Thousands of people who know nothing about Cuba, about the revolution are expressing their opinions based only on stereotypes. In Miami there is a celebration with fireworks–people there were told that in Cuba there was Satan who smoked cigars and drank children’s blood.
So let me tell you.
Do you know that after the Chernobyl catastrophe, Cuba took in for treatment about 24 thousand children from Ukraine and saved their lives? Cuba spent $350 million on the Children of Chernobyl program. Not a single European country responded like that, only the poor Cuba did. Thousands of children were accepted into recovery camps for free.
Do you also know that Cuba has one of the best medical systems in the world?
Its average life expectancy is 79 years. In Russia, only the strongest last that long.
They have low mortality levels, comparable only to the First World.
In spite of the embargo by part of the world, they continued to develop vaccines and medications which have no equal.
Many tourists go there for treatment. Did you know that?
They are better at curing a wide range of ailments than anyone else. For example, they have developed unique methods for treating skin diseases. 8 years ago I met, in a Havana suburb, a girl from Kiev who lived in Cuba for a year and a half at the time we’ve met. She had a very rich family, so she could afford to get treatment anywhere. But she couldn’t get cured anywhere else, except on Fidel’s island. I remember she said exactly that: “Dynya, tell everyone that in Cuba they know how to treat vitiligo. Let everyone know, because nobody knows about that.” Cuba is the only place where that disease is treated.
Do you also know there are no places here with people below the poverty line? Like in Rio, Johannesburg, or Mumbai? Where thousands of people live in mud, die like flies from infections, and where the police never come? Where there is no medicine, no food–nothing. People are left to their own fate, and are forced to survive.
Do you know this is one of the safest countries in the world? We, including a small child, used public transport to travel all over the island.
If someone tells you that people hated Fidel–that’s a lie. The hatred is for show, for the tourists, and it comes from people who work in the resorts, guides, and prostitutes who have heard stories from foreigners about high wages and many choices of sausage. After hearing that, they’ll give their phone number and ask to have something brought from abroad. And they usually get something. I am really impressed by stories from tourists who, while in Cuba, never stray off the reservation of the five-star hotel near the ocean, and who sometimes go on guided tours in the city. Boy, they really get exposure to the real Cubans.
But if you go a bit further from these places, people there speak warmly and with pride about Fidel and Che.
The main problem with the people who are casting mud at Fidel is that they think that the other available alternative was Holland.
Cuba was no Holland which was forced to accept the hated Sovs and the social equalizing. This was a country with millions of poor. History cannot stand counterfactuals. We don’t know what might have been, and whether it would have been better for the Cubans. It’s dumb to compare Cuba’s economy with the leading countries which moreover tried to strangle the island with the embargo.
And another thing–when people talk about Cuba’s poverty, they really have no idea what “poverty” is.
It’s not ancient cars and salary of $20. Not the dirty houses, which you can also find in the poor sections of Paris and London. Poverty are the scabs on the bare skin of an impoverished beggar sitting on a Marrakesh street. It’s entire villages infected with AIDS, thousands of townships in South Africa which still practice kangaroo courts, where people have tires hung on their necks, doused with gasoline, and set on fire. In Mandela’s country, who defeated racism and brought anglo-saxon democracy.
Go and see for yourselves.
You don’t have to love the Sovs, authoritarianism, communism.
But that has no relation to this situation.
It’s not black or white. Some people think that communism automatically means Gulag, concentration camps, forced equality, and no choice. And that democracy is only about private property, individual development, and travel all over the world.
But those who condemn Fidel and accuse him of spilling blood, for some reason don’t want to condemn Bush or Obama who are responsible for tens and even hundreds of thousands of deaths and broken lives due to the wars they caused.
Life is painted in half-shades.
Fidel lived for the sake of other people.
A living epoch. A living legend.
Hasta siempre, Commandante
PS: Everyone has certain flaws in logic in their discussions (judging by the numerous comments on facebook). Everyone compares incomparables. For example, Cuba’s economy and the developed economies. But the point is that Cuba made a leap forward in comparison with other Latin American countries, to whom it should be compared. And that’s a fact. Those very same countries tried to strangle it for decades, but it made that leap nevertheless. In spite of them. And, most importantly, Cubans are healthy people who live long lives. Many write–yes, sure, health care is fine, but everything else is junk. What “everything else”? What can be more important than human health? And yes, the people there are not well-to-do, but they are not impoverished. Not impoverished. Compare comparables.
Photo from the Internet