May 19 2019 - Áuthentica Cuba by Damon Corrie
Cuba has a tourism slogan Áuthentica Cuba'' (Authentic/Genuine Cuba), and it is quite appropriate, because unless and until you actually visit Cuba yourself in person, you will NEVER know what Cuba is really like; in this article I will try to give you a more neutral politically unbiased perspective - as a person of Caribbean pre-Columbian indigenous Lokono-Arawak descent - and a frequent visitor to Cuba from a capitalist developing country, who has 80 Cuban Taino-Arawak descendant cousins living in the far East of Cuba (mostly in Guantanamo Province).
Before I visited Cuba for the first time in 2016 my family had no contact with our Cuban cousins (whom I was able to track down & rediscover on that first trip), because my grandmothers eldest brother who migrated there in 1927 to manage a Cocao Plantation never came back, we only suspected he had created a family there, so all I THOUGHT I knew about Cuba was what I read or saw on western media tv news stations, and school history books basically; with the usual ill-informed idiots advice or warnings that "Cuba is dangerous, lots of crime due to poverty, and oppressive Police and military omnipresence everywhere"....from the very first day I arrived in Cuba (at Havana International Airport) I saw that all of these negative false warnings about Cuba were 100% LIES, designed to discourage people from visiting Cuba and seeing for themselves that despite the general material wealth poverty, the Cuban people are among the most peace loving, educated and civilised human societies on Earth.
POLICE BRUTALITY IN CUBA?
I have seen more Police and military in 2 hours in New York City USA - than I have seen in precisely 2 months in Cuba (added together) travelling from Havanna in the West to Baracos in the far East (almost 1,000 km with numerous city visits in between). In fact, I have never seen a Policeman in Cuba out on patrol, I only see them in the Police stations, and I assure you - black people in Cuba do NOT have the fear of the Police that most black people in the USA have! No black person in Cuba worries about being killed or harrassed in any way because of their color by the Police, and do not jump to the idiots false explanation of 'well thats because most Cuban Police are black' because that is false, black people are actually a racial minority in Cuba numbering only about 10% of the population, with whites forming almost 65% of Cuba's population, with brown/mixed race people forming the rest, so there are actually MORE whites in the Cuban national population than there are in the USA's national population.
RACISM AND CLASSISM IN CUBA?
Yet racism is rare to nonexistent in Cuba ...and why is this wonderful racism free phenomenon prevalent in Cuba today? Well it is not because Cubans were never racial, because all the old timers in Cuba I interview tell me when they were young people under President Battista (the Capitalist dictator who's supporters all fled to Miami where they portray the communist revolutionaries that chased them out of comfortable upper class lifestyles as 'devil incarnates'' and themselves as 'poor victims') that Fidel Castros communist revolution overthrew - classism and racism were prevalent 'normal' ugly parts of Cuban society...but Castro began immediately to destroy that ....and replace it with ''Somos Cubanos'' (we are Cubans) - and cultural re-education drove home the new mentality that ""no matter what color of our skin, and we are ALL equals - no one is better than anyone else because they have more possessions or anything else more than another has, ünderscored by the other Castro slogan 'Cuba will never be divided if the Cuban people are United'.
So ask yourself, was eliminating racism in Cuba - a country of over 11 million people, an évil' thing that Castro did? I dont think so, in my capitalist home country racism (and classism) is still very prevalent, not as bad as it is in the USA (which I have been visiting for over 30 years), but still very much observable on a daily basis.
EDUCATION IN CUBA?
A bigot once told me "Yeah what kind of education they get in Cuba only a communist one", to which I replied well the sciences are not political, there is no such thing as communist mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics etc....and in the west our social education has its own political bias - we just call it capitalism, so same difference, so dont be a hypocrite"
HOWEVER, the MOST important FACT about education in Cuba you need to know, is that is is ALL FREE FOR EVERYONE, no Cuban ever says they cant afford a University education, because primary, secondary and tertiary education is ALL FREE...something no American has ever experienced nor will ever experience. Before Castro (the West called the çommunist dictator'') the Capitalist dictator of Cuba President Batista had only private education in Cuba, if you could not afford to pay too bad - you were treated like dog crap on the street corner by those who could afford it, no-one cared about you. In the Cuba BEFORE Castro Cuba had on of the lowest national education and health care statistics in the entire world...but after Fidel Castro came to power and implemented his style of communism - Cuba achieved and still has one of the highest if not THE highest national education and health statistics on Earth - and it is higher than the USA.
Ask yourself, was it évil' for Castro to GUARANTEE the health and Education of the entire population of his country? And why do you think the USA is so righteous when it provides no such vitaly important social safety net for its own citizens saying it çant afford it'"- yet can find the TRILLIONS of dollars every single year for the last 70 years to INVADE or BLOCKADE or otherwise Militarily attack dozens of weaker countries all over the face of the Earth whilsts claiming to be the 'greatest country on Earth - and the worlds #1 champion of freedom and democracy? If the USA is the example of perfection - myself and 90% of the rest of humanity certainly don't want it!
CRIME IN CUBA?
