FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Gross Stupidity

U.S. foreign assistance empowers those in Cuba who are working towards positive change to advocate for fundamental freedoms and free market-oriented solutions to meet the needs of Cuban citizens. – U.S. AID web page, March 2011

On March 12, after a two day trial, a Cuban court sentenced Alan Gross to 15 years in prison for “acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state” referring to his role in a “subversive project” designed by Washington “to undermine” Cuba’s government. The prosecutors had asked for a 20-year sentence. He can appeal this decision to Cuba’s high court.

Gross lied on his immigration forms (five times he called himself a tourist to cover his work to distribute clandestine communications technology for the U.S. government). Gross worked for DAI, a company that won a contract from AID (State Department). Gross’ job, according to AID’S Cuba program, was to “increase the free flow of uncensored information to, from, and within the island through the provision of informational materials and internet access, as well as building the capacity of Cuban independent media.”

It’s hardly surprising that AID’s charter does not authorize U.S. aid to independent Cubans who critique the results of U.S. policy in Cuba. For example, if some independent blogger wanted satellite phones to organize a march outside the U.S. Interest Section (embassy without formal ambassadorial relations, broken by Eisenhower on Jan 3, 1961) and maintain a vigil there to confront each U.S. diplomat with the thousands of violent crimes committed by U.S. agents against Cuba, AID would not finance such a project. Imagine a civil society-building movement that attacked the Cuban government for doing too little against a country that murdered its citizens!

Indeed, Cubans demanding justice from the United States would have facts, thousands of declassified documents authorizing assassinations and sabotage of Cuban property — and a CIA-backed invasion of the island. Former CIA officials testified to Congress about these programs.

What baffles Cubans is the nature of its northern neighbor: “self-righteousness” under the rubric of “American democracy.” Note: do not call it U.S. democracy because Washington applies the concept to all the territory God ordained as a U.S. (unofficial) protectorate (See Monroe Doctrine and discussion of Manifest Destiny in the 19th Century).

Since God selected a few English of Puritan bent to cross the ocean to Massachusetts to preach His revealed word to savages and make proper (capitalistic) use of the rich land they were to conquer, the chosen had a serious obligation to fulfill. Those conquered or subdued from Patagonia to Mexico should be coaxed or forced to adopt as their political norms the perfect system elaborated for them by the U.S. Founding Fathers.

By the 20th Century, most of Latin America understood the basic precepts of living under the guidelines set forth by the U.S. “democracy.” Elections had to result in obedient (to Washington) governments. Disobedient winners repeatedly got removed and new elections eventually provided compliant ones. (In the 1960s, when Juan Bosch prevailed in the Dominican Republic, the United States helped un-prevail him; more recently Haitian voters chose Jean Bertrand Aristide and Washington officials conspired to kidnap and exile him – and insure he would not return.)

In addition, Americans insist on legislatures, courts, and a privately owned “free press” with paid advertisements. Underlying U.S. rules rests the supreme assumption: protection of God’s most sacred entity, private property, especially American property.

If one understands U.S. democracy in this way, and there’s plenty of history to illustrate it, then one can also grasp what much of the world views as Washington’s obsession with Cuba since 1959: Cuba nationalized U.S. property.

This fixation sometimes leads U.S. officials into embarrassing situations. For example, Secretary of State Clinton routinely criticizes Cuba for having “political prisoners” – U.S.-paid dissidents. Cuba released almost all of those prisoners, but the United States holds some 200 prisoners – without formal charges at Guantanamo base. But that’s different. Those held at Guantanamo might threaten “American” security whereas Cuba’s political prisoners only threatened Cuban security; therefore, Cuba had no right to imprison them. The American government has rights; Cuba has responsibilities.

As everyone has witnessed, the lack of certain freedoms in Cuba paled in comparison to repression in other states Washington maintains friendly relations with. In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt rolled out the red carpet for Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza. “He might be a son-of-a-bitch, but he’s our son-of-a-bitch,” said FDR. More recent SOBs like Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, for example, got massive amounts of U.S. money in aid.

AID in Cuba, however, indirectly employed Alan Gross as a contract agent to “aid” the Cuban people. Gross’ job was to get Cubans to use better communications for a made-in-the-USA “civil society.” This U.S.-designed perfect model of democracy remains as one of the few commodities still manufactured in the United States for export only.

Alan Gross actually acted his part in the Washington play designed 50-plus years ago. In March 1960, the CIA scripted “… a means for mass communication to the Cuban people so that a powerful propaganda offensive can be initiated in the name of the declared opposition.” The Agency claimed “a CIA controlled action group is producing and distributing anti-Castro and anti-Communist publications regularly.” (CIA, A Program of Covert Action Against the Castro Regime, March 1960)

Satellite phones and laptops have replaced printed matter, but the U.S. goal remains. Gross claims no government official warned him the Cuban government had decades of experience in duping U.S. agents – even “experts” in sophisticated technology. Perhaps a history lesson would have taught Gross, and Secretary Clinton, more than they pick up from their tweets.

Saul Landau’s new film, WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP, is distributed by Cinema Libre Studio.

Nelson Valdes is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico.

 

August 21, 2018
Anthony DiMaggio
Fascist Nation: The “Alt-Right” Menace Persists, Despite Setbacks
Chris Floyd
Dial “N” for Mayhem: Wording Our Way to a New Level of Hell
Creston Davis
The Education Impasse in the USA
Jonathan Cook
In Detaining Peter Beinart, Israel Has Declared it No Longer Represents Millions of Jews Overseas
Kshama Sawant
UPS Teamsters, We Have Your Back in this Fight
Kenneth Culton
Trump Supporters: the Joyous Cult Bound by Shared Story and Ritual
Andy Thayer
Why the Chicago ‘68 Convention Matters Today
Simone Chun
Sea of Tears: The Tragedy of Families Split by the Korean War
William Blum
The Russians Did It (cont.)
Manuel E. Yepe
How Capitalism Erodes Mental Health
Doug Noble
Thomas Mountain
Djibouti Faces Dark Days to Come; Eritrean Ports, Pipeline Threaten Ethiopian Trade Lifeline
Binoy Kampmark
Finding Fault and Faulty Infrastructure: Genoa’s Morandi Bridge Disaster
Kary Love
“Suffer Not the Little Children….”
Thomas Knapp
Omarosa Manigault Newman, Public Servant
August 20, 2018
Carl Boggs
The Road to Disaster?
James Munson
“Not With a Bomb, But a Whimper” … Then More Bombs.
Jonathan Cook
Corbyn’s Labour Party is Being Made to Fail –By Design
Robert Fisk
A US Trade War With Turkey Over a Pastor? Don’t Believe It
Howard Lisnoff
The Mass Media’s Outrage at Trump: Why the Surprise?
Faisal Khan
A British Muslim’s Perspective on the Burkha Debate
Andrew Kahn
Inhumanity Above the Clouds
Dan Glazebrook
Trump’s New Financial War on the Global South
George Wuerthner
Why the Gallatin Range Deserves Protection
Ted Rall
Is Trump a Brand-New Weird Existential Threat? No.
Sheldon Richman
For the Love of Reason
Susie Day
Why Pundits Scare Me
Dean Baker
Does France’s Economy Need to Be Renewed?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Mighty Voice for Peace Has Gone Silent: Uri Avnery, 1923-2018
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail