My Diary Entries, Reasons for the Revolution

Elio Delgado Legon

I was born in June of 1937, three years before the constitution of 1940 (the least respected of Cuban constitutions) was approved.
I was born in June of 1937, three years before the constitution of 1940 (the least respected of Cuban constitutions) was approved.

HAVANA TIMES — The experiences I am publishing as diary entries aim to show, in broad strokes, what the life of a revolutionary was like during Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship (from 1953 to 1958) and the first years of the revolution.

These stories do not have an autobiographical aim. They merely narrate incidents that could be of interest to readers, not because of the person telling them (who, ultimately, is uninteresting), but because of the facts themselves.

That said, I find it necessary to go back to an earlier time. I was born in June of 1937, three years before the constitution of 1940 (the least respected of Cuban constitutions) was approved, and four years before the start of the Second World War. In Cuba, these were times of extreme hunger, particularly for those, like me, who were born in the countryside.

Hunger, the cause of many illnesses, coupled with a shortage of medical doctors, was the cause of numerous and perfectly avoidable deaths, of the kind that still take place today in most underdeveloped countries and even in some sectors of developed countries.

Cuba’s child mortality rate was around 60 for every thousand live births, and life expectancy was only 62.3 years.

There wasn’t a single government – not since achieving independence from Spain and until 1959 – that made an effort to improve the living conditions of the people. All were corrupt and struggled to get to office to become richer at the expense of the people.

Money that could have been used to develop quality education for all or improve medical services ended up in the bank accounts of politicians. The same thing happened with the budgets allocated to public works, which ended up costing to or three times their real cost, as the pockets of many politicians had to be fattened in the process.

Another ill I had to endure in my early years, until 1958, were gangsters, who enjoyed impunity or were employed by the authorities. Many such gangsters went on to be police chiefs under Fulgencio Batista.

The Cuban people had grown tired of politicking, false democracy and the so-called multi-party system, which served only to put corrupt people in government. Politics was a very profitable business, at a time when the people lacked what was essential to them.

That’s why it was necessary to take up arms and lead a revolution, to sweep away all of that filth. Though some dream with returning to that past will never see this come true, for, even though most Cubans today were born after 1958, everyone has received schooling and the study of history affords them enough to conclude they ought not be seduced by the siren-song of capitalism.

Nor will we allow ourselves to be deceived by anarchist formulas, which were proven unviable in their time, even though a backward-thinking lot attempts to present them as the perfect solution to all our economic difficulties. Difficulties magnified by the detractors of the socialist revolution but which are, in fact, less significant than those faced by underdeveloped and some developed countries, even though none has to endure the harsh blockade that the United States has imposed on Cuba for more than 50 years.

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.

24 thoughts on “My Diary Entries, Reasons for the Revolution

  • August 14, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    Your last question first: What has the US created? Really? Are you using a computer to read this comment? Start there. The EPA comment is a cheap shot. That was human error. Here’s the difference between the US and many other places: When we make mistakes, and we make a lot of them, we correct them. As far as Donald Trump. … nothing 🙁

  • August 14, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Well, if they don’t allow the mob and others that exploited them back in they’ll do alright.

  • August 14, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Guns are not a replacement for brains Moses, and there are places in the U.S. that aren’t much better than third world countries. Louisiana and Mississippi, and parts of Georgia Alabama and Arkansas come to mind.

  • August 13, 2015 at 11:44 am

    For a preview of the descent of corporate monopoly capitalism see today’s events: Colorado River turned toxic by agency in charge [EPA] of protecting such important waterways; militarization of Amerikkka as in Ferguson: uncharged prisoners on death bed being force fed in GITMO [; U.S. economy dependent on military equipment sales provoking wars all over the planet thereby creating ‘failed states’. And that is just recent events that most amerikans gloss over on their way to their tv sets to watch football or some mind destroying ‘reality’ show…..
    Yeah, [un] informed consent and spin doctor Moses, you should stay close to your uber weapons. Maybe some used military surplus attack vehicles- LOL!
    Cuba is not perfect, but despite U.S interventions and the embargo, have supplied at reasonable cost the necessities of life, like medical care, free education and basic food at minimum cost. What has the U.S. created apart from violence, corruption and Donald Trump.?Did I mention K.Kardashian for the dumbed down?

  • August 11, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    The recent mining disaster in a major river in Colorado in the U.S of A was so poorly handled that the demoncratic critics could compare it to Bhopal India . Apparently 5 million gallons of mining tailings water caused an sulpher yellow water flow to millions of the population for thousand square miles and more lead discharge more
    than 3500 times the maximumn allowable limits and EPA contractors were responsible. This is a perfect example of government for corporations. I feel saddened by the devastation of the wildlife who continue to consume those waters
    and pray Cuba does not suffer that level of poisoning because the system has worked and the committees have worked for the enviroment wich is world class like Cuban health care and should remain so God help us.
    Thank You

  • August 10, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Rich with his “mother issues” and John with his ‘father’ issues. Castro’s supporters are an interesting lot.

  • August 9, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Wow! Rich thinks Jarrett is Obama’s mother-in-law???

    That’s what you call a Freudian slip. If you read Rich’s blog, you would be surprised to learn that Celia Sánchez was the real leader of the Cuban Revolution, not Fidel.

    Rich has some serious “mother issues” going on. It seems he has invented a new mother-in-law for Barack Obama. Never mind that Michelle’s mother, Marian Robinson, has lived at the White House since her son-in law was elected President, and served the family well by taking on a large measure of the child rearing.

    I’m sure you will agree with me when I say, no man deserves more than one mother-in-law.

  • August 8, 2015 at 12:06 am

    Valerie Jarrett is NOT Obama’s mother-in-law. In addition to beinga senior advisir to the President, she remains a partner in a major Chicago law firm that hired First Lady Michelle after she graduated from Harvard Law. You are overestimating Wickham’s relationship with the White House and even more so with the rumored Cuban spy Vidal. But so what, it is all conjecture. What is fact is that it will be a long time before the Senate confirms anyone as Ambassador to Cuba. And longer still before the US embargo is lifted due to the repeal if Helms Burton.

  • August 7, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    I never said Obama was leaving his wife Michelle to try to take Vidal from her husband. I said, using DeWayne Wickham as a key source and Obama’s mother-in-law and top adviser, Ms. Jarrett, as another, that Obama’s last commitment to try to normalize relations with Cuba came when his dear friend DeWayne Wickham convinced him that, yes, there was a decision-making Cuban — your “spy” Josefina Vidal — that the President “or his people” could talk to. That is what happened. Google “DeWayne Wickham and President Obama” and note the White House photos at those sessions when Wickham was persuading Obama on his Cuban venture. Wickham has also been a regular on Air Force One. Of course, if it fits your propaganda, Moses, I assume you will claim Obama doesn’t know Wickham just like he doesn’t have a clue who Vidal is. ANy AMERCIAN INVOLVED EVEN REMOTELY IN THE NEGOTIATIONS IN ANY MANNER TO NORMALIZE RELATIONS WITH CUBA KNOWS JOSEFINA VIDAL, INCLUDING POPE FRANCIS. To claim that is not so is ludicrous and merely assumes no one will challenge anything propagandists says regarding Cuba. Griffin had some facts correct but he, too, “misunderstood” what Wickham wrote in USA Today on April 30th and this past Tuesday about the “bloody shirt.” Yes, I am aware that Little Havana in Miami has rented the stadium as well as the two famed Little Havana restaurants, and sold coverage rights to CNN and others, when they “celebrate” the death of Fidel Castro. Like putting Castro in the Guinness Book of World Records for surviving the most assassination attempts and like forever enshrining his legend and his legacy with the brilliant and brave attack at the Bay of Pigs, the celebration of Fidel Castro’s death at age 89 or in his 90s will remind the world of the Banana Republic on U. S. soil maintained since 1959 by anti-Castro/pro-Batista zealots. There are some people who think that has besmirched the U. S. democracy long enough.

  • August 7, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Another thing. You said, “We ALL know that the Cuban people feel that the alternative, free enterprise capitalism, would be worse.” Whos we? How many Cubans do you know?

    And by the way, do you know who’s currently the new “middle class” in Cuba (relatively speaking of course)? It’s cuenta propists. And what do they all have in common? The practice free enterprise….well, as free as the Cuban government allows.

  • August 7, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    ….and as usual , he is someone who has absolutely no idea who Che Guevara was, what he stood for, and what he really believed.

    As you said, thank God nidal constitutes an insignificant fringe that can only blow smoke and has no real power. Makes me want to cuddle up closer to my HK riot gun.

