By Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES – Historically-speaking, Cubans have always traveled to the US, the most developed nation in our continent and with a similar climate to ours in some areas. Then, they would come back to their homeland with the dollars they earned there, as things cost less here because Cuba was an under-developed country with a low quality of life.
When the Cuban Revolution triumphed, on January 1, 1959, the first mass wave of immigration was led by dictator Fulgencio Batista, who was followed by the most prominent murderers and torturers of that era, who kept him in power for seven long years, during which 20,000 young people were killed for opposing him.
As you would expect, all of the politicians who had played the dictatorship’s game also left, as their parties were nothing but a facade, to give the world airs of a democracy that never really existed.
When the Moncada program began to be implemented, with the first revolutionary laws, such as the Agrarian and Urban Reform Laws, which ended farmer exploitation and the exploitation of every Cuban with high rents, most landowners and property owners emigrated to the United States with the hope that the Revolution would soon fall and they would return to occupy the properties that had been nationalized, so they could continue to exploit the working class. Many owners of large estates and buildings were US companies, who refused to receive the compensation stipulated by the law.
After these groups, an exodus began of people who declared themselves anti-Communist, without knowing full well why, because they had been intoxicated with the savage propaganda that came from the North. However, I knew many Cubans who declared themselves anti-Communist and when they learned about the Revolution’s humanist work, understood that they were mistaken and they joined the revolutionary project, and even became members of the Communist Party, as they had no clue what socialism and communism meant before.
With time, Cuba began to suffer the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US, which became harsher and harsher, and many young Cubans began to see emigrating to the US and other developed countries (such as Canada and Spain) as a means to improve their personal and their family’s economic situation. The majority emigrated and continue to emigrate to the US, the country that has us under siege and been attacking us for nearly 60 years. The country that passed the Cuban Adjustment Act and the wet-foot/dry-foot policy, so as to encourage the illegal immigration of Cubans and use it as propaganda against the Cuban Revolution.
If the US blockade didn’t exist, and Cuba could develop its economy like we would like it to, we might not be able to make as much progress as large countries such as the US (which only did this with the blood of indigenous peoples, the exploitation of Black Africans and stealing half of Mexico’s land), but we would have many more humane things, more solidarity, and a fairer distribution of wealth amongst the population.
This in turn would make it a lot more attractive for Cubans to work and live in their own country, before trying their luck in a foreign country that has made our lives a lot more difficult for 60 years, the ultimately why Cubans emigrate to improve their financial situation in the first place.