Two Conflicting Ways of Looking at Cuban Reality

Elio Delgado Legon

Photo: Keith Finger

HAVANA TIMES – I have just read a Facebook comment by a young woman who says she is Cuban and left Cuba for Ecuador, before finally arriving in the US. She dedicated the rest of her comment to criticizing Cuba’s political system.

However, she didn’t stay in Ecuador or any other Latin American country, which have different political systems (capitalist just like the US) to Cuba’s own. Thus, we can deduce that she didn’t leave Cuba because she doesn’t like socialism, but because she didn’t want to live in an underdeveloped country.

If everyone living in a poor country were to emigrate to a rich and developed country, there wouldn’t be space for them all, there wouldn’t be enough jobs or homes for everyone, and they would live worse off than they do in their birth countries. This is why the majority of people don’t emigrate and try to improve things in their own country.

I received a different take on this situation from a Havana Times reader, a US citizen living in the US, who told me that he likes my comments and the way I defend the Revolution, adding: “thanks for defending the Revolution, which has its shortcomings and flaws like everything made by Man, but the alternative is a lot worse.”

Of course, the alternative is a lot worse, as it would be capitalism in an underdeveloped nation, like we experienced here in Cuba before the Revolution and like many people in America are experiencing, living under this discriminatory and exploitative system par excellence. You just have to take a close look at these countries to realize the subhuman conditions citizens are living in, without the government doing anything for them.

Capitalist governments rule for capitalists, not for workers or farmers. They survive as best they can, for as long as they can, without doctors, schools, decent jobs, without land to toil over.

There are even millions of people living in poverty and homeless in developed countries, sleeping on the street because they can’t afford to pay the rent on a small place. They don’t have healthcare either and must pay a lot for medicine. They don’t have access to any breakthrough scientific treatments. This is a reality that many people prefer to ignore, when they go hunting for the alleged “pros” of Capitalism.

Cuba is an underdeveloped country that doesn’t have large oil reserves or huge reserves of any mineral for that matter. It has had to endure the consequences of an economic, commercial and financial blockade for almost 60 years and yet nobody has to live out on the street because they can’t afford to rent, as we all have a right to a decent place to live without having to pay high rents. Every Cuban is the owner of the homes they live in and we don’t pay taxes on this property.

It’s a well-known fact, but there’s no harm in repeating it: everybody in Cuba has the right to healthcare, without having to pay a single cent; the quality of our healthcare service is the best we can have, in spite of the US blockade stopping us from buying medicines we need and raw materials so we can manufacture them in our own labs. It also prevents us from buying a lot of state of the art technology, which would improve healthcare services.

Despite all these setbacks, Cuba continues to educate and train doctors and nurses, who are well prepared to help other third world countries improve their health rates, which has been upheld as an example of South–South Cooperation by different UN organizations. Over 300,000 health professionals have worked on missions in over 160 countries, saving thousands of lives and improving these countries’ main health rates. Today, some 30,000 health professionals are working in 67 countries.

Over its 15 years of work, “Operacion Milagro” (Miracle Mission) has returned eyesight to nearly 4 million people in 28 counteis, one of the Revolution’s most humane acts, which was conceived and pushed by Cuban leader Fidel Castro Ruz.

This South-South Cooperation involves Cuba offering grants to thousands of citizens in poor countries to study medicine and other degrees, and even some citizens in rich countries who couldn’t afford to pay for university.

Why has Cuba been attacked and under a blockade for almost 60 years? Because the US is afraid of an example of prosperous socialism in Latin America. Many Cubans who left the island in search of the US dream will wake up from the worst nighmare in their lives and come back with a different take on Cuban reality.

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.

15 thoughts on “Two Conflicting Ways of Looking at Cuban Reality

  • What contradictory nonsense from Kevin Corcoran. On the one hand he suggests that Cubans with a pension of 200 pesos per month ($8 US) or if working, a minimum wage of 400 pesos per month ($16 US) are happy and “better off” then revels in self congratulations about the pension which he will receive as a consequence of spending his working life in a capitalist country and boasts that when converted in CUC he would have an income of 1,100.00 CUC per month in Cuba. That apparently justifies his admiration for “socialist Cuba!!”
    I wonder Kevin Corcoran whether you have experienced being “ultimo” waiting for forty minutes or more at the panderia for a 200 gm loaf of bread then the batch running out just before your turn, or being unable to find frozen chicken, or hoping to be able to get some potatoes as a very occasional treat but without a pat of butter, or watching the kids in the street kicking around a straw stuffed football in bare feet or playing baseball with a stick and a stone wrapped in cloth as a ball. How do you intend to obtain property when there is such a massive accommodation deficit for Cubans?
    Oh yes, you can look forward to living as a rich immigrant feeling so superior to those who are held in poverty – that is if Cuba will even accept you! But, I can see the benefit for Canada upon your departure! Remember as a permanent resident in Cuba you will be on the CDR list with an annual report going to MININT, you will be subject to the law that criticism of the communist government is a criminal offence.
    All things to look forward to Kevin. so don’t hesitate, GO!