I have interviewed over 100 frequent travelling foreign tourists in Cuba of all races from around the 'developed' (G20 countries) world, from single men (of all ages), to single women (of all ages), to married couples of all ages, to families with children of all ages...and the ONE thing ALL of them consistently say to me in general is this: "Cuba is the safest county we EVER visited, you have nothing to fear from the Police or Military - you rarely see them, you never have to fear being a victim of crime in the street day or night in the cities or the countryside, food is cheap but tasty, alcohol is cheap, tourist attractions are too numerous to mention and also cheap by western standards, transportation is cheap by western standards, the geography is varied and as stunning in raw natural beauty as the Cuban people are themselves".
Just a few individual examples - black american tourists say they feel safer vacationing in cuba than in the USA - their own country where they live!
European & North American Tourist families vacationing with their children say they never have to fear their children being abducted, raped or murdered (or all 3) in Cuba as they fear constantly in North America and Europe - because abductions, rapes and murders or human trafficking in general is rare to non-existent in Cuba. A child in Cuba could walk alone from one side of any city at 3 am to the other side and make it safely. Try that in ANY city anywhere in any G20 so-called 'developed' country....the child would never make it.
Cubans I know who live in Cuba and go abroad to shop (thousands do this in Panama, Guyana, Suriname, Haiti, Russia etc) to bring goods back to sell in Cuba as small business entrepreneurs, are allowed 1,000 lbs per year in imported commercial goods tax free, the USA does not grant this to any citizen - yet the USA is supposed to be the most business-friendly country on Earth?
So ask yourself, was eliminating crime in Cuba an évil' thing that Castro did? I dont know about you but if I had to choose to between a society that allows multi-party democratic elections but was beset by rampant crime of all kinds like the USA, or a society like Cuba that does NOT allow multi-party democratic elections but has NO POLICE BRUTALITY, NO RACISM, NO CRIME - and FREE health care and Education for EVERYONE from cradle to grave....I would consider NOT having a right to vote for whichever political liar & 'Freedom & democracy' cheerleading con man or woman of my choice every few years as a better deal for sure...what good is 'freedom to vote' if all the main things you need in life are a struggle to obtain - and not guaranteed to you? That is what leads to gross inequalities and social tensions and CRIME - not losing your voting rights in the ILLUSION of freedom we have in 'democratic countries'....where you actually fool yourself that your vote really counts, when the truth is the 1% ruling elites in your country ALSO decide (just like in undemocratic countries) who they will állow' to win (you are just not able or willing to realise it yet) and become their new political mascot/puppet...if you think the USA President has all the power you are the winner of a shiny new Dunce cap....the President answers to Wall Street and the Business oligarchs, that is why both parties in the USA - Republican and Democrat (as Bush and Obama both did it) made sure to bail out the private rich Wall Street Lords with public taxpayer dollars FIRST when any financial crisis hits the USA.
SOCIAL SAFETY NET FOR ALL IN CUBA
Additionally, even though Cuba is poor, every month every retired person or person unable to work is given a FREE stipend of the minimum nutritional requirements they need to survive, the peoples families share the rest with them if they need more as no-one abandons their elders in an old peoples home - because it is a matter of honor and principle in Cuba for children to take care of their old helpless parents just as their parents took care of them when they were young and helpless, so therefore it is IMPOSSIBLE to starve to death in Cuba. Additionally, Castro put POSITIVE slogans all over Cuba and made it essential components of the education of all children, the kinds of POSITIVE slogans that Jesus Christ, Buddha, Mohammed etc would support as they preached the same...here are just 4 examples: "Practice honesty and Integrity in all you do" "we are all one people, skin color does not matter" "A people united can never be divided" "Help each other when in need"
HUMAN RIGHTS IN CUBA TODAY
Lets just look at the status of homosexual men and women, it is ILLEGAL to insult a homosexual person, yu will be jailed if you called one a 'faggot' as you can do in the USA, if a gay man whistles at you or says you look good/cute/handsome etc, and you dont like it - you just ignore it, the fact remains the gay person was paying you a compliment not insulting you, so you have no right to verbally respond to him with an insult or worse yet physically assault him, in the USA people often get away with verbally AND physically attacking homosexuals, but not in Cuba, they take the promotion of civil rights very seriously, homophobes, wife beaters, child beaters, all these uncivilised types get no mercy from the Police in Cuba, its is straight to jail. Cubans are taught in school to ALWAYS RESOLVE CONFLICTS IN A VERBAL AND CIVILISED MANNER....and NO-ONE HAS A RIGHT TO PHYSICALLY ASSAULT ANOTHER PERSON UNLESS AS A LAST RESORT IN SELF-DEFENCE. I saw that myself being preached in classrooms in schools around Cuba.
Lastly, even though Cuba is so poor and the government is so 'wicked' as stupid Americans are told to believe, Cuba sends thousands of doctors and health care providers around the world to perform FREE medical procedure on poor people who CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY FOR MEDICAL PROCEDURES IN THEIR OWN COUNTRIES by the hundreds of thousands of procedures every year....what is the USA doing to give back to global humanity since it is the 'richest and greatest country on Earth' besides TOKENISM by national budget statistical comparison?
Having the highest number of individual liberties is great in THEORY, but look around you, it comes at the price of ALSO having the greatest number of social ills....no civilian has ever committed a mass murder in Cuba at any school, night club, concert, etc - never in its çommunist' history and nowhere in fact. I love the American people I know and I love the Cuban people I know, but the American government has more blood and sins against humanity on its hands to answer for than the Cuban government ever will - and that's just the cold hard truth, whether you want to accept it or not!
By Damon Corrie