U.S. still says Cuba on its list of “countries which sponsor international terrorism”

PERMANENT MISSION OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
315 Lexington Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10016 (212) 689-7215, FAX (212) 689-9073

PRESS RELEASE

STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA

On July 31st, the U.S. State Department once again included Cuba on its arbitrary, unilateral list of “countries which sponsor international terrorism.”

Yet again, the only reason Cuba is kept on this list is exposed as an attempt to justify the U.S. blockade of our country, as well as the adoption of new measures to limit our financial and commercial transactions, to strangle the Cuban economy and impose a regime which responds to U.S. interests.

On this occasion, the U.S. government attempts to sustain this discredited exercise with a new, slanderous accusation as to the supposed failure of Cuba’s banking system to take measures to confront money laundering and financial transactions linked to terrorism.

With this tall tale the United States hopes to conceal the fact that Cuba regularly provides precise, truthful information to the appropriate United Nations bodies charged with addressing these issues and others related to confronting terrorism. The U.S. blatantly ignores the Cuban government’s repeated proposals, made again as recently as February, 2012, to agree upon a bilateral program to confront terrorism. The U.S. government has not responded.

The United States does not have any moral authority whatsoever to judge us. It is widely known that the U.S. government has used state terrorism as a weapon in its policy toward Cuba, causing 3,478 deaths and 2,099 permanent injuries and has harbored, over time, dozens of terrorists, some of whom live freely within the country, while Cuba’s five anti-terrorist fighters remain unjustly imprisoned or detained. The U.S. is also the principal center of money laundering on the planet and the lack of regulation of its financial system detonated the current global economic crisis.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs forcefully rejects the manipulation of an issue as sensitive as terrorism for such narrow political ends against Cuba and demands that the U.S. government stop lying and put an end to this shameful practice which offends the Cuban people and discredits international efforts in the struggle against terrorism.

Havana, August 1st, 2012

U.S. still says Cuba on its list of “countries which sponsor international terrorism”

Tribute to Barrón


On July 24, 2012, a tribute to our compañero Arnaldo Goenaga Barrón was held in Havana for his valiant service to the Revolution and to his homeland, Cuba. Our compañero was awarded the Friendship Medal. This acknowledgement was presented to him by the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) and was certified by the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba and its President, the Honorable Raúl Castro Ruz.

The hot, tropical summer afternoon was no impediment for his friends and comrades in struggle, which included representatives of the revolutionary government, to gather in honor of Barrón. The celebration was led by Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada. Also present were the Ambassador of Cuba to the United Nations, Pedro Núñez Mosquera, comrade Rafael Dauza, who represented the Minister of Foreign Relations, Kenia Serrano, President of the ICAP, the Executive Board of Casa de las Américas, and Andrés Morejón and Esperanza Luzbert, officials of the ICAP who had the task of organizing this auspicious event. The proclamation was read by Esperanza Luzberty. In a moment of great honor, Alarcón decorated Barrón with his deserved medal, which he placed on Barrón’s guayabera, over his heart. As soon as the medal was pinned, the audience erupted in thunderous applause.

What follows is a brief explanation of the reasons for which this distinction was given to our beloved Barrón. Compañero Barrón tells us that the motivation to involve himself fully in the struggle to eradicate from Cuba Fulgencio Batista’s bloody dictatorship was the failed attempt during the attack on the Moncada Barracks by that valiant group of Cuban patriots, led by Fidel Castro on July 26, 1953. With close attention and with great pain, Barrón followed the infamous trial and the conditions of imprisonment to which Fidel and the other survivors of that heroic endeavor were subjected by the bloodthirsty Batista regime.

International pressure and the criticisms of the atrocities committed by the henchmen of Batista against the prisoners of that heroic deed resulted in the freedom of Fidel and the other imprisoned comrades. Fidel went abroad and in Mexico, he began to organize Cubans in the Diaspora. It was at that time that a group of young Cubans from the committee of the Orthodox Party of Cuba in New York, led by Arnaldo Goenaga Barrón, made contact with Fidel and asked that he visit them in that city. Fidel accepts the invitation and travels from Mexico to Texas and continuing by train to New York City, arriving on October 15, 1955. He was received by the members of the Committee of the Orthodox Party.

Gloria Goenaga and Arnaldo Barrón welcomed Fidel into their home for the 15 days he was in New York City. During his stay, Fidel commits all his efforts toward organizing the different sectors of the Cuban Diaspora in order to unite them into one organization. On October 28, 1955, the July 26 Movement is established in the United States, and was led by comrade Arnaldo Goenaga Barrón.

Members of the July 26Movement in the United States, including those who are no longer with us, knew how to valiantly respond to the call of the homeland and dedicate their lives to the ultimate expression of the apostle Jose Martí who tells us that, “The genuine person does not look toward what side lives better but rather on which side his duty lies.”

Who better than the President of Cuban Parliament, Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada, to elaborate upon these magnificent individuals? Alarcón, in an emotional and eloquent dissertation about Barrón at the ceremony, spoke precisely and clearly about the revolutionary history of these anonymous heroes of the Revolution. Alarcón declared that if anyone deserved the recognition being given, it was Arnaldo Barrón, saying: “At the very least we can give him that distinction today and with how many more could we express the gratitude that we Cubans should have toward this comrade who represents so many others who, in the ‘belly of the beast’ knew how to defend and maintain a living image of the homeland and live the revolutionary ideals?” What the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba has done through the action of the ICAP has been simply to carry out an act of justice.

Further on, Alarcón forges a framework for the accomplishments and virtues of Arnaldo and his fellow Movement comrades. He goes on to explain step by step the most daring moments of the revolutionary struggles in which those tireless Cuban fighters participated, under the leadership of our beloved Barrón. Alarcón next addresses those present in order to point out that “I have allowed myself to speak these words on this occasion to tell those who did not know him, that what we have here is a living and inseparable part of what is best in the Cuban revolutionary struggle. And in all those years that Arnaldo was not here in his homeland, he was there struggling for his homeland every second and for his people. He had to wage a little known and very hidden struggle in order to gather arms and organize actions, and he had to do this confronted with groups that were in opposition to the revolutionary process.”

“Martí said that to honor, honors, but to honor is also a duty of gratitude for those whom should never be forgotten. If we have come this far in this prolonged struggle it is because many people sacrificed their lives along the way and among these is comrade Barrón.”

In conclusion, the history of the Cuban Revolution is incomplete without the inclusion of the activities that occurred in the Cuban Diaspora in the United States and its struggles and sacrifices against the Batista dictatorship and in defense of the Revolution. We have presented here some of the actions that took place in the struggle during those times. The history of the July 26 Movement in the United States encompasses many more activities and actions unknown by many. Casa de las Américas has taken up the task of compiling and documenting everything that is relevant to that incredible history so that it may be known in the future as a gift for those who today struggle for social justice and the rights of the peoples to genuine independence. To honor the memory of all those who with so much valor and sacrifice knew how to raise the banner of the Cuban homeland on high, without caring about the risks that this entails, is our patriotic duty.

¡Viva Arnaldo Barrón, Viva Gloria Goenaga!

Eternal glory to the Fallen of our glorious revolution!
Casa de las Américas

LA VERDAD VERDADERA

ESPECIAL PARA MONCADA

ADRIANA VEGA

MONCADA

Desde el pasado 22 de julio, se han publicado más de mil informaciones de prensa y mensajes en las redes sobre el accidente de tránsito donde fallecieron dos ciudadanos cubanos más las lesiones de un español y un sueco. Nada raro, la mafia anexionista de Miami atribuyó a Cuba la perpetración de un atentado político, a través de un auto sospechoso que probablemente manejarían Raúl, Ventura y Pombo, (cascarrillo que va por mi cuenta)

Entre los calumniadores advertimos al candidato republicano de Estados Unidos, al Departamento de Estado y al vocero de la Presidencia de Chile reclamando una indagación transparente, en tanto pruebas indiscutibles de expertos marcan que no es Cuba sino USA quien hace gala de una maligna superioridad de crímenes políticos manejando prácticas extrajudiciales con aviones no tripulados, raptos, chantajes y torturas en campos de concentración (Guantánamo) y en sus presidios diligencias injustas y discriminatorias de la pena de muerte, más crímenes de civiles inocentes como en Iraq, Afganistán, Pakistán y otros estados.

Se conoce con pruebas fehacientes la participación de algunos de sus aliados europeos de la OTAN en dichos actos, en particular los secuestros de ciudadanos de otros Estados, vuelos secretos de la CIA, cárceles clandestinas en Europa con intervención de su personal y torturas que entonan con voz de tenor “el terrorismo soy yo”

La Revolución Cubana triunfó y ha sido preservada desde 1959 sin una sola ejecución extrajudicial, sin desaparecidos, torturados, secuestrados ni actos extremistas que puedan dar vergüenza, ya que se fundan en una Constitución aprobada por todo el pueblo revolucionario que sostiene ,a pesar de ellos, su inaugural y veraz independencia desde el primero de enero de 1959, en tanto el monopolio financiero-mediático que difama a Cuba, se agrupa y paga a los apócrifos “luchadores por la libertad” sin honrar metas éticas ni la muerte de seres humanos.
Pese a la censura y el manejo, es ya re contra conocido que en CUBA la contrarrevolución ha sido y es asalariada, que son agentes del gobierno de USA y que sus gusanitos fomentan arrodillados provistos e instruidos traicionando a su Patria por monedas, tal como Judas. Ellos mismos con sus aliados perversos armaron una fiesta para la prensa enemiga extranjera que detuvo, en plena calle, el cortejo fúnebre de uno de los fallecidos en el accidente, en tanto la rápida y enérgica respuesta del pueblo obligó a la Policía Nacional Revolucionaria a excluirlos del lugar. Generosamente, no se les instruyeron cargos y regresaron a sus casas pocas horas después.

La cobertura de prensa internacional adversa nunca se preguntó qué hacían en la isla los dos políticos europeos lesionados.

El conductor Ángel Carromero Barrios no era solo un turista español sino el ahora Vicesecretario General de Nuevas Generaciones, sector juvenil del Partido Popular de España, íntimo de los anticubanos José María Aznar, ex presidente del gobierno, y Esperanza Aguirre, cabeza de la Comunidad de Madrid. El otro pasajero es Jens Aron Modig, líder del Partido Demócrata Cristiano Sueco, émulo del ultraconservador “Tea Party” norteamericano, y presidente de su Liga Juvenil, con nexos en el Instituto Republicano Internacional (IRI) y afín a la derecha nórdica más recalcitrante.

Todos ingresaron el 19 de julio como Turistas para involucrarse en actividades contra el orden constitucional, operación organizada por Anikka Rigo, jefa de la Sección de Relaciones Exteriores del Partido Demócrata Cristiano Sueco y con el motivo de financiar al microscópico Movimiento Cristiano de Liberación, cuyo Presidente era Oswaldo Payá, fallecido con mojitos, traiciones y farándula después de recibir dinerillos para la creación del grupúsculo juvenil en tanto marchaban a Santiago de Cuba cuando ocurrió el accidente.
Los ciudadanos extranjeros fueron asistidos por su cónsul y Ángel Carromero Barrios asume un cargo por homicidio al conducir el vehículo. El sueco Jens Aron Modig retornó a su país, pese a la violación de su estatus migratorio y las actividades ilegales que realizó,todas operaciones organizadas desde Miami, Madrid y Estocolmo.

Asimismo, antes de la “inspección” de Benedicto XVI, ocho mexicanos cruzaron como turistas para incitar al pueblo a silbar, tomar iglesias, distribuir volantes y crear desórdenes en las actividades del Pontífice, que muy diplomáticamente no los recibió.

Cuatro de los mejicanos fueron detenidos y reconocieron haber sido financiados, entrenados e instruidos por Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat, del Directorio Democrático Cubano de Miami e informaron además que el jefe del operativo en México fue René Bolio Hollarán, ex Senador suplente del Partido de Acción Nacional (PAN), vinculado estrictamente a la mafia de la Florida.
Otras agencias e instituciones norteamericanas y europeas canalizan fondos con idénticos objetivos: el Instituto Nacional Demócrata (NDI); el Instituto Republicano Internacional (IRI); la Fundación Nacional para la Democracia (NED); la Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana (FNCA); Solidaridad Española con Cuba; el Grupo “Prisa”; la Federación Española de Asociaciones Cubanas; el Instituto Democrático Europeo (EDI); “People in Need”; el Centro para la Apertura y Desarrollo de América Latina (CADAL, que funciona repartiendo sueldos y ediciones de libros en Argentina) y la Fundación Panamericana para el Desarrollo (FUPAD) sin referir los millones en fondos secretos que los servicios de inteligencia, como CIA, consagran a la sedición contra Cuba.

Otros programas, dirigidos a fabricar eventuales líderes de “oposición”, les proporcionan y les pagan el acceso a Internet, a las redes sociales, les regalan computadoras y medios técnicos, con propósito político, en contraste con la aplicación del bloqueo que hace USA en el área de las telecomunicaciones.

La Sección de Intereses de Estados Unidos en La Habana maneja directos propósitos subversivos porque facilita millares de horas de conexión ilegal a Internet e imparte cientos de horas de cursos conspirativos en abierta violación de leyes nacionales y de la Convención de Viena sobre Relaciones Diplomáticas.
Hay copiosa evidencia de que el gobierno norteamericano sigue la política de “cambio de régimen” en la nación caribeña, mediante un bloqueo económico, político, mediático y su apoyo monetario a la sedición.

Solo entre el 2009 y el 2012, el Departamento de Estado y la Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (USAID) han recibido un presupuesto público de 75 millones de dólares para programas conspiradores contra Cuba.
Con toda razón, el Presidente y General de Ejército Raúl Castro Ruz, expresó que “Estados Unidos no cesa en su afán de formar una quinta columna en suelo patrio y en el empleo de novedosas tecnologías con fines subversivos”.

Los grupos más reaccionarios y violentos de Miami no cejan en sus propósitos de incitar al pueblo a la “rebelión” contra el gobierno que, libre y soberanamente el pueblo ha elegido desde una democracia participativa.

Ellos sueñan con desestabilizar el país, crear condiciones para repetir lo ocurrido en Libia o Siria y provocar una intervención militar norteamericana.
En el informe al VI Congreso del Partido, Raúl advirtió que lo que nunca se le negará al pueblo es el derecho a defender su Revolución porque protege su independencia, las magníficas conquistas del socialismo que se mueven solidariamente en el mundo y que junto a sus viviendas, plazas y calles seguirán aumentando ya que es el más importante deber de todos los patriotas cubanos.

Cuba es Martiana Y Marxista Leninista, le pese a quien le pese. Como diría el Gran Allende, sus alamedas están muy, muy bien custodiadas.

Buenos Aires, 2 de agosto del 2012

LA VERDAD VERDADERA

Cindy Sheehan Sends a Message to Obama

Originally posted by International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5

This August Cindy Sheehan joins the international campaign of the 5th of each month for the Cuban 5 and is sending the following letter to President Obama

Cindy Sheehan is an American anti-war activist whose son, U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed during the Iraq War in 2004. From that time on Cindy became a leading voice against the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She attracted national and international media attention in August 2005 for setting up Camp Casey right outside President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch.

After meeting family members of the Cuban 5 in 2006 Cindy started a special relationship with the mothers of the Five based on her sense of justice and her understanding of the suffering that only a mother separated from a son knows.

LETTER OF CINDY SHEEHAN TO OBAMA

August 5, 2012

Dear President Obama,

Though I have little faith you will actually read this letter, my passion for this cause gives me optimism that you might take a moment to hear me.

I am writing to you about the case of the “Cuban 5.” The Cuban Five are five Cuban anti-terrorist agents from Cuba, who came to the United States to monitor the activities of real terrorists-Cuban expatriates living here who planned violent counter-revolutionary acts in Cuba and have been responsible for the deaths of thousands of Cubans over the years.

As you probably know, my son, Casey Austin Sheehan, was killed in Iraq on April 04, 2004. He was lied to by his government and military leadership that told him he was occupying another’s land to “fight terrorism.” So many injustices have been committed in this so-called Global War on Terror, but these Five Cuban heroes have been in US jails and prisons for fourteen years and their only real crime was not registering as foreign agents-a mild crime that usually carries a mild sentence of expulsion or short prison terms.

However, to obfuscate the USA’s training of and harboring of real terrorists, such as Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles, the injustice system of this country has convicted these five Cubans in a travesty of justice and the penalties were inhumane.

I have read numerous other letters to you from colleagues who have also pled with you to Free the Five based on the fact that they are sons, husbands, and fathers who need to return to their homeland and be with their families. Since you are already well aware of the deaths of sons, fathers, husbands, wives, mothers, and daughters due to the expansion of the Bush wars, and starting a few of your own, I am rather certain that approach will not work.

I know and care about the families of the Five-Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González-they are optimistic and wonderful human beings. I have had the fortune of getting to know them over the years during my travels to Cuba and around the world. I am not appealing to you based on compassion as that would be a useless waste of my time and yours-the US imprisons more people per capita than any other nation in the world. Nor am I appealing to you based on the fact that you were a Constitutional Scholar and lawyer, primarily because what happened to the Five was an obscenity of the law, as was the signing of the NDAA into law, drone bombing in countries without a declaration of war, and assassinating US citizens without the due process guaranteed by the Constitution-all clearly in violation of the Constitution and also obscene.

However, I am appealing to you to “Free the Five” based on the fact that you have said, and shown the world, that the USA can “act pre-emptively” to protect our “safety,” and I would like to believe that you would extend the Cuban people and government the same right to protect its citizens from acts of terrorism.

Your regime has vigorously violated the sovereignty of several countries in the purported quest to “keep America safe.” The Cuban government and the Five Heroes did far less.

As a United States citizen, I do not make appeals of the people who work for me, however, I demand that my government allow the Four still imprisoned people listed above, as well as René González, who is out but on probation in Miami (which is the worst place for him to be because of the counter-revolutionary Cuban terrorists who live there) to return home. They have been punished enough for a relatively small crime.

President Obama, you have also made a statement that “Cuba needs to change its society” before you will consider normalizing relations. The blockade is an anachronism from the Cold War that can be lifted to the benefit of both nations- then you can go visit and see how wrong you’ve been.

Cindy Sheehan


REMEMBER: THE 5TH OF AUGUST FOR THE CUBAN 5
NEXT SUNDAY AUGUST 5TH, CALL THE WHITE HOUSE AND JOIN THE WORLDWIDE DEMAND FOR THE FREEDOM OF THE FIVE.

DIFFERENT WAYS TO REACH THE WHITE HOUSE

By phone: 202-456-1111 (If nobody answers the phone leave a message)

If calling from outside the United States, dial first the International Area Code
+ 1 (US country code) followed by 202-456-1111

By Fax: 202-456-2461

If fax is sent from outside the United States, dial first the International Area
Code + 1 (US country code) followed by 202-456-2461

To send an e-mail: president@whitehouse.gov

To send a letter
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20500
EE.UU.

To send an electronic message write to:
SEND AN ONLINE MESSAGE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA

Cindy Sheehan Sends a Message to Obama

Cuban American Receives Friendship Medal in Havana

HAVANA, Cuba, Jul 25 (acn) The Cuban Friendship Institute (ICAP by its Spanish acronym) awarded the Friendship Medal on Tuesday in Havana to Cuban-American Arnaldo Goenaba Barron .

At the request of ICAP, the Cuban Council of State approved a decree grantng the distinction to Goenaba Barron for his longstanding struggle in the defense of the Revolution before and after 1959.

Ricardo Alarcon, President of the Cuban Parliament present at the ceremony said that when he learned that Barron would be getting the Friendship Medal he knew that it was been given to “someone that is inseparable to our history”. He said “Barron is a combatant, revolutionary, Cuban of the old vanguard”.

Barron, as he is known among his closest friends, was leader of the July 26th Movement in the United States. Alarcon said that he “fought during a period of time that was not easy”. He represents something that is also very important. “He is from a group of Cubans whose history has been distorted in the US”, said Alarcon.

Not all Cubans that live in the US “oppose our revolutionary process, he is from that period of Cubans that migrated to the US during the 1940’s and 1950’s, fleeing the dictatorship and ready to fight for a change on the island”, said the President of the Cuban Parliament.

“Barron, alongside thousands of Cubans in the US that supported the leader of the Revolution Fidel Castro in the revolutionary process, led the way to the victory in 1959”, said Alarcon.

He added that he is one of millions of Cubans in the United States that currently defend the island’s independence, sovereignty and self determination and want normalization of ties with between the two countries.

The President of Casa de las Americas solidarity organization based in New York, Nancy Cabrero said that it is an honor for them to see Barron receive such a distinction.

She informed those present in the ceremony that Casa de la Americas was founded in 1955, when Fidel Castro visited New York looking for support among the Cuban emigrants. Fidel, with the support of Barron and other members of the Orthodox Party in New York, organized the July 26th Movement in the United States. This committee helped the movement with monetary donations and other materials for the liberation movement underway on the island.

After the triumph of the Revolution, this committee was known as Casa Cuba and later Casa de las Americas which Baron and his wife Gloria, also helped organize.

Nancy concluded her words by quoting Cuba’s National Hero Jose Marti who said “Hacer es la Mejor Forma de Decir”, Action is Better Than Words. This she said, “is the slogan of Casa de las Americas and Barron and Gloria have been vivid examples of Marti’s words.”

Also present in the distinction ceremony were, Rafael Dausa, representative of the Cuban Foreign Ministry; Pedro Nunez Mosquera, Cuban ambassador to the United Nations; Kenia Serrano, ICAP President; members of Casa de las Americas in NY and other guests.

Cuban American Receives Friendship Medal in Havana

Other related articles

Cuban Rebel Trial Starts Here MondayBrownsville Herald, May 18, 1958 (front page)

Por Los Cinco: en Motocicleta Recorren América del Sur

SEMBRANDO CAMINOS En motocicleta, como cuando el Che iniciara su recorrida por América, cinco médicos latinoamericanos recibidos en la ELAM, Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina en Cuba, se han lanzado a las rutas de América Latina demandando la libertad de los Cinco cubanos presos políticos en los EEUU por luchar contra el terrorismo y en apoyo solidario a la Revolución Cubana.

Milko Figueroa de nacionalidad argentina, Juan Tola, de Bolivia y el también argentino Dario Valenzuela, conducirán las motos Susuky 125 con las que recorrerán Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, Argentina y Uruguay, con el apoyo logístico de la uruguaya Laura Machin y el argentino Nicolas Bravo.

Estos jóvenes, se han formados como médicos en Cuba y recibido en el año 2009, en misión se trasladaron a Venezuela, donde tras tres años de trabajo se especializaron en Medicina General en el Batallón 51 “Migleidys Campos Guatache” en Puerto Ayacucho, Amazonas, hoy recorren las rutas y los pueblos de ésta América levantando la causa de Los Cinco y la Revolución Cubana.

Ejemplo de la vanguardia que representa la juventud latinoamericana en la lucha contra el imperialismo, su recorrida podrá seguirse a través del facebook en “sembrando caminos con los Cinco”
El 10 de Julio salieron a la ruta desde la amazonia venezolana, en Puerto Ayacucho, luego de una actividad que contara con el apoyo de la juventud del Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, el Movimiento 27 de Octubre, el Ministerio del Poder Popular de la Cultura y la población lugareña “Amazonas, Tierra Mágica, rincón que nos acogió a nuestra llegada a la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, y ahora nos ve partir, pero para nunca olvidarla, Manapiare, Rio Negro, Maroa, Alto Orinoco, Puerto Ayacucho, lugares donde convergen la sabiduría de grandes pueblos indígenas, paraíso que ve nacer al gran rio amazonas, tanto nos enseñaste, tanto aprendimos, ahora te dejamos nuestra huella en tus tierras para que nos recuerdes como cinco estrellas que lucharon, luchan y lucharan por un mundo mejor, en ti Tierra Mágica comenzamos esta travesía” expresaron antes de la partida.

(Elaborado con ínformación provista por el Comité Internacional por la Libertad de los Cinco)
(Fotos: Comité Internacional por la Libertad de los Cinco)

Por Los Cinco: en Motocicleta Recorren América del Sur

Washington and the Cuban Revolution Today-Part Two

Washington and the Cuban Revolution Today: Ballad of a Never-Ending Policy

By Ike Nahem

Part II: Triumph and Reaction

The Triumph of the Cuban Revolution

On January 1, 1959 Cuban revolutionaries, led by Fidel Castro, swept into power and established a provisional revolutionary government across the length of the island, overthrowing the exceedingly venal, military regime of Fulgencio Batista. The revolutionaries (including such remarkable figures as Juan Almeida, Raul Castro, Camilo Cienfuegos, Ernesto Che Guevara, Armando Hart, Celia Sanchez, and, Haydee Santamaria) marched into Havana culminating a three-year campaign that combined rural guerrilla war with a vast urban revolutionary underground. The revolutionary struggle was led by a highly disciplined, politically centralized combat organization, the July 26th Movement. Drawing behind it the support and sympathy of the vast majority of the Cuban population, and with a dedicated, self-sacrificing young cadre of men and women at its core, the Cuban revolutionaries wore down, demoralized, and defeated the neocolonial Cuban army, which vastly outnumbered them – at least on paper – in troops, military equipment, and firepower, courtesy of the United States government.

The military dictator Batista, backed by Washington almost to the bitter end, fled to the Dominican Republic while many of the personnel in his vast machinery of repression and pillage escaped to Miami with their loot.  It was an astonishing turn of events that captured the imagination of the world. (The great US film, The Godfather Part II, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, portrays the fall of Batista and the triumph of the July 26th Movement with an uncanny verisimilitude via the prism of Batista’s alliance with US Mafia families.)

