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Cuba, Korea and U.S. bellicosity

Published Jun 10, 2009 3:08 PM

When it became clear that the countries of the Organization of American States—all but one—would vote on June 3 to readmit Cuba to membership, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, representing the one, walked out.

Cuba has applauded the efforts of member countries to finally reverse its expulsion from the OAS, which Washington had engineered in 1962 after the failure of its invasion of Cuba. But Havana has said “no thanks” to reentering the OAS, which for half a century has done Washington’s bidding.

The reason Clinton gave for walking out was that the OAS is an organization of “democratic” states, and Cuba isn’t democratic.

This argument isn’t worth a wooden nickel in Latin America these days. It is common knowledge that Washington has been trying to undermine the democratically elected governments of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. The reason is clear: they are fighting in the people’s interests against transnational corporations based mainly in the U.S.

There’s also much history to blow Clinton’s “democracy” argument out of the water. Here’s just one example: In 1973, a right-wing military coup in Chile led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet overthrew the progressive government of President Salvador Allende and began a reign of terror. Thousands of leftists were rounded up and killed outright; others were tortured and “disappeared.” Eventually, a broad spectrum of political forces decried the fascist methods of Pinochet and his dictatorship.

However, the OAS never suspended Chile.

In fact, in June 1976 then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made a special trip to Santiago, Chile, for a meeting of the OAS General Assembly. In a confidential meeting with Pinochet on June 8, Kissinger reassured the Chilean dictator that, while the U.S. representative had to publicly say a few words about “human rights” in his talk to the OAS, Pinochet should not be worried.

“The speech is not aimed at Chile,” Kissinger told Pinochet. “My statement and our position are designed to allow us to say to the Congress that we are talking to the Chilean government and therefore Congress need not act.” If a bill pending in Congress critical of Pinochet was defeated, he promised, Chile would get a delivery of F-5E fighter planes.

Just to make sure Pinochet really got it, Kissinger emphasized, “We welcomed the overthrow of the Communist-inclined government here. ... We are not out to weaken your position.”

An internal State Department memo describing this conversation was finally declassified in 1998. Kissinger, of course, has still not been prosecuted for his many crimes.

Just one day after Washington’s defeat at the OAS, the Justice Department announced the arrest of a former State Department employee and his wife on charges of having spied for Cuba—not for money, but because they were inspired by the changes there.

In his June 8 column in the Cuban newspaper Granma, Fidel Castro pointed to the “strange” timing of the arrests, given that the two are now retired, in their 70s, and, if the allegations against them are true, could have been arrested long ago. He added that “Perhaps the arrest was influenced not only by the tremendous setback suffered at San Pedro Sula [site of the OAS meeting—WW], but also by the news that there have been some contacts between the governments of the United States and Cuba on important issues of common interest.”

Many people hoped that Washington would soften its relentless blockade of Cuba once the Cold War ended. It didn’t. Then the election of Barack Obama as president and the return of the Democratic Party to control of the government encouraged new speculation that U.S. policy would change. However, if anything is driving the administration to explore changes in relations with Cuba, it is the overwhelming support that the socialist island has earned from the people of the world, especially in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean. Washington is totally isolated in its open hostility to Cuba.

The eye of Clinton is trained on the other side of the world, too. The secretary of state, appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, June 7, made new threats against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, another country that has taken the socialist path. She said the administration was seeking a way to “interdict” ships and planes of the DPRK suspected of carrying weapons or nuclear technology.

To put it plainly, the U.S. is looking to commit an act of war against Korea. It’s a war move to stop or commandeer another country’s shipping.

Clinton also said the administration was looking for a way to reverse a decision made by George W. Bush last year to take the DPRK off its “sponsor of terrorism” list. More bellicose than Bush? Apparently so. But then, the Democratic Party has presided over most of U.S. imperialism’s wars over the last 70 years.