Is Cuba the only Country with Problems?

Elio Delgado Legon

Photo: Francisco Santiago Diaz

HAVANA TIMES — Critics of the Cuban Revolution, of its political system and government keep on mentioning “Cuba’s problems” in articles and comments that they publish on different platforms, which, in the abstract, would lead readers to believe that Cuba is a country full of problems and they believe that these would be solved if there was a change in Cuba’s political, economic and social system, which by the way the Cuban people have chosen and materialized in their Constitution.

Yes, Cuba is suffering economic hardship, nobody denies that, and this is aggravated by an economic, trade and financial blockade that the US has impoIs he rest of underdeveloped nations?

Even if we were to compare Cuba with Latin American countries that have achieved a certain level of progress such as Brazil, Argentina and Chile (just to name the largest), Cuba has had a lot less problems than they have, these being countries where we watch news of large street protests making demands because of financial cuts and anti-worker laws, which leave thousands of workers living in extreme poverty and even destitution; because of an increase in public service fees such as gas, water and electricity, which reduce the incomes of those who haven’t lost their jobs.

And I’m not even going to mention the other problems they have such as violence, organized crime, drug trafficking, the paramilitary and murders of political and social leaders (evils which were wiped out in Cuba) because my readers are already full aware of them.

I am giving these examples as a comparison because in nearly 60 years of the revolutionary government, there has never been a protest making demands, in spite of the US blockade that was imposed with this goal in mind: to make the Cuban people rebel and take to the streets to ask for a change of government.

Not even in our hardest times, when we were going through the so-called Special Period crisis (which I have mentioned in previous posts) did the Cuban people complain to the government about the shortages and hardships we experienced. On the contrary, Cubans closed ranks with their Revolution instead and held out.

Today, when we have just had our general elections, which take place every 5 years, we can describe the result as the people’s overall support for the revolutionary and socialist government and their absolute confidence in their leadership. We only have to take a look at the results of this process:

A total of 85.65% of voters exercised their right to vote. What other country sees so many of its citizens go to vote in elections? Out of the total number of voters, 94.42% of the ballots were valid, which indicate overwhelming support for the political system and if this wasn’t enough, 80.44% of voters voted for all the candidates, as another sign of their confidence in the system and its leadership.

If Cuba has problems, it isn’t the country with the most problems. You just have to take a look around us. The whole world has problems as a result of the crisis that capitalism and the concentration of wealth in 1% of citizens’ pockets has caused, while 99% live in different states of poverty, who range from exploited workers to those whose salaries are less and less every day to meet the huge expenses they need to cover in order to live, to people who have even lost their homes and have to live on the street in extreme poverty. These are real problems.

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.

12 thoughts on “Is Cuba the only Country with Problems?

  • April 3, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Sure, what happened is that Cuba passed through a unique type of history during the Cold War.

    I live a life of privelege in capitalist Europe, although we have also benefited from strong social provisions. I am able to travel freely and make more money than Cubans. I am able to visit their country but also a range of capitalist countries. I am allowed to speak to local people and have done so. Some of them support their system, others hate it, and still more are somewhere in the middle.

    The issue with these debates, which is why I will be leaving it alone soon, is that when you visit Cuba it is not a nightmare. You cannot compare your countrymen to Calcutta. But I can. And it means I have never been a victim of crime (unlike in Mexico), never read about armed gangs killing people (unlike Mexico), never saw a hungry child starving (India).

    I recognise my privelege but travelers and tourists from “social” Europe would not see Cuba as being particularly bad compared to when we visit Jamaica, South Africa or Mexico (Haiti is simply not on the agenda for tourism).

  • April 2, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Obviously every country and people have problems – we live in a world run by imperfect people and no where is paradise. However, in the 1950’s before the Revolution a large portion of Cuban people lived in a civilized manner, including me and my family. See photos or you tube videos of people walking down the streets of Havana. Nicely dressed ladies, men wearing slacks or suits and the shops behind them selling all types of goods. The streets and building facades well maintained. People who worked could have anything within their means. Basically people in Havana lived just like those in any metropolitan European city. What happened in the past 50-60 years? Certainly there is no easy solution but I for one wish better for my fellow Cuban citizens. I refuse to compare them to people living Haiti or Calcutta and saying “you don’t have it as bad as they do”.

  • April 1, 2018 at 11:11 am

    But that’s not the full picture. I live in Europe and it is a magnet for people from capitalist countries as well.

    Cuba just isn’t a “forsaken island”. It is a wonderful, incredible place. People everywhere, food getting better than it was, every city safe to visit. Local people clearly struggling and can’t afford to travel abroad, but pretty similar to any other Latin American country (but safer).

  • April 1, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Really? I have been to Cuba like you and met so many Cubans. People who are struggling but not “hopeless”. Whatever communism has done in Cuba, it has not destroyed “people’s souls”.

    So have you been to rural Guatemala and Nicaragua? Have you seen the slums in Brazil? These are people stuck in the same problem situation as people in Cuba, except with violence. All countries face these challenges and nobody has got it right yet.

    Cuba’s problems are beatable. The country has good human capital. Whatever the effects of socialism, it is a very attractive place, visitors from all over the world cannot stay away, because the people are alive and vibrant. The infrastructure is poor but so is parts of China, so it is in capitalist countries like India and wherever else.

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