Reasons Why I’m Proud to be Cuban

By Elio Delgado Legon

Photo: Dan Tidwell

HAVANA TIMES – I could give you hundreds of reasons why I’m proud to be Cuban; but I will only tell you the most important. The first reason is our people’s long history of struggle, but our country has never surrendered.

First of all, it fought against Spanish colonialism, which had us under its yoke. We were just about ready to kick Spain off the island, after 30 years of bloody struggle, when the US came and thwarted the revolutionary army’s victory. It pretended that it had Cuba’s best interests at heart, but we ended up going from being Spain’s colony to the US’ neo-colony. It forced us to sign agreements that stripped Cuba of any sovereignty it had.

In the years that followed, the Cuban people never stopped fighting from the time of this obstructed republic up until 1958, and it left a long list of heroes and martyrs on the battlefield, who we can be proud of.

The Revolution’s ultimate victory finally came after so many years on January 1, 1959. It defeated the army that served Cuba’s last dictatorship, under Fulgencio Batista, which was supported and upheld by the US government.

After the Revolution triumphed on January 1st, many things have happened in Cuba that make me feel prouder and prouder to be Cuban. I’ll tell you the most important of these.

Some of the reasons

First of all, there’s the country’s humanist, solidarity and internationalist vocation, which has helped the world to see Cuba as a brother who goes out of his way to help others. There are many examples. In the field of health, cooperation efforts with countries in need who have asked for help, began as early as 1962. Cuba never ceased to lend a helping hand ever since then, providing relief assistance and aid whenever a natural disaster or pandemic has struck.

Since then, over 400,000 Cuban health professionals have provided care in 164 countries.

One or several brigades of Cuban health professionals have been present in the wake of big earthquakes and devastating hurricanes, which have hit our fellow nations, helping them to get back on their feet.

Let’s remember how Cuban doctors risked their lives to save Ebola patients when the epidemic hit three African countries. As well as the cholera epidemic in Haiti, after a terrible earthquake. We could look at dozens of examples like this.

More recently, Cuban doctors traveled, voluntarily, to the 39 countries that asked for its help to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Even developed countries such as Italy requested aid, and two brigades traveled to the regions hardest-hit by the pandemic. They saved many lives and received thanks and the affection of these countries and governments.

When the English cruise shop asked for help…

How can I not feel proud when Cuba allowed the English Braemar cruise ship to dock in Cuba. It had been stranded at sea with COVID-19 patients and other suspected cases onboard, for many days. They didn’t receive the help they asked for to transfer passengers and send them home on flights. Many countries denied this request, including the United States.

Cuba responded positively and took on this task, which was successfully executed. Cuba couldn’t let these people die out at high sea, dismissing this selfish and mean attitude that many countries adopted.

I’m also proud of Cuba’s scientific breakthroughs, now managing to take two COVID-19 vaccines to clinical trials and it has two more waiting for authorization to be tested as well. Cuba is the only country in Latin America and the underdeveloped world that has managed such a great feat. This means that Cuba will have its own vaccine by the first trimester of 2021.

In military terms, how can you not feel proud when we can say that Cubans helped Angola hold onto its independence and helped Namibia gain its independence. Shameful apartheid was also eradicated in South Africa. Then the real people this country belongs to were able to take back the reins of their destiny.

I have only given a few examples, as a brief summary, because I wouldn’t be to list all of them here. However, it is because of these and other examples I haven’t mentioned that I am proud to be Cuban.

Read more posts from Elio Delgado Legon.

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.

9 thoughts on “Reasons Why I’m Proud to be Cuban

  • one of John P. Nichol’s points is way off base. It’s not uncommon in like in Mexico for patients’ families to bring basic things like food or blankets. What’s more critical? That a family has to bring that, or that a family has access to medical care. So trying to blame that on anything other than a not uncommon cultural expectation is silly. And He also doesn’t take into account that Cuba is still a small, and poor country that is still doing that at such a high level.
    You can’t take that from Cuba because relative to it’s wealth, and other Latin American countries, this is still a huge triumph. And criticizing them for not being rich enough to do better is ridiculous. No amount of freedoms would change this situation.

  • Elio is right to feel pride for his country. The problem is that he believes that it is mutually exclusive to feel pride and at the same time to be critical of Cuba. Likewise, he seems to believe that other Cubans, who may not share his views, feel less pride for their country. His narrow-minded pride is part of Cuba’s problem and progress in Cuba is limited by Cubans who think like Elio.

  • I would agree to a certain extent with Stephen’s analysis.
    Cuba’s healthcare system provides free healthcare. But it doesn’t provide free gourmet food or luxury. It isn’t a restaurant or a hotel. Certainly not in Havana.
    Cuba is not alone in providing healthcare which is free at the point of need.
    This, as Stephen points out, is not an anomaly. It is the USA which is more of an anomaly – ‘healthcare’ in the USA is one of the biggest scams on planet earth.
    The perpetrators of this scam make so much crooked money out of it that they can afford to keep paying for the propaganda. This manages to convince a significant enough chunk of the population that any alternative to their scam would be ‘left wing socialist extremism’. It’s a vicious circle.
    The embargo is paradoxical (it’s not the only paradoxical aspect when it comes to Cuba). The embargo definitely stifles the Cuban economy. Just listen to the vast majority of Cuba’s relatively new entrepreneurs – they will back up this view.
    However, the embargo always provides the Cuban Government with a scapegoat.
    A six decade old scapegoat.
    Get rid of the scapegoat and see what happens.
    But the majority of Cuban-Americans want it to remain in place.
    Their boy trump lost the election – but he did win Florida. He got all those FLA electoral college votes – and after all is said and done, those tasty little FLA electoral college votes are the core reason why the embargo lingers on.
    It’s another vicious circle.
    Break the circle.
    Scrap the dirty, corrupt and miserable little embargo once and for all – then we would all see how the Cubans do with their economy (and without their trusty old scapegoat).

  • John P Nichol:

    “Were it not for the draconian measures put in place by the American authorities to stifle the Cuban economy, all the negatives that some bloggers here are trying to bring to the foe would not be there.”

    Really? I am one of those bloggers and I disagree with your above analysis to a certain degree. Yes, the American blockade has been detrimental to the the Cuban economy to some extent, but it is not the dominant nor draconian cause of the complete economic mismanagement and sclerotic economic situation presently being lived by ordinary Cubans.

    Judging by your name I presume you are not a Cuban nor, again a presumption, do you live in Cuba. Neither do I so I will let Pedro take over from here.

    Pedro Pablo Morejon is a Cuban citizen and lives in Cuba and has experienced life under the blockade first hand. He is a HT regular contributor and his words are clear and potently truthful.

    Here is what he has written in his article in HT entitled: “Hypocrisy on Both Sides of the Florida Strait” dated November 19, 2020. Pedro is having a discussion with one of his communist card carrying acquaintance:

    “I told him that things would still be bad here [Cuba] because the main cause for the Cuban tragedy today is a system that denies individuals their freedom and ability to make progress. I said the possible lifting of the “blockade” would do little to get the country back on its feet.” Most Cuban economists would agree totally with Pedro’s personal analysis.

    Most Cubans with a non-partisan view of the mismanagement of the Cuban economy agree that, yes, the embargo/blockade has hampered the Cuban economy to some extent but the blockade is not the reason for the immense tragedy the economy now suffers.

    John you also write: “The blockade of all consumer goods into Cuba by the USA is why Cubans are suffering.” Don’t know whether you have visited Cuba recently. Walk into any Cuban dollar store, provided you have a wallet full of American dollars, and you can purchase any consumer good your heart desires. The problem is the majority of Cubans do not have access to American dollars and are poorly paid in pesos and forced to shop in bodegas that sell items in the local national currency which the central communist authorities ensure are next to empty. That is why Cubans are suffering not entirely from the USA embargo.

    Furthermore, you compare the USA health care system, certainly much to be desired compared to the Canadian health care system, to the Cuban health care system where “…every Cuban citizen is entitled to free health care.”

    Yes, that is true. Have you ever visited a Cuban hospital or had a friend describe the Cuban conditions in a hospital? I have seen Cubans bring food to hospital patients because the amount and quality of the hospital food is inadequate, bring bedding because the hospital does not have enough, and doctors hope there are enough medicines to attendant to all patients.

    Sure, every Cuban citizen is entitled to free health care but so are many other citizens in other countries, Canada, Norway, Sweden, etc. and they do not have to suffer even more while trying to obtain the “free” medical care they were promised.

    John, I agree with you that when the embargo/blockade is removed, even though the communist central planners do not want that per se, pardon the expression, trump card removed, yes, Cuba, and all Cubans may live a more tolerable existence.

  • Were it not for the draconian measures put in place by the American authorities to stifle the Cuban economy, all the negatives that some bloggers here are trying to bring to the foe would not be there.

    To say that central planning is responsible for the suffering of ordinary people in Cuba is blatantly false. The blockade of all consumer goods into Cuba by the USA is why Cubans are suffering.

    Why not highlight a positive such as American Doctors being trained in Cuba for free with one stipulation by Washington, that on completion these Doctors return to the USA to practice. How about compared to the USA the crime rate in Cuba when it comes to serious crime is miniscule or that thousands of Americans file for bankruptcy every year because they cannot pay for health care whereas every Cuban citizen is entitled to free health care.

    One wonders what would happen if the past is left to history and the embargo against the Cuban people is removed and the future for the good of all Cubans is embraced.

  • My understanding (and I could be wrong) is that the Cuban Government made a sizeable profit from the help offered to the Braemar…. so not entirely out of the goodness of their heart 🙂

    But as a reward I also understand that Fred Olsen (cruise operator) plans to base one of the cruise ships in Havana ….. win / win

  • Elio is very proud to be a Cuban. Yes, he has many reasons to be proud of what his country has done and how it has struggled through many historical adversities. Absolutely, Cuba and its citizens have had many difficult chapters in its history and has risen to the occasion to be a unified country with kind, gentle, admirable citizens.

    In his over exuberance with Cuban nationalism, Elio also tends to severely embellish some historical information. He writes: “After the Revolution triumphed on January 1st, many things have happened in Cuba that make me feel prouder and prouder to be Cuban”. Many historians would agree that yes, many things have happened in Cuba but not necessarily things that benefit the ordinary Cuban on the street as the Revolution purported to instill.

    The Revolution instilled the communist adherents who became the elites of the nation who mismanaged the economy via central planning to such an extent that ordinary Cubans find it extremely difficult to feed their families. Of course, not the communist elite, the power brokers, have this problem because they live very comfortable lives constantly enchanting and proclaiming how well the Cuban economy is doing – for them, the minority – and ignoring the masses, the majority.

    Elio writes: “ . . . over 400,000 Cuban health professionals have provided care in 164 countries”. Is that free of charge to the host poverty stricken countries as in humanitarian missions, or are those Cuban health professionals obligated to go as instructed by the communist regime and the Cuban government is handsomely monetarily rewarded for their medical health care “donations”?

    Everyone who knows anything about the Cuban methods of operations know full well the Cuban government coffers are sustained with this temporary exportation of professionals for the economic benefit and gain of the Cuban central authorities. Also, many, many of these health care professionals, once with a taste of democratic freedom on their proverbial tongue, never go back to their beloved homeland and remain in their host country even if they have to do menial jobs because those menial jobs pay more than a professional medical person in Cuba.

    “They saved many lives and received thanks and the affection of these countries and governments.” No disputing that fact. There is no disputing that Cuban doctors are very well trained, well respected, and extremely professional in their medical care. In every country a well trained doctor garners a great deal of respect and along with that respect the physician is more than adequately remunerated. Makes absolute sense but not in Cuba.

    Why is it that in Cuba a well educated, well trained, well respected doctor does not earn enough in one month to support his/her family? Why is it that this Cuban doctor must either have another source of income to maintain the family or goes without or relies on patients to provide “gifts” so that s/he survives? How many Cuban doctors can even afford to purchase a brand new bicycle? Is any Cuban doctor proud of this financial factoid?

    No doubt these Cuban medical professionals are very proud of their country like Elio is. But I wonder how many would be willing to write an article extolling Cuba’s present economic virtues. I am willing to bet none. However, if they were paid decently like any other self respectable medical doctor outside Cuba, they would indeed.

    Yes, Elio, has ever right to be proud of his country like most other citizens are proud of theirs. But most other citizens will say there are avenues for improvements in their country because no country is beyond some help, except, when Elio writes, Cuba, where in the present reality Cubans are in unmitigated misery unable to properly feed their families which is shameful not prideful.

  • You can be proud, but do you have to be blind?

  • Espero que viva eternamente y con mucha salud para que pueda hablar y contar la verdadera realidad que muchos especialmente los que han salido para bien de ellos ,descalifican y solo se centran en la falta de ciertos elementos sin duda esenciales para la vida…..viven hoy en lugares donde abunda para un sector y otros tienen que mendigar en agencias de ayuda o iglesias que los ayudan….hay de todo pero muchos solo pasan y miran …no lo pueden adquirir,pero al final solo ven la punta de su nariz…
    Muchas gracias por su nota…..

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