60 years of the criminal US imperialist blockade against the Cuban Revolution

Source: marxism.com

by Jorge Martin 09 February 2022

On 3 February 1962, US president Kennedy signed proclamation 3447, decreeing an embargo on all trade with Cuba, which was to enter into effect on 7 February. This marked the official beginning of a 60-year blockade (though the imperialist assault had started earlier), which has progressively been strengthened and tightened.

The aims of this campaign of imperialist bullying were openly declared in an April 1960 secret memorandum by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Lestor Mallory. The memorandum, optimistically entitled “The Decline and Fall of Castro”, starts by establishing the following fact: “the majority of Cubans support Castro”. What’s the problem, one would think? There is a government in Cuba that has the overwhelming support of the population. Why should this worry the US? Ah, but, as Mallory points out: “Fidel Castro and other members of the Cuban Government espouse or condone communist influence.”

Memorandum

Image: National Archives

That is the problem. “We cannot allow a country go Communist just because the population supports it!”, is what he seems to be saying. This line of reasoning sums up the total worth of Washington’s references to the US defending “democracy” in its dealings with Cuba. The Cuban people can give itself any government it wants… as long as that is the government US corporations want.

Punishing Cuba with hunger

Incidentally, at the time of writing this secret memorandum, 6 April 1960, the Cuban Revolution had not yet made any statement nor taken any measure which could be described as socialist or communist. It had implemented agrarian reform and had taken steps to reassert its national sovereignty (both national democratic measures). It was only later that same year and in response to US provocations (the refusal to purchase an agreed sugar quota, and the refusal to refine oil at US-owned refineries) that the Cuban Revolution proceeded to expropriate US property on the island, moving very quickly towards the abolition of capitalism. And it was not until a year later, on the eve of the US-sponsored Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) invasion, that Fidel Castro talked of the socialist character of the revolution.

But let’s return to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mallory and his memorandum. Not only is Castro’s government extremely popular and has communist leanings, he says, furthermore “there is no effective opposition”. He then considers the question of foreign intervention, which he seems to discard: “militant opposition to Castro from without Cuba would only serve his and the communist cause.” This is, of course, a sharp insight, but also a piece of cynicism. By this time, the US was already working closely with reactionary forces in Cuba and in Miami, sponsoring a campaign of terrorism, sabotage, aerial bombardment and counter-revolutionary insurgency in Cuba. Perhaps what Mallory was trying to say was that these methods were proving counter-productive, which is true.

Not that this appraisal would prevent the US imperialism from organising the counter-revolutionary disembarkment at Playa Girón in April 1961, which was swiftly defeated by the armed workers and peasants of Cuba.

What conclusion does Mallory draw from his observations? He writes: “The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship.” To achieve that, he then proposes “a line of action which… makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation, and overthrow of government” (my emphasis).

So, there you have it in black and white, from the horse’s mouth. If the Cuban people have the temerity to overwhelmingly support a government that “condones Communist influence”, then they should be punished, by bringing hunger and desperation until they change their minds and overthrow the government. This is the reasoning behind the policy of aggression US imperialism has followed for 60 years towards the Cuban Revolution. It is a criminal policy based on punishing a whole people for having dared to free themselves from imperialist domination and abolished capitalism.

The refusal of US-owned refineries to process oil bought from the Soviet Union led to their state intervention of Texaco, Shell and Standard Oil refineries between 28 June and 1 July 1960. To this, the US replied with a cut in the sugar quota they had agreed to purchase from Cuba, in what was known in Cuba as the “Ley Puñal” (“Dagger Law”, as it was stabbing the revolution in the back). But the Cuban Revolution did not retreat in the face of economic blackmail. On the contrary, it responded by nationalising (between July and October 1960) all US owned corporations On the island. US president Eisenhower then imposed a ban on all US exports to Cuba, except food and medicine.

The 1962 presidential proclamation by Kennedy, imposing “an embargo on all trade with Cuba,” was therefore not the first measure of economic aggression against Cuba, but it represented a qualitative turning point in the campaign of US imperialism against the Cuban Revolution. It imposed a blanket ban on all US imports from and exports to Cuba, which Washington had earlier calculated would deprive Cuba of hard currency earnings of 60 to 70 million US dollars (about US$650 million in today’s currency).

The decision was also informed by the complete disaster of the attempted Playa Girón invasion the previous year and was part of a broader programme of sabotage and paramilitary attacks launched from the United States, organised and coordinated by the CIA, aimed at regime change. These activities, under the name of Operation Mongoose, included the infiltration of armed counter-revolutionaries in the island, saw funding of several million dollars, were coordinated at the highest level, by presidential authority, and were supposed to culminate in the overthrow and assassination of Fidel Castro by October 1962.

Kennedy had wanted economic action against Cuba to be taken jointly by the Organisation of American States (OAS). At the January 1962 OAS summit in Punta del Este, Uruguay, Washington put pressure on all countries to expel Cuba from the body and subject it to an economic blockade, but did not get unanimity. When it realised it would not get unanimity, it then settled for a two-thirds majority of 14 votes and a watered-down resolution. In order to achieve the necessary 14 votes, Washington agreed to resume aid to Haiti, then ruled by the brutal dictator François Duvalier in exchange for a favourable vote at the OAS. The whole operation, clearly, had nothing to do with “democracy” nor “human rights”, but rather with containing “communism” and revolution throughout the continent. There was not even a pretence that it was about anything else.

Under instructions from their masters in Washington, the OAS countries expelled Cuba, and 14 of them also agreed to different measures of economic sanctions. It was not until 1964 that the OAS as a whole, under pressure from the US and with the excuse of Cuba’s support for guerrilla struggle in Venezuela, agreed to a trade blockade against Cuba, with only Mexico voting against. The resolution talks of Cuba having put itself outside the “Christian and democratic traditions of the American peoples” (!!) But of course, no such action was ever taken by the OAS against ruthless dictatorships in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua (which was ruled by Somoza at the time of agreeing the Cuba blockade), etc. Perhaps these dictatorships did not violate the “Christian principles of the American peoples” …

While European countries did not formally join the US blockade, they also sharply curtailed trade with Cuba.

It is significant to note that the blockade was originally put into law under the Democratic administration of Kennedy. The failed military invasion of Playa Girón was also carried out under his watch. This should be enough to dispel any illusions that the Democrats in power have a somehow more “humane” foreign policy. The foreign imperialist policy of the US is bipartisan, as both parties defend the interests of the ruling class.

The Cuban revolution responded to Kennedy’s blockade on 4 April 1962, with a mass rally at which Fidel Castro proclaimed the Second Declaration of Havana, expressing continued defiance against US imperialism and calling for revolution across Latin America.

Resilience of the revolution as embargo tightens

It is a testament to the resilience of the Cuban Revolution that the blockade has failed to destroy it. There was a short period of time in the 1970s when there was an attempt at normalising relations between Cuba and the US, and there was a partial easing of economic measures, but that came to nothing, and under the Reagan administration in the 1980s the blockade was tightened again.

For a whole period of time, the close alliance with the USSR propped up the Cuban economy, though that came with strings attached. But after the collapse of Stalinism in the Soviet Union, the Cuban Revolution was left on its own, suffering a massive economic collapse.

It was precisely at this time that new pieces of legislation were introduced by US imperialism, widening the scope of the blockade. The 1992 Torricelli Act, sponsored by a Democrat, backed by Bill Clinton and signed by George W Bush, reintroduced the blockade for subsidiaries of US-based companies and prevented ships that had docked in Cuban harbours from docking in US ports for 180 days.

Donald Trump Signs The Pledge 18 Image Michael VadonTrump introduced 243 separate measures to tighten the blockade on Cuba, and Biden has continued this policy / Image: Michael Vadon

Then came the even-worse Helms-Burton Act of 1996, initiated by Republican representatives and signed by Bill Clinton, which made the US blockade extraterritorial by threatening non-US companies with legal action in the US if they traded or invested in Cuban assets confiscated by the revolution.

Later on, particularly between 2002 and 2014, the Venezuelan Revolution provided both a political and an economic lifeline to Cuba, proving the point that, ultimately, the fate of the Cuban Revolution will be resolved in the arena of world class struggle. But the economic crisis in Venezuela has also had a negative knock-on effect on Cuba.

60 years later, a section of the US ruling class has admitted that this policy has not worked and has not achieved its aims. The Obama thaw represented an attempt to pursue the same objectives (to smash the revolution) by different means (through the battering ram of world capitalism).

Trump put an end to that policy and introduced 243 separate measures to tighten the blockade, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, which had been left in suspension. These had a catastrophic impact on Cuba. It is calculated that, in 2020 alone, the blockade has caused US$9bn worth of damages. It should be noted that not a single one of these measures has been repealed by Biden.

The US blockade is a criminal policy, which is designed, as clearly explained in the 1960 Memorandum, to punish the Cuban people with hunger for having dared to defy imperialism and having abolished capitalism.

The blockade has been consistently condemned by the United Nations General Assembly for the last 30 years. In 2020, only two countries voted against a motion condemning the blockade, the US and Israel. In its report to the United Nations, Cuba estimated the cumulative cost of the embargo over six decades at $148 billion dollars.

However, 30 years of UN votes have not changed the position of the US one single inch. This is a demonstration of how toothless of a talking shop this body is. The UN can pass any resolutions it wants. If US imperialism doesn’t agree, nothing will be done. On the other hand, if US imperialism thinks it can use the UN as a fig leaf for imperialist intervention, then it will; as in the case of the Congo in the 1960s, the first Gulf War in 1991, or more recently the UN intervention in Haiti.

Not all the problems the Cuban Revolution faces stem from the blockade. The isolation of the revolution on a small island with limited economic resources and the existence of a bureaucracy in the state are serious obstacles to building socialism. But certainly, the blockade is a factor of the first order of importance.

It is the duty of all revolutionaries, but also all consistent democrats, to wage a consistent struggle against this criminal imperialist blockade and unconditionally defend the Cuban Revolution.

Where to train doctors for the people who need them the most?

October 1 2014

Gail Reed: I want to tell you how 20,000 remarkable young people from over 100 countries ended up in Cuba and are transforming health in their communities.  Ninety percent of them would never have left home at all if it weren’t for a scholarship to study medicine in Cuba and a commitment to go back to places like the ones they’d come from — remote farmlands, mountains, ghettos — to become doctors for people like themselves, to walk the walk.

Havana’s Latin American Medical School: It’s the largest medical school in the world, graduating 23,000 young doctors since its first class of 2005, with nearly 10,000 more in the pipeline. Its mission, to train physicians for the people who need them the most: the over one billion who have never seen a doctor, the people who live and die under every poverty line ever invented. Its students defy all norms.

They’re the school’s biggest risk and also its best bet .  They’re recruited from the poorest, most broken places on our planet by a school that believes they can become not just the good but the excellent physicians their communities desperately need, that they will practice where most doctors don’t, in places not only poor but oftentimes dangerous, carrying venom antidotes in their backpacks or navigating neighborhoods riddled by drugs, gangs and bullets, their home ground .

The hope is that they will help transform access to care, the health picture in impoverished areas, and even the way medicine itself is learned and practiced, and that they will become pioneers in our global reach for universal health coverage, surely a tall order .

Cuba commits to regional integration at CELAC summit

Source:  Cuban News Agency, ACN

January 7 2022

Buenos Aires, Jan 7 (Prensa latina) Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Friday ratified his country’s commitment to strengthening the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as a mechanism for political coordination for regional integration

.Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla called today for unity and solidarity among Latin American and Caribbean nations, in defense of their interests of peace, independence, sovereign equality, sustainable development and social justice.

During the 22nd Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), held today in Argentina, Rodriguez Parrilla ratified his country’s unwavering commitment to regional integration.

The head of Cuba’s diplomacy, in his speech, reiterated the firm will to preserve CELAC as a genuinely Latin American and Caribbean mechanism for political coordination, and stressed the full validity of the postulates of the proclamation of the region as a Zone of Peace.

