Cuba Gov. Celebrates its Regional Reinsertion Despite US Embargo

By Isaac Risco

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.  Foto: Ladyrene Perez / cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — The photo of the leaders attending next week’s summit in Havana CELAC will likely be a diplomatic triumph for the hosts: the leaders of 33 American countries gathered symbolically around Cuba. Only Canada and the United States, the great ideological opponent of the Castro government, will be absent, notes dpa news.

The picture will show how the regional position of Cuba has changed, despite the many criticisms that are made of the situation of human rights and the internal opposition on the island.

The summit will also show that Washington’s sanctions against Cuba have failed. Despite more than 50 years of economic embargo, the Castro regime has managed to reinsert itself successfully in the region. In the 60s all Latin American countries except Mexico had broken off ties with the island.

Numerous heads of state and government are expected in Havana, including Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez, Mexican Enrique Peña Nieto and the Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro for the II Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Also scheduled to be present are senior representatives of international organizations including UN secretary general, Ban Ki -moon, and the head of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza.

Insulza ‘s visit also has a historical component since it will be the first visit by a head of the OAS to Cuba after the triumph of Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959.

Photo: Juan Suárez

The OAS, based in Washington, suspended Cuba at the urging of the United States in 1962, as the island’s government allied itself with Soviet socialism. Still today, the OAS is seen by left leaning governments in the region as an “instrument of domination” of the powerful northern neighbor.

The OAS “has a negative historical baggage as an instrument of domination of the United States which cannot be solved by any reforms,” said Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez on Friday when reiterating that Havana has no intention of returning to the OAS.

“The CELAC has followed the practice of diplomatic courtesy to invite Secretary-General Insulza to the second summit in Havana, as happened in previous summits,” said Rodriguez.

The summit reflects the reintegration of Cuba with the continent. The Raul Castro administration has good relations with all countries in the region, even with right-wing governments such as Colombia and Chile.

The Colombian peace process with the FARC guerrillas is seen as a diplomatic success for Cuba, with Havana being the permanent headquarters of the negotiations. Internationally, the CELAC summit is the first major event of this caliber in Havana since the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in 2006.

Focused on issues such as the fight against poverty and hunger, it is unlikely that the meeting of CELAC will generate major concrete agreements, given the different political positions and interests of a region of more than 20,000 million square kilometers.

On the other hand, criticism of the block for holding its summit in Havana has begun to be heard louder a few days before the event .

Photo: Juan Suarez

The arrival of numerous presidents to the island will be “a very sad day in the history of Latin American democracy” stated a recent editorial in “El Nuevo Herald” from Miami, where the main anti-Castro Cuban exile community lives.

None of the foreign leaders have thus far stated they are considering meeting in Havana with representatives of the outlawed Cuban dissidents, to avoid disturbing the hosts. However, some opponents have said they will try to see the foreign delegations.

The illegal but tolerated Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, led by dissident Elizardo Sanchez, reported that it had sent a letter to different embassies including that of Mexico, Colombia and Chile, asking for a meeting to “underscore the need to strengthen cooperation in the field of human rights.”

Other opponents, meanwhile, began reporting arrests of activists, as took place on other occasions, for example during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

The outlawed Patriotic Union of Cuba said its leader, former prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer, was arrested Friday after meeting with foreign diplomats in Havana.


35 thoughts on “Cuba Gov. Celebrates its Regional Reinsertion Despite US Embargo

  • January 29, 2014 at 9:03 am
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    I agree. Can we have an end to the infantile personal attacks and insults. If people haven’t got anything to contribute to the discussion they should desist from posting. It is really tedious reading through all this tripe.

  • January 28, 2014 at 12:38 pm
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    I am educated well enough to know that the people who today make a big deal about the alleged, and thus far imaginary, distinctions between Marxism-Leninism, and so-called “true socialism” are the same people who only a few years ago proclaimed the USSR, China, and Cuba as exemplars of True Socialism.

    Your calls to argument by authority (a classic rhetorical fallacy, by the way) are immediately negated by the fact that your academic authorities have been exposed as liars, frauds, hypocrites and double-talkers. For decades they defended, praised and extolled the virtues of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Che & Fidel. Only when the accumulated crimes against humanity committed by these monsters were too obvious for even the most committed academic to ignore did they change their tune and start talking about “true socialism”.

  • January 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm
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    Again, you are factually wrong, John.

