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Socialist Cuba: Slander and reality

Published May 1, 2008 7:34 PM

An April 28 Washington Post editorial grudgingly admits the Cuban economy is growing and life for Cuban workers is improving. It says, “Cuban President Raúl Castro has introduced a handful of micro-reforms.” Cubans can “buy cellphones, computers and microwave ovens.” The Post points out rightly that the movement is growing, even in Congress, to end the U.S. blockade of Cuba.

But at a time when living conditions for U.S. workers—with incomes slashed by job losses, pay cuts and shortened working hours—are sinking under the weight of skyrocketing food and fuel prices, the Post diverts attention from this bleak reality, as well as the fact that socialist Cuba is moving forward. How? By pulling out the old and tired false charges that Cuba imprisons 55 “dissidents” and suppresses those who plead their case, the “Ladies in White.”

The Post ignored the Cuban Foreign Ministry statement about the U.S. State Department’s latest creation: “One of the groupings that have been particularly sponsored, backed, and financed by the U.S. Interest Section has been precisely the so-called ‘Ladies in White,’ which has currently been chosen by president George W. Bush and his special services as a spearhead against Cuba. ... Only in the course of the present year, 2008, the U.S. government has allocated 45.7 million dollars to pay to its mercenary groups in Cuba and put up provocations. ...” These are U.S. tax dollars misused to attack Cuba.

Can it also be that the Post editors missed the front page New York Times article (April 23) reporting that 2.3 million people suffer in U.S. prisons? Quite a number are internationally recognized political prisoners—including five Cubans who tried to prevent loss of life by observing Miami-based paramilitaries planning violence against Cuba. The Cuban 5 now serve life-plus terms in federal prisons.

Did they miss that the police who killed Sean Bell were acquitted this week? That people of color, immigrants, white workers and youth are brutalized daily by capitalist state agents, from cops to “homeland security” agents to neo-Nazi/Klan/Minuteman racists?

While the life expectancy for U.S. women is declining, the life expectancy for Cuban women is lengthening, meeting or exceeding that of the U.S.—an astounding accomplishment for a small developing country.

Health care in Cuba is free and universal. Health clinics have been modernized and high-tech clinic facilities are being constructed. Cuba shares its medical accomplishments by sending doctors around the world, building hospitals, clinics and medical schools, and training doctors from other countries.

Education is universal and free, and Cuba has the highest literacy rate in the Americas. In the U.S., an increasingly privatized education system provides substandard education for the working class, particularly in oppressed communities. Schools in Cuba have been renovated, while they crumble in cities across the U.S.

The Post scoffs that Cuban “state workers may get deeds to apartments they have been renting for decades.” But getting a paid deed after decades of paying a very low rent might seem like a better idea for the one out of every 194 U.S. homebuyers who received a foreclosure notice in the first three months of 2008.

From banks to General Motors, which announced 3,500 additional layoffs on April 29, more U.S. workers are losing their jobs. Meanwhile, Cuban unemployment is only 1.8 percent.

As the 50th anniversary of the Cuban socialist revolution nears on Jan. 1, 2009, it is important to review the relentless attempts by U.S. imperialism to turn back the clock: direct military attacks like the “Bay of Pigs” invasion; covert terror bombings of department stores, hotels, an airliner and other buildings in Cuba and other countries; an economic blockade designed to starve the Cuban people into submission; biological warfare against economic targets and human beings; unsuccessful assassination attempts against Fidel Castro; and funding “dissidents” who can be used in a propaganda campaign to hide the profound and widespread support for the Cuban revolution.

Developing the potential of human beings is socialist Cuba’s priority, not profit and exploitation. Cuba’s accomplishments are well known and internationally acknowledged.

Socialism—even socialism attacked every minute by a giant imperialist neighbor to the north—improves life for workers. State Department slanders published as Washington Post editorials can’t erase that.