Cuban Socialism’s Contribution to the World

Havana photo by Juan Suarez

By Pedro Pablo Morejon

HAVANA TIMES – I’ve had an idea stuck in my head for weeks now, ever since President Miguel Diaz-Canel – from the only legal party in Cuba, the Communist Party – said that we need to carry on defending socialism because change would make our lives worse and that despite hardship, we still have dignity… My idea? To write about Socialism’s positive contributions in my country.

As we’re living very dignified lives under the shadow of “continuity”, I start looking for something that would make me feel like everything isn’t bleak and hopeless, that this “dignity” would help us somehow, that a bright future awaits us beyond the present.

I sit down in front of the computer, open a Word document and stay there, watching how the minutes pass by and the page is still blank, ideas aren’t coming or flowing like I’d like them to.

That’s because the truth is I wanted to paint a Cuba that is becoming more and more unrealistic, but I don’t know whether that’s because there isn’t anything to praise or because I’ve been tainted by scorn for a system that has only brought us destruction.

The reality is we’re living amidst blackouts, shortages of food, medicine, drinking water, transport etc.; amid a mass exodus, disease, accidents, unnecessary deaths, lies, repression and a dark horizon. Amidst so much audacity… it’s really hard to find something positive, because I’m not writing fiction here, but reality.

It’s also better I chop my hand off before I start writing about healthcare and education. With dengue, medicine shortages and the condition of our clinics, having good health is a blessing right now in Cuba.

What about schools, you ask? Indoctrination centers where university graduates can’t find a solution to their professional uncertainties and economic needs.

I think real hard, trying to find a hidden corner in my mind, begging a brain cell to help me with pictures of progress, something to enlighten me and… Eureka! 

Yep, socialism in Cuba has contributed to humankind. I repeat, it has contributed.

We are a museum of a country. Every historian interested in studying real socialism, in its most well-known form – Stalinism, finds an accurate laboratory in Cuba, an endless source of what was one of the worst, along with Fascism, two social systems in the 20th century.

We are the lighthouse that guides Latin America, but not because of our good examples, but to warn Bolivar’s nations of the perils and not to shipwreck their dreams.

Unfortunately, some countries have ignored the signals and then they crash and come tumbling down. Venezuela, for example. 

In short, we are an example to the world, showing everything you shouldn’t do if you want to build a prosperous society.

We are a country of need, the justification for criminal sciences where you must sacrifice one thing to save everything else.

We Cubans play this part.

This is socialism’s contribution on the island, at least for the rest of the world.


Read more from Pedro Pablo Morejon here on Havana Times.

6 thoughts on “Cuban Socialism’s Contribution to the World

  • Nothing has cuba’s communism contributed to the free world if it is so nice to live there why is there 2,000,000 cubans around the world,why are they leaving in makeshift boats and drowning why won’t the government let us leave like normalhuman beins it is because they want us as slaves

  • Robert:

    I sympathize with your recent negative experiences in Cuba.

    However, serious complaints need to be targeted at those directly responsible: Don’t shoot the messenger. What do I mean? With regard to the episode at the airport in the handling charges of suitcases, the airline company, and not the Cuban airline employees, charge a fee for carrying suitcases to destination and return. If the passenger fails to pay at initial booking for the handling of suitcases on departure and return, the passenger will be dinged on return.

    As you rightly did you paid for your suitcases for both directions at your initial departure. The airline fees were paid.

    The Canadian who had to fork over the $140 dollars for the return handling did not pay the return fee at departure. The poor Cuban employee whom you admonished simply collects the fee on behalf of the airline. The Cuban does not keep this money.

    Perhaps you should direct your suitcase episode displeasure at some of these profit making airlines who nickel and dime passengers unforgivably, or to use your terminology “swindles on the tourist”.

    If you spent 6 weeks on the island I presume you did not stay in an all inclusive resort and that you may have stayed in a “casa particular” or with Cuban family. If so, then you were directly exposed to the lack of proper nutritional food on the island which the majority of Cubans must suffer on a daily basis. Perhaps that is a reason for your animosity towards Cubanos and “a loss of 10kg & poor health”. You had to eat and live as a Cuban for awhile.

    Absolutely you can blame your negative experiences on those Cubanos in political power who allow their citizens – the Cubans you interact with on any Cuban street – to suffer malnutrition on a daily basis, and allow visitors to the island to undergo negative experiences.

