Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — To claim that Cuba is an enemy of the United States would be humorous if the statement didn’t have such tragic and shameful consequences. How could a small country, without offensive weapons of any kind represent a threat to the most powerful empire on the face of the earth today?
The people of the United States and Cuba have always maintained relationships of friendship, as befits two good neighbors. US citizens who, despite the prohibitions in effect in their country, still travel to Cuba and can attest to this.
If we look at historical facts, we could say the opposite has been the case: it is the United States which has acted as Cuba’s enemy for many years.
To avoid going too far back in history and making this post excessively long, we could begin by mentioning the support the US government offered Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship, which it furnished with military aid and the weapons with which more than 20 thousand Cubans were murdered.
Immediately after the triumph of the revolution in 1959 and the proclamation of the Agrarian Reform, the US government threatened Cuba with reducing its sugar quota, banning investments on the island and eliminating all economic aid if US properties were nationalized.
Logically, an Agrarian Reform law that outlaws the latifundio system entailed the nationalization of vast expanses of land owned by US companies, lands that were bought at very low prices following the conclusion of the war of independence which cast off Spain’s colonial yoke.
In 1960, the US oil companies Texaco, Esso, Standard Oil and Shell ceased supplying Cuba with oil as part of a measure aimed at paralyzing the country economically. When Cuba found another supplier in the former Soviet Union, the same companies refused to process the oil in the refineries in the country, and the government had no choice but to nationalize them and to prevent the country’s collapse.
Other measures taken against Cuba that same year included the reduction of the sugar quota by 700 thousand tons and the shut-down of the nickel plant, which was also owned by a US company, measures aimed at depriving Cuba of the limited income it secured through the export of the metal.
That same year, the US State Department told citizens to abstain from traveling to Cuba. Washington banned the export of numerous products to the island and announced that, the following year, the country would cease buying sugar from Cuba altogether.
In January 1961, the United States broke all diplomatic and consular relations with Cuba. All the while, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was organizing armed groups that operated in the country’s central provinces, with the aim of overthrowing the revolutionary government, and, in Nicaragua, trained a brigade whose objective was to land in Cuba, occupy part of the country’s territory, set up a provisional government (which had already been assembled) and request the intervention of the Organization of American States (OAS), or the United States, which were practically the same thing.
The invasion was neutralized by the Cuban people in less than 72 hours: the US warships near Cuban coasts, ready to intervene, couldn’t satisfy their yearnings and had to withdraw. The armed bands fell one by one, but not without claiming the lives of many Cuban combatants before their final defeat.
Since then, the United States has approved a total of 12 laws which constitute the framework of what Washington euphemistically refers to as the “embargo”, a policy which is actually much more than that, a harsh blockade whose provisions, such as the Helms-Burton Act, are applicable to every corner of the globe and affect all countries that maintain trade with Cuba.
In all of this, I don’t see anything that suggests Cuba is an enemy of the United States, just the opposite. However, from the triumph of the revolution, the US applied the Trade with the Enemy Law of 1917 that prohibit trade with countries considered enemies.
On numerous occasions, the Cuban government has declared its willingness to hold talks with the United States on an equal footing and to discuss all issues behind the two countries’ differences, but the US government has failed to offer a reply.
Every year, the US administration extends the application of the Trade with the Enemy Law one more year. I cannot help but ask myself: who is whose enemy here? Cuba hasn’t organized armies or armed groups aimed at changing the United States’ political system. Cuba does not forbid its citizens from traveling to the United States. Nor does it train mercenaries to place bombs at US hotels, nor promote actions designed to destabilize the country’s order.
In view of all this and many other facts that cannot be developed in the short space of a single post, I cannot but conclude, as many honest US citizens who continue to visit our country do, that Cuba is not an enemy of the United States.