Continuing Revolution

Cuba : Claims & Blames

Farooque Chowdhury

Cuba appears "confusing". Contradictory claims, blames, assertions, imaginations, opinions are making a cloud of confusion.

Claims are being made: Cuba has compromised, Cuba has capitulated. Hopes are thrown in the air: Cuba is going to be sold out. Assertions are being made: the Castros are bad brothers, revolution is being betrayed.
Even Barack Obama, the US president, is being blamed and being praised. It seems the Castro brothers and Obama have conspired together either to cease Cuba's struggle for establishing a prosperous and sustainable socialism or to strengthen the Castro brothers' "brutal" rule.

A look into a camp in the Empire gives an amazing view as the camp finds Cuban ayatollahs in Havana.

Right-camp in the US is divided over the Cuba question. It's now busy with argument and counter-argument: Which is hurting the Cuban people most: the embargo the Empire imposed or the lack of the Empire defined democracy? Hot debates, even war of words are flying around as US law makers were heard saying: "I won't shy away from battle", and "I'm happy to finish a fight."

Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, two leading Republicans, in a joint statement denounced Obama's Cuba-move: "Unfortunately, today's chapter ... is one of Arrerica and the values it stands for in retreat and decline. It is about... diminishing America's influence in the world." Senator Roy Blunt considered the move as the latest in a string of poor policy decisions by the US president, and greater trade with Cuba would help Castro stay in power. "I don't think you can effectively do that as long as the Castro brothers are in charge of Cuba", he said. "By seeking to normalize relations," Senator Kelly Ayotte said, "the administration is rewarding the very behavior we want to end". Senator Robert Menendez, a top Democrat, slammed: "President Obama's actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government". Senator Ted Cruz and former Florida governor Jeb Bush were also critical of Obama's Cuba-move.

Most dissatisfied was Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American. He considered the Obama-move as a victory for the Cuban government. His criticism was wider. He criticized Senator Rand Paul as Paul supported Obama's move. Rand "has no idea what he's talking about", said Rubio.

Rand Paul countered: "The 50-year embargo hasn't worked. If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn't seem to be working". He expressed hope: "I think trade might loosen things up and might help to topple the Castros."

Two religious organizations—the Baptist World Alliance, a 42-million member international alliance of Baptist churches and groups, and the Catholic League, an American civil rights organization—praised the Obama-move. A leader of the Catholic League said: "Economic liberty does not guarantee political liberty, but it does work to undermine the forces of repression," he said. "More important than markets is the exchange of ideas that this rapprochement will bring."

Some Cuban exiles, fogey anti-Castro elements, in Miami stand against Obama's Cuba-plan. Some Cuban-Americans are deeply disappointed with the move. To the elements, Obama's announcement gives recognition to the illegitimate Castro regime, a dictatorship. Many of these elements took part in attempts to assassinate Castro.

These elements pledged to oppose Obama's plan. They feel let down by Obama. "When the Bay of Pigs was abandoned, we were sad. And now we feel abandoned again, betrayed by the president", said the head of the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association, a group of diehards.

These are the CIA-backed mercenaries pressed into the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion to foil Fidel-led revolution. With death of about 100 mercenaries the CIA-organized invasion turned into a disaster. Revolutionary forces captured about a thousand mercenaries trained by the CIA in Nicaragua and Guatemala. "Americans have a habit of betraying friends and then letting them drop. We've all faced it, we're used to it by now", said a pilot, who participated in three missions to foil the Cuba revolution. It seems these elements engaged in criminal activities have now turned "anti"-imperialist.

There are dozens of anti-Castro organizations, media companies, terror gangs, drug and arms rings, lobbying organizations, aid groups floated and run with tax payers' millions of dollars. There are the US-run Radio Marti and TV Marti. The business is being run for decades. Their target: Overthrow Castro. The anti-Castro groups include the Cuban American National Foundation, a lobbying group engaged with the job of toppling the Cuban government, and the Cuban Democratic Directorate that runs a Miami-based shortwave radio program targeting the Cuban people, and supports Cuban anti-people forces. These anti-Castro elements keep their hope on the US Congress to push back Obama's promise to lift the Cuba-embargo.

Obama hopes his new plan gives the US a chance to influence events in Cuba as 50-years' of non-stop attempts to topple the Castro government haven't worked. "If we engage, we have the opportunity to influence the course of events at a time when there's going to be some generational change in that country", Obama told a CNN interview.

A motive is clearly spelled out: Foil the Cuban people's revolution.

On the other hand, there is criticism from a part of "left": Castro has capitulated. All is going to be sold.
Thus confusion is being created. Castro brothers—Fidel and Raul—are everywhere irrespective of controversy,  claim and blame. The two individuals, according to "left" adventurist analysis, create and mould society. "Really two powerful" guys! "Left" adventurists consider individuals only and deny contradictions and class forces in society.

In between the two camps, right and adventurist "left", Raul Castro outlined a future and a hope.

President Raul Castro said in the Cuban National Assembly: Cuba wouldn't renounce its socialist system despite the normalization of ties with the US. Detente with the US won't change the system the Cuban people are building up. "We must not expect that in order for relations with the United States to improve, Cuba will abandon the ideas that it has struggled for."

Raul insisted Cuba would not give up its socialist principles. "In the same way that we have never demanded that the United States change its political system, we will demand respect for ours", Raul told the National Assembly.

The Cuban leader said: "We always have been willing to engage in respectful dialogue on equal terms to address any issues without a shadow over our independence and without renouncing a single one of our principles." "We reiterate our willingness for respectful and reciprocal dialogue concerning disagreements", said Raul. He added: Cuba "accepted dialogue... on any topic about all things here but also in the United States." It's an assertion of position.

Another assertion came. It was from Mariela Castro, daughter of Raul.

Mariela asserted: Cuba will defend its socialist principles and will not return to capitalism just because it has agreed a detente with the US. She told: "The people of Cuba don't want to return to capitalism." She dispelled any notion that US companies would be free to roll into Cuba.

Other parts of Mariela's statement are significant also: "We've been at this 56 years and... we love saying that we are a country in revolution, trying to create socialism, and we form part of a single party called the Communist Party." She added: "Sometimes people say Fidel is hard-headed, that the Cuban leaders are hard-headed, but experience has taught us something important, that we should never give in on our principles."

Mariela said moves by the US president won't lead to the downfall of the system in Cuba. "If the US thinks these changes will bring Cuba back to capitalism and return it to being a servile country to hegemonic interests of the most powerful financial groups in the US, they must be dreaming."

With the cited statements the effort, the path ahead, and the struggle waiting keep no room for imagination. It's, hasta la victoria siempre.

It's easier to make sweeping remarks, formulate theories isolated from reality, ask for adventurist actions without bearing any responsibility for results and implications of the actions, have no accountability to people, and have no electorate. Adventurism thus wins a moment of present time.

But adventurism has no place in the life of people, who struggle, sustain, build up, face hardship and make sacrifice. The reality Cuba now faces, and faced for years has to be taken into consideration. Cuba's reality doesn't allow adventurism.

The Cuban people face sabotage. It's part of their daily life, part of a "long and difficult struggle". The Empire-imposed embargo is in place. There is international financial transaction limits imposed on Cuba. Cuba's access to credit and international investment is blocked. At the same time, the Cuban people need respite, space for sustainably building up their way of life.

The Cuban people are struggling to properly handle contradictions within their society, in the spheres of agriculture, industry, trade, urban and rural life, political participation, etc., and in between these. The people are reckoning balance of forces within their society, and in the spheres of the continent and the world. They are to take into account the space available for maneuvering.

A straight path would have been nice. But class reality doesn't always allow the desired straight path. The path moves in a zigzag way. All are to traverse a path repeatedly turning and bending, a compromise. Engels and Lenin discussed the meaning of zigzag path, which doesn't allow adventurism. "Every zigzag turn in history is a compromise, a compromise between the old, which is no longer strong enough to completely negate the new, and the new, which is not yet strong enough to completely overthrow the old. Marxism does not altogether reject compromise. Marxism considers it necessary to make use of them ..." (Lenin, "Against Boycott")

One can blame the Castro brothers; one can brush off Cuba's struggle, its journey through a zigzag path. The journey would have been better had the adventurists organized widespread Cuba-solidarity campaign among people in respective societies so that political pressure mounts on to import Cuba's medical knowledge and medicines, so that political pressure is created to defy the embargo and enter into wider trade relations with Cuba, so that educational exchanges with Cuba are increased. It would have been nice had the adventurists organized boycott of loading fuel into warships, had they organized a ship load of cement or an oil tanker destined for Havana. It would have been nice had they made their people aware of Cuba's efforts to heal its soil, its urban agriculture efforts, its revolutionary doctors, its achievements in the area of medical science. These would have widened Cuba's breathing space, the country's friends-circle, strengthened the society's struggle, provided moral ground to criticism of the Castro brothers' "capitulation", and would have taken away a bit of "confusion".

Vol. 47, No. 27, Jan 11 - 17, 2015