Cuba: The Battle of Ideas Doesn’t Accept Lies

Elio Delgado Legon


HAVANA TIMES — Since the time humans reached a certain level of development, evolving past the primitive communal stage of existence to achieve other forms of organization, society has been divided into two camps: slave masters and slaves, feudal lords and serfs, aristocrats and commoners, the owners of capital (bosses) and workers.

In each of those dichotomies, the first exploited the second lived off of them.

In the realm of ideas, the exploiters and the exploited have always had different views – which is logical.

Worldwide, since the emergence of capitalism, these differences have been expressed in the contrast between bourgeois capitalist ideology and workers socialist ideology.

Workers around the world are the majority, though they haven’t found it easy to choose governments that respond to their interests.

Among other reasons, this is because the powerful have been those who have had the resources to impose their ideas through propaganda to keep the masses ignorant. Using lies, they have deceived entire peoples.

Workers have been allowed certain freedoms that do not endanger the foundations of the capitalist system.

The ideas of workers themselves have always been expressed in a transparent, clear, no-lies approach since the triumph of the Russian Revolution up through today.

But the ideas of the corporate elite, with rare exceptions, are always supported by lies to defame and discredit their opponents. Through this they neutralize workers or win converts to their side.

A list of examples could be very long, ranging from making the world believe in the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the intention of Iran to produce nuclear weapons, attacks on civilians by the Libyan government, the repetition of the Libyan script in Syria, and many more – though reality is quite different.

In short, what they attempt are political “regime changes” that favor the imperial aim of politically, militarily and economically dominating the world.

The use of lies for political purposes is ethically unacceptable, both in international politics as well as nationally.

Those politicians who use lies and broken promises to obtain power don’t deserve one iota of respect from their people.

Cuban revolutionaries never use lies and slander to gain followers – it’s not necessary. The truth of the revolution is stronger than all the lies of the enemy. We have millions of examples of this in Cuba.

They have been inventing lies against the Cuban Revolution since the triumphant victory in 1959.

Many of these have been already been written about, such as when the enemy aircraft that attacked the Havana airport and the Bay of Pigs in April 1961, which were painted with Cuban insignia. Lies were even used at the UN at that time when it was reported that the pilots were rebelling Cubans.

For the enemies of the revolution, lies have always been weapons used due to their lack of strong arguments. For revolutionaries, lying is the most serious form of unethical and immoral behavior that exists.

We make mistakes because we are not infallible, but we are always truthful.

The counterrevolution fabricates “dissidents” out of ordinary prisoners and invents “police attacks” in instances where the police are in fact protecting these people from attacks by citizens who are understandably outraged by their attitudes against the revolution.

Such dissidents twist the most unfortunate accidents into “repression,” though those who are responsible are often guilty of manslaughter.

One of those accidents involved the 13 de Marzo tugboat, which was completely unsuited for sailing in the open sea and a sure death. Despite the Cuban Coast Guard’s efforts to prevent this catastrophic and unfortunate accident occurred.

More recently there was a traffic accident that killed two Cuban dissidents. Lies immediately began to circulate trying to make these look like murders committed by the Cuban government.

Never in the history of the revolution has there been a political assassination, an act of torture or a “disappearance.” When someone is convicted, they have been tried with all of the legal guarantees – and not for having conflicting ideas. No one has ever been convicted for ideas; they are convicted for breaking the law.

From the days of the attack on the Moncada Garrison and the guerilla struggle in the Sierra Maestra Mountains up through today, the truth has always been the most powerful weapon of the Cuban Revolution.

No one can refute this, except with lies.

To use lies, which are always discovered, is to lose one’s moral standing in the eyes of the people. The revolution has maintained that standing for over 50 years, always telling the truth, accepting mistakes when they occur and revealing the lies of the enemy.

In 1895 Marti wrote: “Thought is the biggest war is which we are engaged: Let’s win at thinking.” Today the battle is one of ideas, and that battle does not accept lies.