Justice

Upon arriving in Havana and consolidating revolutionary power, the provisional government quickly moved to dissolve what remained, after the revolutionary war, of the police, army, and courts of the neocolonial Cuban state.  With enthusiastic mass participation, armed bodies of workers, peasants, and youth were established. These became the nucleus of a new National Revolutionary Police Force, and, alongside the veteran guerrilla commanders and troops, the new Revolutionary Armed Forces. Tribunals were established in response to mass demands for justice for the killers, torturers, and thugs of the Batista dictatorship (over 20,000 Cubans were murdered by Batista’s cops, goons, and death squads during the revolutionary struggle), and also to counter the unchecked, spontaneous retributions carried out in the streets. The tribunals prepared the foundations of a new judicial system.

(In my 2007 essay “Our Che” http://www.zcommunications.org/our-che-by-ike-nahem, I wrote, “Che [Guevara] was assigned the task of establishing a just and fair, but also transparent and certain, [system] to bring the process under revolutionary control, ensuring due process, defense lawyers, and fair proceedings. This was done in an exemplary way. Popular, public tribunals were organized. Volumes of public testimony were given, with horrific testimony of the most vile tortures and bestial murder recorded and made public. Some 200 of the worst torturers and murderers of the US-backed Batista tyranny were shot by firing squads. No one has ever offered a shred of evidence that anyone innocent was executed. Whatever one’s opinion of the death sentences that were implemented, backed by the great majority of the population, no one can say, or has ever shown, that the guilt of those executed was not established beyond the shadow of a doubt. Batista’s cops and thugs were, after all, known to all. In their glory days, prior to the revolutionary victory, those brought to justice strutted their power and brutality over what they thought would be forever helpless victims; they never dreamed they would face their victims and their victim’s families in a legal proceeding.

“This process of bringing to justice the worst criminals of the hated Batista regime led to an orgy of hypocrisy and phony moral outrage in the big-business press and among Democratic and Republican politicians in the United States. The highly orchestrated propaganda campaign was the pretext for turning public opinion, which had been very sympathetic to Fidel Castro and the rebel cause, against the Cuban Revolution as radical social reforms began to be implemented which affected US business interests and US economic and financial domination of the island…Washington and the big-business media’s crocodile tears for Batista’s torturers and murderers stands in sharp contrast to their approval or silence towards the mountains of corpses piled up by US-backed military regimes and death squads in Latin America and the Caribbean before and especially after the Cuban Revolution from Trujillo and Somoza to Pinochet and the Argentine generals.”)

All of these developments planted the seeds of a new state, with a distinct working class character. The new personnel staffing governmental and state bodies registered the social ascendancy of the formerly oppressed classes: the working people of the city and countryside, as well as Afro-Cubans, women, and youth. Gone was the old social order where the cops, army, courts, and prisons of the old, neocolonial Cuban state manifested the class rule of landlords, capitalists, gangsters, racists, and the super-exploiters of women.

Despite warnings, pressures, and threats from Washington, the Cuban revolutionaries began to implement economic and social measures that came up against, and impacted adversely on, the economic domination of US monopoly capital on the island. These measures included rent and utility cost reductions and the closing and expropriation of Havana’s vast organized-crime enterprises from casinos to brothels.

Agrarian Reform

But front and center was the radical land reform and distribution that both greatly expanded small, private holdings for family farming, and liberated the large, seasonally employed, and particularly oppressed agricultural workforce that was permanently in debt to Cuba’s latifundia. (The Rebel Army had implemented rudimentary land reforms and social policies such as organizing schools and clinics in the territories liberated during the armed struggle.) The “Law on Agrarian Reform” broke the social domination and political power of Cuba’s landlord class and included vast US holdings. The law stipulated that sugar plantations could not be under foreign ownership.

The agrarian reform was at the center of the social and economic transformations heralded by the Revolution. Deliberations to codify in law, and implement in practice, a comprehensive agrarian reform began within the central July 26th Movement leadership almost immediately after the military victory and the establishment of the provisional government. The most profound direction and input came from contributions and collaboration between Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. The agrarian reform was seen as the necessary foundation and catalyst for Cuba’s industrial development.
Che Guevara gave a major speech less than a month after the January 1, 1959 seizure of power in Havana indicating the centrality of land reform to the program of the revolutionary government:

“[S]ince the revolution’s triumph, [the peasants] have earned the right to freedom. They can use that freedom to…move forward, backed by law, to a true and broad agrarian reform.

“We have begun to put the Rebel Army’s social aims into effect; we have an armed democracy. When we plan out the agrarian reform and observe the new revolutionary laws to complement it and make it viable and immediate, we are aiming at social justice. This means the redistribution of land and also the creation of a vast internal market and crop diversification, two cardinal objectives of the revolutionary government that are inseparable and that cannot be postponed since they involve the people’s interest.

“All economic activities are connected. We must increase the country’s industrialization, without overlooking the many problems accompanying such a process. But a policy of encouraging industry demands certain tariff measures to protect nascent industry, as well as an internal market capable of absorbing the new commodities. We cannot increase this market except by giving the great peasant masses broader access to it. Although the guajiros have no purchasing power, they do have necessities to meet, things they cannot purchase today.

“We are well aware that the ends we are committed to demand an enormous responsibility on our part, and we know that these are not the only goals. We must expect a reaction against us by those who control over 75 percent of our commercial trade and our market.”

(For the full speech click on http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/43b/103.html)

To implement the Agrarian Reform Law, that is, the lever for the entire economic and social transformation of Cuba, the National Institute of Agrarian Reform was organized, with Fidel Castro as its President. Che Guevara was appointed head of the Department of Industrialization, with the central political and administrative responsibility within INRA, on October 8, 1959.
Che organized and trained an INRA militia of 100,000 which seized control of expropriated land, supervised distribution, and helped set up farm cooperatives. Nearly 500,000 acres of confiscated land was owned by US corporations. INRA, under Guevara’s direction, financed highway construction, built housing for peasants and farming cooperatives, and other industrial projects, including resorts for tourists.

Complementing these economic measures were a series of implemented radical policies and laws that fundamentally altered and transformed social relations on the island to the benefit of the oppressed and exploited overwhelming majority. These included the abolition of racist Jim Crow-style segregation and discrimination policies; huge blows against the oppression of women including the right to abortion, the establishment of day-care facilities, equality in pay, greater access to education and professional training, and the eradication of organized prostitution with job training for ex-prostitutes (It is estimated that one out of three women in Havana were super-exploited in the gangster-run “sex industry.”); a massive, successful campaign to wipe out illiteracy; and, particularly annoying to foreign and domestic big-business owners, progressive labor laws that greatly expanded labor union membership and facilitated struggles for higher wages and better working conditions.

These measures were not yet explicitly socialist; banking, manufacturing, and large-scale wholesale and retail distribution remained in private hands. However, the anti-capitalist tendency was clear and the encroachments on the prerogatives of domestic and foreign capital were intolerable to the ruling classes. Moreover, the evaporation of the old neo-colonial state and its repressive apparatus left a vacuum in political and social relations, into which stepped the highly radicalized, organized, and mobilized Cuban working people and youth led by the team around Fidel Castro. This was a leadership team of exceptional political and personal audacity and courage, who knew where they wanted to go and were not afraid of the dangers and consequences.

Washington Fights Back

The implementation of the land reform and the other measures described above set off alarms in Washington and could never be tolerated by the US ruling class. The US government as a whole was, above all, anxious that the victorious Cuban example would resonate in a Latin American soil fertile for revolutionary struggle and change.

Within months, and with an intensity that mounted exponentially, Washington, in the last two years of the Dwight Eisenhower Administration, set in motion bipartisan plans and programs to discredit, undermine, subvert, and destroy the Cuban Revolution. These included cutting off US markets for sugar and other Cuban products and refusing to refine Cuban oil, the first steps towards the generalized, sweeping economic sanctions that remain in force today.

Attempts at economic strangulation were complemented by more directly violent methods. Widespread terrorist violence and economic sabotage was directed by the CIA of the Eisenhower and (elected in 1960) John Kennedy Administrations, with their legions of recruited counter-revolutionary Cuban exiles.  Facing the US assault head on, the Cuban workers and peasants government sought and received military and economic assistance from the Soviet Union, Soviet-allied governments in Eastern Europe, and China. The Soviet government agreed, crucially, to buy Cuban sugar and refine Cuban oil.