  • August 7, 2015 at 9:29 am

    The Cuban anarchists played a roll in forming independent trade unions in the 1930’s. However, over time they were muscled out of the unions by the Communists & Batista’s gangster union bosses.

    By the time of the Cuban Revolution, the Anarchists were a seriously weakened force, although they were one of the many groups who fought against Batista. After Castro seized power in 1959, anarchists in Pinar del Rio set up co-operatives, but Castro had them shut down in 1960 and any remaining Anarchist organizers were arrested or shot.

  • August 7, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Josefina Vidal led the Cuban delegation in some of the recent talks between the US & Cuba. Ms. Vidal is a senior Cuban diplomat, and nobody in Cuba could hold such a position if her loyalty tot he Castro’s was in any doubt.

    Her US counterpart, was the State Department’s head of Latin American Affairs, Roberta Jacobson. I have no doubt Jacobson briefed her boss, President Obama, of her talks with Vidal. Obama, who is known to study well the prepping notes provided by his staff, was certainly briefed on Vidal’s CV.

    Rich Haney misunderstood the reference to “bloody shirts”. Marco Rubio made no such comment in the US Senate on April 20th. DeWayne Wickham wrote a column at USA today on April 20th, in which he criticised Rubio’s opposition to Obama’s new Cuba policy.


    “Bloody shirts (mythically taken off the backs of wounded Union soldiers during the Civil War) were used by GOP lawmakers to influence the outcome of several presidential elections afterward. In attacking Obama’s decision, Rubio has made Cuba his bloody shirt.”

    Wickham is the dean of Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism. He has no prior diplomatic experience. He will not be appointed ambassador to Cuba or anywhere else, for that matter.

    Jeffrey DeLaurentis, a career diplomat with extensive experience in Latin America & the UN will be the US charge d’affaires in Havana until an Ambassador is appointed.

  • August 7, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Former spy. Check her story. Her husband was kicked out of the US for spying. I take a little license to assume that I found you are married to a spy…Again, city any credible source that connects Obama to Vidal on a personal level as you suggested. Being sarcastic doesn’t make your claims any more credible.

  • August 7, 2015 at 7:43 am

    After several honest moments with myself as you suggested, I am completely convinced that your views are wacko and I am all the more thankful that people who think like me have more guns than people who think like you. Your views would have us living third world lives. I like my life and I owe it to capitalism.

  • August 7, 2015 at 7:34 am

    Two items I didn’t have a chance to mention in my comment , Banana Republic in American culture is a place where you go buy cheap t shirts , in other words they took a genocide and use it to sell clothing , if you to mention Banana Republic to average American, the last thing what come to their minds is Central America .
    The second thing is the School of the Americas at  Fort Benning Georgia , for all tense and purposes it’s nothing more then a genocide assembly plant ,
    luckily there is people with conscious keep track of everything such as (SOA watch) ,on the website you could read headlines such as , ” Militarization is bad for Latin America and bad for the United States ”

  • August 7, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Josefina Vidal is a spy. Obama is not considering Wickham as an Ambassador to Cuba. Obama doesn’t know who Vidal is. Neither does Roberta Jacobson, I reckon. Moses, all such nonsense is similar to Rubio trying to convince everyone that his parents escaped the Castro tyranny in Cuba in 1956 when the Castro brothers were in Mexico dreaming about overthrowing Batista. If you don’t like Josefina Vidal, I can see why Wickham and Obama admire her so much. Uh, yeah…she is a spy. That’s why she got arrested the last time she was in Washington for the last
    diplomatic session she had with Jacobson…right, Moses?

