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,
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
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
“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
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.
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