20 thoughts on “Cuba: The Battle of Ideas Doesn’t Accept Lies

  • Yes, it is talking to doors but it’s not the ‘doors’ I’m writing for but those who may be seduced into walking through them. The most effective propaganda is that which is not perceived as propaganda, which is why some, like ‘Cubaverdad’ go out of their way to disguise the nature of their writing. We all know Granma is propaganda and read it with that perspective. But Internet anonymity requires careful analysis of material to determine the prejudices of anonymous sources.

    ‘Cubaverdad’ and ‘Moses’ are clearly both hostiles to this website, to the Cuban government and to Cuban people who insist on posting here, doors that need to be labelled for what they are.

  • It’s a freaking hate-site, Lawrence… it’s like talking to a door.

  • “The estimates of Cubans killed range from 35,000 to 141,000 (1959-1987) according to the site of R. J. Rummel.”

    A estimative that varies over 400% (!) cannot be taken seriously.

  • Belittlement and ridicule would be wasted. Your writing speaks for itself. I’ve plenty to say as you can see but we obviously operate at different mental levels. Belittlement and ridicule are not intended – only reality.

  • We will keep to the main topic – the subject of lying. ‘Cubaverdad’ studiously avoids acknowledging the crimes his adopted country has committed for more than 100 years, going back to its despicable role in the first Cuban Revolution, and continues to commit against the Cuban people on a daily basis through its hostile policy toward Cuba’s government and a 50-year embargo.

    ‘Cubaverdad’, however is more than eager to highlight the shortcoming of Cuba’s government. Is distorted, one-sided writing lying by omission, or just propaganda? A body of opinion feels the question is academic as human beings have the ability to internalise their lies, that is, come to actually see them as truth and honesty.

    So we can characterise what ‘Cubaverdad’ writes as propaganda, more or less honest propaganda, that is, containing no outright untruths, albeit there are distortions and unproven claims. The Cuban government regularly engages in more or less honest propaganda as well. By seeing it as lying whilst not understanding that what ‘Cubaverdad’ writes falls into the same category, it illustrates that ‘Cubaverdad’ is not a person you can count on for clearheaded thinking.

    Nor for accurately reading what’s been written, claiming he was accused of ranting about the 13 de mazo tragedy. No, only ranting about claiming Cuban government lying.

    ‘Cubaverdad’s selective propaganda does reach reprehensible proportions, however, by studiously ignoring another tragedy that is vivid for Cubans, due to US, not Cuban government involvement. Quoting from Wikipedia, Cubana de Aviación Flight 455 was a Cuban flight from Barbados to Jamaica that was brought down by a terrorist attack on October 6, 1976. All 78 people on board the Douglas DC-8 aircraft were killed in what was then the deadliest terrorist airline attack in the Western Hemisphere. Two time bombs were used, variously described as dynamite or C-4. Evidence implicated several CIA-linked anti-Castro Cuban exiles.

    The American government openly protected two of the instigators, of course. Orlando Bosh has since died but Posada Carriles continues to escape the US two-faced ‘war on terrorism’. Havana Times has carried stories about the victims.

    “My entire life has been marked by that terrorist act,” said Camilo Rojo, the grandson of one of the Cubana flight 455 victims.” “It’s painful to know that Posada Carriles is only being tried for lying to immigration officials,” said Margarita Morales, whose father died in the plane bombing. Her father was a trainer for Cuba’s national fencing team. All 24 team members died in the crash.

    [You may want to skip this paragraph if you don’t have a strong stomach.] A forensic report performed by the Barbadian coroner describes the condition of the body of little Sabrina, a nine-year old Guyanese girl who was traveling with her family to Cuba: “Body of a girl around 9 years of age. Brain missing, only facial bones, scalp, and hair remaining. Lungs and heart destroyed. Liver and intestines shattered. Buttocks missing on right lower limb. Compound fracture of tibia and fibula…“

    Let’s pay proper attention to all of the tragic stories that came from the antagonism between the two countries, instigated by the US, not just ones that serve to demonise the government the writer wants to attack. One-sided propaganda always results in one-sided propaganda in response in order to address the imbalance. That is what is taking place here. Hopefully ‘Cubaverdad’ will learn from it. We shall see.

  • Your dogmatic characterization of those that have a good understanding of reality in Cuba as “capitalists” shows you are far from objective and dogmatically impaired.

    Thank you for confirming that the Cuban dissent is homegrown and motivated by the repression of the regime. We therefore agree that the Castro regime’s propaganda that these are “mercenaries” is a lie. You feeble attempt to discredit people that get help to survive in a country run by a repressive regime that abuses human rights – as you confirmed – does not change any of it. Cuban dissident get help because they are respected abroad and supported in their aims: a free and democratic Cuba in which human rights are respected.
    The Cuban dissident movement does not support the cause of anyone but of the Cuban people.

    As far as the tragedy you claim I “rant” about: maybe you should read the letter of a child that was on board the boat. A child you will slander as a “ranting capitalist” of course when you have read his account.
    If you haven’t found any “objective” it is because you reject offhand all facts that do not agree with the lies of the regime. Lots of witnesses reported the “13 de mazo” was repeatedly rammed which caused the boar to break up.

    As far as victims go: the Castro regime made a lot more victims in Cuba than Batista of the few Cuban exiles that regrettably turned to unacceptable violence.
    Fidel Castro’s regime in on Genocide Watch’s list for having made thousands (estimates up to 120,000 victims).
    The Cuba Archive project has documented over 10,000 of them with all relevant facts:

    So spare me your crocodile tears and your low blows and insults.
    Sadly for you people that do have free access to information – unlike the Cuban people – are very well able to reach a conclusion with respect of the “battle of ideas” based on the wealth of information from various points of view. To your utter dismay lots of verifiable data and facts are posted that how the main source of lies is the Castro regime and its apologists.

    As I have said in the past: the rare instance of Fidel Castro acknowledging responsibility for crimes against humanity in the case of the treatment of homosexuals in the UMAP just illustrates the overall hypocrisy of the regime acting as if thousands of other perceived enemies of the regime did not suffer the same abuse. Even those that wanted to collect information about that one aspect Fidel Castro admitted to were savagely repressed.

    In lots of cases of extra-judicial killings (“13 de marzo”, Brothers to the Rescue, …) and cases of human rights abuses (torture, repression, prison conditions, …) the Castro regime has refused any and all international observers to investigate to protect their lies.

    A society that has to deny its citizens free access to information and to deny them the right to freely enter and leave their own country can not be built on anything but lies. That history has shown over and over again.

  • again with belittlement and ridicule. apparently you have no other better argument.

  • I started to write a reply to ‘just my opinion’ before realising what I was looking at. Hopefully it’s not representative of Canadian Phd candidates, if we can believe that. The style and content belies the claim.

  • As usual, Lawrence W., an excellent comment . . . And thanks for letting me know how to spell “derrieres.”

  • ‘ Cubaverdad’, you have mistaken propaganda for lies. It’s a common mistake capitalists make, equating the two. Propaganda is telling one side of the story. Socialists know the difference and employ propaganda, feeling it’s necessary to counteract the one-sided story told by capitalists that oftentimes are outright lies, what Elio writes about. An honest telling wins capitalists no friends. It would go something like, “to the powerful go the spoils and everyone else should kiss their derrieres.”

    There is a legitimate philosophical point to be made as to whether telling one side of a story constitutes lying but there’s no room for discussion here with someone who doesn’t understand the difference between the two. I’ll wait for a more knowledgeable person before inviting that dialogue.

    ‘Cubaverdad’ rants about the Cuban government lying, citing two instances, one about “the nature of dissent in Cuba,” stating it is “home grown and motivated by the repression and human rights abuses of the regime.” The pages of Havana Times certainly validates that statement but what is omitted – the other side propaganda does not allow – is that dissent is also obviously being promoted by foreign agents with agendas supporting foreign governments. Look no further than the postings of ‘Cubaverdad’, ‘Moses’ and a host of others, promulgating dissent.

    As for the other example cited by ‘ Cubaverdad’ as government lying, about the 13 de marzo tugboat sinking, habitually referred to by Cuban Americans as a “massacre” – the term ‘ Cubaverdad’ uses so presumably a member of that community – at this point in time, 12 years after the incident, I cannot find an objective accounting of the incident. Instead, the web is flooded with one-sided accounts from an element extremely and violently hostile to the Cuban government.