He also recognized the commendable efforts made by Mexico, in its Pro Tempore Presidency, to revitalize CELAC and maintain its activism in the midst of the various challenges generated by the pandemic.

Cuban diploamt also expressed Cuba’s solidarity with that South American country in its claim to the International Monetary Fund for a solution to the inherited debt, as well as its support for Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.

The 22nd Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is taking place today at the San Martin Palace in Buenos Aires, with the participation of representatives of the 33 Member States. 

Declaration of the XX ALBA-TCP Summit 

Source: Internationalist 360

Final Declaration of the XX ALBA-TCP Summit Highlights Efforts Towards Real Latin American and Caribbean Integration

We, the Heads of State and Government and the heads of delegations of the countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP), gathered in Havana, Cuba, on December 14, 2021, to commemorate the XVII anniversary of the Alliance. By signing this Declaration, we renew our commitment to strengthen this mechanism of political coordination, based on the principles of solidarity, social justice, cooperation and economic complementarity, fruit of the political will of its founders, Commanders Fidel Castro Ruz and Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías.

We ratify that the cardinal principle that must guide ALBA-TCP is the broadest solidarity among the peoples of our America, based on the thinking of Bolivar, Marti, San Martin, Sucre, O’Higgins, Petión, Morazán, Sandino, Bishop, Garvey, Tupac Katari, Bartolina Sisa, Chatoyer and other heroes of Latin American and Caribbean independence, according to the joint declaration of Commanders Chávez and Fidel on December 14, 2004.

We ratify our commitment to a genuine Latin American and Caribbean integration, which will allow us to face together the pretensions of imperialist domination and hegemony and the growing threats to regional peace and stability.

We advocate for a transparent, democratic, fair and equitable international order, based on multilateralism, observance of the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and International Law; that guarantees international peace and security and respect for the right of peoples to self-determination, territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-interference in internal affairs and sovereignty of States.

We recognize the laudable work of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as a non-permanent member of the Security Council during the last two years, raising the voice of the peoples of the Caribbean and representing the struggle for just causes within this important organ of the United Nations.

We reaffirm the full validity of the postulates of the “Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace”, signed by the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), at its II Summit held in Havana, in January 2014.

We underscore the need to continue strengthening CELAC as a genuine mechanism for political coordination, cooperation and regional dialogue based on the principle of unity in diversity, in order to face the common challenges we face. We ratify the results of the VI Summit of the Community, held in Mexico City on September 18, 2021, while commending the work of the Mexican pro tempore presidency to revitalize CELAC and reiterate our commitment to support its management.

Read full Declaration here

Cuba and China Sign Cooperation Plan for Joint Promotion of Belt & Road Initiative

Source: Kawsachun News

December 25 2021

Cuba-China bilateral economic relations have hit an important milestone with the signing of a Cooperation Plan for the joint promotion of the Silk and Road Initiative. The document was signed on Friday, between the governments of Cuba and China, by Cuban Deputy Prime Minister, Ricardo Cabrisas, and President of National Development and Reform Commission, He Lifeng.

This Plan will allow for the effective implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, signed by President Díaz-Canel during a visit to China in November 2018, which formalized the insertion of Cuba to this important Initiative. That MoU was prepared in correspondence with Cuba’s short, medium and long-term economic and social development objectives, where China participates as a strategic partner, and based on the experiences acquired by China in the implementation of projects and actions in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Cuban Deputy Prime Minister, Ricardo Cabrisas signs the Cooperation Plan for the joint promotion of the Silk and Road Initiative. December 24, 2021.

The Plan promotes bilateral cooperation in priority sectors for Cuba, such as infrastructure development, education, culture, health and biotechnology, communications, science and technology and tourism, among other areas. Projects and actions to be executed jointly will be of mutual benefit, in order to further strengthen and diversify the ties between Cuba and China, as well as with third countries that are members of this Initiative.

The Belt and Road megaproject has been promoted by the Chinese Government since 2013 aimed mainly at the creation of an extensive network of infrastructure that will contribute to the connectivity between its members, promote cultural exchange and strengthen international cooperation.

