“Cuba Is More Democratic Than the US”, says Cuban President

Miguel Díaz-Canel, with a ’kufiya’ on his shoulders, in his meeting with young pro-Castro US citizens / The People’s Forum

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES – Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel met for the most recent edition of his TV program Desde la Presidencia with a group of “young Americans interested in learning about the Cuban reality.”

The audience of about a hundred people was already instructed.
These were the members of Let Cuba Live, a group adhering to the pro-Castro organization The People’s Forum and co-directed by Manolo de los Santos, who acted as moderator of a meeting in which the past and present of the Island were discussed, with the “intensified blockade” as a backdrop, along with Palestine and, above all, the example of democracy that is Cuba.

“There is a virtual Cuba, on social media, and there is another real Cuba, which is the one you can see. And we have shortages, we have problems, we have limitations but there are no missing people here, there are no murders here. This country is more democratic than the United States,” said the Cuban leader with conviction. The phrase was part of an extensive segment dedicated to exposing his point of view on how capitalism has proven not to work if it does not apply social justice as, he argued, is done on the Island.

“They say we’re not democratic because we have only one party. But what about the United States, is it democratic because it has two parties? One party, the Republicans, applied the 243 measures to strengthen the blockade, and another party, the Democrats, maintained the blockade’s measures,” he summarized. What’s up with that? Is democracy measured by the number of parties or is democracy measured, really, by how people can exercise their rights in a society?”

The president wanted to give examples of the inequality of rich countries regardless of the flaws in his speech. “When we go fetch food, we go fetch food for 11 million Cubans. It is not putting food in the store windows and letting those who can afford it buy it, and letting those who cannot afford it starve,” he reflected, although on the Island that is already the constant reality, as a result of the absence of products in the rationed market, sales in freely convertible currency and skyrocketing inflation, among other factors.

Much of the meeting, and it could not be otherwise, touched on the policy of “suffocation” that, according to the president, the United States applies to Cuba, an island that overcomes this thanks to its “creative resistance,” and which would reach unimaginable levels of development if it were allowed to move forward without a “blockade.” “Where would Cuba go if it did not have a blockade? I think that’s where the answer lies as to why they want to keep blockading us. They are afraid of the example, what we are capable of doing, for everything we have managed to do amid that circumstance,” he said.

Manolo de los Santos started the evening by thanking Díaz-Canel for receiving the group, which has been trying for months, without succeeding, to get Joe Biden to meet with them and only finds an armored White House, while in Cuba Díaz-Canel’s arms are open. His first question revolved around the long history of the revolutionary struggle on the island, which went back to the era of slavery, the War of Independence and, of course, Castroism.

Palestine dominated the discourse – both De los Santos from the beginning and the president, who received them from a guest, wore “kufiyas” on their shoulders – and the speech at times sounded more like an excuse to lash out against the United States, which was accused of genocide on repeated occasions.

Díaz-Canel lamented that Washington resorts to wars to use its million-dollar arms industry first and addresses reconstruction later, at which time he also introduced Ukraine into the equation. “It is very normal that, in the face of an international crisis, for the United States to create a focus outside its border where there is a war and where the United States can do its big business. That’s what Ukraine is going through.” In addition, the Cuban president applauded the pro-Palestinian movement that emerged in some universities in the United States, which he compared to the activism against the Vietnam War in the 70s, and Europe.

After 10 minutes of talking about Palestine, he compared resolutions calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip to those that reject the US embargo on Cuba every year.

He said another great topic of the day was the difficult moment that the Island is experiencing, which is taken advantage of by the United States to convey the image that the Cuban Government is incompetent. “We are living through a difficult time, but Fidel and Raul also faced very complex situations when they led the country, and together with the people they overcame them,” said Díaz-Canel, who mentioned the lack of fuel, electricity and food – all of which build off each other – as the source of those problems. “We are not perfect, nor do we want you to idealize us. We also make mistakes, we have shortcomings – like ’laziness’ and ’corruption’,” he mentioned. “But there is a huge vocation for perfection. ”

He told the young people present – as he usually does with Cubans – that the Washington mechanism consists, of provoking “a social outbreak that ends the Revolution” through “economic suffocation” and “media intoxication.” Asked how Cuba fights this situation, Díaz-Canel was blunt: with more democracy. The president alleged that there is endless discussion in the neighborhoods and assemblies and, therefore, the many laws that are being approved have countless versions, because the people are listened to. He failed to mention that the limits of the discussion are set precisely in one of the main constitutional precepts, which indicates that it is not possible to change the socialist system.

The challenges that, in the president’s opinion, remain to be faced, apart from the explicit mention of the problems with the exchange rate or the measures that must be taken without making them known – and he added, once again, that “the enemy” blocks the international solutions that Cuba finds if informed of them – are keeping social programs and winning over the youth, where the future is.

“[We are] a country that has been blockaded for over 60 years, defending socialism. Socialism fell in the 90s and this country continues like this. How can this country still pass a socialist constitution? Doesn’t that have a tremendous merit?” he asked rhetorically. There was no need for answers in an event that opened with chants that claimed: “The socialist world is the world we want.”

Translated by LAR for Translating Cuba

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

5 thoughts on ““Cuba Is More Democratic Than the US”, says Cuban President

  • Anna Maria Eversley clearly has lacked political education and believes that Chomsky is a dependable source of information. I very much doubt whether she can name a single “english nobility girl” who was the lover of any SS man! To refer to Winston S. Churchill as “the mad man”, displays deep ignorance. To verify my statement, she ought to read: The History of the English Speaking Peoples. by Winston S. Churchill, is that the writing of a “mad man”? Obviously placing trust in You Tube as a source of factual information coupled with Chomsky, can distort the mind.

  • Putin is Hitler. The western Europeans are appeasing as in WWII when the SS men all had english nobility girls as their lovers. It’s on You Tube. Without the mad man CHURCHILL, they would have gone down. And he was a noble too. Putin simply is living in history and believes he is under attack and the poor little Russia fighting the NAZIS. He said so. He is crazy and a Nazis. I met some Cubans. I never asked for years about their country. They neversaid anything. It was just like in that movie the unbearable lightness of being. If you express your thoughts you are a criminal. I know USA lies to the public. I am a Chomskite. I see that he said all sorts of things and still got to walk around free. And i never liked how he yelled at that woman in a meeting when he was young and she was old. I saw a documentary in London on Channel 4 in 1992.

  • The U S has many problems with the gov and the way the country is run
    But in the U S and many other places including Canada the worst I can get is a bank account temporarily frozen or a night or 2 in a nice clean jail cell with a small meal in the morning for protesting
    If do that in Cuba say get 5 to 15 yrs in jail. Yes there is corruption in the United States but I do not need do not fear talking to the wrong person or wrong age in public that will go to jail.

  • Miguel Diaz-Canel stubbornly doesn’t want to admit that Fidel Castro promised his people a return to democracy after seven years of right-wing dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista but abandoned that promise in favor of establishing a communist dictatorship because the communist faction of his 26th of July movement told his that holding free and fair elections in 18 months would undo his social and agrarian reforms while emboldening Batista loyalists to return to power. In his speech delivered before a May Day rally in Havana in 1961, Castro made clear that free elections were out of the question, remarking:
    “There had to be a period for abolition of the privileges. Do the people have time now for elections? No! What were the political parties? Just an expression of class interests. Here there is just one class, the humble; that class is in power, and so it is not interested in the ambition of an exploiting minority to get back in power. Those people would have no chance at all in an election. The revolution has no time to waste in such foolishness. There is no chance for the exploiting class to regain power. The revolution and the people know that the revolution expressed their will; the revolution does not come to power with Yankee arms. It comes to power through the will of the people fighting against arms of all kinds, Yankee arms.

    The revolution keeps in power through the people. What are the people interested in? In having the revolution go ahead without losing a minute. Can any government in America claim to have more popular support than this one? Why should democracy be the pedantic, false democracy of the others, rather than this direct expression of the will of the people? The people go to die fighting instead of going to a poll to scratch names on paper. The revolution has given every citizen a weapon, a weapon to every man who wanted to enter the militia. So some fool comes along to ask if, since we have a majority why don’t we hold elections? Because the people do not care to please fools and fine little gentlemen! The people are interested in moving forward.”

  • Diaz Canel’s TV program is turning into a comedy show. Yes, the democracy in the US is under assault, but still breathing. In the case of Cuba, it has been six feet under for over a half-century.

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