It’s Either Cuba or Daniel Blake

The world is in turmoil. As the Western powers and their economic policies continue to tear apart the global whole, the countries of the South have united to demand justice.

This is a long story, one that continues and remains on a planet where human beings have gone straight into an invisible plane. Since the emergence of capitalism, we have witnessed the progressive destruction of people, their cultures, communities, their environment and their freedoms by oppressive forces that abuse in crescendo.

Is this what we human beings are destined for?

In 2016, the English filmmaker Ken Loach, one of my top references, released the film I, Daniel Blake. An ode to the social realism that we live in European countries and that is extendable to any neoliberal country.

Loach has spent his entire career dedicated to showing these types of human realities that are not usually the favorite dish of main stream movie theaters. With this film, in the same year, he won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The film industry had to give it to him, because Daniel Blake left no one unnoticed and because cinema is also an important tool for social transformation.

Many people think that paradise exists in first-world countries. When they get there, they discover how wrong they were. Others, who have never been there, continue to listen to the siren songs and are obsessed with an idea that does not exist. Just like paradise. And Loach has the marvelous ability to capture that reality that is not sold, not advertised, but which abounds and is perennial.

The protagonist, Daniel, is a carpenter who suffers a heart attack and has to fight against the English bureaucracy to receive a pension since he is unable to work. The director highlights the total dehumanization of men and women by addressing the shortcomings and decay of a system that is already unsustainable. Especially, the British welfare system that is in total collapse since Margaret Thatcher’s policies.

They were full of talk about the welfare state, but it vanished, went for cigarettes and never came back. As can be seen in the feature, Blake befriends a single mother in the job application centers who has to move 300 miles away from home with her children to take a job.

He sees from the bowels of the English working class how the worker’s life is a number. The poor treatment, the lack of empathy and, of course, the non-existent sensitivity.

He even goes so far as to question whether a person who has suffered a heart attack and is in poor health is fit to continue working at his age -59 years old-, in jobs with a heavy physical burden. Perhaps if this man were the father of the worker who is attending him in the “Job Center”, this worker would have a little more humanity and decency. But do family and friendship ties alone have to be the only ones that make us move in the face of human injustice? Because like Daniel Blake, there are thousands. And not only in England but in all our westernized countries.

This unjust system no longer has any leg on which to stand. President Miguel Diaz Canel denounced it yesterday, Tuesday, at the UN.

The countries of the South, those underdeveloped by the abuse of the powerful, also have a voice. As the Cuban President said, they are victims of an “abusive world economic order”, an abuse that they also commit with the working class within their own borders as we have been able to observe with Loach’s movie.

Díaz Canel called for justice. Yesterday Cuba at the UN gave a new lesson of dignity to the world. A world in which inequality is growing by leaps and bounds for the benefit and pleasure of a few.

“A new and fairer global contract is urgently needed”, he demanded.

Because this capitalism is a predator of human beings, of souls, of the environment and devastates everything in its path.

It is an honor for the G77 countries + China that a voice was raised in the heart of New York for them and for us. A voice that Fidel had already raised there some time ago and that still resounds within those walls.

We want justice, we want equality, we want a world that is safe and healthy in which humanity lives free and sovereign. And we will fight for it until our last breath.

Cuba is the one who carries the torch in our hands. It guides us. It has the experience of resistance, courage, determination and humanity.

Those of us who are her friends can do nothing but follow her, understand her, support her and nourish ourselves with her emancipating and just spirit.

Because if not… What is left for us? Despair? To die alone like Daniel Blake?

That is capitalism: to die alone in your house and with no one to take care of you like Daniel Blake.

• Cubadebate, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English

Ana Hurtado is a writer and film maker from Spain who is working now in Cuba. Read other articles by Ana.