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:
January 23, 2018
Carl Boggs
Doomsday Panic in Hawaii
Mark Ashwill
If I Were US Ambassador to Vietnam…
Jack Rasmus
US Government Shutdown: Democrats Blink…Again
Nick Pemberton
The Inherent Whiteness of “Our Revolution”
Leeann Hall
Trump’s Gift for the Unemployed: Kicking Them Off Health Care
Dean Baker
Lessons in Economics For the NYT’s Bret Stephens: Apple and Donald Trump’s Big Tax Cut
Mitchell Zimmerman
Law, Order and the Dreamers
Ken Hannaford-Ricardi
The Kids the World Forgot
Dave Lindorff
South Korea Slips Off the US Leash
Ali Mohsin
Extrajudicial Murder of Pashtun Exposes State Brutality in Pakistan
Jessicah Pierre
Oprah is No Savior
John Carroll Md
Keeping Haiti in Perspective
Amir Khafagy
Marching Into the Arms of the Democrats
January 22, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
It’s Time to Call Economic Sanctions What They Are: War Crimes
Jim Kavanagh
Behind the Money Curtain: A Left Take on Taxes, Spending and Modern Monetary Theory
Sheldon Richman
Trump Versus the World
Mark Schuller
One Year On, Reflecting and Refining Tactics to Take Our Country Back
Winslow Wheeler
Just What Earmark “Moratorium” are They Talking About?
W. T. Whitney
José Martí, Soul of the Cuban Revolution
Uri Avnery
May Your Home Be Destroyed          
Wim Laven
Year One Report Card: Donald Trump Failing
Jill Richardson
There Are No Shithole Countries
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
Are the Supremes About to Give Trump a Second Term?
Laura Finley
After #MeToo and #TimesUp
Howard Lisnoff
Impressions From the Women’s March
Andy Thayer
HuffPost: “We Really LOVED Your Contributions, Now FUCK OFF!”
Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail