29.12.2014 Author: Christopher Black

Cuban Resistance: An Example for the World

564564The ink on the agreement to normalise diplomatic relations between the United Sates and Cuba announced on December 17th, 2014 is barely dry and already the objective of the United States has been made clear in the statement of President Obama made on that day and in the press conference he held on Friday, December 19th.

On the 17th, in announcing the new policy, Obama stated that the US imposed blockade of Cuba “has not advanced our interests” and that, “this is fundamentally about “freedom,” a code word for the freedom to do as America orders. In his press conference of Friday the 19th Obama stated that normalisation of relations “gives us an opportunity to have influence” with the people of Cuba so that “liberty” and “democracy” can be restored. “There will be a carrot and stick approach that we can apply.” He added that the trade embargo did not succeed in bringing down the regime and so he hopes this new approach will succeed. The usual catchwords were used once again to disguise the never changing objective of the US imperialist faction, regime change in Cuba.

The hubris of Obama’s remarks reached the peak of absurdity when he said, “No Cuban should face harassment, or arrest, or beatings, simply because they’re exercising their universal right to be heard.” That not one American journalist laughed aloud at this statement after the repression of the people of the United States for its entire history is remarkable in itself. Those of us who are old enough can remember the American National Guard shooting dead students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University, in Ohio and Georgia Technical College, in 1970. We can remember the assassinations of President Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, Martin Luther King, and Senator Bobby Kennedy in 1968, all by state agents, the murder of the Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in their beds by the FBI in 1969, the massacre by New York state police of dozens of prisoners protesting harsh conditions at Attica State prison in 1971, the suppression and murder of members of the American Indian Movement at the Oglala Sioux (Lakota) Pine Ridge reservation in 1973, the bombing of black women and children of the Move movement in 1985 by the police who dropped bombs from a helicopter on a Philadelphia house, killing eleven people including five children, injuring dozens and burning down two hundred homes, the massacre of 76 men, women and children burned to death at Waco, Texas in 1993 by order of the Clinton regime, the brutality of the police beatings and arrests of protestors at the World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle in 1999, of the Occupy movement last year, and most recently the continuing beatings and use of military methods against protestors in Ferguson and other towns and cities in America protesting the continued extrajudicial executions by police of Americans who dare to walk the streets in the wrong colour skin. The list is endless but the point is made.

Obama’s hypocrisy is underlined by the passage just a few days before of the Ukraine Freedom Act that calls for further “sanctions” against Russia to effect the fall of the Russian government, followed on the 18th by the signing by Obama of legislation imposing more “sanctions” on Venezuela for the same purpose and, on the 20th of December, “sanctions” against “Crimea”, that is, once again, against Russia. Since all these actions are a serious violation of the UN Charter, the improper use of the word “sanctions” is meant to give a legal veneer to what are essentially acts of war.

It was a busy week for the Americans, relaxing “sanctions” on one country one day and increasing them against another the next. It must make their heads spin. It would be comical if it did not have serious consequences for the countries affected. Indeed, the imposition of “sanctions” against a country by the Americans has become a badge of honour. If you are a leader of a country that has not faced their “sanctions” then ipso facto you are a vassal state, as Canadian Prime Minister Harper proved Canada to be by once again mimicking the American action and announcing further Canadian “sanctions” against Russia on the 20th of December just after the EU and Obama, not having the nerve, himself, to act first.

The people of Cuba have demanded the respect of the United States since they succeeded in throwing out the corrupt US supported Batista dictatorship and its US Mafia allies in the Revolution of 1959. But even now with the agreement to normalise diplomatic relations the trade embargo remains in place and the US Congress, on cue from the White House, plays the game of objecting to Obama’s proposal. No doubt this is part of the “carrot and stick” approach.

The establishment of diplomatic relations is always a positive step and dialogue is better than war. The Cuban people have suffered terribly under the trade embargo imposed by the Americans and the possibility of relief is something to be hoped for but to have to suffer the removal of that duress under threats if Cuba does not obey American diktats, and to be lectured about issues of freedom and democracy which reflect not what is going in Cuba but what is going on in the heart of America itself, adds insult to injury.

Meanwhile in Ukraine the US supports the suppression of democracy as the puppet regime in Kiev tries to eliminate the communists and carries out the old Roman practice of proscription, the mass elimination of political enemies of the regime with its “lustration” law put into effect in October. Even the EU complained about the proscriptions taking place but democracy, the right of citizens to freely choose their party and representatives, is not a concept that the ruling faction in the United States believes in, except as a propaganda device to fool the innocent, and the EU was ignored.

The US wants from Cuba the complete servility that Poroshenko displayed when he visited Washington and addressed the US Congress asking for help. His speech called to mind the words of Brutus to Cicero about a letter he wrote to the aspiring emperor Octavian, “Read again your words and deny that they are the supplications of a slave to a despot.”

The American ruling faction, called so because the two parties are really one and the ties among its members are those of money and influence, is pitiless, as we have seen with their involvement in the shooting down of the MH17 airliner. They are relentless in their drive to save themselves from oblivion as the American economy and power balances on the edge of a precipice. The change in policy towards Cuba must be understood in this light.

The lesson to be drawn from the new American policy towards Cuba is that if a country is resolute and resists, the Americans will be forced to change their strategy but the change does not remove the danger. It simply transforms its characteristics. The Cubans are very aware that any change in policy by the Americans will bring new dangers. They have endured many hardships and a long struggle for independence, sovereignty and, an old-fashioned word, honour. By enduring the war crimes and crimes against humanity of the Americans from the Bay of Pigs invasion, to constant terrorist attacks, multiple assassination attempts on its leaders, the use of germ warfare, and the trade embargo, Cuba has set an example to the world how an independent nation can act with integrity and stay true to itself and its people and overcome its adversary. From their long struggle the Russian and Venezuelan people will take their example and they too will endure, as have all the countries that have resolutely faced American aggression.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.