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Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 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.

Nobody Knows What They Have Until They Lose It

September 18, 2016 | Print Print |

Elio Delgado Legon

Photo: Ghyslaine Peigné

Photo: Ghyslaine Peigné

HAVANA TIMES — This old saying has a lot of truth in it and can be applied to many of life’s situations, but especially to politics, and recently we’ve been able to verify this in many Latin American countries.

Initially, this happened in Nicaragua, where the counter-revolution, armed and financed by the US, waged a dirty war on the Sandinista government and the Nicaraguan people were forced to vote for the opposition candidate in the general election (1990) as the only way to end this war.

The outcome was 16 years of neoliberal governments which sunk the country into misery and hunger, with 80% of Nicaraguans living in poverty and 45% destitute without access to healthcare or education.

With the Sandinista government back in power, its visible improvements for the Nicaraguan people make this very clear and I don’t believe that there is another media campaign in the works to trick Nicaraguans into voting for neoliberalism once again.

More recently, the neoliberal offensive in Latin America, with its media campaigns which pulls out all the tricks, especially lies, has slowly been winning ground.

In Argentina, it convinced the voting public to vote for the party going up against the party of the Kirchners, which, in government for 12 years, had taken the country out of the neoliberal quagmire that the last right-wing government led by Saul Menem had got it into.

The results were disastrous for the Argentinian people and Mauricio Macri’s government has left over 40,000 Argentinians unemployed, is putting the country into debt again and is beginning to privatize the State’s assets, which means that a select few from the governing entourage will become richer than they already are, while the population feels like it has been cheated.

Now they are crying out for Kirchnerism to return, that they never should have let it go.

In Brazil, the same media campaigns have managed to sway a majority vote in Congress, which, via a political ruling with no legal foundation, has impeached president Dilma Rousseff, who had been elected democratically into power by 53 million Brazilians. Undoubtedly, a low blow to democracy.

The result? A return to neoliberalism which will do away with all of the social achievements made by the Workers’ Party (PT) governments, in their 12 years in power. The Brazilian people are still out on the streets protesting, because they know what they have lost.

In Venezuela, also via media campaigns riddled with lies, the United Socialist Party, founded by Hugo Chavez, lost the majority vote in Congress and they’re now pushing for a recall referendum to take place which will give them the opportunity to call for new general elections, hoping to gain absolute control of the country to then sell Venezuela off again to multinational corporations. To do this, they have waged an economic war which has the Venezuelan people in need, so that they blame Nicolas Maduras’ government for the shortages.

If the Right succeeds, the Venezuelan people will lose all of the breakthroughs made in the country’s social, education, health, housing and cultural sectors. In short, the poverty that lived there during past neoliberal governments will return, in spite of it being a country with a giant supply of natural resources, which only a handful of magnates used to benefit from.

In Cuba, Imperialism has tried to end the Revolution, which triumphed on January 1, 1959, by any means possible. It’s used armed groups, armed invasion, economic sabotage, attempts on the Cuban people’s health, terrorist attacks, assassination plots to kill the Revolution’s leaders, as well as an economic, commercial and financial blockade, that has lasted for 55 years now. However, the Cuban people have persevered, even in the worst of moments, loyal to the Revolution.

Now, under our new circumstances, the United States is trying to support a domestic counter-revolution, to which they allocate heavy sums of their State budget to and do everything they can to win over supporters within different sectors of the Cuban population, like the young for instance. But don’t let them go getting any ideas, the Cuban people do know what they have and they won’t throw it away.


What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    Elio, what exactly do the Cuban people have? Power outages? Toilet paper shortages? Crumbling infrastructure? Record numbers of young Cubans are leaving Cuba by any means necessary. Do they know what they have? I suspect that they do.

    • Gordon Robinson

      In B.C. Canada we have lost control of our real estate due to purchases by the Chinese and Americans. I hope Cuba does not fall into same mess !!! Currently Donald Trump wants Cuba to be once again a colony of the USA. A play ground for very rich Americans as it was before 1959.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        I see that you are back again Gordon to complaining about property prices in B.C. But relative to family incomes, the average price of a home in B.C. is lower than that in Cuba. so spare some thought Gordon for the poor Cubans.
        “US policies towards the Latin American countries have been a succession of political blunders of magnitude since the adoption of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823″
        ‘Cuba Lifting the Veil”

        • Cubakingone

          True about Cuban homes now but most of the land in Cuba is owned by the State and can be developed for Cubans when they have good paying jobs after the US trade embargo is lifted.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Do you think that the Castro regime will actually sell land to Cubans Gordon?

          • Cubakingone

            It should be on long term leases.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Should people be able to own the small patch upon which their houses sit Gordon or should the State own everything? Should Canada own the land upon which your residence in B.C. is situated?
            When the long tem leases you propose end, who owns the property? If it is the State, will that dissuade people from constructing houses?

          • George

            The land give to people is there

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            How does one interpret that George? Please clarify.

          • Runs With Scissors

            George – you have confused me.

          • Informed Consent

            Good payning jobs? Lol. Do you know something we dont?

      • Informed Consent

        Hey, Gordon. Property prices in zcuba can be anywhere from $35K – 300K, maybe more. How exactly is that affordable if you’re making $20 – $40 a month??

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    Elio Delgado Legon represents the archaic beliefs which inevitably led to Cuba becoming the source of despair expressed by Paula Henriquez, Ariel Giavia Enriquez and Darie Valero. Elio is the voice of a failed system – failed in both economic and moral terms. The outside world moves on, but the Cuban people caught in the vice-like grip of ‘socialismo’ are compelled to live in growing despair. Only those who have swallowed belief in communism can deny reality.

  • George

    Elio, I am glad to see you have not been disheartened by your recent failure to adequately address the issue of racism in Cuba, defending the Revolution is a must, however I hope that you are taking time to meditate on the criticisms. Can I suggest you read the works of the Black Panthers and Nation of Islam to get a better perspective of how to engage positively and realistically with the U.S., both in defence and attack, on this issue. I believe these books are not widely available. They are Revolutionary books and as such have the potential to destabilize and therefore should perhaps initially only be read by the vanguard such as yourself, however it is a failure of the vanguard to educate the general population in their content correctly that must be addressed. If you ask Circles for my email and I will be happy to send you some copies. It is imperative that the Revolution learn from the experience of revolutionaries around the world in order to engage with true consciousness. Thank you.

  • George

    A reading list:

    Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Amilcar Cabral’s National Liberation and Struggle, and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s “Writing Against Neocolonialism” reveal the political, economic, and social circumstances that formed the sensibility of most African writers.

    Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth
    (Fanon was a Martinique-born intellectual who was also a member of the Algerian National Liberation Front, and his writings have inspired numerous people across the globe in struggles for freedom from oppression and racially motivated violence.)

    One of the most significant postcolonial novels to emerge in this period was Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958).
    (Published in the late 1950s, Achebe wrote the book at the end of the British colonial period in Nigeria but depicted an earlier moment in Nigerian history. The novel tells the story of Okonkwo, an Igbo village leader in the late 19th century who must witness the tragic demise of his culture at the hands of colonialism.)

    Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

    Caribbean

    * Edward “Kamau” Brathwaite (Barbados)
    * Erna Brodber (Jamaica)
    * Wilson Harris (Guyana)
    * C. L. R. James
    * Jamaica Kincaid (Antigua)
    * George Lamming (Barbados)
    * Earl Lovelace (Trinidad)
    * V.S. Naipaul (Trinidad)
    * Lakshmi Persaud
    * Caryl Phillips
    * Jean Rhys (Dominica)
    * Derek Walcott (St. Lucia)

  • David Christian

    Yea, all the venezuelan breakthroughs, huh? The breakthrough 700% hyperinflation, the breakthrough food shortages.