By Elio Delgado Legon
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.