FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why the U.S. Still Hates Cuba

by FREDERICO FUENTES

At the centre of the Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago over April 17-19, was the only country from the hemisphere not present — Cuba.

Speaking at the opening session, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega noted that while a large majority of the heads of states of the Americas were present, “there are two major absentees”.

The first was “Cuba, whose crime has been to fight for its independence, for the sovereignty of the peoples; lending solidarity, without conditions, to our peoples, and for that it is being sanctioned, for that it is being punished, for that it is being excluded.”

The second was the nation of Puerto Rico, which continues to be an official colony of the United States — denied independence.

In 1962, Cuba was expelled from the Organisation of American States for having openly declared the nature of its revolution to be socialist — based on the ideology of “Marxism-Leninism”.

Despite its exclusion, Cuba’s presence was felt at the summit.

In his April 4 column, “Why is Cuba being excluded?”, former Cuban president Fidel Castro explained that Ortega “gave me a large number of paragraphs that are being debated about the final declaration of the upcoming Port of Spain Summit”.

Arguing that there were “a great number of inadmissible concepts”, he said that the summit would be a “litmus test for the peoples of the Caribbean and Latin America”.

Cuban President Raul Castro attended the Bolivarian Alternatives for Our Americas (ALBA) Summit in Cumana, Venezuela, over April 16-17, in which the anti-imperialist bloc sought to “prepare its artillery”.

The ALBA countries (Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Honduras and Dominica) issued a public document declaring their opposition to the draft declaration of the Summit of the Americas.

Part of the reason was the exclusion of Cuba and the refusal of the US to lift its nearly five decade-long economic blockade.

At the summit, Latin American president after president denounced the US blockade and called for Cuba’s inclusion in the summit. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez proposed the next summit be held in Havana.

Others raised the need for an Organisation of Latin American and Caribbean States, including Cuba but not the US or Canada.

The March decisions by the Costa Rican and El Salvadoran government to renew diplomatic ties with Cuba left the US as the only country in the Americas without official ties with Cuba’s socialist government. This is a long way from previous decades, when only a handful of regional governments kept links and the OAS backed US anti-Cuba policy.

In light of this hemispheric shift, the Obama administration recently moved to lift travel restrictions to Cuba for Cubans living in the US. It also eased restrictions on remittances from Cuban immigrants in the US sent home.

However, Obama remains firm on keeping the US blockade, despite speculation of more changes to come..

On April 20, the Washington Post reported Obama as saying: “The policy that we’re had in place for 50 years hasn’t worked the way we want it to.”

This is because, Obama said, “The Cuban people are not free”.

But, as Shamus Cooke noted in PEJ News that same day, the “purpose of the embargo is not to pressure Cuba into being more democratic: this lie can be easily refuted by the numerous dictators the U.S. has supported in the hemisphere, not to mention dictators the U.S. is currently propping up all over the Middle East and elsewhere”.

The real cause of continued US hostility is that “Cuba remains a solid source of pride” for the continent.

Cuba achieved impressive social gains, including an extensive and completely free education system and a lower infant mortality rate than the US. It has achieved these gains despite the US blockade and the economic crisis caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

The US government and its apologists accuse Cuba of a lack of democracy.

Cuba’s system is not perfect. However, not only is access to housing, jobs, education and health care (guaranteed in Cuba) pre-requisites for democratic participation, Cuba’s political system is based on “people’s power”. Cuban citizens are able to exercise significant control over the system — including the right to recall elected officials.

“Where is there more democracy, in the United States or in Cuba?”, Chavez said. “Who has the democracy meter? I have no doubt that there is more democracy in Cuba than in the United States.”

Speaking at the ALBA summit, Bolivian President Evo Morales said, “The US has no right or authority to speak of democracy, because they are the ones that foster coups”. He said Cuba exercises a democracy, in which million-dollar electoral campaigns don’t exist.

Cuba’s crime is the political and economic independence won through the revolution.

Cooke said: “Defeating the U.S. Bay of Pigs invasion [in 1961] while remaining fiercely independent in a region dominated by U.S. corporations and past government interventions has made Cuba an inspiration to millions of Latin Americans. This profound break from U.S. dominance — in its ‘own backyard’ no less — is not so easily forgiven.

“There is also a deeper reason for not removing the embargo. The foundation of the Cuban economy is arranged in such a way that it threatens the most basic philosophic principle shared by the two-party system: the market economy (capitalism).”

Cooke said that “the current crisis of world capitalism is again posing the question: is there another way to organize society?”

FREDERICO FUENTES writes for Green Left Weekly.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
Robert Koehler
Stop the Killing
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Of Dog Legs and “Debates”
Yves Engler
The Media’s Biased Perspective
Victor Grossman
Omens From Berlin
Christopher Brauchli
Wells Fargo as Metaphor for the Trump Campaign
Nyla Ali Khan
War of Words Between India and Pakistan at the United Nations
Tom Barnard
Block the Bunker! Historic Victory Against Police Boondoggle in Seattle
James Rothenberg
Bullshit Recognition as Survival Tactic
Ed Rampell
A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Kristine Mattis
Persnickety Publishing Pet-Peeves
Charles R. Larson
Review: Helen Dewitt’s “The Last Samurai”
David Yearsley
Torture Chamber Music
September 22, 2016
Dave Lindorff
Wells Fargo’s Stumpf Leads the Way
Stan Cox
If There’s a World War II-Style Climate Mobilization, It has to Go All the Way—and Then Some
Binoy Kampmark
Source Betrayed: the Washington Post and Edward Snowden
John W. Whitehead
Wards of the Nanny State
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail