I have carefully followed the Western media’s reaction to my Sunday reflections on the Olympic Games in China. Actually, rather sensitive events were overlooked while others were highlighted ad libitum by the advocates of world plunder and exploitation.
“Fidel Castro today blamed the judges and the Mafia for the poor performance of the Cuban delegation at the Olympic Games. He also justified the Cuban tae kwon do athlete Angel Volodia Matos, who was permanently suspended after kicking a referee in the head, and expressed his full solidarity with him.”
“The former Cuban President called on Monday to make a deep analysis of sports in Cuba. He also expressed his solidarity with an athlete who was permanently suspended together with his coach for assailing a judge.”
“Castro manifested his full solidarity with the tae kwon do athlete permanently suspended for attacking a referee and a judge.”
“Castro in solidarity with the Cuban tae kwon do athlete permanently suspended for aggression.”
There is a long list of similar sentences. This was the prevailing line of information. I didn’t expect otherwise. I was doomed, the same as the Cuban boxers in the face of bribed referees and judges, and I knew what would be publicized.
As was to be expected, not a word was published about hunger, undernourishment, lack of medicines, sport gear and facilities suffered by 80% of the countries competing there.
I praised the merit of the country that organized the last Olympic Games. I did not hesitate to recognize the extraordinary qualities of the successful athletes. I appreciated the joy, the passion and the human feelings conveyed to millions of people by those who won medals. I specially appreciated the message of peace embodied by the Olympic Games, in the face of the endless carnage, devastation, genocide and real threat of extermination sustained by the human species every day.
What went unsaid about Cuba:
- It is the only country where professional sport is not practiced.
- It is the only country that years ago established a grand International School of Sports and Physical Education at the higher level, the same that has graduated thousands of youths from Third World countries and which presently accommodates 1500 students absolutely free of charge.
- It is the only country in which its high-performance athletes study free of charge to become professors of Sports and Physical Education and which has graduated thousands of people in that specialty in higher education centers. These are now working with children, teenagers, youths and people of all ages. Many of them are also working in Third World countries as collaborators, sometimes free of charge and in some cases for a minimum fee. This way they have made a contribution to the international development of sports
- It is the only country, among those participating in the Beijing Olympics, which is economically blockaded by the most powerful and richest empire that ever existed.
- It is also the only country, among all those same participants, to which an Adjustment Act is applied, that, in addition to its bloody fruits, facilitates and encourages the theft of Cuban athletes.
- Our country has devoted a specialized hospital to care for the health of high-performance athletes.
The truth cannot be hidden under the anesthesia and the fireworks of the Olympic Games.
In Barcelona 1992, in full Special Period, Cuba took fifth place for gold medals.
In the most recent Games we still obtained a total of 24 medals; that is gold, silver and bronze — a higher number than any other country in Latin America and the Caribbean.
We should not hesitate to objectively analyze our sports activity and to prepare for future contests. But, I repeat, we should not forget that “in London we shall find European chauvinism, corrupt referees, the buying of muscles and brains, a price too high to pay, and a strong dose of racism.”
As I write these lines I remember that a cyclone, Fay, paid a visit to us in the middle of the Olympics. Yesterday, coinciding with the arrival of most of our delegation, we got news that another tropical storm was heading straight for the eastern provinces. Today it is stronger, and its projected course even more dangerous. We need to strengthen not only our bodies but our spirits, too.
We are lucky to have a Revolution! It is a fact that nobody will be forgotten. If lives were lost, they would not be in the hundreds or thousands, as was the case in Santa Cruz del Sur on November 9, 1932, due to a tidal wave, and on October 3, 1963, due to Hurricane Flora which flooded the heartland of the provinces east of Cuba. At that time we had no regulatory reservoirs like those of today, which are moreover, sources of irrigation and running water. A strong, energetic and farsighted Civil Defense system protects our people and provides more security in the face of disasters than in the United States. However, every possible danger must be anticipated.
Neither should we be resting n our laurels. The growing frequency and intensity of these natural phenomena demonstrates that the climate is changing due to the faults of humanity. These times demand ever-increasing dedication, steadiness and conscience. It doesn’t matter if the opportunists and traitors also benefit without contributing anything to the safety and wellbeing of our people.
Fidel Castro Ruz
August 26, 2008