US President Donald Trump had declared at a rally in Miami, Florida on June 16, that he was cancelling Obama's “completely one-sided deal” with Cuba. Speaking before a highly partisan crowd, Trump ranted against Cuba and vowed to completely cut-off relations and strangulate the country into submission. Through the reintroduction of harsh measures, the US administration is reverting to its pre-2014 policies in order to subdue and subjugate Cuba. Cuban government and people immediately responded to this challenge and reiterated their commitment to socialism.
Trump, in his speech announced that he was going to sign an executive order that comes to immediate effect and ensure a return to restrictions on travel and trade. He justified this with alleged concerns over the human rights situation in Cuba and the need to rigorously apply the trade embargo and blockade. Trump offered the timeworn US criticism against Cuba as an excuse saying, “The Cuban people deserve a government that peacefully defends democratic values, economic freedoms, religious freedoms and human rights. And my administration is committed to achieving that vision”.
In fact, Trump’s announcement was waiting to happen. Trump had won 54 per cent of the vote in Florida due to the support of the anti-Cuba mafia active in that state. As if preparing the ground for the presidential announcement, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson questioned the engagement with Cuba in a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, just a few days before, noting the “dark side” of such dialogue and commenting that the administration would continue to “pressure the regime to change”.
In a broadcast on Cuban state television, President Raul Castro said Trump’s castigation of Cuba smacks of imperial mindset and reflects “the contradictory and clumsy pronouncements of the millionaire magnate-turned-president on issues of both foreign and domestic policy”. Raul Castro affirmed that Cuba will not be cowed down and will continue with its revolutionary ideals.
SUPPORT TO CUBA
Expressing immediate support to Cuba, Nicolas Maduro, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, stated “His (Trump’s) speech was aggressive and threatening….revealing his contempt and ignorance. We reject Donald Trump's declarations against our brother Cuba. It is an offense against Latin America”. Bolivian president Evo Morales also expressed his full support for the Cuban people and their government in the face of the policy reversal. “It's an abuse of power by the US empire not to listen to the whole world's support against the blockade of Cuba”, he said in a series of tweets. “Instead of asking Cuba to free political prisoners, Trump should expel the criminal politicians sheltered in the USA”.
The government of Cuba condemning the US decision, issued an official statement. “The government of Cuba denounces the new measures for strengthening the blockade, which are destined to fail as proven repeatedly in the past. They will not achieve their purpose of debilitating the Revolution or submitting the Cuban people, whose resistance to the aggressions of any kind and origin has been proven throughout six decades...Any strategy aimed at changing the political, economic and social system in Cuba, whether it aims to achieve it through pressure or imposition, or by using more subtle methods, is doomed to fail”.
The Cuban government has defended the people's right to universal health and education services, among other social achievements and vowed to take ‘any necessary risk’ and continue the construction of a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation. “Cuba rejects the manipulation with political purposes and the double standard concerning the issue of human rights”, said the statement. “With its modest resources Cuba has contributed to improving human rights in many places in the world, despite the limitations imposed to a blockaded country.
We recall that Cuba is a State party to 44 international human rights instruments, while the United States comply with only 18, therefore we have much to show, comment and defend” the Cuban government pointed in its statement.
It should be remembered here that addressing the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba in April 2016, Raul Castro, commenting on the repeated US accusations on Cuba as a violator of human rights, stated: “US always brings up (human rights issue) as absent in Cuba and thus an impediment in removing the economic blockade. For us, equal pay for equal work, whether for a man or woman, is a human right. In other countries, including the United States, it is not, women earn less and thus dozens of supposed human rights can be cited. Free medical care in Cuba is a human right, in how many countries in the world is it? In many, this is not a human right, it is a business. In our country, education is free, in how many countries of the world is education free? It's a business, too. That is, we will discuss this issue of human rights with anyone and anywhere whatsoever, and we will recognise those who are in the right”.
It has also become a fashion to accuse Cuba of being a dictatorial country, with no democratic values. That this is nothing short of a lie, has been once again proved recently. The 7th Congress of the PCC agreed to launch a broad, democratic debate to discuss the documents ‘Conceptualisation of the Cuban Economic and Social Model of Socialist Development’ and ‘Foundations for the National Social and Economic Development Plan through 2030’. Subsequently, 47,470 meetings were held in which more than 1.6 million Cubans participated, generating 208,161 proposals and leading to the modification of a significant part of the original content or wording of the documents. This process represents a genuinely democratic, participatory exercise. These proposals were then reviewed and ultimately approved early this month.
Compare this with the democratic governance in the US. According to a 2016 poll conducted in southern Florida, 63 per cent of respondents favoured a complete lifting of the blockade on Cuba. The number of those who want the blockade to be lifted is witnessing a steady rise. A similar survey conducted by the same organisation in 2014 found that at that time 48 per cent supported openness toward the country. Boasting of being leaders of a model ‘democratic State’, can Trump accede to the opinions shared by a majority of the people? This cannot be expected from a person who became a president of the country even without securing the majority of popular votes. Indeed it will be advisable for the US to learn from Cuba, what true democracy really is. In the month of October, elections for municipalities, provincial councils and parliament are scheduled in Cuba. In these elections candidates will be declared winner only after they secure more than 50 per cent of the people’s support. It will do enormous good to the US cynics, to send observers and learn from the process. This would help the US instead of ranting wildly.
Standing its ground, the Cuban government reiterated its “willingness to pursue a respectful dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest, as well as maintaining negotiation on pending bilateral matters with the US government”.
People around the world had immediately condemned the US actions and expressed their solidarity with Cuba. This is indeed a natural reaction for any Marxist, socialist revolutionary. But unfortunately there is also a new tendency that is becoming visible – the tendency of centrism – which is arguing that Cuba should not be rigid in its views and should ‘compromise’ on certain issues. This, it is argued, will be beneficial to the people as the US can then be pushed (or persuaded!) to loosen the blockade and ultimately lift it completely. Otherwise, they say, Cuban revolution itself would be under peril and even the socialist State may not be in a position to weather the capitalist offensive. This is an ideological trend that needs to be completely rejected lock, stock and barrel.
Centrism here is nothing short of paving way for the restoration of capitalism in Cuba as it is not a revolutionary option, but rather a strategy to install or restore capitalism. Lenin referred to this position as treacherous utopianism, a product of bourgeois reformism. Communist Party of Cuba and the Cuban government have not taken such a position as we have seen in Raul Castro’s televised speech and the statement they had issued. With a firm conviction on Marxism and Leninism they are readying once again to meet this challenge. It is our bounden duty to stand in solidarity with them once again.
“Don't try to scare us, gentlemen, you won't succeed….you will not scare the workers and soldiers with this, gentlemen….”. (Lenin)