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