    The one obvious observation one can make is the one-sided concern you see when reading these accounts for the victims of the tugboat sinking, studiously ignoring the fate of the far greater number of victims who have died in Cuban American terrorist attacks.

    Havana Times was not around at the time to provide a perspective, but in February of this year, an article titled, “Will We Cubans Reconcile?” contained, “Cuban society … does not consist of those who planned or triggered the bomb on the plane over Barbados, nor is it those who ordered and carried out the sinking of the 13 de Marzo tugboat.”

    We don’t know the details about what took place in 1994. Using the ‘most likely’ rule, it is unlikely the Cuban government ordered the ramming of the tugboat or ordered that survivors not be rescued. It is likely that the climate of opinion the government was responsible for caused first responder rescuers to view these people as ‘gusanos’ – worms, that affected their judgment.

    It would be wonderful if the government could acknowledge its role in the affair and apologise. Considering the hostility from the other side, however, presenting its one-sided version of events, it’s unlikely to happen. Are there lies here? Only if you are incapable of understanding the bigger picture.

  • Laurence,
    you are obviously another ignorant American that knows nothing about Canada. Where our Parliamentary system allows us the freedom to vote several parties in, a ruling party and many opposition parties. no, i’m not claiming that it’s perfect, but it allows us the political freedom to have a ruling party and several opposition parties to ensure that the ruling party doesn’t just do whatever it wants. our leaders aren’t necessarily popular with everyone, but the ruling party (for which i didn’t vote) was voted in by 39.6% of the population, and i respect that. i voted for the largest opposition party in the current gov’t with 30.9 percent of the vote, who do a damned good job at curtailing the ruling parties power. people need to stop comparing Cuba to the US. it’s like peas and corn. lets start comparing Cuba to other socialist models (an even better example would be Sweden or perhaps Switzerland) so that Cuba can progress in a way that is representative of the social models that Cubans want (not that are forced upon them). you also fail to acknowledge that those who don’t want to be employees can be employers (and i’m not talking about selling sandwiches out of your living room/bedroom window), but then that automatically makes them the ‘evil’ that you want to eradicate doesn’t it? i feel sorry for you, because you must be an employee that feels disgruntled and powerless in your job (otherwise where would your bitterness come from?). perhaps you lack the confidence or credentials to leave that job and seek out something better… i work for an academic institution where i feel valued and appreciated. we all have our duties and responsibilities. we cannot all be directors, nor would most of us (including myself) wish to be one. are you so power hungry Laurence, that you cannot see that we do not all strive to be on the top of the heap? my goals in life are much more modest then that. once my phd is finished i will be a research scientist and possibly a professor, but i dont desire to run my university. administration isn’t my thing anyways. you talk about how our political leaders buy our votes through propaganda. again, you must mean US political leaders buy YOUR votes through propaganda. our campaigns are much more modest, but that is besides the point i want to make. i may agree with you here, that people need to start thinking for themselves (and that includes Cubans. i’ve never felt so targeted by propaganda then when i living in Cuba, but i suppose that as i don’t watch tv i dont feel targeted by {especially US} commercial propaganda that makes it into canadian living rooms). why don’t you channel your anger Laurence and make your country a better place instead of personally attacking the opinions of others. the way you ridicule the opinions of others is immature and unproductive and will never accomplish more then alienating others and pushing them further from your own views. and through this last comment, i can see that you are not an advocate of open and honest debate. i suspect that you are one who contends that only your ideas are right and all others are wrong. you must be a very difficult person to work with (… possibly why you are so disgruntled?).
    furthermore, how can you compare tweeting about bombing an airport and criticizing your government. just for fun Laurence, after you read this, go outside and scream ‘i hate my government’ and see what happens. my hypothesis is that NOTHING WILL HAPPEN.
    in case you are interested, here are some links to some of the thousands of social programs that canada has, and that canadians vehemently defend. our social programs totalled over $170 billion in 2009

    i would like to reiterate that life is not black and white, there is a whole spectrum of colours out there (and by the way, you should have known my nationality by the way i spell colour ;). the only way to change, reform, and improve life is through moderate and open dialogue, not through force Laurence, and even less through ridicule.

  • Thank-you ‘just my opinion’ for the belly laughs you provided in your comment. There were so many howlers, it was difficult not to LOL throughout. As you haven’t identified the country you are writing about it may be a mythical kingdom and this may be purposeful satire to make the point about what doesn’t exist. I doubt the satire but the mythical nature is obvious. I feel safe writing there is currently no real country, capitalist or socialist, that meets the description. So what country are you writing about?

    Here are the laughing – er, talking – points:

    “we have jobs with bosses, many of us have bosses that are extremely thankful for us and treat us very well.” – You don’t have to be a Marxist to recognise the truism of Marx’s observation that waged labour – working for a boss – always creates a class system with an imbalance or power, the root cause of inequality. Bosses, of course, are always thankful for those who agree to subservience. You may be treated well for working under this model but try asking for equal power and see if the good treatment continues.

    “We have the right to be treated with dignity and integrity.” – Everyone has this right, of course, but not a guarantee they will get it unless you have the power to make it happen. In a system of unequal power, by definition, the less powerful have no guarantees.

    “we have governments that we choose and can criticize when we want without being viewed with suspicion (or worse)” – No country I am familiar with, outside of some laudable Latin American ones, have popular leaders. This indicates most people definitely do not have governments they chose. The only choices allowed are to pick the lesser of two evils. Criticism is allowed, but only if it is non-threatening. True of both Cuba and of the US. Tune into breaking news about Julian Assange as a vivid example of what happens in the US when the government finds journalism threatening. There are many other examples, only slightly less subtle. I can elaborate if you want.

    “we can change our minds and vote for someone different if we want because the battle of ideas comes from an open and frank dialogue” – [struggling to maintain composure, containing mirth] the outcome of elections in capitalist countries, by common knowledge, are normally won by who have the most money to buy publicity, aka propaganda. Look at the billions currently being spent on the US presidential election. Characterising this as a “battle of ideas” is a farce to say the least.

    “it comes from the evolution of ideas, brainstorming and looking at all sides, good or bad, pretty or ugly.” – See above. Ha, ha, ha, ha ha. Oops, I lost it.

    “we do not put ourselves or others at risk for speaking our minds.” – Try telling that to those imprisoned due to entrapment, profiling, monitoring of social media – remember the guy in England arrested after tweeting about bombing an airport? – refused flights for being on a no-fly list, the treatment of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, travelling to Cuba from the US, etc, etc. Ominously, the list grows every week as popular unrest increases and governments feel threatened. Remember the rule stated previously, criticism is allowed by governments only if it is non-threatening.

    So what mythical country are you writing about, huh?

  • For one that claims that the “battle of ideas” does not “accept lies” the author certainly repeats lots of lies of the regime.
    The Cuban regime lies about the nature of dissent in Cuba. The Cuban dissident movement is home grown and motivated by the repression and human rights abuses of the regime.
    Lies, not truth, have been the weapon of the Castro regime.
    Lies from the start up to now.
    Lies on matters of health, economy, human rights, … the list is endless.

    Even Raul Castro stated the revolution had to stop lying.

    “He [Raul Castro] also has shown he is willing to criticise aspects of the communist system that are not working. “The Revolution cannot lie,” he said in comments carried by the Communist Party newspaper Granma. “This isn’t saying that there have been comrades who have lied, but the imprecision, inexact data, consciously or unconsciously masked, can no longer continue.”

    Raul Castro calls for more openness
    Sunday, December 24, 2006

    The most revolting lie of the Mr. Delgado Legon in my opinion is about the “13 de marzo” massacre.
    It the boat had been allowed to leave and if it hadn’t been rammed by other boats on various of occasions the victims would still be alive. This revolting attempt to blame the victims is beyond belief.

  • And I will preserve ‘Moses’ comment, and when people ask me why Cubans and the rest of the world must always be aware of what the US represents – unbridled imperialism – I will quote it. ‘Moses’ has indeed let his guard down this time. When asked “why the US must maintain the pressure on the Cuban government” rather than ” simply allowing Cubans to find their own freedom in their own time” – a universally accepted principle and right, breached only by imperialist oppressors – his reply is, it is “what must [be] overcome before Cubans can be free”!

