Cuba, Out Loud

By Beto Almeida on December 16, 2020

I read an article in the newspaper O Globo with the title “Foreigners Defend an island of Cuba That No Longer Exists” and, as a Brazilian, I feel called upon to restore some truth in the face of such an unfair statement by those filmmakers who won awards at the Ceará Cine Festival for the movie “A Half Voice.”  I am sufficiently familiar with the editorial line of the O Globo paper, an outlet for the colonialist ideology and interests in our country, and, since I was absolutely sure that they would not provide space for a variety of opinions, I am directing this to the newspaper Patria Latina, which was created after the Latin American Journalists Congress of 2001, with four days of sessions which Fidel Castro attended, participating actively in the discussions.

It is surprising that Cuban citizens Patricia Pérez and Heidi Hassan, trained in an educational system that is highly qualified, free and public, as well as internationally recognized, did not mention even for a moment that Cuba is under attack that has been increasing in severity, blocked from buying fuel for its basic energy needs, and obstructed in selling its advanced pharmaceuticals on the international market.

How can one say that “The Island of Cuba is a country that no longer exists?”  Perhaps the only country in the world that has taken up arms to combat the South African Apartheid regime in their criminal invasion of Angola, defeating them, and writing an irrevocable page of proletarian internationalism doesn’t exist anymore?  And Mandela’s declaration recognizing that “We owe the end of Apartheid to the people of Cuba” – does that no longer exist?

It is clear that Cuba needs to make progress and improve itself, but what about Spain, where the filmmakers live, and which has participated in the oppression of the people of Western Sahara and which took an active part in the colonialist aggressions of NATO against Libya and Iraq?  Are Spanish intellectuals in agreement that there has been complete freedom in the homeland of Picasso and Buenaventura Durruti?

“There is no more Island of Cuba” that sent medical brigades to save lives in Italy, Argentina, and many other countries, in the fight against COVID-19?  And what about the censorship that capitalist media imposes regarding this noble solidarity action carried out by a country, that in spite having only modest material resources, shares them with other countries?

“There is no more Island of Cuba” that has just produced the Soberana vaccine, which will be offered free to a number of Latin American countries, in accordance with a Pan American Health Organization agreement.  The island of Cuba that, together with Venezuela, is organizing a Vaccine Bank through the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA)  in order to combat the coronavirus pandemic – this country no longer exists?

Certainly there are many improvements to be made on the island of Cuba, as we can see from the debates in Cuban intellectual and journalist circles, especially regarding food production and distribution, and also regarding the need for a more effective energy use of biomass, as Che Guevara recommended when the Cuban Institute of Sugar Cane Derivatives Research was founded.  But for these projects, Cuba needs access to international lines of credit, needs to cease being the target of U.S. aggressions and permanent sanctions, and should have the decades-long criminal blockade imposed by the U.S. lifted immediately. This abused, blockaded, and sanctioned country also continues to exist, while producing vaccines, showing educational indices far superior to those of countries like Brazil, one of the richest and most unequal countries in the world, where we have not even been able to do away with illiteracy – but none of this has been worthy of the attention of the prize-winning filmmakers.

What an opportunity they have lost to inform people at the international level about Cuba, which not only does exist, but is the only country that produces a medication that can prevent the amputation of limbs for what is known as diabetic foot ulcer.  We do not wish this to happen to these filmmakers, but, should that happen by bad luck; they know perfectly well where they can obtain medical help.  And, in that case, it would be only right to proclaim out loud, not in whispers:  It is the Island of Cuba where this exists!

Source Red in Defense of Humanity, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau