Elio Delgado Legon*
HAVANA TIMES, Jan 30 — The battle of big capital to regain what was lost with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution began from the very first day of January 1959.
This involved not only losses in the economic terrain, but also political ones. The leftist government — with positive results and with tremendous popular support in a Latin America country — was setting a “bad example” for the other peoples of the subcontinent, as it was feared that they too might try to imitate Cuba by exerting their independence.
The US government actively supported the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista until the very last minute. Its army trained the troops and supplied the weapons and aircraft that killed tens of thousands of Cubans.
That is a fairly well-known fact, so I’m not revealing any secrets. Similarly, it’s also known that the US supported the dictatorial governments of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua, and later the authoritarian regimes in almost all the countries of Latin America.
Perhaps we’ll never be able to know the exact the number of people killed, disappeared and/or tortured under those dictatorships across our continent, just as the United States, the OAS, or the Human Rights Commission has never shown concern about the violation of the most fundamental human right, which is that to live.
Today smear campaigns are organized, accusing Cuba of violating human rights. Notwithstanding, never in its more than 50 years of existence has the revolutionary government in this country carried out a political assassination or disappearance or the torture of anyone.
There have been detainees described as political prisoners, but they were not “prisoners of conscience” as some have claimed. They are people who were arrested, tried and sentenced with all the necessary legal guarantees. Being convicted criminal offenders, they were sentenced just like in any other country in the world.
In Cuba, no one has ever been convicted for thinking differently or for speaking ill of the revolutionary government. Anyone who says that is deliberately lying.
With the triumph of the revolution, it was necessary to put on trial and condemn numbers of soldiers and police officials that served the Batista dictatorship by perpetrating atrocities, torture, rape and other crimes, some who received a death sentence.
This generated an extravagant campaign of lies in which it was stated that the revolution was plunging the country into a bloodbath, when in fact the only bloodbath that Cubans suffered was during the seven years of the Batista dictatorship.
The truth is that few of the murderers and torturers who could have been prosecuted actually were, since most of them fled to the United States when Batista was overthrown. Although their extradition was requested under agreements between the two countries, none of them were ever returned to Cuba.
The campaigns of lies against Cuba continued to proliferate at that time among almost all the news agencies. It reached the point that Cuban workers in the print media were forced to insert false information in the newspapers where they worked. However, some took the initiative of adding a postscript to put on record their views on the news in question.
One of the issues that has been used to accuse Cuba of violating human rights has been that of the political system organized in the country that excludes the forming of political parties, despite it receiving the approval of 98 percent of the electorate though direct and secret voting.
Actually political parties in Cuba were so discredited that with the triumph of the Revolution they died out simply because nobody wanted them anymore.
In the pre-revolutionary stage, several parties existed. But only the ones that represented the domestic and foreign oligarchies could really govern. These were the Liberal, Authentico and the Conservador parties. Nonetheless these three organizations were like one sole party since they responded to the same ideology.
There was also the Socialist Party, following a Marxist ideology; but most of the time it had to work underground since it was constantly banned. Its newspaper, Noticias de Hoy, was shut down, looted and its presses destroyed, particularly during the dictatorial regimes of Gerardo Machado and Fulgencio Batista.
During the last stage of the “authentico” governments there emerged the Partido del Pueblo Cubano (Ortodoxo), which with its left ideas and its slogan, “Vergüenza contra Dinero” (Honor versus Money), attracted the attention of the masses. Its victory was all but assured for the upcoming June 1952 elections, but Batista’s coup on March 10 of that year frustrated the democratic aspirations of the Cuban people.
During the Batista dictatorship, other parties were created to try to give a semblance of legality to that regime; elections were even held, though no one viewed them as legitimate. But with the triumph of the revolution, those party leaders who supported Batista, just as those who played their parts in elections, they all left the country.
The Cuban people, disappointed with that experience, stopped thinking about political parties, bending over backwards to support the revolutionary process.
(*) I am a Cuban who has lived for 75 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.