Cuba Creates and Reinvents Itself

By Angel Guerra Cabrera on September 2, 2021

‘the changes in Cuba are for more socialism’ photo: Bill Hackwell

The Cuban Revolution has emerged strengthened once again from another ferocious onslaught by the United States, which sought to provoke a social explosion and the overthrow of the revolutionary project by force.   The media scoundrels have spoken of peaceful protests but many videos show scenes of violence and looting against public and private property. The counterrevolutionary upheaval has caused many honest people in the world to realize the magnitude of the multi-million dollar anti-Cuban destabilization plans that the US has been developing for years.

Meanwhile, Cuba is a hotbed of renovation initiatives, of social programs, such as the works in housing, parks, schools, streets and polyclinics that have been carried out on a priority basis over the last month in 62 poorer neighborhoods of Havana. It comes with an active participation of the neighbors from its very conception, because we work with the idea of strengthening the municipality as established in the new Constitution of the Republic, including administrative decentralization and increasing popular participation in decision-making. “We must consult the population about these things, ask them what needs to be prioritized, if it’s the road, if it’s the sidewalks, if it’s the social circle, if it’s the house of culture; that is our democracy,” said President Miguel Díaz-Canel. One might think that he has the gift of ubiquity because in a situation as complex as the one described, there is no major problem that does not receive his personal attention. Be it the neighborhoods or the supply of medical oxygen, or the follow-up of the production of vaccines or food.  For example, for the past 18 months, he has been chairing the daily meeting of the transitory group for confronting covid, in which, in a virtual format, the authorities of all the provinces are accountable and receive instructions.

Due to the generalization of the delta variant, there was an extraordinary increase in the number of cases and deaths due to covid from June onwards, and feats have been done, the possible and the seemingly impossible, to alleviate and solve the shortage of medical oxygen, when a major breakdown occurred in the main production plant. The participation of university students and many non-university youths in community work is outstanding, as well as in what is called the covid red line, in which they carry out important support tasks in patient isolation centers and hospitals. In Matanzas, where they have been able to flatten the curve of contagion, their participation has been heroic. Yesterday I heard Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, one of the 5 Cuban heroes and national coordinator of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), testify about the desire to participate that can be seen in the young people.   He is the Moncada of this generation. Despite the harsh attack of delta and the lies of the hegemonic media about the alleged inability of its health system to face the contingency, since the beginning of the pandemic and until last week, Cuba registered a death rate of 0.80 percent, well below the 2.08 worldwide and 2.51 in the Americas. Yes, there have been negligence and failures, but they have not been the predominant factor, not even at such a critical moment.

The street riots of July 11, despite having been stimulated months earlier and triggered by Washington’s ferocious destabilization plans, also revealed problems that were not addressed in time or not resolved, including negligence in the government apparatus. The same afternoon of the 11th, when he explained the brutal media campaign and the counterrevolutionary action underway, Díaz-Canel described as legitimate some of the demands of the dissidents with whom he had talked that morning in San Antonio de los Baños. After that, we have seen him visit one by one the vulnerable neighborhoods of Havana, among them La Güinera, epicenter of the protests in the capital, where -it must be honestly said- his presence was acclaimed. The president was constantly traveling around the country talking to the people until the covid came to prevent for months the revolutionary cadres and leaders from the direct relationship with the people, irreplaceable for its emotional encouragement.  It had never happened before. And it happened when it was most necessary, when the fangs added by Trump to the blockade, the absence of income from tourism and the economic crisis aggravated by covid, were sinking deeper into the flesh of Cuban men and women.

The Cuban Revolution has been able to sustain its project of independence and social justice in the face of the aggressiveness of the northern neighbor, among other reasons, because of its roots in the best national and popular tradition, its combativeness, creativity and its capacity for reinvention. Imperialism has never been able, nor will it ever be able, to take the initiative away from the Cuban revolutionaries.

Source: La Pupila Insomne, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English