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If it was about justice and a rethinking of US foreign policy – or even a shift to decency and respect – there would have been an immediate indication by President Obama that the recently passed sanctions versus Venezuela would be vetoed by the president. Of course this did not occur and thus today’s actions regarding Cuba should be seen as nothing more than a Trojan Horse to infiltrate Cuba under the guise of bridge-building to an “enemy”.
It is a clever disguise by the seat of power in Washington and its business allies in the United States to announce measures to allow increased remittances to Cuba while speaking of opening an embassy in Havana. Predictably, the far right of the United States is falling into an apoplectic fit as they are still chained to ideological hatred of the Cuban experiment that became a success. We must recognize what is apparent – there is no difference in the goal of the Democrats and Republicans when it comes to Cuba. The goal is the eradication of the Cuban Revolution, the destruction of independent sovereign socialism in a nation, and the destruction of the idea of socialist success in the Americas. As Obama said today, “Let us leave behind the legacy of both colonization and communism” as if they are equal evils. As if communism is an evil. As if the communist revolt for freedom is equivalent to blood, deadly gangster colonialism.
Cuba has historically been the light of the Americas – home of liberation hero Jose Marti and Fidel Castro – and still burns bright for those seeking an America of the people whether in the streets of the South Bronx or the communes of Venezuela. This is something recognized by those in the power halls of Washington. The example itself is justification for destruction.
But to return to today’s announcement – President Obama is simply finding the best way of accomplishing all this. Remittances will increase with the assumption that trade with Cuba (read: flooding the Cuban market with US products) will increase. A US embassy in Havana will be a forward post for Washington spooks to guide local civil society (read: handpicked neoliberal “reformers”) to seize control of what they hope will become a neutered in-name-only Communist Party of Cuba. See, the Obama administration and their Madison Avenue-esque allies recognize that the goal is a change in the concrete policies of Cuba. The symbolism can stay in a sick twisted Communist Disneyland. They will profit off a capitalist Cuba where the hammer and sickle is worn as a gaudy necklace by actors who will portray Che Guevara in historical re-enactments all for the pleasure of Norte Americano tourists. Che Guevara will be portrayed by a local resident who will be without healthcare, an education or any social safety net currently in place.
But have no fear friends, it will all be accomplished civilly by civil society and the vestiges of Castro domination will be gone. Communism will be remembered but as a time past. Remembered by those who make beds for tourists and recycle empty glass bottles of cerveza left by Jim Bob and Patsy from Tennessee, USA.
Obama wants “the lives of ordinary Cubans” to be “a little bit easier. More free. More prosperous.” And what screams freedom and prosperity more than tourist hotels?
Yet while this Trojan Horse is rapidly approaching the Bay of Pigs, Cuba’s death cannot yet be written for there is little that has been officially determined.
See, this is part of the first steps down an increasingly slippery slope in these recent years since the end of Comrade Fidel Castro’s end of official rule. But this slippery slope may be cosmetic – the question, now with the ball in the court of the high echelons in Cuba, is whether they will allow the quicksand of imperialism and capitalism to envelop them and not ensure the future of socialism in Cuba. The goal of the North is to groom young “Communists” to implement “reforms” to make the country malleable to the US.
Cuba appears to think it can adapt like China did and employ a brand of state-run hybrid-socialism – a welfare state with a strong governmental grip on local semi-private enterprise. The clear risk that Cuba runs in this game is that it will fall into the status of a client state as its own resources will not allow it survive without outside help in 2014. It does not have an industrial or financial juggernaut status as China does to allow it to run a game of straddling the capitalist and socialist worlds. It will soon be forced to make a decision as to where it will go. One cannot serve both God and Mammon – nor one’s people and the United States.
The slippery slope will not immediately destroy the benefits of socialism that the Cuban people have so heroically grasped and protected for over 50 years but the Northern Empire and capitalism can wait it out. They can wait for the destruction by a steady chipping away at the humanistic, socialist edifice that has brought dignity to the people of Cuba. They will count successes as children begging in the streets surrounding the front of a Sheraton hotel in downtown Havana.
So today we ask, whither Cuba? What direction will Cuba go? Will the aging leaders of the Revolution persevere and groom staunch and independent rebels for this century? Are today’s announcements the first step in the destruction of the Cuban Revolution or is it Cuba returning the last of Cuban 5 to their homes? We ask tonight that President Raul Castro stand firm. Mutual respect has always been demanded. Let us continue to demand this. No rolling-back the Revolution!
Andrew Kahn writes the Voice of America blog.