A Unique Opportunity for Change in the USA

Elio Delgado Legon

BARACK OBAMA. White House photo by Pete Souza

HAVANA TIMES, April 14 — The above title was the same one I used for a short commentary I wrote in November 2008, just days after Barack Obama was elected president of the United States.

Today, as he enters his re-election campaign — after four years of doing what he shouldn’t have done and not doing what people hoped he would do — I would like to remind our readers of what I wrote back then:

“The new US president, Barack Obama, has before him a unique historical opportunity to produce real changes in his country and in the world if he can only get past the rhetoric and manage to intelligently overcome the pressures of the most reactionary circles of power.

“A Democratic president with an open mind and a Congress in his favor can — in the medium term, and if he wishes — bring his country out of the economic crisis that is hitting it and which is radiating to a greater or lesser extent around the entire world.

“But these problems cannot be resolved through printing and circulating more dollar bills. That would be like trying to put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it. Concrete steps are needed to gradually change the current situation.

“A substantial change in a US foreign policy based on the law of the survival of the fittest, transforming it to one based on friendship and cooperation with all countries, without exception, is a prerequisite for beginning such a change.

“Ending the wars as soon as possible is one of the challenges facing Barack Obama. They only brings sacrifices and suffering to the American people and to the people who are attacked, and creates more enemies and squanders billions through spending in an economy that is bankrupt.

“By spending on US social development only a part of what is now devoted to the war, and by fulfilling what was established as a goal by the UN (allocating 0.7 percent of the GDP to the development of underdeveloped countries), would substantially contribute to the re-activation of the world economy and his own country’s economy. Raising the standard of living and consumption of billions of people around the world would generate a revival of industry and commerce and thus restore the economy.

“As Obama himself pointed out, he has before him three major challenges to face: two wars left to him by Bush, a planet in peril and a huge economic crisis. If faced with determination and intelligence, he can overcome them. It’s difficult but not impossible.”


Of the three great challenges that Obama confronted back then, none of them have been solved.

Of the two wars that Bush left him, he has only halfway come out of them – leaving two countries with tens of thousands of soldiers and mercenaries still dying and killing, often taking the lives of innocent people who have nothing to do with war.

Far from having ended those wars, he jumped into another one against Libya, which ended with the assassination of that country’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

Having attempted to apply that same recipe against Syria, which he couldn’t accomplish due to the resistance of Russia and China in the Security Council, he has nonetheless supported the delivery of weapons and the training to groups that have filtered into the country to destabilize and overthrow the Bashar al-Assad government. All of this has resulted in needless slaughter, especially of civilians.

Support for Israel in a possible attack on Iran is another war on the horizon, one which could have catastrophic consequences.

Concerning our planet in peril, nothing has been done. Neither has the Kyoto Protocol been signed nor any other agreement to reduce the polluting of the atmosphere.

And finally, concerning the economic crisis, the management of this couldn’t have been worse. They have spent hundreds of billions of dollars to save banks and corporations but have failed to provide support to the millions of Americans who lost their homes and jobs.

If all of that money, in addition to what he has been spending on wars, were invested in creating jobs and applying a more rational policy in relation to the rest of the world, perhaps the crisis wouldn’t have become what it is today: an incurable cancer.

Today they are talking about new weapons of war, ones like nuclear drones that can fly for months without refueling and attack “any dark corner of the world.”

A state of permanent war is what’s being proposed by this leader who won the Nobel Peace Prize at the beginning of his mandate. Its consequences are suffered by the American people and other peoples of the world.

Every day I’m more convinced that I when I wrote that little commentary, I was right.

3 thoughts on “A Unique Opportunity for Change in the USA

  • Alternative? Compromise? No innocents? I really wonder what alternative Universe you perceive, with no one being an innocent victim, compromise being possible with those whose intentions are evil, and a choice between acceptable and unacceptable is being offered.

    Instead, the choice is between going to Hell in a hand-basket, or going 1st Class; compromise consists of giving away the baby along with the soap, water, and bathtub; and innocence is denied to infants and children who must bear the guilty sins of the fathers, unto the seventh generation.

    Think about it…

  • Elio, you speak of Obama as if he was your President. If you held Raul to account for one third of what he has promised to do, how different would Cuba be today. Moreover, Raul has only himself and a relatively small group of elites to please. Raul does not have a Republican party majority in Congress, or a Tea Party movement, or a Miami Cuban mafia to contend his every move. By the way, I assume you must get all your news from Granma and Mesa Redonda. The Syrian President is slaughtering his own people. Gaddafi had done the same to Libyans for years. There were no innocents on either side in these issues. You, and many others like you, don’t fully understand that democracy requires compromise. You don’t always get even half of what you want. Neither does the other guy. Finally, criticizing Obama is your right. But have you considered the alternative?

  • uh, Elio, you apparently didn’t say anything meaningful then, and you’re not saying anything meaningful now.

    I’m sorry, venerable old comrade, but this speaking of Obama as though he were anything more than a quisling of the monopoly banks and military industrialists is just absurd. Did someone whip you with a gullibility stick?

    Obama did not “win” the Nobel Peace Prize. He was handed it by a committee that itself is a tool of the same puppeteers who pull the strings of the US president. I sincerely hope that your gullibility does not reflect the political mindset of Fidel and Raul, for if it does . . . Well, let’s just say that this would be highly regrettable.

    The “unique opportunity for change” is not in the US. It is in Cuba. You have socialist state power, but your mode of production has proved dysfunctional in the long term. Perhaps you could spend more of your time trying to create a modern cooperative, state co-ownership mode of socialist production in your home country, a mode that can be and example for the people of the US and other capitalist countries, and less time talking nonsense about the commander-in-chief of the world capitalist empire.

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