    Wow, indeed. So, Americans “simply” cannot allow Cubans to “find their own freedom in their own time”! Long live Big Brother! Thank-you ‘Moses’ for letting us clearly see what you represent. This comment will come back to haunt you.

  • Im always kind of confused why Cuba is a little bit behind the curve when it comes to technology, I understand it’s probably from the embargo/capitalism

    But in the US there’s a newly proposed system based on new technology with much the same aims as communism to provide for everyone, the system is considered a resource based society in that it accounts for the amount of available resources on earth, and how many people depend on said resources, and then distributes them accordingly based on programs, technology, robotics, and automation.
    The idea essentially is to provide for all, while not having a requirement for labor by using machines.
    you can find out more by looking up the venus project, and the zeitgeist movement.

  • The vitriol and howling emanating from the usual ‘persons of interest’ here is not unexpected. The article was about lying. It obviously hit close to home. One of the exhilarating experiences visiting Cuba is the lack of lying and obfuscation you encounter – no commercials, no politicians claiming they have your interest at heart when they obviously don’t, only widely spaced billboards exhorting citizenry to remain staunch to the Revolution.

    I’ve encountered a lying-free zone before, when I spend time with my First Nations’ friends. They first made me aware of the lying nature of the white man’s capitalist society, not by lecturing me but far more effectively, by their incredulity when I told them about a politician that outright lied to his constituency. WHY, they asked, it can come of no good.

    It made me realize what lying represents – unreality – presenting an untrue picture of what is – and for a culture that traditionally has depended on a realistic picture of the world they live in, in order to survive, lying is a threat to survival.

    It is for us too. Which is why capitalism, dependent on lies for its existence, is responsible for so much death and destruction.

    Thank-you Elio for your wonderful essay! Pay no attention to the lying eyes that are howling here. It only shows you have hit a nerve with them. If the human race is to survive, they must pass. I am optimistic that we will survive.

  • Thank you, once more, Elio, for an excellent post.

    I think however you avoid certain realities of the constitutional establishment of Marxism-Leninism as the “national ideology,” thereby making certain democratic activities and expressions into “breaking the law.” But the core of your presentation is 100% valid.

    Certain pro-capitalists who comment in HT will never understand this valid core.

    Your article infers however that the lies and evils of the world emanate from “corporate elites,” and no reference is made to monopoly, imperialist bankers and their ideological toadies. To point an accusative finger at the heads of corporations, and say nothing about the heads of imperial financial organizations, excuses the evil head and bloodsucking fangs of the serpent.

  • wow, there is so many things wrong with this, i don’t even know where to start…. please Elio, go and visit (if you have that right) the world that you have so many opinion about you will see that the majority of us do not live as you say we do. we are not the enslaved masses as you describe. yes, we have jobs with bosses, many of us have bosses that are extremely thankful for us and treat us very well. We have the right to be treated with dignity and integrity. and dare i say that you have jobs with bosses too… we have governments that we choose and can criticize when we want without being viewed with suspicion (or worse) or like we are in the pay of a foreign and subversive power. we can change our minds and vote for someone different if we want because the battle of ideas comes from an open and frank dialogue, it comes fro the evolution of ideas, brainstorming and looking at all sides, good or bad, pretty or ugly. had we only seen the Earth from one angle, we never would have discovered that it was round Elio, which changed our lives forever. we do not put ourselves or others at risk for speaking our minds. in my country we have a socialist democracy, we have a top of the line universal health care and we ALL have the right to study in some of the most respected academic institutions in the world. if we have no food there are ‘food banks’ that will give it to us. if we have no clothes there are government organizations that will provide it to us. it doesn’t have to be ‘the revolution or nothing’, there is socialism beyond the revolution. the ‘new man’ already exists Elio, it doesn’t have to be forced out of you. black and white are not colours, you should try and see that there ARE many colours that exist however.

  • Wow! What a load of flaming!

  • Wow! What a load of crap! You have finally managed to write something that is completely without merit. I will preserve this post and when people ask me why the US must maintain the pressure on the Cuban government as opposed to simply allowing Cubans to find their own freedom in their own time, I will show them this post as as example of what must overcome before Cubans can be be free. Incredible!

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