achiviements

Post by @CubanWindow

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(Summary) An interview made by Grégoire Lalieu, Journalist to the Dr. Salim Lamrani / who:

  • Holds a doctorate in Iberian and Latin American Studies from Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV University
  • Is a full professor at the University of La Réunion and a journalist
  • And specialist in relations between Cuba and the United States.
  • His latest book is titled Cuba, word for defense !, Hondarribia, Editorial Hiru, 2016. 

Achievements + Facts

One of the great achievements of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution is to have created a system of social protection that is unanimously considered as the example to be followed for the nations of the Third World, universalizing access to health, education, culture, housing, safety , sport and recreation:

  • Literacy rate more than 99%
  • Cuban students have the best academic results in Latin America in all subjects.
  • Cuba devotes about 14% of its budget to education.
  • All careers are universal and free for all Cubans.
  • Life expectancy is about 80 years
  • The infant mortality rate is 4.6 per thousand (No country in the American continent, including Canada and the United States)
  • It is the only country in Latin America and the Third World that has eradicated child malnutrition.
  • It is the first country in the world to have eliminated mother-to-child transmission of the AIDS virus.

It should be remembered that these extraordinary achievements, unique to a Third World country with limited resources, were achieved in the context of extreme hostility. Cuba suffers from extremely severe economic sanctions that affect all categories of society and all sectors of the economy. They have cost more than $ 120 billion to the island for more than half a century.

Myth

  • Fidel Castro had a personal fortune estimated at 900 million dollars

Forbes magazine gave the estimate and confessed to having arbitrarily granted part of the Cuban GDP to Fidel Castro. Therefore the figure is not credible. On the other hand, all observers and all foreign personalities who had the privilege of meeting Fidel Castro expressed their astonishment at the austere living conditions imposed by the leader of the Cuban Revolution. The same holds true for all cadres who hold a position.

  • Fidel Castro made Cuba a prison in the open air and did not hesitate to massacre those who tried to flee

No international organization has ever reported a case of political murder, extrajudicial execution, disappearance or torture in Cuba since 1959. No journalist was murdered in Cuba since the triumph of the Revolution. Few countries in the world, even the most developed ones, can present such balance in the last sixty years.

There are more than four million tourists who travel to Cuba every year. If Cuba were a prison in the open air, where people were repressed, they would hasten to tell this supposed reality upon their return from the island and would obviously choose another destination for their next vacation. Now, the vast majority of tourists return happily from their stay in Cuba, where they appreciate hospitality, warmth, fraternity, history, culture, security, absence of misery (although there is poverty) and not It is time to return to the island.

If Cuba were an open-air prison there would be no half a million Cuban-Americans to visit the island every year. It should be remembered that every year more than one thousand Cubans who emigrated abroad decide to return definitively to their country of origin. These facts are eloquent.

  • Fidel Castro was homophobic

This theme has been instrumented many times for political reasons. In the sixties prejudices and discrimination towards homosexuals were legion all over the world. No country escaped it, even the western democracies.

When the Cuban Revolution triumphed in 1959, Cuban society was of a Catholic and patriarchal tradition and had, as in all nations with such characteristics, prejudices against certain categories of the population.

The great criticism that is issued against Cuba concerns the Military Units of Aid to the Production (UMAP) that lasted about two years in Years 1960. It is necessary to remember the facts. In Cuba, military service is an obligation. In the 1960s people who did not want to do the service for ethical, philosophical, religious or personal reasons, had to do a civic service doing agricultural work in units in the field. In these UMAP homosexuals were victims of discrimination, humiliation and humiliation and were housed in separate houses.

These violations of human rights came to the attention of Vilma Espín, wife of Raúl Castro, and above all President-Foundress of the powerful Federation of Cuban Women. Then she informed Fidel Castro. This one, who always relied on the youth and the students, decided to send clandestinely to a group of militants of the Union of Young Communists in the UMAP to find out the facts. After several weeks of investigation they issued an overwhelming report confirming the attacks against the rights of these people and closed the UMAP in 1968, or a little less than two years after its creation. It should be remembered that the only role of Fidel Castro in the UMAP was to proceed to its definitive closure.

It should also be remembered that intellectuals like Virgilio Piñera and Lezama Lima were marginalized and ostracized. When power is given to bureaucrats marked by ignorance and prejudice, this type of abuse is unfortunately inevitable. Homosexuality was typified as a criminal offense until 1979 in Cuba.

