Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — Many people talk and write about the “need for change” in the world – and they’re right! The only problem is that an appeal or demand for change won’t necessarily lead to the right place.
I just read a brief commentary about a religion. In it, the writer wonders what the solution is to poverty and asks how we can save the environment.
According to the writer, this religion asserts that it’s necessary to change a number of related issues, such as hunger, war, disease, poverty, injustice, pollution, prejudice, and crime (I would add ignorance, which in most cases is the source of many of the ills for which change is needed).
Nevertheless, just when I thought the commenter was about to delve into all these issues raised by the religion in question, he ended by asking the question: “Has anything really changed or is changing in today’s Cuba?”
I feel it’s my duty to respond to the naïve question posed.
First, a revolution was carried out in Cuba when popularly supported rebel forces took power on January 1, 1959. And since a revolution means “changing everything that needs to be changed,” since that time Cuba has continued to change things.
Though it has displayed both strengths and weaknesses, like any human endeavor, it has always sought to improve the living conditions of the people.
As for hunger, disease and poverty, Cuba is among the countries that have done the most to reduce these, despite having a very powerful enemy that seeks — using every means possible — to cause it to fail in those endeavors and according to its declared objective, “cause hunger, disease and despair.”
With that aim in mind, they introduced African swine fever, Trips Palmy and other diseases targeted at people’s food sources. With the same goal, they introduced the Hemorrhagic Dengue Virus, which killed more than a hundred children. Likewise, they have denied Cuba the opportunity to buy medicines that could have saved or improved the lives of children with cancer.
I’m citing only a few examples here, though there are thousands more.
As I just noted, the island has continued to change ever since the triumph of the revolution, so why is Cuba being asked to change and not those who are seeking to wipe us out through hunger and disease?
As for the other issues raised in the commentary (war, injustice, prejudice, crime and pollution), it’s not principally in Cuba where the changes have to be made. War is being carried out against us, by any and all means possible. Cuba has never attacked anyone. The injustices are being committed against us!
A clear example is the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States for infiltrating anti-Cuban terrorist groups to prevent more deaths by their attacks. The “Cuban 5” were accused of being spies though they infiltrated not governmental organizations, but terrorist groups (or does this mean that terrorism serves the US government?).
Prejudices are slowly disappearing. They aren’t something that can be changed or eliminated by decree. The mentalities of human beings have to be changed, and this is something that only comes with time and a well-directed policy directed toward that end.
Any reduction in crime has to be the task of the whole people, along with the education of the younger generations and adequate protection and controls.
Finally, pollution is an issue that Cuba hasn’t ceased to fight.
We are eliminating sources of water and soil pollution to the extent the country’s economic capacity permits.
And in terms of the atmosphere, despite this being a small country, we have made a great contribution towards eliminating the use of greenhouse gases through our reforestation efforts that contribute millions of tons of oxygen and absorb significant amounts of atmosphere-polluting CO2 emissions.
As for the questions posed at the beginning by the religion in question, my answer is that there is indeed a solution to poverty and we can in fact save the environment, but this requires a political will not possessed by neoliberal capitalism.
Only by changing that system will we be able to change the situation that exists in the world.