Washington’s assault culminated in the April 1961 mercenary invasion defeated at the Bay of Pigs (Playa Giron to the Cubans). The Cuban revolutionaries did not retreat under the withering violent assault, but instead directed and led a mobilized and armed citizenry in a conscious socialist revolution that was openly declared after Washington’s Bay of Pigs debacle. Capitalist property relations were overturned and private property in the means of production, finance, and large-scale wholesale distribution were abolished. By 1962, Cuba had become what Marxists call a “workers state.” That is, the old ruling landowning and capitalist classes were expropriated. Major industries and banking became nationalized state property, where conscious economic planning began to gain predominance over “market forces.”  Concurrently, a state monopoly over foreign trade was established. Decisively, this process would never have been possible without the prior dissolution of the old neocolonial state and its repressive apparatus, that is, its army, police, and judiciary.

Private enterprises directly tied to the officials and cronies of the Batista dictatorship, most of whom had fled Cuba, were expropriated without compensation. Others, including foreign capitalists, were compensated, in negotiations with them and their governments. The US capitalist monopolies, on the same page as the US government, rejected, with contempt, negotiations and compensation, fully expecting that “Castro” and Cuban sovereignty could not survive long facing Washington’s full-throated hostility.

None of this could have been driven through without the political class-consciousness and mass participation of the Cuban working class and its allies, who had to learn how to operate and manage the industry and finance that was now “public.” This radicalization and transformation developed under both the blows of the intensifying Washington-driven counter-revolutionary drive and the collective organization and consolidation of the revolutionary vanguard. This latter factor was inevitably accompanied by a class-political polarization and differentiation inside the July 26th Movement, as a more right-wing layer formed and organized in opposition to the radical measures outlined above.

The most prominent figure in this layer was the former Camaguey province guerrilla comandante Huber Matos. (Matos was in late-1959 convicted of treason and sedition for establishing links with counter-revolutionary armed groups connected to the CIA, sentenced to twenty years imprisonment, released in 1979, and lives in Miami today.) In actual fact the divisions and splits within the July 26th Movement, the forces that went over to the US-led counter-revolution, were relatively small in numbers and political significance, due to the great popularity and political authority of the Castro leadership. Nevertheless, the voices of those “democrats’ and “freedom fighters” who left the July 26th Movement were highly amplified with Washington’s giant megaphone at their disposal.

Not Aiming for a Third World “Welfare State”

What occurred in Cuba from 1959 to the beginning of 1962 was a dynamic process that went far beyond the most progressive and radical reforms and constitutional restructuring of existing state structures and juridical forms by progressive, populist, anti-imperialist, or left-wing governments in other national political upheavals.  There have been many examples, up to the present day, of such governments coming into power in Latin America (and other so-called Third World countries) through coups, mass struggles, or elections taking place under the institutions of the existing capitalist state which remain essentially in place and intact. In Cuba, on the contrary, the revolutionary government, which came to power in an armed struggle, pulverized the old state structures, starting with its repressive machinery of police, army, prisons, and courts, establishing entirely new institutions in social composition and political content.

Cuba’s socialist revolution did not aim for a better “welfare state” under a capitalist “mixed economy,” with benefits for the working people dependent on the vicissitudes of world capitalist markets dominated by the richest imperialist powers (Washington, London, Paris) under conditions of unequal exchange (that is, cheap prices for “Third World” export commodities and raw materials, high prices for “First World” finished products, machinery and technology). The Revolution fought rather to elevate the oppressed classes to political power and social predominance in the new state and forge entirely new social relations and new human beings. (Of course, the policies and practice of the Cuban Revolution in “social welfare” categories of medical-care access, education, pensions, maternity benefits, and so on are unsurpassed in any capitalist Third World country and even in many rich, advanced capitalist powers, who are all, in any case,  working today to gut such conquests of past working-class struggles. But in Cuba such measures are not seen as “welfare,” but as the inherent rights and prerogatives of the working class.)

Internationalists in Power

Cuban revolutionary theory and practice was animated by a strong anti-bureaucratism articulated in the speeches and writings of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, that was bound together by a profound internationalist spirit of solidarity. This entire perspective and outlook was a return to – and spurred the revival of in a new generation of revolutionary-minded youth – a creative, and human-being centered, Marxism after decades of stultification and dogma in theory, as well as horrible crimes and betrayals in its name in practice, by the government led by Joseph Stalin and his acolytes in the Soviet Union and the so-called “socialist camp.” (See especially Socialism and Man in Cuba by Che Guevara, Pathfinder Press edition and Fidel Castro’s 1962 speech on sectarianism and bureaucracy http://www.walterlippmann.com/fc-03-26-1962.html)

The consolidation of the Cuban Revolution as a workers state meant that for the first time since the opening years of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, revolutionary internationalists were in the leadership of a workers state. They not only held domestic power but, in their foreign policy, had the political perspective of extending the Revolution and using the political authority and material resources of the workers state – within the limits of the possible – to collaborate with and aid fellow revolutionists. In the case of the Cuban revolutionaries this primarily meant in the arena of Latin America, which was in a state of permanent political turmoil and intensifying class struggle under conditions of massive poverty, social inequality, and foreign, mainly US, economic and political domination. Since the 1898 Spanish-American War, which marked the origins of the modern American Empire, Washington engaged in frequent overt and covert violent invasions, interventions, and subversion across the Americas, over the subsequent decades (for a comprehensive list of US interventions in the Americas since 1898 click below http://www.zompist.com/latam.html).

(US interventionist policy has continued into the 21st Century, albeit with more political limitations and counter-pressures …and less success. The US-backed April 11, 2002 military coup against Hugo Chavez’s anti-imperialist government in Venezuela was reversed and defeated following massive demonstrations in support of Chavez. In September 2008 ultraright forces in Bolivia, backed covertly by Washington, attempts to split the country on regional lines and bring down the government of President Evo Morales. The big-business and large landowning-led forces were centered in oil and gas producing regions and furiously opposed Morales’s progressive policies of nationalizing Bolivian vast mineral, oil, and gas resources, promoting the interests of Bolivia’s indigenous Indian majority, and his close alliances with Cuba and Venezuela. This all failed ignominiously.)

On February 4, 1962, Fidel Castro read the “Second Declaration of Havana” to a crowd of one million in Havana’s Revolution Square. The manifesto, drawn up by the Cuban leadership, was essentially a call for revolutionary struggle against US imperialism and the dependent capitalist-oligarchic order extant across the Americas. World politics had seen nothing like this language, backed up with action, since the Bolshevik team around V.I. Lenin and the Communist International they founded, in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and the end of the inter-imperialist bloodletting of World War I:

“What is Cuba’s history but that of Latin America? What is the history of Latin America but the history of Asia, Africa, and Oceania? And what is the history of all these peoples but the history of the cruelest exploitation of the world by imperialism?

At the end of the last century and the beginning of the present, a handful of economically developed nations had divided the world among themselves subjecting two thirds of humanity to their economic and political domination Humanity was forced to work for the dominating classes of the group of nations which had a developed capitalist economy.

The historic circumstances which permitted certain European countries and the United States of North America to attain a high industrial development level put them in a position which enabled them to subject and exploit the rest of the world. What motives lay behind this expansion of the industrial powers? Were they moral, “civilizing” reasons, as they claimed? No. Their motives were economic…

Wherever roads are closed to the peoples, where repression of workers and peasants is fierce, where the domination of Yankee monopolies is strongest, the first and most important lesson is to understand that it is neither just nor correct to divert the peoples with the vain and fanciful illusion that the dominant classes can be uprooted by legal means which do not and will not exist. The ruling classes are entrenched in all positions of state power. They monopolize the teaching field. They dominate all means of mass communication. They have infinite financial resources. Theirs is a power which the monopolies and the ruling few will defend by blood and fire with the strength of their police and their armies.

The duty of every revolutionary is to make revolution. (From The Second Declaration of Havana, Pathfinder Press edition)

The Cuban revolutionaries also supported revolutionary armed struggle in Algeria against French colonialism and in the Congo against the pro-imperialist neocolonial regime there that had come to power after the assassination of the Congolese freedom fighter and first President of an independent Congo, Patrice Lumumba.

Confrontation

These incredible events on a small Spanish-speaking Caribbean island shook up world politics. Not only did Cuba establish relations of economic and military alliance with the Soviet Union and the “Warsaw Pact” governments and states, but, much more significantly, revolutionary Cuba in the 1960s became the political and organizing center across the Americas for revolutionary struggle against US domination and the rule of the oligarchies – two things that were hand in glove.

This was an obvious challenge to US policymakers. If Havana became the Mecca for revolutionaries across Latin America, Miami became the counter-Mecca for those tied to the existing oligarchic order that was becoming unglued, a process accelerated by the presence and impact and of the Cuban Revolution. In the early years after the triumph of the Revolution, the CIA set up in Miami the largest base operation in its history. Daily operations were spun and run into Cuba involving plans for sabotage, terrorism, assassination, and so on. Organized, trained, funded, and directed from Washington, the operatives – by and large – were Cuban exiles. Thousands of Cuban citizens lost their lives as result of such actions over the years.

