THE FIFTH REFLECTION ON THE PAN
In Spite of Everything
Do you think that you merely enjoy the Pan
American Games? Think again, and you will realize that no matter
your age, you run, jump, put the shots, throw javelins, discuses
and hammers; soar above hurdles and tracks, relay batons, spike
balls, score a basket, row, execute ippons, turn your rival over,
follow strategies, splash water over yourself after running for
two hours and even stop taking in the oxygen that your lungs are
demanding. What a wonderful show the athletes put on for us!
But you do not just enjoy; you participate, especially when
athletes from your country are competing. In our case, there is
hardly any event where there is not a Cuban team or athlete
Besides, July and August are months filled with commemorative
activities. This is also the warmest and most humid period of the
year. Added to this there is a magic word: holidays! Your homes
see millions of children, teenagers and young people getting
together. People from all ages feel the obsessive need to relax in
this stressful time in which we live.
This is the time of mothers, especially of grandmothers. With
great love and determination they look after their children’s
children and even after their grandchildren’s children. They are
the heroines of the marathon that goes on year after year.
Commemorations would lack every sense if it were not for the
advances achieved by our Revolution; these are the sum total of
examples set forth and efforts carried out for a long time. Cuba
is almost the only country offering free education, health and
A special tribute should go to a comrade who exactly 50 years
ago gave up his life fighting the tyranny: the young 22-year-old
hero Frank País.
Those who fought for these ideals made it possible for us to
enjoy today’s levels of social justice, which includes full
employment for all men and women in our country.
The most important achievement of the Revolution has been the
capacity to resist a blockade for almost half century as well as
privations of every sort. Restrictions in the variety and quality
of foodstuffs and future threats of unaffordable prices that may
result from the imperialist constraint of using much of this
scarce and vital raw material to produce fuel are not ruled out.
We have come to the end of the Pan American Games; I am going
to miss them.
Cuba won the first place in track and field, with 12 gold
medals. As a country, it ranked second at the XV Pan American
Games with a total of 59 gold medals, preceded only by the United
States which won 97; in other words, they won 1.64 gold medals for
each one that was won by our country. But the United States has 26
times more inhabitants than Cuba. According to conservative
figures, they won one medal per every 3.09 million inhabitants; we
won one per every 195 thousand.
On 59 occasions we heard the spirited notes of the Cuban
National Anthem playing. In spite of everything!
Fidel Castro Ruz
July 30, 2007.