Time to Resist, Struggle and Defeat Imperialism
R Arun Kumar
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WITHIN a week after the swearing in of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as the president of Brazil, supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, who was defeated in the elections attacked the three wings of the government in Brazil. They tried to occupy the legislature, judiciary and executive buildings in Brasilia, the capital city. Timely intervention of the federal government nipped in bud their attempt to destabilise the democratically elected government of Lula.
What had happened in Brazil is more or less a replica of what the supporters of Donald Trump tried to do on January 6, 2021 in Washington, US. Both Bolsonaro and Trump refused to acknowledge their defeat in the presidential elections in their respective countries and encouraged their right-wing supporters to trample upon democracy. Lula strongly denounced the vandalism and stated that those who indulged in such acts were ‘fascists, fanatics’ and that everyone involved in the riots ‘will be found and punished. “We are going to find out who the financiers of these vandals who went to Brasilia are and they will all pay with the force of law”. Lula accused Bolsonaro of being a ‘genocidist’ who ‘is encouraging this via social media from Miami (US)’, where Bolsonaro is currently staying.
If a proper investigation is carried out and as Lula had stated, ‘the financiers’ were found out, it would certainly make many things clear – mainly the link between right-wing forces and imperialism. No one would be surprised if the hand of the CIA and the US or its surrogates is found behind what had happened in Brazil. Indeed, we invariably find the involvement of the US behind all the major attempts to destabilise the democratically elected Left, progressive governments in Latin America.
US uses its assistance programmes to advance its political objectives in Latin America. As numerous state department cables published by WikiLeaks show, the US government has deployed aid programmes to ensure the re-election of right-wing allies. The US also uses its financial muscle to fund and groom NGOs in various countries, which would be used in its destabilisation efforts, if it fails to get its chosen candidate elected. In 1983, the US created the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which along with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) functions as the economic arm of the US government’s interventionist policies. These two finance NGOs and foundations that disguise themselves under labels that claim laudable values like democracy and freedom, but in reality seek to change governments that do not subordinate themselves to the US interests.
The founder of NED Alan Weinstein put it bluntly in an interview with The Washington Post (1991) that a lot of what they were doing was what the CIA had done 25 years ago. NED was therefore known globally as the ‘second CIA’. As detailed on the NED’s own website in 2020, the organisation provides critical support to ‘promote democracy’ in countries governed by what they consider to be the most authoritarian regimes: Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
In the last year alone, we find the US actively intervening to destabilise many democratically elected regimes in Latin America. In Argentina, led by Alberto Fernandez a Peronist who replaced the right-wing Macri administration, they first tried to take vice president, Cristina Kirchner's life through an assassination attempt. Once that failed, the right-wing, sponsored by the monopoly media and a section of the judiciary who are biased towards the rich oligarchs, fabricated lies to imprison her and deprive her of her right to hold public office. The USAID and various other US agencies are actively involved in the country to destabilise the Peronist regime.
At the same time, in Peru, Pedro Castillo, a Leftist teacher and union leader, who was elected as the president by popular vote, was removed from his office, through the ruling of three judges who accused him of acts of corruption, without any evidence. Now the right-wing had assumed presidency by jailing Pedro Castillo and brutally suppressing popular protests demanding the restoration of democratic rights and reinstallation of the constitutionally elected president Castillo.
Before these events that took place last year, in Bolivia, NED instigated the coup forcing President Evo Morales to resign and go into exile. Between 2013 and 2018, NED and USAID provided 70 million US dollars to the opposition parties, right-wing political figures and other anti-Morales elements. They weaved an anti-Morales coalition spanning across universities, think tanks and civil society organisations, and even roped in indigenous Bolivians against Morales. NED also spent 200,000 US dollars through the International Republican Institute (IRI), its core institute, to improve the ‘mobilising and organisational capabilities’ of the opposition parties and give ‘counsel to the street movements’.
In Ecuador, a witch hunting in being carried out to wipe out the progressive alliance of Rafael Correa, a former president who enjoyed huge popular support. He was forced to exile, while Jorge Glas, who served as the vice president along with Correa was arrested.
According to a former French ambassador, both the US and France had “effectively orchestrated” the coup in Haiti. In February 2001, Stanley Lucas, the IRI’s Senior Program Officer for Haiti, openly put forward three ways to dislodge the democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide at a local radio programme. Claiming to be ‘promoting democracy’, the IRI was actually promoting subversive operations.
Supporting pro-US political forces in Nicaragua was among the first programmes of NED after it came into existence in 1983. As of today, NED is still channeling funds to the opposition and right-wing media outlets in Nicaragua. According to public records, between 2016 and 2019, NED provided at least 4.4 million US dollars to Nicaraguan opposition groups, including media organisations. These forces played key role in Nicaragua’s coup attempt in 2018 when they called on opposition supporters to attack the government and assassinate the president.
