The news of the defection of four Cuban rowers was massive and the analysis of reasons for defection was extensive in the media through interviews conducted with sports analysts (whose professional job is coaching but with the objective to snatch athletes and enticing them to defect while showing them pockets full of money) and anti-Cuba political experts who portrayed the defectors as "men wanting democracy not dictatorship" and "running away from hunger, backwardness and isolation from the world". So, please bear with me and let’s analyze Cuban sports (click HERE for a more detailed history on our website).
Since the victory of the Cuban revolution in 1959, access to sports facilities and to professional physical education has become an undeniable right for everyone living on the island, which was something previously enjoyed essentially in private clubs, only by the upper middle class and the rich.
That is why Cuba’s achievements on the world stage of sports and in the Pan Am Games (where it presently holds the 4th overall place), are the envy of all those who care about a healthy population and, in particular, the imperialist classes in Canada and in the United States, which depend on their bankrupt capitalist system, spending millions upon millions of dollars in order to win medals while ordinary working people and their children have to pay a hefty price in order to have access to sports facilities and training in private clubs. Never mind the charities and fundraising events, which oftentimes still end up having to come to the rescue in order to make it happen!
So, why have these four Cuban athletes defected to the U.S.?
The criminal U.S. blockade imposed on Cuba since the early days of the triumph of the revolution, which is intended to starve the nation island into submission complemented by the Cuban Adjustment Act, which offers automatic residency and other benefits to any Cuban national (Cubans who enter its territory via the wet-foot dry-foot policy are the only people in the world with this privilege!) are certainly some of the possible reasons for which some are willing to risk their lives, boarding unsafe boats on the high seas and other such things, in an attempt to get to the professed "promised land".
The four defective athletes -and I use the word ‘defective’ purposely- will soon learn that a free, public and humane healthcare system available to anyone who needs it, for them exists … no more! Tens of millions of U.S. citizens have no health insurance and no facilities or professionals to take care of them, when they get sick. These young men, who have been lured by Uncle Sam's propaganda machine, should know that access to free education and to arts facilities available to all, for them exists … no more!
And, lastly, these young defective human beings will learn firsthand, that in the "land of opportunities" there will be no acclamation of "Homeland Is Humanity" as was declared by José Martí -Cuba’s apostle who sacrificed his life fighting against Spanish colonialism- and which is being practiced today by the thousands of Cuban young men and women bringing literacy and healthcare to millions of other human beings in need, to all corners of the world, while thousands of humble youth from all over the world are studying to become doctors in Cuban universities, because the small nation island is sharing what it has.
Those who have defected from the values of the Cuban revolution will face and experience the individualistic dog-eat-dog culture while the Cuban nation will continue to stand tall in front of the world's Goliath with internationalizing solidarity and the ongoing achievements of its athletes in the Pan Am Games with medals for humanity with ethics and humility.
Needless to say that the Pan Am games, which has cost hundreds of millions of dollars and was accompanied by gentrification in the city, chose the theme of "we are together" however, one of its Panamania cultural presentations, chose to make fun of three of the most contemporary personalities of the Americas -late president Salvador Allende, the ever present Ernesto “Che” Guevara and inspiring Fidel Castro- in "La Imaginación del Futuro". What an oxymoron to the chosen concept of "coming together"!
for Toronto Forum on Cuba
ps. Happy Eid to all the Arab and Muslim sisters and brothers, in particular those who showed their solidarity with the people of Palestine on Al-Quds Day, while fasting, in the face of the ongoing racism and Islamophobia propagated by the reactionary forces.