‘Change’ Seems to Be the Watchword

December 3, 2012 | Print Print |

Elio Delgado Legon

From the commentary by Warhol P. about the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

HAVANA TIMES — Many people talk and write about the “need for change” in the world – and they’re right! The only problem is that an appeal or demand for change won’t necessarily lead to the right place.

I just read a brief commentary about a religion. In it, the writer wonders what the solution is to poverty and asks how we can save the environment.

According to the writer, this religion asserts that it’s necessary to change a number of related issues, such as hunger, war, disease, poverty, injustice, pollution, prejudice, and crime (I would add ignorance, which in most cases is the source of many of the ills for which change is needed).

Nevertheless, just when I thought the commenter was about to delve into all these issues raised by the religion in question, he ended by asking the question: “Has anything really changed or is changing in today’s Cuba?”

I feel it’s my duty to respond to the naïve question posed.

First, a revolution was carried out in Cuba when popularly supported rebel forces took power on January 1, 1959. And since a revolution means “changing everything that needs to be changed,” since that time Cuba has continued to change things.

Though it has displayed both strengths and weaknesses, like any human endeavor, it has always sought to improve the living conditions of the people.

As for hunger, disease and poverty, Cuba is among the countries that have done the most to reduce these, despite having a very powerful enemy that seeks — using every means possible — to cause it to fail in those endeavors and according to its declared objective, “cause hunger, disease and despair.”

With that aim in mind, they introduced African swine fever, Trips Palmy and other diseases targeted at people’s food sources. With the same goal, they introduced the Hemorrhagic Dengue Virus, which killed more than a hundred children. Likewise, they have denied Cuba the opportunity to buy medicines that could have saved or improved the lives of children with cancer.

I’m citing only a few examples here, though there are thousands more.

As I just noted, the island has continued to change ever since the triumph of the revolution, so why is Cuba being asked to change and not those who are seeking to wipe us out through hunger and disease?

As for the other issues raised in the commentary (war, injustice, prejudice, crime and pollution), it’s not principally in Cuba where the changes have to be made. War is being carried out against us, by any and all means possible. Cuba has never attacked anyone. The injustices are being committed against us!

A clear example is the five Cubans imprisoned in the United States for infiltrating anti-Cuban terrorist groups to prevent more deaths by their attacks. The “Cuban 5” were accused of being spies though they infiltrated not governmental organizations, but terrorist groups (or does this mean that terrorism serves the US government?).

Prejudices are slowly disappearing. They aren’t something that can be changed or eliminated by decree. The mentalities of human beings have to be changed, and this is something that only comes with time and a well-directed policy directed toward that end.

Any reduction in crime has to be the task of the whole people, along with the education of the younger generations and adequate protection and controls.

Finally, pollution is an issue that Cuba hasn’t ceased to fight.

We are eliminating sources of water and soil pollution to the extent the country’s economic capacity permits.

And in terms of the atmosphere, despite this being a small country, we have made a great contribution towards eliminating the use of greenhouse gases through our reforestation efforts that contribute millions of tons of oxygen and absorb significant amounts of atmosphere-polluting CO2 emissions.

As for the questions posed at the beginning by the religion in question, my answer is that there is indeed a solution to poverty and we can in fact save the environment, but this requires a political will not possessed by neoliberal capitalism.

Only by changing that system will we be able to change the situation that exists in the world.

 


What's your opinion?

  • Griffin

    It is not true that the Cuban Five did not spy on US government organizations.

    “At their trial, evidence was presented that the Five infiltrated the Miami-based Cuban exile group Brothers to the Rescue, obtained employment at the Key West Naval Air Station in order to send the Cuban government reports about the base, and had attempted to penetrate the Miami facility of U.S. Southern Command.[3] On February 24, 1996, two Brothers to the Rescue aircraft were shot down by Cuban military jets in international airspace while flying away from Cuban airspace, killing the four U.S. citizens aboard.[3] One of the Five, Gerardo Hernández, was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder for supplying information to the Cuban government which according to the prosecution led to the shootdown. The Court of Appeals has, however, reversed the conviction on the conspiracy to commit murder, since there is no evidence that Hernández knew the shootdown would occur in international airspace.[3]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Five

  • Griffin

    Pollution in Cuba is a serious problem, and far from tackling the issue, the situation is getting worse. Existing facilities are decaying and the government is not investing anything near the amount necessary to repair existing pollution control infrastructure, let alone build new facilities.

    “According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), water pollution in Cuba is a serious concern, particularly since there is a marked lack of infrastructure to address the issue. Of the 2,160 main contaminant sources recognized by UNEP, 1,273 or 59 percent, release their pollution into the Cuban environment without any treatment whatsoever. Another 433, or roughly 20 percent, receive limited but inadequate treatment before being discharged. (2) This analysis included agricultural sources of contamination, as well as industrial and human waste.

    Despite its clear importance to the citizens of Cuba, the treatment of urban sewage in particular is extremely limited: only 17 or 18 percent receives any treatment before discharge into Cuban waterways. (3) The infrastructure of water and sanitation are beyond the breaking point and are close to catastrophic failure. Havana’s sewer system, which was built almost a hundred years ago, has been due for major repairs for almost five decades and is serving over two million citizens, well beyond its design capacity of 400,000. (4)”

    http://ctp.iccas.miami.edu/FACTS_Web/Cuba%20Facts%20Issue%2026%20November%202006.htm

  • Griffin

    There is no evidence that the CIA or any other US agency is responsible for introducing dengue fever to Cuba. The outbreak of HDV occurred as large numbers of Cuba soldiers returned to Cuba after serving in Angola and Ethiopia, areas were dengue is endemic.

    “American scientist accused of spreading dengue fever in Cuba defends himself”

    http://alongthemalecon.blogspot.ca/2009/12/american-scientist-accused-of-spreading.html

    “Calisher said it is “plausible” that the strain of dengue virus found in Cuba originated in Southeast Asia, particularly given the:
    * Frequent movement of children and adults to Cuba from countries in Southeast Asia (e.g., Vietnam and Laos) and Africa at the time of the epidemics
    * Thousands of Cubans who traveled between Cuba and Vietnam after 1975 to work in reconstruction projects
    * ‘‘Venceremos Brigades,’’ which comprised thousands of people from all over the world who traveled to Cuba to help with sugarcane harvests
    * Visitors to and from international youth festivals
    * Officials attending meetings of the Non-Aligned Nations
    * Return of Cubans who had fought in Algeria, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other locales
    * Many thousands of people from North America who traveled by air via Mexico.”

  • Moses

    “Cuba has never attacked anyone.” Maybe not directly, but the Castro’s support of the FARC terrorists is well-documented. Colombian rebels fleeing prosecution in Colombia found refuge in Cuba. Cuban military specialists have been captured among FARC regulars after having participated in direct combat operations. Once again Elio, your post reflects many truths, just not all of them

  • Griffin

    Cuba has indeed attacked other countries, in some cases directly and more often by arming and training a wide number of insurgents and terrorist groups.

    From 1961 to 1964 Cuba was involved in funding, training & arming Venezuelan insurgents. In November of 1963, the Venezuelan military intercepted a shipment of arms from Cuba on a beach in Venezuela.

    Cuba sent fighters to foment revolutions in Congo & Bolivia. These adventures involved attacks on the target countries.

    The Cuban intervention in Angola was an attack on the sovereignty of that country. The Cuban intervention in the Ethiopian-Somali war involved attacks by Cuban forces on Somali positions.

    In June of 1959, Cuban commandoes attacked the Dominican Republic.

    Cuba provided weapons and training to Leftist rebels fighting in the El Salvadorian Civil War.

    National Liberation Army – Organized by the Castro regime, this Colombian Marxist insurgent group was founded in 1965. Its main terrorist activities includes kidnapings and extortion targeting foreign employees of
    large corporations.

    Ejercito Guerrillero de los Pobres – A political-militaryMarxist-Leninist organization that followed Cuba and Vietnam as revolutionary models. This Guatemalan insurgent organization was trained in Cuba and was very active during the 1970s, seeking to depose the political and military structure of the country.

    Movimiento 19 de Abril – A Castro supported group formed in 1974 to disrupt Colombia’s government through acts of terrorism and violence. The M-19 was very active throughout the 1980s receiving assistance and training from the Montoneros and Tupamaros groups and the Cuban government, causing Colombia to temporarily sever diplomatic relations with Cuba.

    MACHETEROS – This terrorist organization is composed of four Puerto Rican groups: 1) the Macheteros, 2) the Ejercito Popular Boracua (EPB), 3) the Movimiento Popular Revolucionario, and 4) the Partido Revolucionario de Trabajadores Puertorrique±os. Most of the Macheteros have been trained in Cuba, were they have established relations with other terrorist groups. They are responsible for several terrorist acts within the United States and throughout Puerto Rico.

    MIR – Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria – A Chilean insurgent organization founded in 1965 and supported by Castro. The MIR was very active in the mid-1970s when they promoted violence and occupied several rural areas in Chile. The group encountered several set backs during the 1980s that essentially ended their activity.

    MRTA – Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement – Marxist-Leninist revolutionary organization formed in 1983 and supported by the Castro regime. The MRTA’s intent was to establish a Marxist regime in Peru through terrorism

    And on Nov. 17, 1962, the FBI cracked a terrorist plot by Cuban agents that targeted several large department stores in New York, including Macy’s, Gimbel’s, Bloomindales and Manhattan’s Grand Central Station with a dozen incendiary devices and 500 kilos of TNT. The holocaust was set to go off the following week, the day after Thanksgiving.

    Now readers may believe Castro was justified in ordering some or even all of these activities. But it is not true that Cuba has never attacked anybody.

    • Luis

      I just didn’t care to reply to your ‘first Google result syndrome’ whenever something positive is said about Cuba. Especially when your sources are from a political trial and a group whose primary objective is to interfere with the country’s sovereignty.

      Anyway it doesn’t matter that in 2006 WWF claimed that Cuba was the only country in the world developing a sustainable economy. Oh well…

      But here you got way too far with your manipulation. Cuba has not attacked Angola, like the US invaded Iraq to pillage its oil. It was by the request of Angola’s MPLA that Cuba sent troops there.

      Alas, perhaps the MNR, the ALN, the MR8, the VPR, the AL, the POLOP and the VAR-Palmares would all be considered ‘terrorist’ groups by you when fighting the military dictatorship here back in the 70′s.

      • Griffin

        Luis,

        I listed several of the foreign military adventures Cuba was involved in to make the point that Cuba has indeed attacked other countries or other armies. Some of the specific incidents were overtly aggressive, others were at the invitation of local governments (Angola & Ethiopia, which were governed by groups which had seized power in revolutions or coups and were therefore of less than legitimate rulers).

        The MPLA was created under Soviet tutelage and Cuba’s involvment was part of the large Cold War. To claim that Cuba went to Angola at the invitation of the MPLA is to admit that Castro took his marching orders from the Kremlin. Cuba sent the troops while Moscow sent the weapons.

        Other Cuban interventions were in the form of assistance to local guerrilla groups. As I wrote, readers may agree or disagree with the justification of these actions, but they did happen and they did involve “attacks” upon (or in) other countries.

        By listing all these insurrections, terrorists groups and revolutionaries I do not necessarily support or defend the people they were fighting against. That is irrelevant. The point is that revolutionary Cuba did attack other countries, contrary to the statement above that they never attacked anybody.

        Finally, you really should stop falling back on pleading for respect for Cuba’s sovereignty when defending the Castro regime. The two are not the same. Castro stole the revolution and made it the vehicle for his own power. He has denied the Cuban people their sovereignty for 54 years. I endorse full sovereignty for the full Cuban nation, not for one clan.

        • Luis

          No, no no.

          What you listed is far, FAR from the definition of “attacking” another country. Red-herring fallacy spotted.

          Oh yes, a country is only sovereign when it has a ‘regime’ you like. That’s way, way too easy. If it worked that way, I could easily DENY the sovereignty of the USA and Israel, especially the former.

          BTW, how’s like to be Her Majesty’s subject?

          • Griffin

            Several of the examples I provided are very definately cases in which Cuba attacked another country. The commando raids on Venezuela and Dominican Republic were clearly military attacks.

            I consider true national sovereignty to derive from the democraticly expressed will of the people. So forget your strawman and your red herring.

            Is that Her Majesty’s Subject thing supposed to be some kind of clever barb? It’s boring, and another red herring.

        • Luis

          Thus, you listed ‘military adventures’, not attacks.

          Don’t deny your fallacies – you actually reaffirm my point. According to you, only ‘liberal democracies’ are sovereign, thus China isn’t a sovereign country for example.

          I asked this question because it has everything to do with sovereignty. Canada isn’t a really sovereign country because its Head of State is the ruling English monarch. I’m guessing Lawrence W was right after all – you aren’t Canadian.

          • Griffin

            Canada is a sovereign country, since 1867. The Monarchy is a figurehead, a symbol only, and holds no power what so ever. Parliament is supreme. In 1984, the Canadian Parliament repatriated the Constitution (it used to be an act of the British Parliament).

            Quite true, I do not consider the Communist dictatorship of China a sovereign state, in my personal opinion.

            If Castro had held the elections he promised during the revolution, he would have won by a huge majority. He could have then claimed the legitimacy conferred by the the will of the people. But he would have had to share a tiny piece of that power with a few rivals and he could not stomach that. No, no.

          • Luis

            Go tell the Chinese premier that his country has no sovereign. Your personal opinion doesn’t count as a fact.

            Canada’s Head of State is Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. She appoints a Governor-General for Canada. Countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand aren’t as independent as my country, for example, they are leftovers from the British Empire. That’s why Canada has irrelevant geopolitical influence, yet somehow China has a ton of it.

            Go overthrow your monarchy and then we’ll talk about sovereignty.

          • Griffin

            The Queen of England has zero power. She’s a figurehead. Canadian governor general is chosen by the Parliament if Canada. The Queen “appoints” whomever we tell her. She has no power in The UK, much less in Canada.

            As I wrote above, those were my personal opinions on the issue of sovereignty. It is typical of you to defend the leftist dictatorship of China, while scoffing at a liberal democracy like Canada.

          • Luis

            The “fallacy-king” rides again. Where did I defend China? I just noticed that it has, unlike Canada and the country its subjected to (the UK), much, much more geopolitical influence globally.

            Hey Majesty is the Head of State of the UK and all the Commonwealth countries. Even though bound by laws, the UK Monarch has power. The fact that Queen Elizabeth II don’t mind to exercise Her powers does not make Her less powerful. Theoretically, the British Monarch has the *power* to:

            - Choose the Prime Minister.
            - Dismiss ministers and governments.
            - Dissolve Parliament.
            - Refuse to agree to legislation passed by Parliament.
            - Dismiss the governments of other countries of which she is monarch.
            - Pardon convicted criminals.
            - Declare a state of emergency.
            - Issue proclamations.
            - Command the army and raise a personal militia.

            Albeit the Prime Minister of Canada is supposed to advice Her Majesty about the Governor-General, it is Her final word that counts.

            Another hint that Lawrance W might be right.

          • Griffin

            You are mistaken about Canada & the power of the monarchy. Anyway I read this blog to learn about Cuba & you’re getting too far off topic.

      • Griffin

        I just went and looked up that WWF report and noted this crucial sentence:

        “No region, nor the world as
        a whole, met both criteria for sustainable
        development. Cuba alone did, based on the
        data it reports to the United Nations.”

        Ah yes… based on data the Cuban government reports to the UN. In other words, this is not independently obtained information. We have no confidence that the data is accurate, reliable or truthful. We do know from past UN reports on infant mortality that the figures provided to the UN by the CUban government were not accurate or honest. Basically, the Castro regime has a negative credibility.

        • Luis

          Define ‘independently obtained information’.

          Oh this mass-media silly vocabulary. It’s only ‘independent’ and ‘accurate’ when it comes from like, Freedom House or so.

          • Griffin

            Cuba does not allow independent researchers to gather original data. If you want to do a study on Cuba you must rely on data the gov’t provides.

        • Luis

          Go ahead and block the sunlight with a sieve. UN country data is usually provided by governments.

          You just won’t accept anything positive that comes from Cuba, like a stubborn child.

          • Griffin

            Oh, I do accept that Cuba did make improvements in health care for poor and extended literacy. However, these gains have not been lasting as the standard of living has fallen since the end of the Soviet subsidies. High literacy rates are meaningless when the people have no access to a free press and there are so few books available.

            The fact that the successes of the revolution owed more to foreign freebees than actually building a functioning economy reveals the weakness of the Socialist economic system. The fact that this system has been maintained through brute force, coercion and a ban on human rights and freedoms reveals the weakness of the political system.

          • Luis

            The Soviet subsidies were to compensate the effects of the embargo, which has cost more than a trillion dollars for Cuban economy.

  • Griffin

    Birds of a feather…

    Bashar al-Assad, the Butcher of Damascus, is reported to be considering asylum in Cuba.

    If he gets out alive, that is.

    http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/12/05/253495.html

    • Luis

      Now this is a fine example of independent journalism.

      They’ve said Assad is seeking Asylum for the 100th time since the Civil War.

      Alas, what exactly does THAT have to do with Elio’s article? Red-herring again! And the prize is… a yummy blueberry pie!

  • Griffin

    Syria is yet another dictatorship that Cuba supports and defends. Cuban tank troops fought for Syria when they attacked Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The Syrian Deputee foreign Minister visited Cuba 2 weeks ago to pave Assad’s way. The problem for Assad is that if he tries to flee his palace guard, who are Iranian (another dear friend of Castro’s) will kill him. That was according to a Russian diplomat.

    • Luis

      The media also said that ‘evil’ Venezuela and Equador could also grant this still imaginary asylum. They first said Russia would, then Tunisia, now certain Latin-American countries. Right now, this is only but speculation (and bad journalism).