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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.

Where is Our World Headed?

June 12, 2017 |

Elio Delgado Legon

Father and kids in Havana. Photo: Narinder Sandher

HAVANA TIMES — For several decades now, scientists and other clear headed  people have been warning about the consequences of climate change which is upon us, and the need to take measures to prevent global warming from increasing the planet’s temperature by 2 degrees, which would bring about a catastrophe of huge proportions.

It is no secret to anyone that the main cause and perhaps the only cause for global warming is industrialization, and the consequent burning of fossil fuels, without taking effective measures to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, measures which would incur extra costs and increase production costs, which capitalist businessmen logically oppose, even though the benefits would be much greater than the costs in the long run.

The United Nations, worried about the real danger that is threatening our planet, has held several summits with the aim to get countries to commit to reducing environmental pollution. That’s how it managed to get the Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997, which would enter into effect in 2005 and extend until 2020, although it hasn’t done much.

In 2015, another summit was held in Paris, France and agreements were made, and while it wasn’t what the UN wanted or what they expected, it was a small step forward along the long path that we must walk to save humanity.

In the Paris Agreement, every industrialized state member, including the United States, which is the second greatest polluter on the planet, committed themselves to taking specific measures to reduce the emission of pollutant gases. Clearly, every sensible leader in the world is beginning to get worried and is accepting the fact that they need to act on this subject.

For some inexplicable reason, the new US president, Donald Trump, who became president on January 20th, has announced that he is withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accord and is taking measures which go against this, authorizing the use of carbon as an industrial fuel, the most polluting of them all, oil extraction via “fracking”, with the ensuing pollution of underground waters, to just mention the two of the most dangerous.

As if this weren’t enough, provocative military maneuvers on the Korean peninsula have put the world on the brink of a nuclear war, which could well end human existence on the planet. More recently, the Fourth Fleet has been carrying out maneuvers in Barbados, extremely close to Venezuela’s territorial waters, which could be interpreted as a threat to this country’s territorial integrity and a trouble spot in our continent.

On the other hand, when military expenses in the world seemed like they were still being cut, in the US state budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal budget, in spite of the huge budgetary deficit which has become chronic, military expenses have been increased to 54 billion USD, which would suppose cutbacks in other budgets, including the social sector.

The most optimistic of us will hope that this budget faces strong opposition in Congress. Luckily, there are still some sensible people in the most powerful country in the world in military terms, and some of them are members of its Congress and other stratums of the system, if this were not the case, we would have no idea where our world was headed.

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  • Carlyle MacDuff

    For once I have to agree with Elio. I know many other Cubans who also agree that Kim Jung Un’s antics on the Korean peninsula threaten the world with nuclear war. Those antics of Kim Jung Un are in defiance of UN resolution.
    Kim Jung Un indeed presents the biggest threat of nuclear war since Fidel Castro Ruz urged Nikita Khruschev to make a first nuclear strike upon the US in October 1962.
    Due to Barack Obama, the Paris Accord was a success in that he persuaded China to also partake.
    Obama also endeavored to improve the relationship between the US and Cuba and following the secret talks held in Canada between the US and Cuba, restored diplomatic relations. Then followed his visit to Cuba, the first by an American President since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. Obama made overtures to Cuba regarding both the embargo and Guantanamo – those overtures were firmly rejected by the Castro communist regime eight days later.
    Venezuela is being driven into economic oblivion by Nicholas Maduro who has achieved the highest inflation level in the world and Elio is correct in descibing it as: “a trouble spot in our continent.”
    The export of carbon fuel by Cuba, only adds to the world’s environmental problems.

    • Raphael Stephen-Pons

      The cuban missile crisis was 100% america’s fault, lol Fidel Castro never urged Kruschev to make a first strike. The letter said that he should be “prepared.” Fidel Castro in his history has constantly spoken against nuclear weapons in his lifetime, which is why Cuba never had a program of their own. And no North Korea is using these missiles for self protection how come all the big dogs get to have a self defense mechanism but others countries don’t. Why? There is no perfect state on Earth I do not care what you tell me every country on Earth has committed sever human rights abuses

      • Moses Patterson

        100%? So it’s the US’ fault that the Soviets were trying to locate nuclear weapons 90 miles away from the US?….and trying to lie about it? By the way, Castro absolutely solicited a first strike. Have someone read the letter to you again. This time use a dictionary for the hard words.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          How does an ‘outed’ member of the Communist Party of the USA respond Moses?

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        You Raphael Stephen-Pons as an active member of the Communist Party of the USA and being opposed to democratic socialism but in favour of socialism under the direction of the Communist Party consequently favour dictatorship.
        The words ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ are for you and your kin anathema. You have no concern for the people of Cuba, your concern is for world-wide domination by Communism. Or, do you deny that?
        Of course as an ardent Communist you try to defend Castro from being correctly described as seeking Nikita Khruchev to make a first nuclear strike. Your problem is however that in doing so you demean Nikita Khruschev. For it was Khrushev who reprimanded Fidel Castro for his crazed proposal by writing on October 30, 1962:

        “In your cable (note not letter) of October 27 you proposed that we be the first to launch a nuclear strike against the terrritory of the enemy. You of course realise where that would have led. Rather than a simple strike it would have been the start of a thermo-nuclear world war.
        Dear Comrade Fidel Castro, I consider this proposal of yours incorrect, although I understand your motivation.”

        I know Cuba and Cubans well Stephen-Pons and can assure you that their reaction to the aggressive behaviour of Kim Jung Un, is that he is in Communist jargon a “mad running dog”.
        Yet another error of yours is to deny that Castro ever had a nuclear programme. Pray tell us Stephen-Pons what was the education of Fidelito Castro? Yes, nuclear science! What was his occupation?
        You typify the academic impractical face of Communism – with no thought or consideration regarding those unfortunates who suffer under its reality. I scorn you and your kind, for you shelter under the capitalist umbrella and use your freedom to endeavour to remove it for others.

  • Moses Patterson

    As usual, Elio is ill-informed. While I disagree with Trump on nearly every issue, his administration did offer a rationale for the US withdrawal. Elio’s claim that our withdrawal is inexplicable is incorrect. US and South Korean military maneuvers are an annual event and take place in international waters. These maneuvers are no more provocative than the annual military exercises that take place in Cuba by the Cuban military. The naval exercises that took place in the south Caribbean also took place international waters. To be interpreted as “provocative” is a reach. I could not help but chuckle at Elio’s next complaint. Has he checked Cuban military expenditures lately? As a percentage of the national budget, Cuba outspends the US by a multiple. To make matters worse, given the dire economic straits facing Cuba, the wisdom to spend what Cuba continues to spend militarily must be questioned.

    • Raphael Stephen-Pons

      You support the US embargo gringo, you are thus not aloud to call somebody else ill informed when you support economic terrorism against your homeland.

      • Moses Patterson

        Eh? Economic terrorism? Those are big words for you. Are you sure that you know what they mean? I support Cuban democracy. In the words of one of my favorites, Malcolm X, “By any means necessary”. In the context of this blog, I would be a Yuma. If you are looking to criticize Americans, head over to the blog “Mexico City Times”.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        Strangely Sptephen-Pons you have in your innocence assumed that Mr. Moses Patterson’s “homeland” is Cuba. If you paid attention rather than keeping company with the head burying ostriches, you would know that it is not. His family have a long history in the US.

    • Nick

      As usual Mr P accuses someone else of being ill informed.
      But whooooa……
      Hang on a minute. Hold yer horses!!
      Where do you get your figures from on military spending Mr P?
      As far as I can see US Military Spending and Cuba Military Spending are roughly equivalent as a percentage of GDP (around about 3.3% – 3.5%).
      It does not appear to be the case that Cuba outspends USA (as a % of national budget) in this regard. Most certainly not ‘by a multiple’.
      Unless you can show otherwise, it would very much seem that it would be your good self who is ill informed Mr P??

      • Moses Patterson

        Good comment. But the devil is in the details. The Cuban military “hides” at least half of their expenditures through an accounting sleight of hand owed to the military ownership of Cuban tourism. Not to get too “inside baseball” here, many Cuban military personnel don’t appear on military payrolls. Instead, they are part of the Tourism budget. Cuba, as a percentage, spends far more on their military than does the US.

        • Nick

          I don’t think you’re convincing anyone who doesn’t already agree with your overall viewpoints on Cuba..
          If you could back up your assertion that Cuba militarily outspends USA ‘by a multiple’ with some kind of independent research or analysis, then you would most surely do so.
          As it stands your story remains full of holes.

          • Moses Patterson

            Anyone who knows Cuba knows that GAESA is a part of the Cuban military. Less well-known for obvious reasons is that the leadership of the hotels and hospitality is a General. Airports are run by a General. Tourist attractions are headed by a colonel. And so on. These military managers are carried on the books of the various tourism enterprises. They are staffed by military personnel. I could get the site references but why bother? The truth is the truth.

          • Nick

            According to the available independent analysis, Cuba and USA spend roughly the same percentage of GDP on the military.
            We could go on for days about the Cuban Military’s ownership of Cuban companies. Alternatively we could go on for days about historic and current links between individuals high up in US government and US Arms manufacturers or Logistical Support Companies.
            We could go on for days back and forth on such matters.
            But the bottom line is this:
            You can produce no independent evidence that Cuba outspends militarily ‘by a multiple’ because there is none..
            That’s obvious.
            So let’s move on huh?.

          • Moses Patterson

            Active-duty US military personnel are strictly prohibited from receiving outside compensation from companies who engage in military contracting. You are presenting a false equivalency. By contrast, Cuban military personnel, in uniform, are replete among the management ranks of GAESA.