Many millions of dollars, and no doubt hundreds of personnel hired, were spent on so-called “psychological-warfare operations” (psy-ops) to spread “disinformation” and “misinformation” – that is, LIES – in the form of gossip, innuendo, and rumors made up out of whole cloth, on the theory that if you throw enough bullshit against a wall, some is bound to stick.

The modus operandi in the CIA’s factories of falsification were the spreading of conspiracy theories fabricated to cause confusion and, hopefully, cause divisions and splits in the revolutionary leadership. Among the most notorious lies spread far and wide:

Revolutionary hero Camilo Cienfuegos didn’t really die in a plane crash after a mission to counter anti-revolutionary activity centered around Huber Matos in Camaguey, but was actually killed by Fidel Castro. Che Guevara did not really go out of public view to organize anti-imperialist struggles in Africa and Latin America, but was actually imprisoned and even killed by Fidel Castro. (When that Big Lie was no longer operative, the new mendacity was that Fidel refused to “rescue” Che in Bolivia and “allowed” him to die, still peddled to this day.)

(Former CIA operatives like the ubiquitous Brian Latell, a top figure for decades on the CIA’s “Cuba desk,” has recently resurfaced to peddle the lie that Fidel Castro knew beforehand that President John Kennedy was going to be assassinated. As they say, old habits are hard to break and you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. In the end, however, the ability to find a platform to spew lies and half-truths, is, for the Latells of the world, a small consolation prize that hardly makes up for the fact that their life’s work of destroying the Cuban Revolution, despite all their ingenious, inventive, creative lying has been a shameful, spectacular bust.)

The role of the defeated Cuban businessmen, landowners, branch managers of US corporations, and gangsters was strictly to help “Uncle Sam” and do what they were told. It is laughable to think that these defeated bumblers would be calling the shots politically or in any other way. But that is not to say that, like most clients and lackeys, the defeated remnants of the old Cuban ruling class did not chafe at their dependent position and the limits placed on their freedom of action. In fact they were very resentful and sought to leverage their position and knowledge to maneuver within the framework of internal, tactical Washington divisions, to take relatively independent initiatives. For example, over the years, CIA-trained operatives like Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles have “independently” carried out terrorist activities that were not under the concrete direction of the CIA and the US government, such as the blowing up of Cuban Flight 455 in October 1976 that departed from Barbados, killing all 73 people onboard. Bosch died in 2011 having been allowed to live unencumbered in the US since 1990 by decisions of the George Bush, Senior (the director of the CIA during Bosch’s most “productive” terrorist period) White House. Posada Carriles remains a free man in Miami today.  And the US State Department has the temerity to put Cuba on a list of “nations supporting terrorism!”

Recriminations

The policy of overturning and destroying the “Castro revolution” was a unanimous one across the board in Washington, uniting Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. This was true despite the tactical divergences which naturally emerged. These differences actually led to recriminations among top US politicians and policymakers – and their media and academic clones – which became quite vicious at times, especially in the period after the CIA-trained mercenary army was crushed at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961. “Who Lost Cuba?” cried the US right wing. President Kennedy was blamed for the Bay of Pigs humiliation because he held back as the debacle unfolded from unleashing direct US bombing of the island. (Legions of conspiracy theorists, on the basis of these recriminations, concocted a plausible factoid asserting that “rouge” elements of the CIA using “embittered” Cuban exiles were behind Kennedy’s November 1963 assassination. This is backed up by the false assertion that Kennedy was seeking a “rapprochement” with the Cuban government, and, with even flimsier evidence, that he was planning to abort US intervention in Vietnam. Not a few novels and films, some even brilliantly done, have come out of these fantastic conspiracies. See James Ellroy’s American Tabloid, Don DeLillo’s Libra, and Oliver Stone’s film JFK.)

Kennedy chose – no doubt wisely and prudently given the overall situation at hand – to cut US losses rather than double down on what was a real-time Washington political and military disaster. In making the choice to retreat and concede the defeat of the mercenary forces, Kennedy understood fully that the Cuban people had become armed to the teeth and were full of revolutionary enthusiasm and fighting will. The political consequences of dropping bombs on Cuban territory, after the defeat of an operation the US government had been claiming publicly it had nothing to do with, would certainly have been politically and militarily catastrophic for Washington. Who knows how many tens of thousands of US troops would have been necessary to gain control of the island? What would have been the reaction in Latin American and world capitals to any sustained bombing of Cuban territory and cities? In the Soviet Union and China? Indeed, what would have been the reaction inside the United States, where a significant degree of sympathy with Cuba existed and where the mass Civil Rights Movement that was exploding across the South and North had many Black leaders and activists attracted to revolutionary Cuba and its sweeping anti-racist policies?

From the Bay of Pigs to the Missile Crisis

In any case, the Kennedy Administration chose to bow to a difficult reality, lick its wounds, emphasize that the origins of the scheme were with the previous Eisenhower Administration, and prepare for another round. It quickly established, under the direct leadership of Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the infamous Operation Mongoose program of stepped-up anti-Castro propaganda and “psychological warfare,” economic sabotage, assassinations (literally hundreds of plots were hatched to murder Fidel Castro, which included collaborating with US Mafia families) and terrorism. All in preparation, and to lay the foundation for, the next round of a direct US invasion, without, this time, the “leading” wedge of the Cuban exile mercenaries.

It was these plans, and this dynamic, barely hidden and, in any case, fully known by the Cuban and Soviet governments, that led to the so-called “Cuban Missile Crisis” of October 1962.

Earlier that year Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev talked a reluctant Fidel Castro into allowing the installation of nuclear-tipped Soviet missiles on Cuban territory. Castro has said publicly that Khrushchev’s appeal was two-fold: first, as a defense against the US invasion of Cuba everyone knew was coming, and second, as an act of “socialist solidarity” with the Soviet Union, since US missiles were in Turkey, an equivalent distance from Soviet territory. Castro felt that he was not in a position to refuse, especially given the indispensable role of Soviet economic and military aid at that point in Cuba’s defense from Washington’s multi-front assault.

Nevertheless Castro strongly objected to the secret installation of the missiles. He felt this would inevitably be exposed – as of course it was – and would likely give Washington the moral high ground. Better to be upfront and declare the policy openly on the grounds of defense of Cuba and create political pressure for a mutual drawdown of missile deployments near each power’s land mass. But Castro’s advice and warnings were rejected, if not ignored altogether by the Soviet leadership. When US spy planes revealed the missile sites, and with more missiles en route on Soviet ships, Kennedy effectively took the political offensive.

Kennedy organized a naval quarantine of Cuba and threatened to confront Soviet naval vessels approaching Cuban waters. This sequence of events nearly led to direct US-Soviet military engagement and an invasion of Cuba by the United States, not to speak of devastating nuclear exchanges between the United States and the Soviet Union and untold millions of deaths. The crisis was resolved when the Soviet leadership removed the nuclear weapons from Cuba and turned their ships back. In return, the Kennedy Administration agreed, in a secret protocol, to remove the US nuclear missiles from Turkey. The deal supposedly included an informal (that is, not written down and signed in a formal document) pledge that the United States would not directly invade Cuba.

US government documents declassified since the “Missile Crisis” reveal that Washington policymakers fully understood that a US invasion of Cuba would have met truly massive, popular resistance – the entire population was armed to the teeth and in a state of full territorial mobilization. The secret documents projected that the first days and weeks of an invasion would lead to 10,000 or more US casualties (in nearly ten years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, US combat deaths are under 7,000). It was this reality – as much as any supposed “statesman-like cool” – that restrained President Kennedy from ordering an invasion and negotiating, without the participation of the Cuban government, a mutually agreeable settlement with an equally anxious, and politically and diplomatically outmaneuvered, Soviet government which had overplayed its hand.

Relative US Failure

Washington failed in its intense efforts in this period to overturn the revolutionary Cuban government, destroy the Cuban workers state, and restore capitalist property relations and the neocolonial order on the island. That failure continues to this day and is often cited by Establishment dissenters as a reason to dump what is called an “ineffective” anti-Cuba policy. They fantasize that “engagement,” normalization, and the subsequent “exposure” to “American ideas” will actually undermine and do more to eventually defeat the Cuban Revolution than the US embargo, travel restrictions, and threats. This argument is usually accompanied by the assertion that “Castro” and the Cuban government actually want and need US hostility as an “excuse” to avoid “democracy,” “human rights,” blah-blah-blah, so as to divert and manipulate mass discontent. (Of course this is all complete and utter nonsense. The dominant consensus among US policymakers, and in this they are completely correct, is that any unilateral dropping of US sanctions without a Cuban surrender and capitulation would not only be a historic political victory for Cuba and humiliation for Washington. It would also be a tremendous boost to Cuba’s economic development and prosperity to have the legal ability to buy, sell, and trade in the US market. It would also create the conditions for rapid internal political relaxation and the further institutionalization of democratic rights and civil liberties. All of which would strengthen Cuban socialism and make it all the more attractive and resonant across the Americas and internationally.)