This week, Cuba and China held the XII Meeting of the Joint Commission for Cooperation in Science and Technology. On Thursday, President Miguel Diaz-Canel visited sites of investments in which Chinese companies are participating. “We will continue to support the business community of China, a nation to which we are united by deep and historical ties. In this Thursday’s tour of several joint investments, we verified the seriousness and rigor with which they work,” stated the Cuban President.

Meanwhile, Nicaragua and China have wasted no time in restoring relations following the Sandinista government’s major announcement to drop Taiwan and recognize only Beijing.

Venezuela Pushes for Stronger ALBA Economy at XX Summit

High-level delegations from the ten ALBA nations participate in the organization’s XX Summit in Cuba on Tuesday. (@RadioRelojCuba / Twitter)

Source: (venezuelanalysis.com)

December 12, 2021  –

The Venezuelan government has called on the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA-TCP) to draw up “commercial, financial and monetary plans” to strengthen post-pandemic economic development.

The proposal came during ALBA’s XX Summit in Havana, Cuba on Tuesday. The gathering likewise commemorated seventeen years since Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro founded the multilateral organization in 2004. It followed the XIX Summit held earlier this year in Caracas.

The latest summit was attended by the presidents of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Bolivia, respectively, as well as by high-level delegations from ALBA members Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Granada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia, which returned to the body this year after a left victory in its July elections. Delegations from non-members Haiti, Syria and Surinam were present as well.

The economy was top on the meeting’s agenda, with a number of representatives focusing on both the reactivation of their productive apparatus and debt relief after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I request that we make a new and stronger effort to articulate comprehensive plans for economic, commercial, financial, and monetary development between ALBA nations,” said Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro during the encounter. “We need to generate wealth in order to be able to distribute it,” he continued, encouraging “new investment to produce food, oil, gas, everything our peoples need.”

Equally, Bolivia’s president and economist Luis Arce, who brought 20 tons of humanitarian assistance to Havana, proposed creating two additional “gran-national” enterprises to produce food and medicine. Gran-national enterprises are mixed firms which operate under ALBA control across various countries. They are based on core values of solidarity and fair distribution instead of profit-making.

“It is time to push together, to sum up our forces. It is time to show solidarity, and Bolivia proposes and accepts the responsibility for drawing up a strategic plan to develop our economies,” Arce told those present, while also calling for the jumpstarting of ALBA financial arms such as the ALBA Bank and Sucre currency.

The summit’s final statement echoed the calls, as well as establishing “a more complete mechanism to alleviate foreign debt for developing countries, as well as the writing-off or refinancing of debt (and) the democratic transformation of international financial organizations.”

Similarly, the summit pledged to reactivate the ALBA Economic Zone project, as well as regional fisheries, agriculture and PetroCaribe projects.

PetroCaribe distributed crude and fuel to Caribbean nations under long-term and low-interest payment agreements. The project was halted in 2018 as US sanctions severely hit Venezuela’s struggling oil sector. On Tuesday, the Venezuelan president stated that the flagship initiative will “return stronger-than-ever sooner rather than later.” Maduro had previously promised the project would be relaunched in the first half of 2020.

Counter-Intervention Observatory established

The ALBA Summit went on to take aim at US intervention in the region, blasting the “genocidal” blockade against Cuba and the “massive, flagrant and systematic violation of human rights” through unilateral coercive measures against a number of the alliance’s members.

“Not even a thousand sanctions will defeat the dignity of the Venezuelan, Nicaraguan and Cuban people,” said Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel at the meeting.

From Cuba, ALBA Executive Secretary Sacha Llorenti unveiled a Counter-Intervention Observatory which will reportedly look to “periodically analyze the role of non-governmental organizations and funding in destabilizing efforts,” as well as study how the “neoliberal coercive measures” are being levied against member nations.

The observatory comes as a response to Washington’s Summit for Democracy last week, which unveiled over US $424 million of funding for the region. According to US President Joe Biden, the resources will be channeled into media projects, “defending free and fair elections and political processes,” fighting corruption, “bolstering democratic reformers” and “advancing technology for democracy.” Most ALBA nations were not invited to Washington’s virtual gathering, and Managua, Havana, La Paz and Caracas have all accused Washington of funding destabilization efforts in their countries of late.

ALBA fights the Covid-19 pandemic

The fight against the coronavirus pandemic was also high on the agenda in Havana, with member nations congratulating the island on developing its three vaccines, as well as recognizing the efforts of the ALBA Bank in creating a vaccine bank and Venezuela’s CONVIASA airline for setting up air-bridges between member states. Likewise, the summit saluted the region’s healthcare workers for their frontline work.

For his part, recently re-elected Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega used the opportunity to blast “US imperialism,” claiming that in addition to the Covid-19 pandemic, “savage capitalism and imperialism is the worst pandemic the world has suffered.”

Other issues discussed included backing the Caribbean’s historic claims to compensation for the “genocide” and “horrors” of the slave trade; pushing for “more ambitious” commitments on climate change after a “disappointing” COP26 Summit in Glasgow; and congratulating recent leftwing electoral victories in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Venezuela and Honduras.

Chile: The double standard in human rights and the ‘nice’ left

Source: aporrea.org

December 21 2021

Amid the joy of many Chileans who celebrate Boric’s victory against the neo-fascist Kast, and as a memorable response to some who, exaggerating a lot about the president-elect, come to compare him with Salvador Allende, Pablo Neruda or with Other icons of the world left, throughout yesterday, some of the statements made by deputy Gabriel Boric circulated on the networks some time ago.

There was also a response written by Allende’s grandson, “Pablo Sepúlveda Allende”:

Pablo Sepúlveda Allende

Dr. Pablo Allende, grandson of former President of Chile Salvador Allende

Deputy, I dare to answer you because I see the danger that it means that important leaders like you, young referents of that “new left” that has emerged in the Frente Amplio, make simplistic, absurd and misinformed comparisons on issues as delicate as human rights .

It is very biased and rude that you equate – without the slightest argument – the supposed “weakening of the basic conditions of democracy in Venezuela”, the “permanent restriction of freedoms in Cuba” and “the repression of the Ortega government in Nicaragua” with the proven atrocities of the military dictatorship in Chile, the evident criminal interventionism of the United States around the world and the terrorism of the State of Israel against the People of Palestine.

The fact that you write such nonsense does not “mean to become a pseudo CIA agent” but it does denote an important irresponsibility and political immaturity that can transform you into a useful element for the right, or worse, end up being that “left” than the right craving; a dumb, ambiguous left, a harmless left that prefers to appear “politically correct” because of opportunism, that left that is “neither chicha nor lemonade”, that one that does not want to look bad with anyone.

Such a left is confusing, because it does not dare to point out and courageously confront the true enemies of the peoples. There is the danger of issuing politically immature opinions. Have you ever wondered why Venezuela is being so vilified and attacked in the media? Why is it news every day in practically every country in the Western world where the mass media dominate? Why is it attacked from all sides and in a gang? Why do those big newscasts keep quiet about the continuous massacres in Colombia and Mexico? Why don’t those who tear their clothes worrying about a Venezuelan deputy, who confessed to participating in an assassination attempt, have the courage to demand that Israel stop the genocide against the Palestinian people?

The world upside down. That is the world of politics without heart and without courage. Margarita Labarca Goddard has already argued clearly and forcefully why you are wrong in your judgments towards Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. I will only add that Venezuela has a much healthier and more transparent democracy than the one in Chile, whenever you want I can argue it to you and we can debate it, if you are interested.

It is also easy to argue why the “permanent restriction of liberties in Cuba” is a fallacy. Not to mention that the word “freedom” is so cluttered that by now its true meaning is ambiguous, and a sensible definition requires even a philosophical debate. Or tell me, what is freedom?