    The Afghani people chose the form of government they want during a series of constitutional meetings, or Loya Jirga. The government of Afghanistan then asked the UN to help them defend it against the foreigners, Al Qaeda, and their local allies, the Taliban. Both AQ and the Taliban are funded and armed by foreign imperialists, of the totalitarian Sunni extremist stripe.

    By opposing the expressed will of the Afghani people to defend their country you stand with the true imperialists, Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

  • January 28, 2014 at 10:50 am
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    You should talk to REAL Cubans about how much fruit, real and metaphorical, exists in Cuba for everyday Cubans.

  • January 28, 2014 at 10:31 am
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    Holding out for 50+ years against the economic war being waged upon their revolution can be considered a massive victory for all the Cuban people.
    Of course they all suffer for daring to resist U.S. imperialism but they maintain their freedom from capitalism : the unelected dictatorship of money.
    The U.S. has so far lost in its attempt to reinstate capitalism in Cuba.
    The fruits of the Cuban victory will be enjoyed when the U.S gives up its war on the Cuban people.

  • January 28, 2014 at 10:26 am
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    Did you read your post before putting it up ?
    Is it really any help to understanding or settling a question?

  • January 28, 2014 at 10:24 am
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    This fool considers that any nation that aids the global hyper-power in its imperial wars is complicit in imperialism .
    The Afghanis will have the government and society they want and it will be a very regressive, totalitarian, misogynist, religion-base society as the Afghan people prefer.
    The British and the Soviets learned that .
    The U.S. hasn’t, Canada hasn’t , you haven’t .
    I am assuming you believe that the U.S and other militarily strong and rich countries have the right to tell other poorer and weaker countries what sort of government and society they MUST have .
    That’s totalitarian, that’s imperial on your part.

  • January 28, 2014 at 10:19 am
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    Moses,
    Have you actually looked into “when machines replace humans ” or ” the jobless technological future” ?
    Ray Kurzweil, who is the father of this futurist vision, is currently head of engineering at Google because they know that HE knows what technological advances are coming .
    You might not want to challenge his credentials and actually look into the subject matter to see what you’re not seeing ..
    Kurzweil is a fan of capitalism so you two already have something in common.

  • January 28, 2014 at 10:13 am
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    First off, I am a huge science fiction fan and all of the robot movies are just that, science fiction and do not predict anything but dangerous and exciting , murderous robots so as to attract an audience interested in that stuff.
    The closest anyone came to predicting what THINKING robots will really be like was Isaac Asimov : author of ” I , Robot” which was NOTHING like the movie.
    In his book ; The Robots Of Dawn” he wrote of super-human intelligent robots who worked subtly with a mild telepathy to influence the human government to go in humane and efficient ways.
    Time travel is not a likely development .
    Seriously though, a few hours reading about when machines replace humans is a real eye-opener and you can see it happening all around you .
    What you’re seeing is just the tip of a huge technological iceberg that is developing in areas you’re not looking at .
    You’re seeing just what is on TV because it is amazing.
    Have you checked out 3-D printing ?
    The good part about this debate is that all you have to do is wait ten years and see who was right .
    No one gets heated up, angry about robots .

  • January 28, 2014 at 10:04 am
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    The analogy is lost on me.
    The fact is that you refuse to accept the academic definition of socialism and communism .
    This is due to one of two things:
    1) you are not well educated enough to know the difference between say, the Soviet Union, Cuba or China and actual socialist or communist systems as defined by academia or
    2) You are deliberately conflating real communism , real socialism with the totalitarian regimes whose only connection to the practices of socialism and communism was the name of their political party in order to defame socialism and communism since you do not like their democratic, bottom-up nature….. being the totalitarian-minded person that you are. .
    Since you choose to define communism as that which existed and exists in those countries it then becomes necessary for you to define what actual communism /socialism are in order to be talking apples for apples .
    We cannot talk about future communist societies without differentiating between the Soviet model and actual communism as the root of the word means .
    You are confusing the two and if you choose to use the popular definition of the terms , you need to come up with a term for scientific/actual/ academic communism or socialism since they do not resemble Soviet-style state economies.
    Is this not reasonable ?

  • January 28, 2014 at 9:17 am
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    Your eloquent attempt to dissuade those who reject the distinction between the use of the word socialism as a ‘name’ and its clearly ethereal definition is likely to fail. I had a similar experience in my college dorm because my roommate, John, refused to accept that we continued to call the bathroom a “John”.

