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:
Weekend Edition
July 01, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Hillary: Ordinarily Awful or Uncommonly Awful?
Pam Martens
Clinton Says Wall Street Banks Aren’t the Threat, But Her Platform Writers Think They are
Jason Hirthler
Washington’s Not-So-Invisible Hand: It’s Not Economics, It’s Empire
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Marx on Financial Bubbles: Much Keener Insights Than Contemporary Economists
Pete Dolack
Brexit Will Only Count if Everybody Leaves the EU
Evan Jones
Ancillary Lessons from Brexit
Aidan O'Brien
Brexit: the English and Welsh Enlightenment
Jeremy R. Hammond
How Turkey’s Reconciliation Deal with Israel Harms the Palestinians
Margaret Kimberley
Beneficial Chaos: the Good News About Brexit
Phyllis Bennis
From Paris to Istanbul, More ‘War on Terror’ Means More Terrorist Attacks
Ishmael Reed
OJ and Jeffrey Toobin: Black Bogeyman Auctioneer
Ron Jacobs
Let There Be Rock
Ajamu Baraka
Paris, Orlando and Turkey: Displacing the Narrative of Western Innocence
Robert Fantina
The First Amendment, BDS and Third-Party Candidates
David Rosen
Whatever Happened to Utopia?
Andre Vltchek
Brexit – Let the UK Screw Itself!
Jonathan Latham
107 Nobel Laureate Attack on Greenpeace Traced Back to Biotech PR Operators
Steve Horn
Fracked Gas LNG Exports Were Centerpiece In Promotion of Panama Canal Expansion, Documents Reveal
Robert Koehler
The Right to Bear Courage
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Spin Masquerading as Science Courtesy of “Shameful White Men of Privilege”
Binoy Kampmark
Who is Special Now? The Mythology Behind the US-British Relationship
Mark B. Baldwin
Russia to the Grexit?
Andrew Wimmer
Killer Grief
Manuel E. Yepe
Sanders, Socialism and the New Times
Franklin Lamb
ISIS is Gone, But Its Barbarity Still Haunts Palmyra
Mark Weisbrot
A Policy of Non-Intervention in Venezuela Would be a Welcome Change
Cesar Chelala
How Tobacco Became the Opium War of the 21st Century
Joseph Natoli
How We Reached the Point Where We Can’t Hear Each Other
Andrew Stewart
Skip “Hamilton” and Read Gore Vidal’s “Burr”
Christopher Brauchli
Educating Kansas
George Wuerthner
Ranching and the Future of the Sage Grouse
Thomas Knapp
Yes, a GOP Delegate Revolt is Possible
Gilbert Mercier
Democracy Is Dead
Andy Piascik
The Hills of Connecticut: Where Theatre and Life Became One
Charles R. Larson
Mychal Denzel Smith’s “Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: a Young Black Man’s Education”
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Four Morning Ducks
June 30, 2016
Richard Moser
Clinton and Trump, Fear and Fascism
Pepe Escobar
The Three Harpies are Back!
Ramzy Baroud
Searching for a ‘Responsible Adult’: ‘Is Brexit Good for Israel?’
Dave Lindorff
What is Bernie Up To?
Thomas Barker
Saving Labour From Blairism: the Dangers of Confining the Debate to Existing Members
Jan Oberg
Why is NATO So Irrational Today?
John Stauber
The Debate We Need: Gary Johnson vs Jill Stein
Steve Horn
Obama Administration Approved Over 1,500 Offshore Fracking Permits
Rob Hager
Supreme Court Legalizes Influence Peddling: McDonnell v. United States
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail