By Elio Delgado Legon
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.