  • January 28, 2014 at 9:06 am
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    This is the typical kind of theory guys concoct from their mother’s basements. But the good news is they usually have an extensive Star Wars action figure collection.

  • January 28, 2014 at 9:01 am
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    Hahaha! Your NON-answer is the best answer. As usual, empty slogans and empty promises.

  • January 28, 2014 at 8:15 am
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    Vas bien, Fidel, Raul. Siempre

  • January 27, 2014 at 9:22 pm
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    Refuse to lower? Actually John, that’s all you do. While the grown-ups are sitting at the table discussing the interesting issues presented by HT’s fine contributors, you run around on the floor like a distempered terrier, yapping for a bone, nipping at ankles and making your little mess on the carpet.

  • January 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm
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    The Canadian mission to Afghanistan was carried out at the request of the constitutionally & democratically elected government of Afghanistan, and was endorsed by the United Nations. Canada spent billions of dollars in our taxpayers’ money and received not one dollar in exchange. Canadian troops withdrew on schedule and in full consultation with the Afghan governor. At total of 158 Canadian soldiers gave their lives fighting Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists so that Afgani girls can go to school. Naturally, you would oppose that mission, meaning you preferred to have Al Qaeda & the Taliban rule in medieval despotism.

    Only a fool would consider that imperialism on Canada’s part.

  • January 27, 2014 at 3:55 pm
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    Because Harper and his CONservative CONS are in step with the US of Arms

  • January 27, 2014 at 2:59 pm
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    Sorry,
    Just because the bulk of any given group cannot correctly define socialism and conflates it with a top-down state -run economy which IS THE ANTITHESIS OF SOCIALISM does not make that mistaken belief acceptable .
    This is especially so when the aim of many who misuse the term do so deliberately to defame and disparage true socialism which is democratic , a facet of the philosophy that they deeply oppose.
    It is not I who is inventing new meanings for socialism nor do I have to . The original definitions work just fine.
    It is the ignorant and those who oppose DEMOCRATIC societies who define socialism as being synonymous with Stalinism, Leninism, Maoism and other totalitarian forms .
    I refuse to lower my level of debate to the uninformed version you seem to prefer.

  • January 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm
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    I did a quick web search on “Canada and U.S. imperialism and found this immediately .
    “Todd Gordon, author of Imperialist Canada, cites numerous examples of retrograde Canadian behaviour on the world stage. These include Canada supporting a coup in Honduras, taking a lead role in promoting market-oriented reforms in Haiti, and military participation in the occupation of Afghanistan. Gordon believes these actions show Canada to be an imperialist country, just like the United States.

    But in Gordon’s world, dominating other countries politically, backed up by military might—in other words, having an empire, whether formal or undeclared—is not the essential feature of imperialism. And for a leftist aspiring to wrestle with an imperialist beast at home, it’s a damn good thing. Turns out, Canada doesn’t have one.”
    End quote.
    It can be no secret that Canada, if given the choice, will support capitalism, U.S. imperialism and oppose leftist governments and movements as the normal path of its foreign policy

  • January 27, 2014 at 12:43 pm
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    The reference to Cuba as “socialist” was in the quotation i used. The author of that article is Cuban and he was quoting the official Cuban government description of Cuba, as “Real Socialism”.

    A simple fact you seem incapable of grasping is that there are several differing forms of “socialism”. The Cuban government describes itself as “socialist”, by which any sensible person understands to mean it is Castro’s version of socialism.

    In Canada, the NDP calls itself “socialist”, as defined by traditional social democratic policies. There are many other socialist parties around the world, and I doubt they all agree on every policy detail either.

    So I suggest you call up everybody in the world who uses the term “socialism” and convince them to adopt your favourite definition. While you’re at it, try to get them to invent new words to define their ideology, so you won’t be confused in the future.

    Maybe you can send Raul Castro an email and ask him to please refrain from misusing the term “socialism”, for which you apparently hold the copyright. Perhaps you can get Raul to adopt the term, “Real Non-John-Goodrich-Socialism”.

    Or maybe you can just get over it.

  • January 27, 2014 at 12:31 pm
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    You are factually wrong on several points. Canada has never sent troops to join any US military intervention in the Latin America or the Caribbean. Canada maintains full diplomatic relations with Cuba and does not follow the US embargo. Canadians represent the largest single nation of tourists to Cuba. The Canadian corporation Sherritt International operates the Moa nickel mine in Cuba, generating billions of dollars of income for Cuba. Fidel Castro was one of the official pall-bearers for the funeral of former Canadian PM, Pierre Trudeau.

    http://thecubaneconomy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Castro-at-funeral-of-Pierre-Trudeau.jpg

    Also, one cannot say any member of CELAC is “impartial”. It is perfectly normal for a nation to pursue their own agenda in an international organization.

    Canada is not a member of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States because Canada is neither Latin American nor a Caribbean.

  • January 27, 2014 at 12:15 pm
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    John wrote, “Before you scoff at this , you’d do well to Google up ” when machines replace humans ” and/or “the technological future”…

    Yeah, I saw that movie too! Ahnold was so cool as that relentless robot, and the guy had to go back in time… awesome movie, dude.

  • January 27, 2014 at 11:12 am
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    Cuba has a state-run economy and cannot by any stretch of the term be considered a socialist state.
    You need to find sources for your “facts” that actually understand what socialism is and isn’t.

  • January 27, 2014 at 11:10 am
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    It is the U.S which is heading toward collapse .
    It’s capitalist economy, already in serious trouble, will become unworkable once the rocketing and increasing automation of the workplace nears completion .
    Estimates from those in the high tech fields who know their stuff predict this between 2030 and 2050, with most going with the earlier date.
    Since the very wealthy capitalists own and run the U.S. government, that too changes with the end of capitalism.
    Before you scoff at this , you’d do well to Google up ” when machines replace humans ” and/or “the technological future” or anything like that and learn both what is happening now and how fast that automation is accelerating.

  • January 27, 2014 at 10:58 am
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    For a deeper look into CELAC and its potential, you can Google up
    “CELAC in Havana: The Challenge… Aram Aharonian .
    The article is also featured at ZNet today Jan 27.

  • January 27, 2014 at 10:58 am
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    What victory is that? Who wins? Who loses. Hasta cuando?

  • January 27, 2014 at 10:56 am
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    It isn’t unless you believe there is value in taking a group photo with 32 Latin American leaders as some sort of justification for 55 years of failed socialist policies.

  • January 27, 2014 at 10:56 am
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    Canada, most often, works in coordination with the United States in that country’s imperial policies in the hemisphere.
    For that reason it cannot be considered an impartial participant but rather a force against the sovereignty of the Latin American and Caribbean nations and is justifiably excluded. .

  • January 27, 2014 at 8:11 am
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    A non-story for a nation slowly edging toward total political and economic collapse.

  • January 27, 2014 at 6:24 am
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    Why is it significant that Canada is not attending a meeting of Latin American and Caribbean States?

  • January 26, 2014 at 8:32 pm
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    CELAC is a tragedy dressed as a farce. The Castro regime cracks down on the Cuban people to keep them silent while they have their stage managed meeting.

    “Independent Forum Parallel to CELAC is Being Blocked by State Security”

    “The worst of this nightmare is the impunity. There are no legal means for the protection of citizens. The life of an ordinary Cuban passes among the misery and repression. Alternatives to escape the suffocation are in reality to leave the country by any means or to risk one’s luck on the black market. To survive through honest work has become a utopia.

    In over 50 years of Real Socialism, inefficiency, lawlessness, lack of control, apathy and state terrorism have been regularized”

    http://translatingcuba.com/independent-forum-parallel-to-celac-is-being-blocked-by-state-security-jorge-olivera-castillo/

  • January 26, 2014 at 12:37 pm
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    hasta la victoria, Siempre!

  • January 26, 2014 at 10:05 am
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    The ‘optics’ will favor Cuba but just as Isaac Risco writes, “it is unlikely that the meeting of CELAC will generate major concrete agreements” the summit will accomplish nothing of lasting substance.

  • January 26, 2014 at 9:32 am
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    That the U.S continues its economic war on Cuba’s revolution for its nationalism in opposition to U.S. neo-liberal and neocolonialist policies and in general for opposing U.S power in the world is proof positive of the imperialist nature of U.S foreign policy .
    This policy might be said to have begun with the joint U.S. -European invasion of the nascent Soviet Union in 1918.
    Celac and other regional bodies which exclude the U.S. and (U.S. lap dog) Canada are a necessary counter to the hyper-power actions and influence of the U.S. which has always been up to no good in the hemisphere.
    The OAS is an anachronism, a throwback to the old Monroe Doctrine days and should be consigned to history’s scrapheap as a tool of U.S interventionist foreign policy in the hemisphere.

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