By Jomo Thomas
The Cuban Revolution faces its gravest threat since Fidel Castro, and his band of revolutionaries came to power in 1959. The difficulties facing our revolutionary neighbour is compounded by the fact that the charismatic and legendary Fidel is dead. The steady hand of Raul, who retired last year, is no more. The socialist experiment in Cuba is now led by President Miguel Diaz-Chanel, who was born after the revolution’s triumph.
The most dangerous time for a revolutionary process is during a time of transition and change. The Castro generation is gone. The turn of the younger cadres has arrived. Will they be able to guide the revolutionary ship of state to a time when better international conditions permit it to grow, develop and make even more transformative strikes? We are about to see.
The demonstrations across Cuba may have shocked many observers. The protestors, mainly young people, vented their anger and demanded relief if not change. The COVID-19 pandemic compounded these difficulties. As the president of the socialist republic said, many persons who joined the demonstrations were revolutionaries, frustrated with the grinding economic challenges the country faces.
Like they did 30 years ago, when the Soviet Union collapsed, the right-winged forces in the US government and around the world are in a celebratory mood. They sense another opportunity to deal a mortal blow at the Cuban revolution. In 1991, the George Bush administration set up a transition team licking their chops, anticipating a triumphant counter-revolutionary return to Havana. It did not happen then, and the world’s peoples, who have benefitted so much from Cuba’s internationalist solidarity, generosity, assistance and sacrifice, must not allow Mr Imperialism and his allies to succeed.
CARICOM countries, the democratic and progressive leaders in Latin America, the African Union, China and other people of goodwill in Asia must come to Cuba’s assistance now more than ever before.
President Joe Biden lamented the tragic grip of the pandemic and the decades of economic suffering to which the Cuban people have been subjected. Biden called on the Cuban leaders to hear their people and serve their needs.
How nauseating can a leader become? How immoral and unethical? Biden is a career politician who spent his entire career planning and plotting the defeat of the Cuban Revolution. Biden does not have the dignity or principle to remove the harsh, oppressive and suffocating policies of Donald Trump and replace them with a more civilised policy that he helped to initiate under the leadership of Barack Obama. How then could he speak of caring for the people of Cuba? The plain truth is that Biden and all previous presidents before him hate the Cuban revolutionaries because they broke the back of foreign, primarily U.S. domination in Cuba and set the country on a progressive path to development.
The American government, since the 1960s, imposed an illegal embargo against Cuba. This blockage makes it all but impossible for the Cuban government to trade and buy products, including food and medicine, to satisfy the Cuban people’s needs.
On June 23, 2021, the vast majority of the world’s nations (184 to 2) called on the American government to end its unilateral and illegal blockade against Cuba. In clear violation of international law, the Biden administration voted against the resolution. This has been the reactionary pattern, i.e. to vote against the wishes of the world peoples for the last two decades.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez told the United Nations General Assembly that the blockage was a ‘massive, flagrant and unacceptable violation of the human rights of the Cuban people.’
He likened the embargo to ‘an economic war of extraterritorial scope that cost the country US$9.1 billion in 2020. Like the virus, the blockade asphyxiates and kills; it must stop.’ The pandemic exacerbated the economic crisis.
The criminal policy of economic strangulation is intended to weaken the resolve of the Cuban people. The terrorist oppression is designed to make them end their support for a leadership that has always looked out for them and other less fortunate people in the world.
The American government is not interested in freedom and democracy. Biden’s primary goal is to make the world safe for the exploitation of resources by a wealthy and powerful elite at the expense of the broad majority. He does not care if the majority of Cubans live or die.
The rhetoric of U.S. leaders should fool no one. Over the last 70 years, the U.S. and British governments planned, financed and executed the overthrow of popular and democratically elected governments worldwide. Guyana and Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Indonesia and the Dominican Republic in 1965, Chile in 1973; financed the murder and destabilisation of Manley’s Jamaica 1972 to 1980, Maurice Bishop’s Grenada 1979 to 1983, Sandanistas in Nicaragua between 1980 to 1990, the legal coup d’état against Lula Da Silva and Dilma in Brazil, Kirchner in Argentina, Hamas in Palestine, the failed coup against President Chavez in 2002, Honduras in 2009 and the continued destabilisation of Venezuela.
Revolutionary Cuba is the most generous nation on planet earth. Its accomplishment in sports, medicine and education are beyond question. In responses to tragedy and disaster, Cuban leaders have ensured that the less fortunate are accorded assistance, benefit and solace. They offer not because they have in abundance but because they are truly their brothers’ keepers.
It is a tribute to the revolutionary foresight and determination of the Cuban leaders that the country is now a medical power capable of exporting thousands of doctors to lend assistance around the globe. It stands proud and tall as a capable bio-medical leader with the approval of two vaccines to combat the coronavirus.
Cuba’s difficulties and problems must be understood in the context of the pressures and deprivation it has had to endure. Any superficial appreciation may lead some to cheer on the imperialist as they press for change in the Cuban system of government. Any such reversal will return Cuba to the neo-colonial vassal state.
No one interested in freedom and development, independence and sovereignty would willingly join a call for such a backward step. The urgent call now must be for renewed solidarity with revolutionary Cuba. The primary difficulties faced by the country are caused by external pressure and sabotage emanating from the United States. Cuba must be allowed to work through and settle its internal problems. No foreign intervention must be tolerated. The demand to end the blockage must be intensified. Cuba’s sovereignty and independence must be respected.