Elio Delgado Legón
HAVANA TIMES — “People cannot be more perfect than the sun. The sun burns with the same light that it warms. The sun has spots. The ungrateful speak only of the spots. The grateful speak of the light.”
So wrote Jose Marti, Cuba’s national hero, in his essay “The Three Heroes,” published in his magazine La Edad de Oro (The Golden Age), which was directed to the children of America.
I think about this same idea every time I see some criticism published about the Cuban Revolution – that bright sun that freed us from the darkness that engulfed Cuba after it gained its independence from Spanish colonialism only to fall into the clutches of the imperial United States eagle.
It’s not that we revolutionaries are enemies of criticism – quite the contrary. The revolution’s leaders themselves have repeatedly expressed the need for criticism in order to improve the management of government; but such criticism must be done professionally, if indeed one is really seeking to solve problems.
When one criticizes an aspect of reality they must delve into the causes of the difficulty, identifying those who are responsible for the situation that’s open to criticism and making them known.
Otherwise, we would be blaming people who aren’t guilty; and what would be even worse is that we would be accusing those who have done and are doing the most to resolve those issues.
Some time ago I read a comment in a publication concerning the poor construction quality of some apartment buildings in Santiago de Cuba. An accusation was leveled against the government for its having abandoned that heroic city.
Notwithstanding, at that very same moment the most important public work ever realized in the history of Santiago was in full swing: the construction of a modern aqueduct, which is being created to solve the centuries-old problem of supplying water to that city.
The opinion piece only spoke about dilapidated houses. Yet no mention was made of the thousands of apartments built by the government and turned over to families, households who pay only modest monthly fees to pay off the legal values of those properties, which are also subsidized.
Of course, the purpose of that commentary, which didn’t bother to mention the aqueduct public works project, was to only to point out the sunspots, and to promote a sense of calamity in that city and across the country, adding to the media campaign of lies and defamation being carried out by the enemies of the revolution.
More recently, I read another comment about a doctors’ office that was semi-abandoned and falling into ruin. However the article didn’t dig into what was really occurring; it didn’t investigate why this incident happened or who was responsible for it.
By presenting the facts in this way, a misconception is given about the status of health care facilities in Cuba. This is despite the existence of an ongoing, nationwide, capital improvements program to repair and expand all of the country’s health care facilities, including hospitals, polyclinics and clinics.
Merely taking a glance at the hospitals in the capital, we can realize the monumental work being carried out by the government to improve care for the people in this field, in addition to bettering the working conditions of health care personnel.
Is it fair that because of the deterioration of one office — of which the causes are unknown — such judgments can be made about the work of an entire institution that is doing so much for people’s health?
Criticism isn’t just talking about sunspots in order to give a disastrous image of the sun. To criticize is to analyze the causes and background of the facts, to identify those responsible and to make them accountable for their responsibilities.
When it comes to spots, we must also talk about the light; otherwise we would be bringing ourselves down to the same level as those thankless individuals who Marti spoke about, and we would be contributing nothing to solving the problem.
Those who act in such ways know the damage they’re doing and are collaborating with the campaign of slander and lies against the Cuban Revolution, which despite having to endure an economic, commercial and financial blockade that has lasted more than half century, does not abandon anyone to their own fate and does everything possible to improve the living conditions of our people.