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Truly Human Rights

Among the many unique qualities of the Cuban political process, and the organization of politics that has emerged from the revolutionary changes on the island, is the achievement of social peace in Cuba. It’s a phenomenon unthinkable in most other nations of the continent including, of course, the United States.

Surprised by this tranquility and security, many of the visitors from the United States who have been able to travel to Cuba with the exceptional authorization of Washington wonder if there are any organizations in Cuba that oppose the government. The answer, which is surprising to many, is that the only effective organizer and leader of the opposition in Cuba is the United States government. This is because Cuba’s citizens enjoy the daily right to participate in the construction of the new socialist order, but they also have the right to dissent. This is exercised in multiple instances of the vast and intense Cuban participatory system.

But another very important reason, one less spoken about, is that U.S. foreign policy has always been obsessive in maintaining a very direct and rigorous control over this dissidence. Very few Cubans agree to align themselves, to make use of their right to disagree, under the directions of a foreign government that openly proclaims itself to be an enemy of the independence, identity and social justice objectives of Cubans, and even less so with let alone do it in exchange for material benefits.

Washington’s instinctive imperialist voracity has never resigned itself to accepting a neighbor which does not blindly submit to U.S. hegemony. If not, they will learn from their own historical-practical experience, as have Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, the Dominican Republic and Haiti!

All these countries have suffered, in addition to Cuba, the extreme violence with which Washington is able to impose its neighbors’ submission to US designs.

The methods used by U.S. foreign policy to keep or return its neighbors to the fold have not always been identical. For example, from the dangers of absorption and subtle threats that have advised Canada to stay within the British Commonwealth. Why? To prevent its absorption by its American neighbors to the south. Then, the extension of borders by force with which Washington took half of its territory from Mexico. And, of course, the longest economic blockade in world history that still persists against Cuba. And we’re not even detailing the multiple invasion operations, coups and interventions sponsored by the OAS (Washington’s ministry of colonies), our America has experienced in recent centuries.

In the specific case of Cuba, a fierce campaign for the demonization of the purposes and actions of the Fidelista revolution began to develop before the triumph and seizure of power by the people in January 1959. It has been a sustained and relentless campaign, initially by the powerful US secret services of subversion and later publicly and notoriously, with multi-million dollar programs and plans aimed without discretion or shame at subverting order on the island.

This policy has been complemented, most of the time, by a ban on US citizens visiting the island in search of their own individual assessments.

With William Clinton in the presidency, the “people-to-people” policy was briefly put into effect. It authorized visiting Cuba by a certain category of individuals from academia and universities in general. It was designed with the purpose that the visitors would influence the Cubans by making them see the advantages of capitalism more, as was logical, the opposite was what happened.

President George W. Bush felt compelled to cancel the program, realizing its boomerang effect. By clashing with the truth of Cuba, the visitors became the best spokespersons for the Cuban reality.

In March 2016, then-President Barack Obama used his presidential powers to enact several measures that allowed certain categories of Americans to travel to Cuba with fewer restrictions. Nevertheless, the unconstitutional ban on tourist travel remained in place.

Donald Trump’s autocratic regime has preferred to apply measures of terror and threats in his speeches to counter the interest of U.S. citizens in approaching Cuba.

Cuba’s socialist revolutionary project does not impose anti-capitalist conditions on other countries. All it demands is respect for its experiments, essays, and studies. Cuba’s project is to create an alternative social and economic order to failed capitalism, one that is more just and better for the Cuban people and its independence.

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Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.

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