‘This Country Is More Democratic Than the United States,’ Cuban President Díaz-Canel Tells Young Foreigners

The president recorded “From the Presidency” with a group of Americans “interested in knowing the Cuban reality”

Miguel Díaz-Canel, with a ’kufiya’ on his shoulders, in his meeting with young pro-Castro Americans / The People’s Forum

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 12 June 2024 — Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel met for the most recent edition of his TV program Desde la Presidencia with a group of “young Americans interested in learning about the Cuban reality.”

The audience of about a hundred people was already instructed.
These were the members of Let Cuba Live, a group adhering to the pro-Castro organization The People’s Forum and co-directed by Manolo de los Santos, who acted as moderator of a meeting in which the past and present of the Island were discussed, with the “intensified blockade” as a backdrop, along with Palestine and, above all, the example of democracy that is Cuba.

“There is a virtual Cuba, on social media, and there is another real Cuba, which is the one you can see. And we have shortages, we have problems, we have limitations but there are no missing people here, there are no murders here. This country is more democratic than the United States,” said the Cuban leader with conviction. The phrase was part of an extensive segment dedicated to exposing his point of view on how capitalism has proven not to work if it does not apply social justice as, he argued, is done on the Island.

“They say we’re not democratic because we have only one party. But what about the United States, is it democratic because it has two parties? One party, the Republicans, applied the 243 measures to strengthen the blockade, and another party, the Democrats, maintained the blockade’s measures,” he summarized. What’s up with that? Is democracy measured by the number of parties or is democracy measured, really, by how people can exercise their rights in a society?”

“They say we’re not democratic because we have only one party. But what about the United States, is it democratic because it has two parties?”

The president wanted to give examples of the inequality of rich countries regardless of the flaws in his speech. “When we go fetch food, we go fetch food for 11 million Cubans. It is not putting food in the store windows and letting those who can afford it buy it, and letting those who cannot afford it starve,” he reflected, although on the Island that is already the constant reality, as a result of the absence of products in the rationed market, sales in freely convertible currency and skyrocketing inflation, among other factors.

Much of the meeting, and it could not be otherwise, touched on the policy of “suffocation” that, according to the president, the United States applies to Cuba, an island that overcomes this thanks to its “creative resistance,” and which would reach unimaginable levels of development if it were allowed to move forward without a “blockade.” “Where would Cuba go if it did not have a blockade? I think that’s where the answer lies as to why they want to keep blockading us. They are afraid of the example, what we are capable of doing, for everything we have managed to do amid that circumstance,” he said.

Manolo de los Santos started the evening by thanking Díaz-Canel for receiving the group, which has been trying for months, without succeeding, to get Joe Biden to meet with them and only finds an armored White House, while in Cuba Díaz-Canel’s arms are open. His first question revolved around the long history of the revolutionary struggle on the island, which went back to the era of slavery, the War of Independence and, of course, Castroism.

Díaz-Canel lamented that Washington resorts to wars to use its million-dollar arms industry first and addresses reconstruction later

Palestine dominated the discourse – both De los Santos from the beginning and the president, who received them from a guest, wore “kufiyas” on their shoulders – and the speech at times sounded more like an excuse to lash out against the United States, which was accused of genocide on repeated occasions.

Díaz-Canel lamented that Washington resorts to wars to use its million-dollar arms industry first and addresses reconstruction later, at which time he also introduced Ukraine into the equation. “It is very normal that, in the face of an international crisis, for the United States to create a focus outside its border where there is a war and where the United States can do its big business. That’s what Ukraine is going through.” In addition, the Cuban president applauded the pro-Palestinian movement that emerged in some universities in the United States, which he compared to the activism against the Vietnam War in the 70s, and Europe.

After 10 minutes of talking about Palestine, he compared resolutions calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip to those that reject the US embargo on Cuba every year.

He said another great topic of the day was the difficult moment that the Island is experiencing, which is taken advantage of by the United States to convey the image that the Cuban Government is incompetent. “We are living through a difficult time, but Fidel and Raul also faced very complex situations when they led the country, and together with the people they overcame them,” said Díaz-Canel, who mentioned the lack of fuel, electricity and food – all of which build off each other – as the source of those problems. “We are not perfect, nor do we want you to idealize us. We also make mistakes, we have shortcomings – like ’laziness’ and ’corruption’,” he mentioned. “But there is a huge vocation for perfection. ”

He told the young people present – as he usually does with Cubans – that the Washington mechanism consists, of provoking “a social outbreak that ends the Revolution” through “economic suffocation” and “media intoxication.” Asked how Cuba fights this situation, Díaz-Canel was blunt: with more democracy. The president alleged that there is endless discussion in the neighborhoods and assemblies and, therefore, the many laws that are being approved have countless versions, because the people are listened to. He failed to mention that the limits of the discussion are set precisely in one of the main constitutional precepts, which indicates that it is not possible to change the socialist system.

The challenges that, in the president’s opinion, remain to be faced, apart from the explicit mention of the problems with the exchange rate or the measures that must be taken without making them known – and he added, once again, that “the enemy” blocks the international solutions that Cuba finds if informed of them – are keeping social programs and winning over the youth, where the future is.

“[We are] a country that has been blockaded for over 60 years, defending socialism. Socialism fell in the 90s and this country continues like this. How can this country still pass a socialist constitution? Doesn’t that have a tremendous merit?” he asked rhetorically. There was no need for answers in an event that opened with chants that claimed: “The socialist world is the world we want.”

Translated by LAR


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