Looking Back on the Year in Cuba

Elio Delgado Legon

Happy New Year. Foto: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES– When New Year’s comes along, most human beings think back and draw a balance about their experiences and future plans. The young make long term plans, while those who are no longer so young, like myself, can only make plans for the shorter term, as our options begin to run out, like in a game of chess.

A person’s life, see, is very similar to that thinking person’s game: when it opens, we have many possibilities and options ahead of us, and the outcome depends on the attitude we assume before each situation. In other words, the move we make in response to what life deals us will determine the subsequent course of our existence.

After looking back on this year that ends, I’ve come to the conclusion that, when the game opened, in my youth, I made several correct decisions that changed the course of my life. For instance, faced with the option of working with my father in the countryside, as many of my contemporaries did, I decided to continue studying and to look for work in the city, the kind of job that would allow me to study and work at the same time. Though I didn’t earn enough to support my family, I always had my parents’ support.

This decision had important consequences for my life.

Another crossroads I faced – connected, to some extent, to the previous – had to do with politics. There, I had three options: to support Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship and become an accomplice of a regime that was murdering thousands of young people, to keep away from politics and take no side, which, to a certain extent, also made me an accomplice and, thirdly, to struggle against my country’s ills and to do so to the last consequences.

I chose the third option and do not regret this, for I feel I contributed, however modestly, to the best of my ability, given the limitations life imposed on me, to the triumph of one of the most important revolutions in the history of the West.

Life has continued and I’ve had to make many personal decisions. Some brought me success, others, failure. As far as political ideas are concerned, however, I have been firm in my convictions and support for my country’s revolution, a process which, though not free from error, has had results we can be proud of.

Today, as this chess game of life draws to a close, I am faced with different options, and I choose the one that ought to take me to a final victory: to continue defending my revolution as best I know how. Others have opted to quit the game in search of improvements in their lives. I don’t criticize them, but they should know life will present them with many challenges they will have to face alone from now on.

I came to the end of the game, accompanied by Cuba’s fraternal and revolutionary people. And I have absolutely no doubt that we will overcome.

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 “Looking Back on the Year in Cuba

  • You make me laugh but I should be crying….

  • The avowed goals set by Fidel Castro when he launched the Cuban Revilution were:

    1. Expell the Imperialists
    2. Raise the standard of living of Cuban nation.
    3. Establish an egalitarian society.

    So by those criteria, how has the Revolution succeeded?

    1. They expelled the Imperialist Americans, only to invite in a series of alternatives: first the USSR, then when that empire fell, a motley collection of Capitalists willing to do business by Castros rules.

    2. The standard of living rose while it was subsidized and then steadily fell thereafter.

    3. The elite are living better than ever!

    1, again: the Castro regime has now invited the US imperialist back in to join them in making a buck and keeping their hold on power.

    On all three points, the Cuban Revolution has failed. The only goal they succeeded at, and you may have noticed it was their one true goal all along, is to stay in power. Good for Fidel & Raul, they did that. Screw everything else, but the brothers still rule.

    And that’s what it has always been all about.

  • Cuba has sent soldiers to fight in many countries around the world: Congo, Angola, Algeria, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Syria, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia… & etc. You can argue those were all good wars and Cuba fought on the right side. Others may disagree. But let’s drop the false naivety that Cuba sends only doctors.

  • One thing about Elio, and yes, I do respect you, the pot gets shaken with the comments almost every time he writes. It’s a bit sad how the average Cuban doesn’t really have that luxury.

  • IC, I was going to offer Elio an olive branch and tell him he’s a good person with a slanted viewpoint, but you killed it!

  • Elio,
    I admire you because you keep your position in spite of the criticism you receive. Each of us is responsible for what we think, says and do although at times it can be very difficult.
    Your early life experience is similar: yours in the country side, mine in a poor barrio in La Habana. Now I live en Puerto Rico but have lived in Canada. I went back to Cuba in 1969; had to leave then because I was kicked out of the job in a Scientific Research Center.