  • August 7, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Socialism vs capitalism Constitutions
    Constitutions happen to be the easiest , handiest tool to control a population , in the end it’s nothing more than ink on paper , if you to have a good government , or a corrupt government it does not matter what the Constitution have to say, it is secondary .
    All the constitutions and the law in the United States does not stop the government from committing genocide in the Middle East and over all the planet .
    In my opinion it’s about the quality of the people who control the Constitution .
    Capitalism have a streak of evil which is ingrained in the DNA and cannot be changed , as we say in the Middle East , you cannot find a street dog’s tale the same can be said about the capitalists.
    United States does have some of the best universities and hospitals if you can afford them after all it cost upward of $ 250,000 for someone to become a doctor in United States .
    I found these definitions in the dictionary ,
    Banana Republic
    any small nation in the tropics whose economy is largely dependent on fruit exports.
    A small country with an economy that is highly dependent on a single crop or resource, and is often ruled by a dictator or military junta .
    Banana Republic is the form of democracy United States want , what the US did in Central America to those who wanted to be independents and freedom is a genocide with all what the word means .
    A banana republic is ideal country to do business with from the perspective of a capitalist .
    And if they have a half a chance they will do it again and again and again , we are talking about deprived concepts for dealing with your fellow human beings .
    Banana republics is the end result of 100% capitalism
    American industry was willing to use death squads to make sure American buy bananas cheap.
    The amount of evil inflicted on the hands of the capitalist is beyond imagination .
    Chinese where self-sufficient , did not need to buy anything from outside there country , in the name of free enterprise and capitalism the British introduced opium and forced it on the population .
    Some of the wealthiest families on the planet the British Royal Family and Rothschild to give an example who happened to be shameless capitalist ( I don’t know if you call them human ) they made money using the Dutch East Indies selling slaves and opium .
    In Japan’s history , they destroyed all the guns , and sealed off there Borders, they wanted to be independent free in their own country , it was Commodore Perry and United States gun bolt diplomacy using the threat of war like a bunch of common thugs insisted that Japanese open the Borders in the name of free enterprise and free trade , we all know how that ended , yesterday was a mummery of Hiroshima bombing , if that’s not enough your average white American blame the Japanese for what happen , the 1st economic embargo in modern human history was the US against Japan prior to war war 2 .
    We don’t have to go far read your own history , read about the Spanish American War , United States of America was born with the sword beginning with genocide off over 50 million natives , after all initially America was a capitalist investment .
    I was watching video clips on Fidel Castro and Che Guevara what I saw is a beautiful human beings full of life , full of hope , willing to put their life on the line for the sake of others ,without any concern for their own safety .
    I could hardly say this on any American president in modern US history .
    Socialism is the only forum of governing that puts human beings in front of prophets , socialism wall not go to war for raising the value of a stock market ,
    I doubt that any off the Revolutionaries such as Gandhi , Castro , Mandela , Guevara , Arafat , Chavez and many others who came and gone have ever worried about the value of their investment in the stock market .
    They are the true heroes of humanity , Capitalism have one principle , the last penny in there pockets at any and all expense , even if it becomes a self-defeating proposition, it does not matter what they have to do to get it , Capitalism is the worst of the worst of what humans are capable off , There isn’t a single war fought without a capitalist somewhere thinking about the money they or going to make , look at the Middle East right now ,it is all about money and power and influence.
    Socialism vs capitalism is about the majority over the minority , it’s about the 99% having better odds than the 1 %
    This is an endless debate I don’t believe that I am going to convince any of you to see it my way or vice-versa , after all ideology is addictive. As we are going through global warming , All what I hope for you to have an honest moment with yourself and think hard about all the harm capitalism have done to humanity ,

  • August 6, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    No one, not even the most virulent anti-CASTRO zealots who maintain a deposit with FIU to rent out their stadium to host the celebration of Fidel Castro’s death, even they don’t advocate going back to a Batista-era Cuba. Stop trying to foist that flag up the flagpole. Likewise, there is no public acknowledgement by the Obama administration of his relationship with former Cuban spy Josefina Vidal. Please provide a source that he even knows who she is. Who advised US Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio to stop mentioning anything about Cuba? Again, please cite your source. Wickham will not be Obama’s choice as US ambassador to Cuba. That’s nuts! We do agree on one point. Obama, however ill-advised, has held himself to keeping his 2008 campaign promise to open a dialogue with Cuba.

  • August 6, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    You would have been a great columnist for the NY Times Elio, a very good storyteller and that’s a compliment. Another Kudo, and I think I post this for many, is the subtle kick in the ass you gave
    our poster maximus JG on the deception by anarchist formulas. I think you might even have given
    me a subtle slap as to why you post. In any case you’re sincere, Cuban, which I am not so it is
    a privilege to post on this site, and as with many who disagree, often read. I differ with your perception of capitalism and ask you a few questions. Do you use Google? Do you know the company Apple?
    Do you know where the top Universities in the world are? Have you read about Elon Musk, founder
    of Tesla who is creating a world less dependent on fossil fuels? Henry Ford, the man who gave the world a car that was affordable and created massive amounts of jobs doing so. There are many great things that the people of the USA have been able to accomplish and there are major faults that many
    of us write about and try to find solutions. Move forward and find some ground to shift in the center
    and perhaps your views can be shared by those who totally differ with yours. That’s what I hope
    happens for your people with peace and understanding and without an ounce of blood spilled.

  • August 6, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Anti-Castro propagandists like Moses apparently actually believe that Americans are too ignorant or too intimidated to challenge their sacred premise that the female-powered Cuban Revolution chased Mother Teresa — not villains such as Batista, Luciano, Lansky, Trafficante Jr., Diaz-Balart, Posada, Bosch, etc., etc. — “out of town,” mostly all the way to Miami. Moses longs for the day that the “Castros are run out of town.” We’ve been hearing that would happen “any day now” since January of 1959…but I guess now that Fidel turns 89 next week and Raul is 84 it might finally happen “any day now” but it appears, unlike the Batistianos, they really still don’t have getaway airplanes or ships…just in case. DeWayne Wickham, whom President Obama might name as the U. S. Ambassador to Cuba, wrote his last column this week after being the top columnist at USA Today since 1985. {Wickham loves democracy and he convinced Obama that Josefina Vidal was a non-Castro with decision-making powers on the island that the President could talk to; that advice 25 months ago predicated the Cuban progress Obama has forged}. Wickham devoted this week’s last USA Today column to what he called the “seismic change” he helped wrought by advising Obama to try to correct one of the most egregiously anti-democratic aspects of the U. S. democracy — the Batistiano/Mafiosi-fueled Cuban policy since the 1950s. Mr. Wickham has excoriated in his USA Today columns Miami politicos who routinely excoriate Obama or anyone else who has a sane, democratic, non-Banana Republic approach to Cuba. On April 20th when Rubio screamed in the U. S. Senate about Cuba’s “bloody shirts,” Wickham’s column that week fired this sentence back at Rubio: “What about Posada Carriles…?” After that, it is known that Rubio was advised not to mention “Cuba’s bloody shirts” lest it remind Wickham and others about Batista, Luciano, Posada, etc. For Rubio, Moses, etc., to assume that all the anti-Castro zealots, from 1952 till today, are Mother Teresas, makes a mockery of the U. S. democracy, and also belittles the positive contributions the majority of Cuban exiles have made to this country in stark contrast to a few who have besmirched it. Obama, Wickham, and a few other brave, democracy-loving souls are not big boosters of Banana Republics, the form of government that a handful of miscreants believe should continue, for another six decades or so, to disparage democracy.

  • August 6, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    John, 11 million people do not “overwhelming” choose to stick with their system as you put it. Instead it is forced upon them by a corrupt system who’s only purpose is to stay in power. If Cubans were exposed to what you thought they would laugh at you. Then again, as an outsider you’d probably never know. You would see the Potemkin village put out for turistas.

  • August 6, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Thank you once more for an insider’s long view of the revolution . I hope you realize that repeating obvious but ignored truths to the counter-revolutionary crowd bores them and that you stand a chance of being reprimanded
    for doing so.
    I agree that a great many people have to be reminded of why it is 11 million Cubans overwhelmingly stick with their admittedly undemocratic systems and under the worst conditions the Empire could impose upon the entire population.

    We ALL know that the Cuban people feel that the alternative; free enterprise capitalism, would be worse.
    They’ve been there and done that.

    Could you please provide some info as to the “anarchist formulas” referenced in the excerpt below : what do they involve that is unviable ?
    and in what time period were anarchist formulas utilized and found to be unviable.
    I am not at all familiar with any anarchist philosophy being involved in the Cuban Revolution … far
    Thanks you .

    “Nor will we allow ourselves to be deceived by anarchist formulas, which were proven unviable in their time”

  • August 6, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Elio is presenting a false dilemma. Cubans are not forced to choose only between the current disaster that the Castros have wrought and the former disaster of the Batista dictatorship. Castro bootlickers who are fearful of change will also posit that a more democratic Cuba will likely reflect the money-driven style democracy here in the US. However, many other commenters here at HT have suggested a Swedish-style democracy would be a better fit for Cuba. Once free of the Castros, Cubans should be able to choose a government of their own making. Elio is old and narrow-minded. Young Cubans better understand that they can choose the style of democracy that best works for them once the Castros are run out of town.

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