I name these two countries because I know them quite well. I lived in Cuba for 9 years and in Venezuela I have been living for another 9 years. I do not know Nicaragua first-hand, but I invite you to ask yourself what the reaction of a right-wing government would have been to the action of paid and heavily armed criminal gangs, who come to take over sectors of the most important cities in the country; and where, in addition, said mercenary gangs are installed to commit abominable acts such as kidnapping, torturing, maiming, raping and even burning alive, dozens of human beings, for the mere fact of being militants of a cause -in this case, Sandinista militants- , where the persecution reached the point of murdering entire families in their own homes.

The legitimately elected government in Nicaragua, even having the resources, the legal framework, and the strength to take immediate forceful action against such a fascist destabilization, was quite contained. Do you think that the right wing in power would have had that peaceful vision and a call for dialogue to resolve the conflict? History answers us.

I understand that you may be confused by the great “media” that were in charge of victimizing the perpetrators; just like they did a year ago in Venezuela during the so-called guarimbas.

Therefore, Gabriel, objectively speaking, with serious arguments -without opinions formed and shaped by the media based on misrepresentations and lies repeated daily-, there is no double standard in which we defend Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

We do not have disappeared or tortured, we do not imprison those who think or think differently, yes criminals; be these deputies, politicians or supposed students. Rather, it seems to me to see that “double standard” in yourself, by making comfortable value judgments from manipulation and ignorance.

On the media, democracy and freedoms, we can discuss comparing Chile with these countries. I assure you that unfortunately Chile would not fare very well, even more so, if we include human rights, economic and social, which there are nothing more than merchandise.

“A person reaches his highest level of ignorance when he rejects something of which he knows nothing.”

Health.

* Doctor, Coordinator of the Network of Intellectuals in Defense of Humanity, grandson of President Salvador Allende Gossens.

President Diaz-Canel: An efficient control system with popular participation ends corruption and price violations

Source: Granma

December 20 2021

by: Yaditza del Sol González | internet@granma.cu, Susana Antón Rodriguez | susana@granma.cu, Gladys Leidys Ramos López | internet@granma.cu

Photo: José Manuel Correa

In the day of debates this Sunday, among the deputies to the National Assembly of People’s Power, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, reflected on strategic issues, especially for the Cuban economy.

Lessons learned from the past year

In the Economic Affairs Committee, Díaz-Canel put into context the lessons learned from this year, marked by the covid-19 and by the blockade, exacerbated with 243 sustained measures that try to suffocate us, provoke an internal situation and generate a social outbreak to overthrow the Revolution.

He also pointed out that if we were to experience the pandemic or a similar situation again, we would surely do things differently, even though the country’s response was remarkable, due to the talent of the people, our scientists, and the health system.

This, he assured, is possible with the completion of the vaccination, which already covers 84.7% of the population with a complete schedule, and, in the same way, the application of the booster dose must be advanced promptly.

The need to work differently

With these aspects in mind, he stressed that the approach of the Budget Plan for 2022 must be different from how we have traditionally worked. He highlighted the importance of understanding that the continuation of the process of economic revival which has begun to manifest itself –even when a complex situation of shortages and shortages still persists – requires that the achievements of the confrontation with COVID-19 must be sustainable and not reversed.

He warned that it is urgent to specify this plan and the Budget Law. If we are forced to return to isolation, to physical distancing, to stop economic and social activity, the proposed indicators cannot be met.

The measures contained, he indicated, are aimed at improving the situation of our economy; it is not that they will solve all the problems, but they will make it possible to advance in a more effective way to the solution. This, in turn, must be combined with everything that we have been promoting in relation to the concept of People’s Power, of defending that exercise with more democracy and participation, as Fidel taught us.

Strengthening Popular Power from the bottom up

He pointed out that it is necessary to work on strengthening Popular Power, recognizing that this comes from the bottom up; from the communities to the municipality, from the municipalities to the provinces, and from the provinces to the country.

Many times, he commented, our actions are guided by the fact that we have become accustomed to decisions coming from above and then we apply them. “When we do that, there are many links in the middle, and we slow down the processes, and also the solutions.”

