, Cuba is the country of Iberoamérica with more cars (160 thousand, one for each 38 inhabitants). The one that more had. The country with more kilometers of rail roads for Km2. and in the total number of radio receivers.
    • During the fifty, Cuba had the second and third place in incomings of Iberoamérica, overcoming Italy and more than double of Spain. In spite of their small size and that it only had 6.5 million inhabitants, it occupied in 1958 the position 29 among the economies of the world.

  • If only they would embrace animal welfare and stop partaking/ignoring animal cruelty. The way a nation treats their animals is a good measurement of how civilized and empathetic they are.

  • Wow as if our history began in 1959!!. Elio have you ever left Cuba? And I don’t mean just to a communist country.Elio have you ever been on the internet outside of .cu? How you ever had a conversation with a westerner? Or some one who lives in a capitalist country? The Republic was not prefect it’s not the best we Cubans can be but you will not erase its memory Elio because it been our best so far!!! I’m 44 so it was way before my time and my parents where kids in 1959 but history is history and in the name of my ancestors you will not erase us Cuban history!!!

  • So much for the doctor slave trade in Brazil they are going home.

    Blocking the Cuban doctors families from being with them on foreign assignments and seizing the vast majority of their pay is immoral.

  • Elio is at it again. His affirmations of Cuban prestige are without even a splinter of evidence. Says who? The Ministry of Propaganda that pays Elio to write this crap? The handful of Cuban medicines that he claims are breakthroughs are the product of joint ventures with foreign pharmaceutical companies who took advantage of Cuba’s lax research and testing laws to develop these medicines. Cuban musicians and other performing artists are often well-respected around the world. But so are Brazilians, Colombians and many others. I am as big a fan of the Cuban people as they come but to say that the worldwide reputation of Cubans is improving? Prove it. I don’t see it.

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