What is the situation today? The authorities have taken steps to combat prejudice. Thus, in 1993, the Cuban State financed the movie Strawberry and Chocolate, which denounces discrimination and prejudice against homosexuals. Since 1995, homosexuals have participated as a group in the May 1 parade. The National Center for Sexual Education, chaired by Mariela Castro, performs remarkable pedagogical and cultural work with the support of the Cuban State to fight prejudice.

The State finances sex exchange operations in its entirety. Since 2007, the Cuban Ministry of Public Health also finances a gay film festival every year. Adela Hernández, a transgender person born under the name of José Agustín Hernández, was elected to the Municipal Assembly of the city of Caibarién in 2012, which illustrates the evolution of mentalities in Cuba. To my knowledge there is no such case in France or in the United States. These facts show that the situation of people with a different sexual orientation in Cuba does not correspond to the media image conveyed in the western nations.

That said, it is now essential to remember what the situation of homosexuals in the world, even in the great western democracies. In a word, it was similar to that of Cuba at the same time. There were many prejudices. In France in 1960, the government of President Charles De Gaulle called homosexuality a “social plague” and the French Parliament gave the executive the right to legislate by decree to combat this “plague” (Law No. 60-773 of 30 Of July 1960). It should also be remembered that after World War II homosexual deportees could claim no recognition of their status as war victims or any compensation. I

In 1968 France adopted the view of the World Health Organization and classified homosexuality as a mental illness. The WHO would only abrogate this classification in 1991. France considered homosexuality as a criminal offense until 1981. Today, in France, homosexual populations are still victims of some discrimination. For example, you can not donate blood under the same conditions as heterosexual categories.

In the United States homosexuality was considered a psychiatric disorder and was even “treated” through lobotomy until 1951. Under McCarthyism, homosexuals lost their jobs and sometimes ended up in jail. In the 1970s, the police intervened regularly in gay bars.

In March 1970, 167 people were arrested in a bar in Greenwich Village, New York. Until 1990, immigration services could deny entry to the United States to homosexual foreigners.

In the 1980s, homosexuality was a criminal offense in half of the 50 states of the United States. Even today, in the 21st century, homosexuality in the United States is a criminal offense in 13 states over 50.

  • Fidel Castro was a dictator

No leader in the world can stay 30 years at the head of a country – as it should be remembered that Fidel Castro was president from 1976 to 2006 – in a context of war with the United States without a majority support of the people.

US diplomats operating in Cuba are very lucid about it. In a 2009 memorandum, Jonathan Farrar, then Head of the US Interests Section in Havana – there was no embassy at the time – stressed that “it would be a mistake to underestimate the support that the Government has in particular between popular communities and students”.

Under revolutionary Cuba, there were two other presidents: Manuel Urrutia from January to July 1959 and Osvaldo Dorticós from July 1959 to December 1976.

It is important to know that there are direct elections in Cuba at the municipal, provincial and legislative levels. All are done with universal and secret scrutiny every two and a half years for municipal elections and every five years for provincial and legislative elections.

 

All serious observers are unanimous in recognizing that Fidel Castro was loved by Cubans, although, as in any society, there have always been unsatisfied sectors.

On the other hand, it should be remembered that Fidel Castro was elected every five years since the adoption of the new Constitution in 1976. Earlier, under revolutionary Cuba, there were two other presidents: Manuel Urrutia from January to July 1959 and Osvaldo Dorticos of July 1959 to December 1976.

It is important to know that there are direct elections in Cuba at the municipal, provincial and legislative levels. All are done with universal and secret scrutiny every two and a half years for municipal elections and every five years for provincial and legislative elections.

The Cuban Communist Party, which is the only political party on the island, has no electoral role at all. Cuban law prohibits the party  from nominating candidates. It is the electors, in their constituencies, who nominate candidates. For each election, at least two candidates and at most eight are required. Once the candidates have been nominated, their résumé is placed in the public square. Election campaigns are prohibited. It should also be remembered that in Cuba the elect can be revoked during their term if the electors decide it. For example, an elected deputy with 57% of the votes may be revoked by the electors if 57% + 1 expresses their will in that sense.

For the presidential elections it is an indirect process. It is the Parliament that chooses among its deputies the members of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers as well as its President. Thus, in order to become President of Cuba, Fidel Castro first had to be nominated for Parliament, then elected by universal and secret suffrage and then elected by Parliament as President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers. In Cuba the President is both Head of State and Head of Government.

 

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