But Washington’s failure to defeat the Cuban Revolution is not the end, but more like the beginning of the question. The failure is relative and must be qualified, aside from the obvious price Cuba has paid, in blood and economic development, from US sanctions and hostility. That is, it must also be said that the US government and its allies in the Latin American oligarchies have been successful, for many decades, in the larger question of preventing the extension of the Cuban socialist revolution in the Americas. That “success” of course set up the nightmare decades in Latin America of brutal and murderous military-oligarchy rule.

The Nightmare Decades

In 1964 in Brazil, the progressive government of Joao Goulart, which favored friendly relations with Cuba, was overthrown and replaced with a military dictatorship backed by the US which last nearly 20 years; in September 1963 the Kennedy Administration’s CIA overthrew the elected left-wing government of Juan Bosch in the Dominican Republic, establishing a military junta. After a Constitucionalista uprising led by Colonel Francisco Caamano seized and held the capital of Santo Domingo, the Lyndon Johnson Administration ordered a US invasion in April 1965 which smashed the revolutionary process on the island in the name of preventing a “second Cuba”; in 1967 the revolutionary guerrillas led by Ernesto Che Guevara were defeated in Bolivia. Subsequent guerrilla movements inspired by the Cuban Revolution were also everywhere defeated; in June 1973 a military coup replaced a civilian dictatorship in Uruguay aimed at crushing the revolutionary Tupamaros movement and militant trade union and student organizations. Military dictatorship lasted twelve years until 1985 in Uruguay; in September 1973 the elected left-wing government of Salvador Allende in Chile was overthrown in a US-backed coup consolidating a murderous military regime that lasted 17 years; in 1976 the weak, elected Peronist government in Argentina was overthrown in a US-backed coup, ushering in vicious repression killing some 30,000, until the military regime collapsed after the Malvinas Islands war fiasco in 1982-83.

(For a number of years all of these military regimes established in the 1970s worked together, and, directly and indirectly, with US government intelligence agencies, in an international program of kidnapping, murder, and assassination called “Operation Condor.” (See The Condor Years by John Dinges, The New Press, 2004)

Washington succeeded in preventing the extension of the Cuban Revolution, and by the late-1970s Latin America was dominated by US-backed brutal military regimes upholding the naked rule of the oligarchies. But this rule was fragile and already beginning to unravel. A political earthquake shook Central America with the triumph of the Nicaraguan Revolution in July 1979 and the intertwined rise in revolutionary armed struggles in neighboring El Salvador and Guatemala. A new reality and template for Washington’s policies in the Americas, and its confrontation with the Cuban Revolution, was set.  (Part III of this essay will take up Washington’s Central America bloodbath, the demise of the Nicaraguan Revolution, the rise and fall of the “Neoliberal” decade in Latin America, and the Cuban Revolution’s remarkable resistance and survival.)

Washington and the Cuban Revolution Today: Ballad of a Never-Ending Policy – Part Two by Ike Nahem

Ike Nahem is a longtime anti-war, labor, and socialist activist. He is the coordinator of Cuba Solidarity New York (cubasolidarityny@mindspring.com) and a founder of the New York-New Jersey July 26 Coalition (www.july26coalition.org). Nahem is an Amtrak Locomotive Engineer and member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a division of the Teamsters Union. These are his personal political opinions. Comments and criticisms can be sent to ikenahem@mindspring.com

 

Mensaje de Manuel Zelaya Rosales

Mensaje de Manuel Zelaya Rosales en ocasión del VI Encuentro de Solidaridad con Cuba

Tegucigalpa, 21 de julio de 2012

Compañeros y compañeras asistentes a este acto de solidaridad con la hermana República de Cuba:

Razones fuera de mi control me impiden estar aquí hoy, pero no puedo dejar de expresarme en un acto tan importante de justicia histórica, en el que el pueblo de Honduras demuestra que los lazos que nos unen son indestructibles, ni aún con seis décadas de calumnias y embuste contra el heroico pueblo cubano.

Expresamos con orgullo nuestra admiración por la revolución cubana, verdadero faro guía para la toda nuestra América Latina; sabemos que de no estar sometidos a un bloqueo inhumanos, anacrónico y estéril, sus capacidades estarían derramado mucho más en favor de los desposeídos en todas partes del mundo. Condenados sin reserva alguna ese acto ilegal y absurdo que priva a millones de cubanos a la vida que se han ganado portando siempre el estandarte de la dignidad. Al mismo tiempo, exigimos que se termine el infame encarcelamiento de los 5 héroes antiterroristas injustamente condenados por un sistema judicial que se jacta de ser impecable.

Queremos agradecer en nombre de todo nuestro pueblo la inmensa solidaridad que recibimos desinteresadamente por muchos años de médicos y maestros cubano. Asimismo, nos congratulamos de que cientos de hondureños y hondureñas se formen hoy en Cuba bajo una nueva perspectiva de lo que significa servir al pueblo. Muy pronto, con el inicio de la administración de Xiomara Castro y el partido Libre, tomaremos las medidas necesarias para restablecer los lazos de hermandad cooperación que sólo la brutalidad reaccionaria pudieron interrumpir.

Nuestro saludo al pueblo cubano, al presidente Raúl Castro, y al comandante Fidel Castro Ruz.

Hasta la victoria siempre

José Manuel Zelaya Rosales
Coordinador General
Partido Libertad y Refundacion, Libre
Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular

www.losnecios.com
http://losnecius.blogspot.com/
www.resistenciahonduras.net

La nueva vida de los opositores cubanos en España

Salim Lamrani

blog La pupila insomne

José María Aznar junto a exreclusos y familiares a su llegada a España.

A petición del Vaticano y del gobierno español de José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, la Iglesia Católica Cubana que dirige el Cardenal Jaime Ortega hizo una mediación con las autoridades de La Habana que desembocó en 2010 y 2011 en la liberación de 127 presos, de los cuales 52 eran considerados “políticos” por Amnistía Internacional.[1] Según esta organización de defensa de los derechos humanos, actualmente no hay ningún preso de conciencia en Cuba.[2] La Iglesia Católica Cubana comparte este punto de vista.[3] Algunos sectores acusaron al gobierno cubano, a la Iglesia Católica y al gobierno de Zapatero de obligar a esas personas al exilio. Varios medios informativos occidentales repitieron esa versión.[4] El Partido Popular español (derecha) denunció “el destierro” de los opositores cubanos.[5]

No obstante, esta versión resiste difícilmente el análisis. En efecto, de las 127 personas liberadas en el marco del acuerdo entre La Habana, el Vaticano y Madrid, 12 eligieron quedarse en Cuba. Laura Pollán, entonces portavoz del grupo opositor “Las Damas de Blanco” y acérrima detractora del gobierno cubano, estuvo clara al respecto: “Nadie ha obligado a ningún preso a abandonar el país. Quien diga lo contrario está mintiendo”. Del mismo modo, varios disidentes afirmaron que en ningún momento las autoridades cubanas les habían pedido que abandonaran el país como condición previa a su liberación.[6] Fernando Ravsberg, corresponsal de la BBC en La Habana, también desmintió esa afirmación. Varios opositores que eligieron dejar el país le confesaron que “podrían haberse quedado en la isla de haberlo querido. Aseguran que en ningún momento se les impuso la salida al extranjero como condición para ser puestos en libertad”.[7]

La dolorosa realidad española

Lejos de encontrar una nación próspera, los disidentes cubanos fueron golpeados con toda fuerza por la crisis económica que afecta a España. La mayoría de ellos se encuentra sin trabajo, sin recursos y a veces incluso sin techo, siendo los centros de acogida de la Cruz Roja los que se encargan de ellos. Según la prensa ibérica, “pasado un año de su llegada, los exiliados han ido perdiendo las ayudas del Gobierno y se están quedando sin recursos, ya que la inmensa mayoría no ha logrado empleo estable”.[8]

El nuevo gobierno español de derecha decidió eliminar la ayuda otorgada a los disidentes cubanos un año después de su llegada y se negó a prorrogarla doce meses, como estaba previsto al principio, por razones económicas.[9]

En efecto, España gastó un promedio de 2.000 euros mensuales por persona, o sea más de 18 millones de euros para cubrir las necesidades de los 115 opositores acompañados de 648 familiares durante un año. El costo se consideró demasiado elevado en un país que cuenta con 5 millones de parados, es decir alrededor del 25% de la población activa.[10] No obstante, el Partido Popular (PP) no vaciló en usarlos en su guerra política contra La Habana y llevó a cuatro de ellos a Bruselas para que testificaran y defendieran la necesidad de mantener la Posición Común de la Unión Europea respecto a Cuba (que limita las relaciones políticas, diplomáticas y culturales. Sin embargo se mostró poco agradecido al suprimir las ayudas dejando así a los opositores cubanos la amarga sensación de que los habían utilizado.[11] Desde su llegada a España, éstos no habían dejado de expresar su apoyo al PP y de criticar al PSOE de Zapatero que contribuyó a su liberación.[12] Entonces los disidentes cubanos decidieron recurrir a una huelga de hambre para protestar contra esta decisión y expresar su “total desamparo”. “Es la única alternativa que nos queda”, declaró uno de ellos, instalado en una tienda frente al Ministerio de Exteriores español.[13]

Lejos de ser atendidos por las autoridades españolas, la policía desalojó “brutalmente” a los huelguistas y les ordenó abandonar la plaza.[14] Dawuimis Santana denunció la violencia policial de la cual fueron víctimas: “los arrastraron por el suelo, les golpearon la cara, el brazo, uno tiene la nariz partida”. Cuatro de ellos fueron detenidos.[15] Las fuerzas del orden se muestran generalmente severas con los manifestantes de todo tipo y no hicieron excepción con los opositores cubanos. Algunos observadores señalaron que el Partido Popular, de costumbre tan dispuesto a acudir a la defensa de los disidentes cubanos y a denunciar la “opresión” de la cual eran víctimas en la isla, se mostró esta vez discreto en relación con la actuación de la policía municipal de Madrid contra ellos.[16] José Manuel García Margallo, ministro español de Exteriores, reconoció que el caso de los cubanos no era “sencillo” y que éstos se encontraban “en un situación difícil”. Pero rechazó cualquier idea de prorrogar las ayudas financieras debido a la crisis económica que azota el país. Se comprometió como máximo a acelerar el proceso de validación de los títulos universitarios.[17]

A veces, el desamparo al que se enfrentan los opositores cubanos en España toma giros trágicos. Así, Albert Santiago du Bouchet, instalado en las Islas Canarias desde su liberación, se suicidó el 4 de abril de 2012 porque no soportaba que las autoridades españolas lo abandonaran a su suerte eliminando la ayuda financiera mensual que le concedían.[18] El gobierno español rechazó todo “vínculo directo” entre el suicidio y la decisión de poner fin a la ayuda financiera. No obstante, su familia y varios amigos afirmaron que su precaria situación económica fue la principal causa del drama.[19]

¿Volver a Cuba?

Contra todo pronóstico, varios disidentes declararon su intención de volver a Cuba, a falta de poder viajar a Estados Unidos, acusando a España de abandono.[20] “Es mejor estar en Cuba que aquí en la calle”, declaró Ismara Sánchez.[21] “Desde el 31 de marzo estoy en la calle”, pues no puede pagarse una vivienda, se quejó Idalmis Núñez. “Ahora es difícil: hemos arrastrado a nuestras familias lejos de casa y no podemos darles de comer. Por primera vez en mi vida tengo cargo de conciencia. Tengo miedo”, admitió otro opositor.[22] “Ya los niños no tienen comida, no tienen leche. Ya los niños no pueden ir a la escuela porque no tienen dinero para el transporte”, expresó el opositor Bermúdez.[23] Del mismo modo, Orlando Fundora y su esposa, tuvieron que enfrentar condiciones de vida tan difíciles que hasta añoraron su tierra de origen. En una entrevista a la BBC, Fundora confesó algo inesperado: “Comíamos mejor en Cuba”.[24]

En realidad, la decisión de regresar a Cuba no es tan sorprendente. A pesar de los recursos limitados de la nación caribeña, las dificultades y vicisitudes cotidianas que engendra el estado de sitio económico que Estados Unidos impone a Cuba desde 1960, el cual afecta a todas las categorías de la población y constituye el principal obstáculo al desarrollo de la nación, el gobierno de La Habana ha edificado un sistema de protección social relativamente eficaz que satisface las necesidades básicas de la población. Así, a pesar de los pesares, el 85% de los cubanos son propietarios de su vivienda. Del mismo modo, se benefician de acceso gratuito a la educación, a la salud y a las actividades culturales. La libreta de abastecimiento les permite recibir cada mes, además del salario, una alimentación de base suficiente para dos semanas. Así nadie queda abandonado a su suerte y el Estado se encarga de las categorías más vulnerables de la sociedad. Por eso, a pesar de los límites en términos de recursos naturales, en Cuba no hay personas sin techo ni niños desamparados en las calles. Por otra parte, con respecto a la infancia, según la UNICEF Cuba es el único país del Tercer Mundo donde no existe la desnutrición infantil.[25] A fin de cuentas, Europa no ha sido el Eldorado prometido a los opositores cubanos. Éstos tuvieron que enfrentarse a la brutal realidad económica de la Península Ibérica y descubrieron que los más vulnerables eran abandonados rápidamente a su suerte. También pudieron darse cuenta finalmente de que su Isla no es la antesala del infierno, a pesar de los problemas cotidianos, y de que el sistema de protección social se encarga de proteger a los más débiles.

*Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor encargado de cursos en la Universidad Paris-Sorbonne-Paris IV y en la Universidad Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula Etat de siège. Les sanctions économiques des Etats-Unis contre Cuba, París, Ediciones Estrella, 2011, con un prólogo de Wayne S. Smith y un prefacio de Paul Estrade.

 

La nueva vida de los opositores cubanos en España


[1] Amnesty International, «Cuba, Annual Report 2012», 2012. http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/cuba/report-2012 (sitio consultado el 2 de julio de 2012).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Juan O. Tamayo, «Tensa cita de las Damas de Blanco con Iglesia cubana», El Nuevo Herald, 25 de mayo de 2012.
[4] Axel Gyldén, «En exil forcé, un dissident cubain met fin à ses jours», L’Express,7 de abril de 2012.
[5] Público, «Aznar afirma que los presos cubanos sufren ‘un destierro’ en España», 28 de julio de 2010.
[6] Fernando Ravsberg, «La conspiración católico-comunista», BBC, 23 de junio de 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/mundo/cartas_desde_cuba/2011/06/la_conspiracion_catolico-comun.html (sitio consultado el 14 de junio de 2012).
[7] Ibid.
[8] Carmen Pérez-Lanzac, «Exprisioneros políticos refugiados en España protestan tras quedarse sin ayudas», El País, 11 de abril de 2012.
[9] Carmen Pérez-Lanzac, «Entre 2010 y 2011 llegaron a España 767 cubanos: 115 presos y sus familiares», El País, 10 de abril de 2010.
[10] Joaquín Gil, «El Gobierno paga 2.000 euros al mes por cada uno de los 762 disidentes y familiares», El País, 13 de julio de 2011.
[11] Jerónimo Andreu, «Exprisioneros políticos traídos a España por Exteriores hace un año pierden las ayudas públicas», El País, 9 de abril de 2012.
[12] EFE, «Opositores cubanos piden a España una actitud ‘más enérgica’ contra castrismo», 20 de enero de 2012.
[13] EFE, «Diez ex presos cubanos deciden emprender una huelga de hambre en Madrid», 13 de abril de 2012.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Europa Press, «Denuncian la detención de cuatro expresos cubanos que protestaban en Madrid ante el Ministerio de Exteriores», 23 de mayo de 2012.
[16] EFE, «El Partido Popular español exige a Cuba que deje de oprimir a la disidencia», 20 de enero de 2012.
[17] Carmen Pérez-Lanzac, «Exprisioneros políticos refugiados en España protestan tras quedarse sin ayudas», El País, 11 de abril de 2012.
[18] El País, «Fallece un expreso político cubano llegado a España el año pasado», 6 de abril de 2012.
[19] Europa Press, «España no ve ‘relación directa’ entre el suicidio de un disidente y el fin de la ayuda», 9 de abril de 2012.
[20] Juan O. Tamayo, «Ex presos políticos cubanos en España viven pesadilla», El Nuevo Herald, 17 de abril de 2012.
[21] Ríos Biot, «‘Es mejor estar en Cuba que aquí en la calle», El País, 13 de abril de 2012.
[22] Jerónimo Andreu, «Exprisioneros políticos traídos a España por Exteriores hace un año pierden las ayudas públicas», El País, 9 de abril de 2012.
[23] EFE, «Ex presos cubanos denuncian en Madrid su ‘total desamparo’», 10 de abril de 2012.
[24] Fernando Ravsberg, «La conspiración católico-comunista», BBC, op. cit.

[25] UNICEF, Progreso para la infancia. Un balance sobre la nutrición, 2011.

Defending the Cuban Revolution