Elio Delgado Legon

Havana, Cuba

HAVANA TIMES — The opinions of those who believe they are capable of governing Cuba, who give us lesson after lesson about how to solve the country’s problems overnight, would be worthy of pity were they not so outrageous.

In the very first paragraph of his recent article, published in Havana Times under the title of “Cuba: The People’s Peaceful Resistance Continues”, Pedro Campos declares himself an enemy of order, discipline and the demand for civil responsibility, equating these terms with outright repression. I can’t think of a single State without order, discipline and the demand for such responsibility. Without these things, all hell would break loose.

In addition, he attempts to portray acts of vandalism, theft, impoliteness, the mistreatment of the elderly, pregnant women and the physically handicapped, the indiscriminate use of obscene words, dishonesty, indecency, shamelessness, and the general lack of decorum which has spread across Cuban society as a peaceful, popular revolt prompted by the ineptitude of our leaders.

It is incredible that these (and more scathing) accusations should be leveled at a government which, since the very triumph of the revolution, has had to dodge more acts of aggression than any country has ever been subjected to by the world’s most powerful nation.

I will mention only a few, to refresh the author’s memory. The activities of armed counterrevolutionary groups, trained and equipped by the CIA, the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, and the constant threat of a direct invasion by the United States, called for intelligent and capable leaders. Without them, Cuba would likely have been wiped off the map.

Having been able to endure and negotiate, for over 50 years, what is euphemistically referred to as the “embargo” – a cruel and genocidal economic war policy which persecutes every transaction, every bank transfer or financial action in any way related to Cuba – and maintained the unity of the Cuban people, 90 percent of whom support the revolution, is a feat that could never have been achieved by incapable individuals, as Mr. Campos would portray our leaders.

Fidel and Raúl Castro at a meeting of the Cuban parliament in February, 2013. Photo: granma.cubaweb.cu

The article in question, in addition to being deceitful, is offensive and disrespectful, for at no point did our president speak of repressing the people. Nor has the revolution ever repressed the people, as the article explicitly asserts. Quite the contrary, it calls on the people, on each citizen, to give more of themselves, “inspiring each and every one to be better through personal example.”

The author of the article deliberately distorts the reality of our country’s economic system when he affirms that the government has complete control over Cuba’s economic and political structures and that it mercilessly exploits its salaried workers.

All honest Cubans know that the revolutionary government spares no effort to provide us with the best living conditions a poor country can afford, and that it does so without an abundance of natural resources, while enduring a ruthless blockade that aims to bring us to our knees through hunger and disease.

One has to be very ignorant politically, or ill-intentioned, to omit these circumstances, as the aforementioned contributor does.

Mr. Campos lies disrespectfully when he claims that the State has been getting all it can from the sweat of wage laborers. To begin with, all of the resources the State secures are re-invested in the people’s wellbeing. This is something the majority of Cubans know. If it weren’t the case, how would we be able to explain that, during the long years of the Special Period, caused by the US blockade and the collapse of East European socialism and the USSR, the Cuban people remained loyal to their revolution and their political leaders?

Faced with a similar situation, any other country would have given in to US pressure, which is precisely what the enemies of the revolution expected. But the people held its ground firmly despite all hardships, because it knew it was the only way of holding on to their freedom. And the country has gradually put behind it the hardest years of its economic crisis and continues to report growth, which is modest but still far greater than what those who try to give us lessons in governance would have us believe.

Faced with a similar situation, any other country would have given in to US pressure, which is precisely what the enemies of the revolution expected. But the people held its ground firmly despite all hardships, because it knew it was the only way of holding on to their freedom.

Everyone knows that the government is working hard to overcome the problems of the twocurrency system (which was simply necessary at one point), low salaries and pensions and high prices. These problems must be tackled by all Cubans, working together, and one simply cannot improvise solutions when dealing with such delicate issues. Mr. Campos’ suggestions therefore seem unnecessary to me. He probably knows, as much as anyone, that these problems are being carefully studied.

As I see it, the issue of salaries and pensions is more complex. It is not a question of raising the country’s minimum wage and thus raising the salaries of all State employees, for that would result in an immediate increase in the people’s purchasing power and a rise in product prices, given the increased demand this would cause.

In fact, what we have in Cuba aren’t low salaries but high prices caused by the high purchasing power of part of the population. Public employees and pensioners are practically the only ones who have been left with low salaries. Workers in the manufacturing, construction, services and other industries, have decorous salaries.

Though I could reply to other points brought up in the article, I think I have said enough. I felt it was necessary to at least reply to the more outrageous statements, such as the claim that acts of delinquency are part of a silent revolt against the revolution. Perhaps counterrevolutionaries are hoping to swell their flimsy ranks with delinquents and other anti-social individuals, so as to govern the country in their name. To do so, they would first have to destroy the revolution.

Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.

40 thoughts on “Cuba: A Reply to Those Who Would Give Us Lessons in Governance

  • …solely because of the US? I always thought it was Marxist central planning that was at fault. Just look at the agricultural disaster that is Cuba today !

  • No John, we lived it. Including the May day marches, pioneros, field work, interminable lines for miserable quality and little food (and thus was before the special period) etc. It’s always the “intellectuals” who dont have to live the system that support it.

  • In his book, “Stalin’s Curse”, Robert Gellately makes a very convincing case that Stalin was an orthodox Marxist-Leninist, through and through. The excuse, often heard from Leftists today, that Stalin was some kind of aberration and does not represent “True Socialism” is a lie.

  • You’re playing that childish game of trying to re-label the failed programme and hoping nobody notices. That’s called the “No True Scotsman” argument, and it’s a weak rhetorical ruse.

    Perhaps you should read Marx, Engels and Lenin. The Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Eastern Europe and Cuba were all based on the system they defined. They called it “socialism” because that’s what it is. If you have your own special, secret definition of the word “socialism”, that’s wonderful. Enjoy it, in your own fantasy world. But your obsession does not alter the fact that these totalitarian socialist states existed in the real world and all failed miserably.

    The Castro regime keeps a grip on power through repression and propaganda. The Cuban regime survives, while the Cuban nation dies slowly, because the regime receive subsidies from Venezuela and enough hard currency from tourists and joint ventures like the Sherrit International nickel mine operation. Without these subsidies, which flow from the hated capitalist world to Cuba ironically enough, the regime would collapse.

  • Fidel retired, but his brother Raul still rules. What’s your point?

    I have consistently advocated a free, democratic and sovereign Cuba. I have never supported a return to the era of US hegemony over Cuba, but your kind will always present the choice as a false dichotomy.

    The Cuban people have never been allowed to make their choice, as the Socialist path was forced upon them.

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