  • Well wrote and right to the point. People are better off in Cuba and with what little they have they are happy!! Cuba is a very safe place to visit and the people are very friendly and accomadating!! I am personally thinking of retiring to Cuba!! Ceinfugoes is a very beautiful area and the people that I have met there are the best!! Yes, I will retire to Cuba as soon as I turn 65 years old and start to receive my old age pension! $1,400.00 per month is more than enough to live very comfortably in Cuba!! Once converted into CUC. Is about $1,100.00 CUC. Per month. Looking forward to my retirement in socialist Cuba!!

  • Alternatively John Bohannon, could Elio merely be a mouthpiece for the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba?

  • Elio is at it again. He has 20/20 vision with regards to what he believes is wrong with the US but appears to be blind to the self-inflicted wounds Cuba suffers from. On his final point, the US has no fear that Socialism may work in Cuba. US opposition to Cuba is based on Cuban ideology spreading beyond Cuba.

  • What drivel, Mr. Legon is probably chairman of his neighborhood CDR saying what ever is necessary to insure he has a comfortable bed until he dies a slow death like all the socialist/communist experiments wherever they were tried.

  • Francois Mitterand was President, not Prime Minister.

  • The French Prime Minister said it best a few years ago. Unless the developed world gives aid and investment to the poor Southern Hemisphere, their people will just March on up across The Northern Borders in both The American and European continents. I believe we are witnessing that observation already. Quote: By Francois Mitterand.

  • “Capitalist governments rule for capitalists, not for workers or farmers. They survive as best they can, for as long as they can, without doctors, schools, decent jobs, without land to toil over.”

    More disinformation from this Elio Delgado Legon at the propaganda ministry.

    In Canada we have all these things in a free market/capitalist economy.

  • Sunwing stinks
    No flights in june
    No flights in sept.
    Marea del portillo depends on
    Fire sunwing now

  • What a bunch of crap from this Sergio.Cuba has achieved squat in more than 60 years. I see Cubans coming to the US with only the clothes they have on and after a few years leading the life they would never dream about in the communist paradise.

  • if fchow8888 is honest, he will explain how long he has spent living in Cuba and how long in the US? Only then will the value of his comments have relative value.
    If fchow8888’s comments have real basis, how does he explain why predominantly people living in socialist countries seek to move to capitalist countries – but few if any do the reverse?
    It is self-evident that those who seek to move to capitalist countries do so in the belief that such countries are examples that “we should look up to.”
    If as claimed by fchow8888 “Cuba is doing very well”, how is it that refugees do not seek to move there?

  • That you believe the selective statistics put out by the Cuban government is pathetic,to say the least.Cuba is not an open society.

  • Well, most is true, but:
    A big portion of Cubans live in overcrowded flats/ houses, 4 generations together and never have a chance to own one. To rent one is impossible.
    And freedom of information is impossible. On the island is no international newspaper or magazine for sale, internet is with only for financial privileged.
    Own engagement are suspecte.
    Ok, no any country is perfect, but …

  • Yes not even Haitians wants to live in Cuba. Cuba has its 20% population in exile in thousands of Cuban resting in the bottom of the Ocean trying to scape the proletarian’s paradise. How about freedom of press and humans rights?

  • Well said. If you go to the CIA’s website and look up per capita GDP in purchasing power parity, Cuba is doing very well compared to other Carribean nations (Carribean nations which are not under economic blockade). The US is doing better than Cuba, yes. But it is a continent spanning and world dominating superpower of 300 million people – and yes, in spite of enormous wealth and resources, many of these people are much worse off than ordinary Cubans. Life expectancy is worse in the US than Cuba. Infant mortality is higher.

    Many people living in non-socialist countries of Latin America try to get into the USA. Many are caught, imprisoned and deorted. Some manage to exist as illegals. Yet this place is the example we should look up to ?

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