Summit and Children in Cuba

Photo: Granma

By Francisco Acevedo

HAVANA TIMES – The Summit of the Group of 77 least industrialized countries and China was held in Cuba over the weekend. Another event that resolves nothing but implies great expenses, with a higher impact on a country that is in the middle of an economic crisis.

Amid all of the poverty and blackouts, filling delegation members’ stomachs with food that Cuban children aren’t eating, with the very dollars that aren’t being invested in the population, is an insult at the very least.

When talking about problems, we hear the same excuses, the same mistakes, the same appeal to hold in there, and there isn’t even a schedule for blackouts anymore, which can be 7-8 hours long every day outside Havana. Things aren’t much better in the capital though, problems here have been with water supply and garbage collection, with small garbage dumps on nearly every corner, hotspots for dozens of diseases.

During the Summit’s inauguration, our dear Miguel Diaz-Canel said that we are living off the First World’s handouts, when he is doing the same thing to Cubans inside Cuba, but he’s always seeing the speck in his brother’s eye. At every meeting, he brings up just how much the First World consumes compared to the Third World. However, he never compares Cuba with its equals, because his country is one of the worst off amongst the poor.

It was Cuba’s turn to host the summit because it currently holds the Group’s temporary presidency, and nobody cared that everything they were going to experience during these days has been paid for with the sacrifice of regular Cubans, who are constantly being told there aren’t resources even to make their daily bread.

Like every conclave, it’s a waste of resources to not fix anything, but the matter is worse when it is held in a country that can’t afford this luxury. “How much could be done with what some countries spend on military expenses?” asked Diaz-Canel, and I ask him: “How much could be done with what was spent on this Summit to make my day-to-day life better? For fun.

He is satisfied with representatives from every visiting country just condemning the US embargo. But this is much cheaper for us at the UN every year, it’s the handouts that the Summit will leave us, beyond boasting about things that don’t really translate into wellbeing for Cubans in reality.

Within this same context, the representative from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Cuba, Alejandra Trossero, says that Cuba puts children at the heart of their interventions. That’s because every program she visits (a couple of hours listening to leaders of the hour talking, twice a year) displays their commitment to children, in terms of securing them access to healthcare and education.

However, she knows that our little ones don’t have a snack to take to school, aren’t sleeping properly to recover their energy and go back to learn the next day, without any real affordable entertainment options, and that if they go to the hospital with a head wound, there’s no thread to suture the cut or anesthesia to alleviate the pain, or many other medicines.

It doesn’t matter, neither her or any other representative from different UN offices will ever see this, who live their lives all over the world with high and privileged incomes, and they don’t stick their noses in even when the world around their eyes is falling to pieces.

It’s not worth putting their career at the UN on the line or being expelled from the country, not even if it is wrongfully, and this is why they are open to following the dictatorship’s game in this case. For starters, in Cuba, the Minister of Foreign Relations (MINREX) approves the person being sent, after obviously going through an extensive study on their political beliefs, background and outlooks on life. None of them come from nowhere, and agents (mainly diplomats) have already sent a report on this person, who is normally leaning to the Left if they are approved, an activist and admirer of the Cuban Revolution to some extent.

As none of them are Cuban, or are interested in changing anything in Cuba, they complete their stay without getting into trouble and leave with a good reference to continue their career in Burundi or Uruguay, where they will repeat the same pattern until it’s time to retire with a high stipend and medical insurance guaranteed, after pushing two or three projects here or there with funds from UN taxpayers.

It seems the Cuban population doesn’t really agree with this lady’s opinion, because photos of graffiti (“Díaz-Canel singao”) written up big on walls, and protests in different parts of the country, were shared. Just hours later, photos of bathrooms at a school in Holguin went viral, which looked more like latrines and were in awful hygienic conditions.

Then, we have to listen to dear Esteban Lazo, president of the Cuban Parliament, say that Fidel Castro is the creator of human beings on this island, because they didn’t know they were Cuban before 1959. Anyway…

Changing the subject a bit. Last week, we spoke about mercenaries hired by Russia for its war on Ukraine. Well, this Thursday, a statement from the Cuban Ambassador in Moscow, Julio Antonio Garmendia, was issued, saying that Cuba wasn’t against the employment of young Cubans for this purpose. In other words, it depends on who the intermediary is to determine if it is in fact mercenarism or a job contract. If the Government gets a piece of the pie, then it isn’t mercenarism.

That very same day, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez confirmed on Twitter that his administration doesn’t approve the recruitment of people to take part in international conflicts, under any circumstance.

Everything seems to indicate that Mr. Garmendia didn’t have a briefing with his boss and left him hanging after taking the ladder away from him, as we say here. This story will have repercussions, and we’ll keep you in the loop.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

3 thoughts on “Summit and Children in Cuba

  • What a great idea! Hotel occupancy is at 27%. Let seniors stay there too! They will certainly appreciate the elevators! Future hotel occupancy is unlikely to improve much anyway. The shortages are affecting the tourist trade too.

  • I watched the government repave the Prado just two days before the dignitaries arrived. I thought it was too bad they would not be traveling down the adjacent street / my street which is Consulado. Then the government would have picked up the huge piles of garbage.

    Blackouts all over Cuba EXCEPT in Havana where all the foreign dignitaries were.

  • Well, everyone knows whose children the Cuban government puts first in Cuba.
    Ah, if only ordinary Cuban families could afford to keep their children in all those vacant all-inclusive hotel rooms during the school week, all would be well.

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