Elio Delgado Legon
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.
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.