Similarly, NED is spending millions of dollars in Venezuela to destabilise Maduro’s government. It promoted Juan Guaido, who was declared as the ‘president of Venezuela’ by the US. John Bolton, the United States’ former National Security Adviser to Donald Trump, when specifically questioned in an interview with the CNN about the role he played in a coup, mentioned the US involvement in the attempted coup in Venezuela in 2018, where they tried to install Guaido as the president in place of Maduro.
Cuba is the main target of the US in the region. It has long suffered heavily from US infiltration and subversive activities. The NED and USAID allocated nearly 250 million US dollars to programmes targeting Cuba over the past 20 years. According to the NED website, it funded 42 anti-Cuba programmes in 2020 alone. In 2021, NED funded and guided anti-Cuba forces to fabricate and spread disinformation on social media to stoke public sentiments against the government and instigate people. Weeks before the July demonstrations, anti-government messages surged on social media, which effectively manipulated public sentiments and incited protests. Days before the demonstrations, a large number of new accounts popped up on Twitter, which liked and retweeted unverified anti-government posts, all with the hashtag #SOSCuba. Investigations showed close links between these accounts and a company based in Miami, Florida. Capitalising on the street protests, NED churned out the fake news that “(more than) 100 protesters…are missing” and used bots to disseminate it.
The US government tries to influence the economic and political trajectories of various countries through sanctions, control of international financial institutions, trade policy, and aid programmes. These varied tools of economic statecraft are all deployed with the objective of achieving its foreign policy goals.
AGGRESSION ON CUBA
The most concrete example of the systematic aggression that the US government carries out against Cuba is the criminal economic blockade that it illegally and unilaterally enforces against Cuba. The US has maintained a near-total embargo on Cuba since 1962. International community condemned this blockade 29 times through voting in the UN General Assembly. Cuba lost 154 billion 217 million dollars, at current prices; and, one trillion 391 billion 111 million at the value of gold, due to the embargo. The blockade is intended to asphyxiate the Cuban people, create chaos and generate a regime change. The US government (under both Trump and Biden) used the pandemic years (2020 and 2021), to tighten the blockade with new measures, preventing the import of medicines, respirators, fuel and other economic resources to overcome the crisis caused by Covid-19.
The embargo has negatively affected Cuba’s healthcare system by blocking imports of life-saving drugs and medical equipment. The blockade is so severe that in spite of the fact that the Cuban vaccines against corona virus are proven to be more than 90 per cent effective, they could not again recognition from the WHO. The Cuban official in-charge, had explained: “This delay is because it has not been possible to make the payments to the company in charge of the start-up of the equipment and systems of that production line. We have been trying for nine months to make the payments, which have not been possible due to the refusal of several banks to make the transfer operation”.
Because of the blockade, Cuba is suffering from galloping inflation of products, food and services; deficiency in the supply of electricity and is witnessing an increase in migration.
On top of them all, this year, Cuba faced an explosion at the Saratoga Hotel in Havana, the fire at the Supertanqueros Base in Matanzas that destroyed tonnes of precious fuel which was stored and the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian in several western provinces. It is for this reason that President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermudez stated: “Nothing was ever easy for the Cuban Revolution. The 64 years it celebrates are plagued with difficulties and challenges; but, in response, they are also full of feats and heroism”.
Cuba is playing a heroic and stellar role by extending its support and aid to national liberation movements, training professionals in their reputed educational institutions, sending medical brigades and exporting medicines, including its very effective vaccines against Covid-19. Cuba's role in the world is a thousand times greater than what could be expected from a small country near the borders of the strongest imperialist country. Hence Cuba is recognised as a symbol of resistance to US hegemony.
US imperialism is not only Cuba's problem, it is the problem of entire humanity. US policies not only threaten Cuba, but they threaten the very survival of the humanity. What Fidel Castro had stated in a speech in 1966 is relevant not only to the Cubans, but to all of us: “We will never forget that we are part of that world, that our fate is the fate of that world, that our victory is the victory of that world against imperialism, and that the defeat of that world would be our defeat and our enslavement”!
Cubans thoroughly internalised these ideas. We too have to internalise these ideas, as our fate too is deeply linked with the fate of the world. Our struggle against right-wing forces helps strengthen all those forces that are fighting right-wing offensive. Defeating right-wing forces will not only strengthen progressive forces, but also weaken imperialism. Anti-imperialist solidarity is a part of our struggle against imperialism and will not only be beneficial to us, but also for the entire world. It is with this understanding, we need to link our struggle against right-wing offensive with the struggle against imperialism.
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