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U.S. imperialism intensifies hostilities against socialist Cuba

Published Oct 22, 2007 12:07 AM

Stop a minute and consider this: socialist Cuba has survived against all odds. It inspires people around the world, and for millions revolutionary Cuba represents a David vs. Goliath victory against the greatest enemy of humankind, U.S. imperialism.

It can therefore be easy to forget sometimes how difficult life can be for the Cuban people. It can be easy to forget the tremendous amount of effort it must take the revolution’s leaders to not only defend Cuba’s sovereignty but to struggle to construct a socialist society amidst an ocean of capitalism.

It can be easy to forget the difficulties because the tenacity of the Cuban people themselves is known so well. As acting head of state Raul Castro stated on July 26, “Those who are amazed at our people’s capacity to rise to the level of every challenge, no matter how great, do not know them very well.”

One who does not live in Cuba can only imagine the challenge.

Friends of Cuba must therefore keep abreast of all the maneuvers, schemes, machinations and intrigues the U.S. government carries out in its historical and nonstop attempts to sabotage and overturn the revolution.

Current and new information on the effects of the U.S. blockade against Cuba show the damage imperialism is attempting now against revolutionary Cuba. The Bush administration’s plots require that the movement in solidarity with Cuba intensify its solidarity work against the U.S. blockade as well as to free the Cuban Five.

Effects of blockade since 1960

When the revolution triumphed in 1959, U.S. imperialism learned a valuable lesson very early on.

Imperialist attempts to militarily overthrow the revolution were defeated by the Cuban people at the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. The imperialists learned that the Cuban Revolution would not be easily defeated.

Internally, the revolution was strong despite its youth. The people were united; the leadership was ideologically sound and confident. Fidel, Che, Raul, Camilo and the many other figures of that era were leaders, thoughtful and revolutionary—never were they mere icons—and they quickly consolidated the revolution.

Immediately they set out on the road to genuine sovereignty, constructing a society built on the needs of its people, not on the dictates of the transnational corporations.

No longer a playground for U.S. capitalists, Cuba began to be an island of hope, health and dignity. It inspired oppressed and progressive people worldwide and it earned the eternal wrath of the imperialists. History was in the making.

This is when the strategy to strangle Cuba through hardship began to be implemented by the U.S.

This July the Cuban government issued an important report to the United Nations General Assembly that is particularly revealing. It is not new information but it is important to remember.

The report states: “In a document that was declassified in 1991, it was revealed that on April 6, 1960, a year before the U.S.-organized invasion of Cuba, the then Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs, Lester DeWitt Mallory, submitted a memorandum for discussion at a meeting chaired by the U.S. president, stating that there was no effective political opposition in Cuba and that consequently the only means open to Washington of undermining internal support for the revolution was through disenchantment and discouragement, based on dissatisfaction and economic difficulties. It advocated taking prompt action of every conceivable kind to weaken the Cuban economy, and deny funds and other supplies so as to reduce real and monetary wages, thereby causing hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government.”

Take note: there was no effective political opposition in Cuba.

The U.S. effort to create one failed then and it is failing now. But the economic effects of the U.S. blockade continue, bringing unnecessary and untold hardship to its people.

Furthermore, the Bush administration continues its war of aggression and military threats. Its Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba (CAFC) contains ominous plans to, among other things, attempt to politically and economically isolate the island.

Hardship rooted in Washington, not Havana

For the past 15 years, the U.N. General Assembly has voted almost unanimously against the U.S. blockade.

Salim Lamrani of Global Research writes that since then the blockade has “cost the Cuban economy more than $89,000 million [$89 billion]. In 2006, Cuba lost nearly $4,000 million as a direct consequence. Not only can Cuba not export any product to the U.S., nor import anything, but it does not even have the authorization to establish commercial dealings with U.S. companies located in other countries, which is in flagrant violation of international law.”

Lamrani reminds us that the blockade has been increasingly tightened over the years: the Torricelli Act in 1992, Helms-Burton in 1996, the first report of the CAFC—Bush’s plan to overthrow the revolution—in 2004 and a second edition in 2006.

The Bush plan would be laughable, an Orwellian scenario almost with comic relief; but it is much too dangerous to dismiss.

The Cuban Mission to the U.N. reports that the “sectors most vulnerable to the negative impact of the blockade have been food and health care, having a direct impact on the quality of life of all Cubans.”

The damage to health service is estimated at over $30 million. “Medical institutions that provide treatment free of charge have been affected in several departments: emergency services, care of critically ill, surgical units and other specialized adult and pediatric services,” the Mission press release continues.

Because of the blockade, for example, Cuba cannot acquire Sevorane, the standard drug for administering general anesthesia to children.

U.S. pressure has forced other firms to suspend sales to Cuba as well as cancel licenses. This happened with the company Medtronic, which was forced to stop selling external pacemakers to Cuba. This affected many children with congenital or acquired arrhythmia who needed the device.

The extraterritorial nature of the blockade is exemplified with the Finnish firm Datex-Ohmeda, a manufacturer of anesthesia and monitoring equipment. When General Electric acquired the company, the firm announced that it was banned from supplying equipment or spare parts to Cuba under the threat of prosecution by the U.S. Justice Department.

On the issue of food, the Cuban government reports: “Between May 2006 and April 2007, the sanctions caused losses in the food sector exceeding $258 million. ... With [this] sum, Cuba would have been able to buy, for domestic consumption, about 180,000 metric tons of soybeans, 72,000 metric tons of soy oil, 300,000 metric tons of maize and 275,000 metric tons of wheat.

“Meanwhile, Washington blocked communications between the Cuban firm Alimport and its U.S. suppliers of food and other agricultural products, preventing the proper functioning of the [email protected] server and throughout 2006 creating extra difficulties for transactions between the two countries.” Internet users in Cuba cannot access Google Earth’s free services nor access the most current anti-virus programs.

If Cuba had access to the U.S. market, it could sell about 1.1 million cases of Cuba’s delightful and much-loved rum, representing potential revenue to the economy of some $47 million.

Rising prices on the international capitalist market have serious consequences for Cuba. When Cuba has to buy oil in the market it must pay $80 a barrel. Four years ago it was $28 a barrel. Powdered milk was $2,100 a ton in 2004; it now sells for $2,450 a ton.

In every aspect of life—economic, cultural, political, social, educational—the U.S. blockade of Cuba has had heavy ramifications.

Cuba has weathered it all, even the collapse of the socialist camp in the 1990s. The loss of trade with the Soviet Union resulted in an 85 percent drop in imports and a decline of 35 percent in the overall economy between 1988 and 1993. Any capitalist society experiencing such a loss of oil, food and other necessities would have seen mass rebellions in the streets. But the Cuban people pulled together and weathered the Special Period.

This July, however, Raul Castro pointed out that Cuba still faces hard times, since it has “not yet come out of the Special Period.”

All this takes place while the Bush administration plots to find means on and off the island to undermine the revolution at this critical time. Bush’s CAFC includes a secret section on undercover operations for Cuba.

The Cubans detail that “no other administration has gone to the maniacal extremes of aggression” adopted by the Bush administration.

Caleb McCarry is a name solidarity activists should memorize. McCarry is the person in charge of re-colonizing Cuba. He has been, among other things, intensively lobbying in various countries for support for the further internationalization of the blockade. Wikipedia describes McCarry:

“Caleb McCarry is the Bush administration’s ‘Cuba Transition Coordinator,’ tasked with assisting in the removal of the Communist government of Cuba. The position developed out of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. McCarry described the Commission’s purpose as to put forth ‘an intelligent, generous and above all respectful offer of support to the Cuban people’ in efforts to end ‘the dictatorship [that] has willfully and cruelly divided the Cuban family.’

“McCarry was previously staff director for Rep. Henry Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee. He is the son of former CIA agent Charles McCarry. McCarry worked in the office of Sen. Jesse Helms, co-sponsor of the Helms-Burton Act of 1996. This act was financed by several leading Cuban emigre figures and companies, including the Bacardi company, whose lawyer was Otto Reich.

“While a congressional staffer, McCarry was known for his opposition to Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. An anonymous State Department source told a Salon.com journalist that McCarry was involved in funneling money to Aristide’s opposition via the International Republican Institute, which is funded by the United States government.”

This is the kind of odious Bush administrator that oversees U.S./Cuban policies.

U.S. will never reconcile to revolutionary Cuba

Comrade Raul Castro on July 26 said: “In the forging of effort and sacrifice, the morale and consciousness of this people has reached new heights; sons with the stature of Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González and René González [the Cuban Five] have been born, able to assume with valor and dignity the duress of an unjust imprisonment, scattered in different prisons of the United States.”

“They are examples,” he continued, “but they are not exceptions.”

This is why the U.S. will never give up trying to overturn the Cuban Revolution. The imperialists will never reconcile to Cuba, but the Cubans will never give up either. The enemies of humanity might have succeeded in killing Che Guevara 40 years ago, but the ideas and values of Che live on every day in Cuba. They live every day in the Cuban Five, who refuse to sell out the revolution or give up.

Today, one could say that Cuba is at a crossroads. The blockade continues to bring untold hardship. Cuba’s beloved leader, comrade Fidel Castro, is recuperating from a long illness unable to play the same role he had for so long, although he continues to write and lead the revolution ideologically and politically.

It is a new period in Cuban history. In fact, every day is a page in history when a revolutionary socialist society is being built against all odds.

The Cuban leadership along with its heroic and class-conscious people continue to not only weather a special economic period; they are right now evaluating every aspect of Cuban society in order to defend its socialist gains. Could this evaluation and rectification take socialism further?

That is exactly what imperialism fears and what the oppressed masses from Venezuela to the Philippines to Somalia to the Bronx desire. The workers and oppressed of the world are confident of revolutionary Cuba.