The “Conquests of the Cuban Revolution”, myth or reality?

For decades, the Cuban government has tried to justify its permanence in power by arguing that they are the only ones that can guarantee the preservation of the “Conquests of the Revolution”; they affirm that, without the PCC, socialism and the “Revolution” there would be no equality and no social justice in Cuba
Any change that does not include them would be to return to the savage capitalism that existed before 1959.
The mentioned conquests could be summarized in:
• Independence from the corrupt influence and economic submission of the United States,
• adequate social security
• education and healthcare for all,
• make the peasants owners of their lands,
• provide employment for all,
• eradication of social classes,
• eradication of racism
• social equality for women.
All these are aspirations that Humankind has always sought and it is true that in the first years of the revolutionary process were implemented but the atmosphere of confrontation between Cuba and the United States first and then in the middle of the complex world situation during the so-called ” Cold War “, led to the imposition of restrictive and repressive policies and laws in which the State restricted all individual rights for the sake of ” Defending the Revolution “and maintaining those conquests.
The state assumed a “paternalistic” role, provided everything the population needed and punished those who did not “thank” what they did for them, the “ungrateful” who did not want any help from the government and those who questioned the purity of their intentions. All these ungrateful people were called: counterrevolutionaries, worms, stateless people, enemies
The US embargo, the lack of efficiency of the economy and the heavy investment in military and “internationalist” activities consumed much more than what the country produced. The available resources were not enough to cover the food and social needs implemented.
All the so-called “Conquests” could only be implemented by the generous Soviet subsidy that lasted from 1961 until the moment the USSR disappeared in December 1991. Without this help, all the “social advances” were affected to the point that many of them only exist symbolically today.
In 1992, the so-called “Special Period” began in Cuba (euphemism for the worst economic crisis that Cuba has ever experienced) and, as we mentioned earlier, all social services were affected. Socially and economically, time was reset, and Cuba returned to 1899.
The national production fell precipitously, especially agriculture and a huge number of people are unemployed or are kept in their positions without practically producing anything (ghost positions), while others are sent to their homes indefinitely with 60% of their salary (interrupted worker). It is important to emphasize that this worker could loose his subsidy if he refused to accept a job offer, whose offer could be in an activity very different from his or be located outside his locality, provided that he was within his province.
It is at this momment that the State takes the decision that would change the course of the Revolution forever: it allows the dollarization of the economy and encourages the influx of foreign investment, especially in tourism. From this moment on all efforts will be aimed at maintaining the Status Quo unalterable betraying all the principles that the Revolution had up to that moment defended. All the scourges of the past returned unmasking, at one stroke, 30 years of useless sacrifices.
“The Cuban Revolution” tried to make the Cuban people believe that everything was fine, that the fault was not “socialism” but the enemies of the revolution. The “Historical Generation” never assumed their responsibility in the economic disaster and they clung to power by all means, by increasing the use of repression.
It is true that “socialism” managed to stay in power, but at the cost of the suffering of the Cuban population and a profound change in the idiosyncrasy of the Cuban people. Cubans that came to age or were born after 1992 does not behave like the previous generations.
An impartial analysis would show that the problem is not only economic but primarily political in its essence due to the government’s reluctance to implement measures of decentralization of the economy and to relax its control by the fear of the ruling class (“Historical Generation” ) of losing power.
Dollarization and the boom of Latin American and European tourism led to the entry of social scourges that had been eliminated since 1959 such as prostitution (jockeys), games (the ball), heavy drug use, and begging. A double economy was created: the official one, very controlled, poor and inefficient and the black market with exorbitant prices, a great variety of products and adaptable to the circumstances. A massive exodus of professionals towards more lucrative professions began, that is, to jobs related to tourism.
The lack of opportunities, as well as the lack of hope for a better future in the immediate (they have been deceived for almost 60 years with the promise of “Sacrifice now to have a better future” latter) is the main cause that thousands of people, especially young people, are migrating to any part of the world at any opportunity they get. They are Cubans who do not feel encouraged and who have stopped believing in the government’s promises. They decided to achieve their dreams for themselves, but for the government, they are just “ungrateful” who have betrayed their homeland when the revolution need them the most.
What can we do with a healthcare system that covers the whole country but is in worse conditions that in 1959, that does not have enough medicines for his patients, nor sheets for the few remaining beds, or where the operating rooms are contaminated and there are patients who die from “unknown” causes, or where the best hospitals are dedicated to attending foreign patients who pay with dollars, or that most of their best professionals are leaving the country, or emigrate or signing up to work abroad to improve their economic condition. To eliminate all these issues, isn’t why a Revolution was made?
What can we do with an education system that does not have enough trained personnel or adequate facilities, or the necessary pencils, books and notebooks. What can we do with an educational system that spends more time on “political” activities than on education and whose main subject of study is to inculcate an ideology that is foreigner to us?
What can we do with a Social Security System that barely provides the elderly with the minimum necessary to survive and provide no extra attention or help. The little extra help they can find is what they can afford for someone to take care of them or accompany them.
What can we do with a low level of infant mortality when our children, lack almost everything, when their food supply is so precarious and is a constant challenge for their parents?
The people who best manage to cope with current economic situation are those who have family abroad and receive money from them on a regular basis. These Cubans, who overwhelmingly left illegally, are the same people that the regime called “traitors” and “enemies of the fatherland” and now, with the money sent to their families, has revived the social division of extreme classes, the same division against which the “Revolution” had fought before.
Supposedly the social classes were eliminated in 1959 but in fact in Cuba there is the following division:
• the working class: those who live on their salary and who barely it reaches to live,
• the “masetas” and “merolicos”: they are those that sell to the workers the goods bought from the bureaucrats,
• the bureaucrats: they are those who administer the resources of the State as their own and finally
• the leaders (of the State and of the Party): they are the ones who run the country as if it were theirs.
We all know, despite the words of the regime, racism has never completely beeing eradicated, women are still victims of violence. When domestic violence and rape happen, the police do not take these crimes seriously and only intervene in cases of “public scandal”. The levels of violence and crime have skyrocketed and continues to grow, street fights in public events are frequent, daylight theft is frequent and administrative corruption is more rampant than ever.
What can we do with the best agricultural land that no longer belongs to farmers since 1962 and is currently untapped despite the new lease law. The “Revolution” took the land from the landlords and gave it to the peasants, but shortly afterwards they took away half of it and forced them to “cooperativize” and sell only to the State what little they produced. The abandonment of the field has been a constant since that time and today there is hardly any peasant class.
What can we do with a politicized university that expels young people for expressing their political opinions that are different from those of the government even though the Constitution establishes that Education is for all without distinction.
What can we do with a university career that does not interest you because your GPA was not high enough to obtain the one you wanted?
What can we do when we are forced to spend 3 years of Social Service in a job that we don’t like, in a job that never interested us because it was not what we wanted to study?
The so-called “Conquests of the Revolution” no longer represent true achievements because, after almost 60 years, they have not yet been able to materialize. It is way too long to wait for a promise.
The “Revolution” has long ceased to be a revolutionary movement and It became an elite club formed by those who led that movement in the old good days and who today are called “Los Históricos”, a group of generals who have been in power for almost 60 years, and who have tried to keep alive a system that, all this time, It proved that it does not work and that it has been the cause of the poverty of the Cuban population.
The main problem of the Cuban system is the centralized economy and the lack of economic and individual freedom to decide their own destiny.
The Cuban problem is not the United States, is the State interference in the life of Cubans.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.