  • Had Fidel restored democracy, then it would be something. But to subject your own people to socialized poverty is not something to celebrate. Elio I can assure that the errors of the revolution will be corrected. Already changes have taken place that will not be reversed. All corrections are about moving from direct to indirect control of economy. Not even Marx conceptualized the level of micro management that Cuba attempted. The failure of a system that only worked with dependency of Russian or Venezuelan oil was always assured. Living on charity is not a long term winning proposition. History will not be kind to Fidel’s many errors. Raul by comparison will be better remembered for his late life management of the basket case he inherited from his brother.

  • ….”impeccable Democratic credentials”? Seriously?

  • The Revolution was a failure from the start because it jailed homosexuals and dissenters, exiled artists and musicians, squashed all dissent and caused a huge exodus of the professional class.

  • The real twist my Bolshevek friend is that the Cuban regime sends these “doctors” to other countries in order to earn hard currency for the near destitute regime. They use them as indentured servants while pocketing the vast majority of their hard earned money.

    As far as a Venezuela’s impeccable Democratic credentials …..

  • Anybody here read Bloomberg News ? There’s an article today about the Colombian military’s problem of losing their Special Forces. These fearsome US trained and equipt soldiers, with years of experience disemboweling peasants in Putumayo and Caqueta, are highly sought after by the democratic regimes in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia. Mercenaries can earn $12 a day. The Colombian government is trying to stop these free lancers and broker a deal. Colombia receives billions in US aid and investment, and obviously is not embargoed. Cuba has the same problem, but with a twist. It sends doctors, not soldiers, and to countries such as Venezuela, with impeccable Democratic credentials. Of course, the availability of internet and the quality of cookies in the timbiriches looms large in the conclusions of HT readers that the Revolution is a complete, unmitigated failure. If that were the only perspective, they would be correct.

  • While Elio remaines mired in poverty, a result of his beloved revolution. The Castro family wallows in luxury.

  • I believe that the revolution had to happen when it did in order to remove a despicable person/regime, however it was replaced by yet another despicable regime who i believe were instrumental in getting rid of Che, however that is another history lesson(Moses).
    Castro has outstayed his welcome by quite a large number of years and had profited himself financially by keeping the Cuban people back.
    I have respect for you Elio because you obviously love your country and have obviously endured years of hardship and sacrifice. I admire your sacrifice and dedication to Cuba and its people, even if i so slightly do not agree with all that you have done.

  • Hello and Happy New Year. I too am a 76 year old ‘gringo’. Having visited the island nation a couple times … have to say it magical! Our two Presidents are on the right path! Horray. If and when this sort of article, plus all the comments, make it into the official Gramma newspaper … you can knock me over with a feather. Jim

  • On the whole, has Castros’ revolution added value to 3 generations of the Cuban people or been a hindrance? Ultimately, history will decide but I believe there is little doubt that Cuba is worse off now than it would have been had a more democratic and market-driven Cuba emerged after the defeat of the Batista dictatorship. To that end, Elio’s marginal contribution to the success of the Castro revolution that has led to the failed state that exists today is nothing to be proud of. For all of his efforts, young Cubans today (and old ones too) are leaving Cuba in record numbers. Cuba’s ability to feed and clothe itself is pathetic. Given the high level of education of Cuban citizens, Cuba’s dependence on foreign help is demeaning. As Elio’s takes stock of the option he chose, he should be ashamed.

  • Elio’s contribution has decimated our culinary and cultural legacy and has left the country in ruin. Almost 60 years and the same old dictators are still in power.

  • I am the same age as Elio, 76, and I too made employment and other choices early in life. My father wanted me to take over the family’s dairy farm, but instead I opted to begin a career in domestic banking in Canada. This very rewarding career lasted 32 years until my retirement. I now work part time in a different field. I can now look back over my working life to-gether with some personal accomplishments along the way with satisfaction. I received guidance and mentoring from co-workers and others in a more senior position to mine which helped me greatly over the years.
    Elio, you should be very proud of the contribution that you have made to your country’s progress. I have read about your experiences during the early years of the Revolution and afterwards with interest. I have been to Cuba a few times and always admire the Cuban peoples pride in their country and their friendliness. Happy New Year my friend.

  • And yet most cubans are paying extremely high prices to access internet, and this guy uses to blast and rant lies. Good for him.

  • “…I have been firm in my convictions and support for my country’s revolution, a process …” Well Elio, I’m told the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

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