    Again, don’t shoot the messenger. The majority of Cuba’s economic and social problems lie directly with the few corrupt, totalitarian communist cadres who have a strangle hold on power and rule the island with an iron fist and as they see fit. The majority of Cubans with whom a tourist interacts are simply trying to cope.

    Fortunately for you, Robert, as a visitor you can up and leave as you please. Think of those poor unfortunate Cubanos that you admonish who have no choice but to stay, eat and live with whatever the communist cadres dictate.

  • Steven: 6 weeks on the Island & a loss of 10kg & poor health has left me with a bitter taste for Cubanos, Aug 19th as I stand in line & the Cuban airport staff demand an extra 140$ for the return handling charge of a single suit case from the Canadian in front of me, when it was my turn, I carry on & explain my suit case was payed for both directions, just one of the swindles going down of many, OH so many swindles on the tourist that want to spend our money in Cuba & not be Robbed at the airports or from our homes in Cuba.

  • Robert,

    Your negative bias description of Cubans is intended to humor provoke, is it not? If it isn’t, you certainly are “wearing blinders” to the actuality, the reality, of what is transpiring today on the island regarding Cubans.

    The post could perhaps be taken seriously if you had properly differentiated between the few totalitarian communist rulers on the island personified by “Stalinism”, to use Pedro’s description, from the majority of hard working, dirt poor Cubans. Using your verb “Swindle” to describe the everyday Cubans trying so desperately to cope with an economic situation beyond their control is disingenuous, false, and inappropriate, to say the least.

    Any poorly paid person, hungry, trying desperately to feed a family, trying desperately to make ends meet, in a society ruled by totalitarian communist ideologues will, to use your capitalized verb: “Take”, what they can. Survival knows no bounds.

    Cuba’s allies, Venezuela, Russia, China, have certainly given Cuba more than what Cuba can possibly give back but that is expected from communist, socialist, allies. The purpose of the “Take what you can …” or looking at the transaction from the givers’ perspective “Give what you can …” is intended to prop up the totalitarian communist rulers and not necessarily for the trickle down benefit for the majority of the population.

    Since when has any totalitarian ruled state anywhere in the world given two hoots about the economic and social conditions of its population? As long as the economically suffering citizens do not take to the streets and revolt – in which case the rightful rioters would be shot (example, Tiananmen Square), or imprisoned (July 11, Cuba) the totalitarian ideologue rulers, Cuba in this case, will continue to ask and take in perpetuity from like minded ideologue friends .

    So, yes, in that respect, Robert, you are correct. But, of course, one would definitely need blinders on to see any beneficial aid coming from ideology like minded friends who then shower down economic benefits abetting sustenance to the majority of citizens. Hasn’t happened in Cuba in 60 plus years. Not going to happen period.

    On the contrary, in answer to your question: “What has the Free world provided Communist Cuba.” Or better articulated and understood what has the U.S.A., Canada, Europe, and similar countries provided communist Cuba?

    How many tourists from the aforementioned “Free world” visit the island on a regular basis and bring with them in their suitcases from a humanitarian perspective absolute day to day living necessities, like medicines, all destined for ordinary Cubans. This is what I see.

    In response to Pedro’s article title: “Cuban Socialism’s Contribution to the World”, I totally agree with his final conclusion: “In short, we are an example to the world, showing everything you shouldn’t do if you want to build a prosperous society.” When there is a complete political and economic unmooring, a complete disconnect between the few totalitarian rulers and the majority ruled, history tells us exactly what Pedro witnesses every day in his native land.

  • What has the Free world provided Communist Cuba. Or what have Cubans been able to Swindle from the free world. It has always been a Take what you can & very little return towards the rest of the world, unless you are wearing blinders this is what you will see.

  • Sadly, Pedro’s summation is correct. The last time I was in Cuba, I was struck by the lack of optimism among Cubans. As I visited old friends in Central Havana, I noticed entire streets, not just a few buildings, that were nearly entirely devastated. Yet, people still lived on these streets. I could only imagine what it would be like to live among this rubble and refuse. To be sure, San Francisco, where I live, has also deteriorated in some neighborhoods. Here’s the difference: In San Francisco, it’s because the people have deteriorated that the buildings that they live in reflect the same decline. In Havana, the Cuban people have persevered whilst the physical world around them has crumbled.

Comments are closed.