A Few Things Americans Can Learn from Cuba
by Solomon Comissiong
Americans could learn a lot if they would just look and listen to the world around them, a place where lots of peoples and nations are smarter, kinder and happier than we are. Cuba is making great progress towards its goal to become a “medical superpower,” while in the U.S. “African/black political prisoners continue to languish in solitary confinement in the bowels of the world’s most despicable prison system.”
A Few Things Americans Can Learn from Cuba
by Solomon Comissiong
“While Cuba is deploying doctors and nurses, America is deploying bombs and missiles.”
The ongoing myth that America is a beacon for “freedom,” “justice,” and “equality,” is just that – a myth. Those who believe this falsehood are usually members of the American populace who remain mentally intoxicated from the bottomless cup of indoctrination laced moonshine they have been forced to imbibe their entire lives. Their world has been methodically reduced to the smallest of boxes. The smaller the box they subsist in, the more limited their point of reference is to what is really going on in the world. This narrow-minded (yet dangerous) way of thinking is as planned as the US’s imperialist wars of aggression and plunder. As long as Americans remain psychologically drunk off the potent elixir known as American Exceptionalism, the better it is for those who control them like puppets – their own government. Like an episode of the classic TV show, The Twilight Zone, many Americans remain trapped within an alternate reality that has been carefully crafted for them. Lies exist throughout their world (society) – even the history they are fed is through a limited narrative. And when they are not being inculcated with lies, they are easily distracted with mental trinkets like: reality TV, commercials, and sitcoms. And just like an episode of The Twilight Zone, or a good sci-fi flick, the American character is oblivious to this alternate reality they dwell in. While they suffer in ignorant bliss people from other nations live with their humanity intact, as well as with the fruit of various social safety nets such as, free quality healthcare, free tertiary education (college), and livable wages. Americans continue to be robbed of a much more humane life. Old adages are not always correct, in this particular case – what Americans don’t know does hurt them. They just don’t know it.
Most Americans foolishly parrot and champion baseless information offered to them by corporate media flunkies, as well as by the cesspool of amoral politicians infesting Washington DC. They are told that a single-payer healthcare system will break the “budget” – and the people buy it. They say, “Socialism is evil” – and the sheep-like populace buys that. And these bloodthirsty elected officials say, “We must go to war to prevent any more loss of life and to protect our freedoms” – and the programmed Americans buy that. When your critical thinking skills are decimated you swallow misinformation without ever thinking twice. If more Americans practiced the lost art of critical thinking, this author has not doubt that this would be a much better (and safer) world to live in.
“When your critical thinking skills are decimated you swallow misinformation without ever thinking twice.”
Rudimentary critical thinking skills would (or at least should) lead more Americans to question various narratives, as well as information, commonly disseminated throughout their co-opted minds. If they actively engaged in this mental exercise they would discover a veritable treasure-trove of facts, information and perspectives, that have been systematically hidden. Americans would, perhaps most importantly, learn how their government has been lying to (programming) them for quite some time. One can only hope that the anger at being lied to would push them to reclaim their minds, humanity, and work toward creating a more humane society.
America is a nation built upon hundreds of years of murder, exploitation, and plunder. Unfortunately, most Americans fail to understand this ugly truth. Americans have a lot of to learn from other nations throughout the globe. For instance it would greatly benefit them to know something about an island nation 90 miles south of Florida: Cuba.
Cuba is a nation that continues to serve as a paragon of resilience, liberation, and humanitarianism, despite having a malicious blockade placed on it by the US. This blockade (some call it an embargo) has cost the Cuban people over 100 billion dollars. In 1953 Cuban revolutionaries had the audacity to embark upon an arduous (yet necessary) journey to gain their liberation from the repressive and deadly grip of the US-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista. These revolutionaries, led by the likes of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, toppled the brutal US backed regime on January 1, 1959, thus ending the bloody reign of Batista. The new revolutionary government would soon nationalize Cuban resources such as their vast sugar cane plantations. This warranted move ensured that Cuba’s resources would no longer benefit the rapacious US corporations that had controlled them with Batista’s stamp of approval. This was to mark a new beginning not only for the vast majority of Cubans, but for other nations as well.
The Cuban revolution stood, as it does now, as an example of what can happen when oppressed people unite against US backed repression. However since the defeat of the US backed dictator in Cuba, the king of modern day imperialism has done everything it can to break the will of the Cuban people, their government, and their revolution. The United States has even attempted to assassinate Fidel Castro hundreds of times. Despite American mythology, the US’s preferred form of diplomacy is murder via assassinations, deadly sanctions, or wars of aggression. However, in the case of Cuba and Fidel Castro, their attempts to break the island nation have failed.
“The Cuban revolution stood, as it does now, as an example of what can happen when oppressed people unite against US backed repression.”
Instead of Cuba mimicking the monstrous actions of their former oppressor (Batista) and his ally (America), they began spreading their internationalism to as many oppressed nations as they could. This is one of the many important lessons Americans should learn, if only they weren’t so mentally enslaved by their deceptive government and the corporate media system. While Cuba was aiding other revolutions in places like Southern Africa, the US government was financing, orchestrating and directly fomenting oppression, death and plunder. Cuba volunteered over 300,000 troops throughout Southern Africa as a means to help black Africans liberate themselves from white supremacy and lethal oppression. The US government, in turn, supported much of that oppression and spent a lot of its financial resources in efforts to assassinate democratically elected leaders like Congo’s Patrice Lumumba. Americans desperately need to be taught that these actions are not “democracy” – they are terrorism. Americans need to unlearn in order to learn for they have been taught by criminally abusive parents – their government. Unfortunately, those who spend significant portions of their lives observing abusive actions often replicate (or champion) what they have subconsciously learned. This is evident each time the US government and its corporate media sycophants successfully promote a new war, the sheep-like American public waste no time in cheer-leading the carnage. Observing a much more humane country, like Cuba, would go a long way for many Americans. Their humanity is in desperate need of restoration. As it stands, their cheer-leading the sociopathic actions of the US government is akin to routing for Freddy Kruger while watching “A Nightmare on Elm Street”.
Cuba’s government has not only helped liberate previously oppressed nations, they have provided healthcare aimed at saving lives. Cuba has literally sent tens of thousands of medical personnel all over the world, mostly throughout the global south, in an effort to help so called developing nations provide quality healthcare to their people. Cuba sees quality healthcare as an absolute human right. The US government see quality healthcare as something set aside for those who can pay for it. Within the American capitalist cesspool human lives are expendable – capital is not. While Cuba is deploying doctors and nurses, America is deploying bombs and missiles.
“Cuba volunteered over 300,000 troops throughout Southern Africa as a means to help black Africans liberate themselves from white supremacy and lethal oppression.”
One of the innumerable examples of Cuba’s humanitarianism through healthcare is the assistance they lent to Mission Barrio Adentro in Venezuela. Mission Barrio Adentro is a nationwide healthcare system within the South American country. Cuba played a significant role in helping develop Barrio Adentro, which started delivering primary healthcare in 2003. Between 10,000 and 14,000 Cuban doctors were deployed throughout Venezuela from 2004 through 2010. However, it does not stop there – Cuba also sent between 15,000 and 20,000 nurses, dentists, technicians, optometrists, and physical therapists. Again, this is merely one of many incredible examples of Cuba’s dedication to helping other nations (over 100) procure quality healthcare for their people. Cuban healthcare professionals can be found throughout the global south, especially in places where healthcare services were hard to come by. All of these humanitarian services were/are provided at no cost to those nations. Based on the fact that free quality healthcare is seen as a privilege (and not a right) throughout the US, this is undoubtedly another valuable lesson most Americans could stand to learn from Cuba. A book that details the massive healthcare gifts Cuba has provided much of the world is entitled, Revolutionary Doctors by Steve Brouwer. This would be an excellent book for any socially confused American to read.
If Americans could simply break free of the spell of stupidity their government’s nefarious sorcery has placed them under, they could actually begin to rebuild thw country into a humane society. Instead, American society is flooded with systematic injustices, including institutional racism. America’s swampland of racial injustices has taken a heavy toll on the lives of people of color. African/black and so-called Latinos (Spanish speaking indigenous people), for instance, continue to be subjected to routine state sponsored police brutality and profiling. In essence, this is nothing short of terrorism. The US’s history is a bottomless pit of crimes committed against non-Europeans.
Cuba is a nation that was colonized by mass murdering Spaniards who slaughtered the island’s indigenous people. These shiftless Spanish villains then shipped in millions of kidnapped Africans, who they subsequently brutalized and worked to death for generations. Despite this history of European colonization and white supremacy, it is now a country working hard to scrub away the legacy of that regrettable period. The enduring effects of hundreds of years of European/white supremacy and terror cannot be eradicated overnight; however, Cuba is working diligently towards creating a society free of racism. This is the exact opposite of what one can see within the US. America seems to proudly embrace its past and present legacy of institutional racism and crimes committed against people of color. The US is a nation that has rewarded many of its slaveholders with the naming of streets, towns and cities after these lowlifes. America has even placed some of them on its currency. And white supremacist mass murderers, like Christopher Columbus, have been rewarded a federal holiday for mutilating, murdering and raping countless indigenous people throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
“Cuban healthcare professionals can be found throughout the global south, especially in places where healthcare services were hard to come by.”
The United States, unfortunately, feels no shame for its historic brutal treatment of people of color. It is a nation that scurries away from any responsibility for its genocidal actions against people of color. Given this reprehensible fact, should it be of any surprise that America in 2012 upholds institutional racism as an unofficial hallmark? America continues to incarcerate massive numbers of humans, especially those black and brown. As scholar Michelle Alexander recently said, “More Black men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.” African/black political prisoners continue to unjustly languish in solitary confinement within the bowels of the world’s most despicable prison system. The crime of these political prisoners – they dared fight the system that was systematically destroying their communities.
Americans could learn a lot about what steps need to be taken in order to rid a society of racism. Euro-Americans, especially, need to study societies like those found in Cuba and Venezuela. Americans could learn a lot about humanity from other nations. Americans need to take a seat in the world’s classroom, pick up their writing utensils and diligently take notes from nations like Cuba. A world free of injustice, war, and imperialism, quite frankly, depends on America assuming its role as pupil within this global classroom where peace and humanity are taught by those who are actual practitioners of those ideals. The US has spent way too much time teaching a warped version of “democracy.” Class has been in session and Cuba has been setting an example for much of the world to follow, especially when it comes to humanitarianism and internationalism. Many of the world’s nations have been following Cuba’s lead. However, the question is – when will America join this class?
Solomon Comissiong is an educator, community activist, author, public speaker and the host of the Your World News media collective (www.yourworldnews.org). Solomon is the author of A Hip Hop Activist Speaks Out on Social Issues. He can be reached at: email@example.com