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
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail