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?

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • Is Cuba the only country with problems?
    The answer is obviously “no.”
    What brilliant insight! That explains everything!
    I have a hangnail; my neighbor has cancer. We both have problems….

  • Of course Cuba has problems, and they are serious problems, and you cannot just blame the embargo, but Cuba has been steadily working on these problems for the past sixty years, perhaps not as fast as some folks would like, and perhaps there have been times when there were two steps backwards and one step forward (e.g. when all small and medium-sized businesses were closed down, in 1968, leaving only state enterprises, but most of the time it has been two steps forward and one step backward. Moreover, if you take a look at U.N. stats. you will see that with its “1950’s equipment” the Cuban health care system, spending around $970 per year per citizen, has arrived at the same longevity as the U.S., which spends ten times as much! Although private education in the U.S. is good–for those who can afford it–for the most part public schools, especially those in deindustrialize towns and in rural areas are in tatters. While the Cuban educational system has serious problems, still, most Cuban parents still have the faith and see education as the key to the success of their children. Cuba does not have the pervasive crime problems of its neighbors. Sure, there are all sorts of scams, but these are quaint in comparison to the major mayhem of Mexico, Honduras, Salvador and, yes, Venezuela! Cuba is neither the heaven depicted by some First World idealists, nor the hell depicted by many apologists for capitalism and imperialism. As I’ve often said, Cuba lies somewhere betwixt heaven and hell, but at least its leaders and most of its citizens believe in applying reason in attempting to remake the economic and social spheres.

  • Some predictably forthright and near hysterical comments.
    Elio has a very valid point.
    Despite the fact that he glosses over all of Cuba’s ills, he poses the following question:
    Is Cuba the only country with problems?
    The answer is obviously ‘no’.
    And it is irrefutable that there are countries that have certain problems that Cuba simply doesn’t have.
    Just to give one example:
    You drop off yer kids at school and you get a phonecall later on in the day saying that yer kids are riddled with bullet holes. They’ve been shot to bits.
    That kind of problem just simply does not occur in Cuba.
    It is impossible to imagine even in one’s wildest dreams/nightmares that such a revolting circumstance could possibly occur in Cuba.
    In certain other parts of the world with different chains of power and influence this type of atrocity is an entirely normal day to day occurrence (thankfully a new generation in the USA is trying to take a stand – albeit a stand that is being belittled by the disturbingly deeply entrenched powers that be)

    In Cuba such an atrocity would be a totally unimaginable outrage.

    Nowhere’s perfect.

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