The proposal of the Plan and the Budget focuses on the need to give powers to the municipalities, stressed the President of the Republic, so that they exercise the autonomy which the Constitution recognizes, thereby addressing problems that have to do with the treatment of the situations of vulnerability in communities.

For there to be democracy and participation, spaces must also be maintained so that the population can discuss, propose, and assess the various situations that surround it, he said.

He argued that there are accountability assemblies, those of the Party nuclei, the office of the delegate of People’s Power with his electors, in addition to the digital mechanisms that have been opened thanks to the process of computerization of society.

Addressing inflation

The Head of State gave a special look to an essential issue: economic inflation. He specified that it must be understood that part of this problem is because the supply is less than the demand, and that today that demand is concentrated in medicines and food, and that this must be promoted. All this in the midst of the pandemic and an intensified blockade, with sustained subversion.

Faced with the challenge of increasing the supply, he reflected on the approval, last April, of 63 measures to promote agricultural production, which arose from meetings with the base, with producers, to learn about their main concerns.  The measures also addressed investments in renewable energy sources, in order to keep changing the country’s energy matrix and to depend less and less on the import of fuels, which will strengthen sovereignty.

In another vein, he commented on the causes that have influenced the rise in some prices in the state sector. One of them, he explained, has been the inefficiencies of the companies whose actions went against the pocket of the population.

Domestic and foreign trade

The First Secretary also focused on the improvement of domestic trade, seeking more quality in services, transparency in management and diversifying offers. At the same time he called for improvement in the development of electronic commerce and the expansion of home delivery.

When we design an efficient control system with popular participation, the problem of corruption ends, and the same happens with the violation of prices and embezzlement, said Díaz-Canel.

In the same way, he insisted, that we have to diversify the mechanisms of foreign trade and foreign investment, in order to make them more agile; as well as perfecting the banking system.

Cuba: Return of fallen internationalists commemorated

Source: Granma

Thirty-two years have passed, but Cuba has not forgotten. On December 7, 1989, the remains of 2,289 combatants who gave their lives on internationalist missions in Africa were returned to the arms of the homeland

Author: Pedro Ríoseco | internet@granma.cu

december 7, 2021 11:12:53

All the country’s cities received the remains of their prodigal sons, and honored to them in Pantheons of the Fallen established in all municipalities. Photo: Liborio Noval

Thirty-two years have passed, but Cuba has not forgotten. On December 7, 1989, the remains of 2,289 combatants who gave their lives on internationalist missions in Africa were returned to the arms of the homeland, in an effort entitled Operation Tribute.
All the country’s cities received the remains of their prodigal sons, and honored to them in Pantheons of the Fallen established in all municipalities.
General Antonio Maceo’s mausoleum, in El Cacahual, hosted the symbolic national ceremony with the remains of 16 internationalists, one from each provinces and the Isle of Youth special municipality, on the date when the Titan and his faithful assistant Panchito Gomez Toro fell in battle against the Spanish colonialists.
“These men and women, to whom we give an honorable burial today, in the warm land where they were born, died for the most sacred values, they died fighting against colonialism and neocolonialism, racism and apartheid, plundering and exploitation of the peoples of the Third World, for independence and sovereignty, for the right to wellbeing and development of all peoples, for socialism, for internationalism, for the revolutionary and dignified homeland that Cuba is today,” said Fidel at that time, reaffirming the commitment follow their example.
Of these internationalists, 2,085 were participating in military missions in the defense of the nascent independence of the People’s Republic of Angola, and 204 took on civilian tasks, as part of the 377,033 Cuban volunteers who fought in that country during the 15 and a half years of Operation Carlota.
The Cuban government always informed families of the death of each internationalist (in combat, due to accidents or illness), but it was impossible, in the middle of the war, to repatriate their corpses and bury them in their hometowns. But the Revolution did not forget any of its sons and daughters, and to fulfill that humanitarian commitment, Operation Tribute was organized.
As Army General Raul Castro Ruz said on December 12, 1976, “From Angola we will take with us only the intimate friendship that unites us to that heroic nation, the gratitude of its people and the mortal remains of our dear brothers and sisters who fell in the line of duty.” And so it was.