Cuba: Reason Stands Up to Slander

Pedro Campos

HAVANA TIMES — An editorial in the official Cubadebate website linked the recently concluded “Festival Clic” with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the anti-Cuban schemes of US imperialism.

Similarly, the publication is seeking to implicate Havana Times in that festival and its alleged imperialist plans. It was outright slander for Cubadebate to write: “It is not by chance that websites such as Havana Times — which joined in enthusiastically in the call — are being encouraged by the United States (government).”

They lied twice: Havana Times is not encouraged by the US government and it did not join in enthusiastically in the call.

Reason Stands Up to Slander

The truth is that Havana Times is a website featuring various positions that predominate among the diverse Cuban anti-capitalist left. It is aided and encouraged not by the US, but by a group of young Cuban rebels, modern cimarrones (maroons), tired of the neo-Stalinist model imposed on the people of Cuba in the name of socialism and anti-imperialism.

These are people who sincerely want to “change everything that needs to be changed.”

The other fact is that one of its columnists did indeed comment on the event, but to then generalize that the website “enthusiastically joined in the call” is a big leap, crude manipulation.

The use of the method of “accusations without proof,” more than being threadbare, lacking transparency and being self-discrediting, it ends up being irresponsible. This is especially so when Cuban society requires actions and positions, which — instead of sharpening conflict and generating violence — encourage contact and dialogue, the “national unity” that President Raul Castro talks about.

A web site like Cubadebate should, presumably, contribute to the aim of healthy debate between different positions, to help get all of us out of this present situation and to peacefully achieve a Cuba “with all and for the good of all” – which in my opinion can only be socialist, participatory, democratic and of course inclusive, horizontal and intercommunicating.

The writers of that editorial should know that, with all its shortcomings, there are laws in Cuba and that defamation is an offense that is liable for prosecution; it is punishable. Ignorance of the law does not excuse its being violated. Impunity might be allowed, but such abuse is not legitimate.

Those who engage in journalism have a commitment to professional ethics, objectivity and responsible language. Their website can lose its credibility with that kind of publishing.

Manipulation of Information

Is the editorial saying that, in Cuba, there are only “their” positions and those of the right-wing? And note, I’m referring to the editorial and not to the Cubadebate website.

The officialist side — opposed to dialogue, used to imposing their positions and accusing anyone who doesn’t share their views as serving imperialism or proposing something they deem to be going against their interests, and who confuse their notions with revolution — is apparently attempting to hang the “pro-Yankee” placard both on Havana Times and on the proactive-critical left, whose ideas they despise. In the absence of arguments, they spew diatribes.

They know they are demonstrating their Berio-Goebbelian approach to the manipulation of information. Subjectivity, illegitimacy, Manichaeism and resistance to change do nothing to help a healthy discussion – unless they intend a “debate” only between those of the same point of view. A true debate would open itself up to differences instead of trying to discredit, isolate or ignore them.

Yesterday’s Rain. Photo: Leandro Valdes

The editorial in Cubadebate joins (and I say “joins” rather than “differs from”) the counter-revolutionary plan that is attempting to eliminate the socialist alternative represented by the various positions on the left.

The ideas of democratic self-management that characterize the pages of Havana Times are not antagonistic to the Cuban Revolution or the process of the socialization and democratization of the country’s economy and politics – rather, these are trying to advance them.

Reality, my friends of Cubadebate, is much richer, and it serves nothing to try and cover it up. Not all of the Cuban left thinks like you, and not all of the all opposition works for imperialism.

I suggest that you get good advice and be careful in dealing with the issues of security intelligence and counterintelligence; otherwise you can put your foot in it. Making false accusations is a spurious method, and many “CIA” operatives have turned out to be “useful idiots” of Cuban State Security and vice versa.

It’s simple: If Yoani Sanchez and other members of the opposition work for the CIA, as this editorial suggests, ask yourself why State Security hasn’t arrested them and why aren’t they being sanctioned.

Either these accusations are false (mud-slinging propaganda), and they are until they’re proven, or it must suit those in power to allow or encourage these “counterrevolutionary fetishes” – either isolating them or turning them into political “magnets.”

For my part, while the famous blogger lives freely in Cuba, I consider her an ordinary citizen with full rights – though I don’t concur with her “sui generis capitalism,” as I don’t concur with any other form of capitalism.

It seems there are selective “anti-capitalists”, ones who see “the capitalism of imperialism as bad, while mine is good.”

Who in Cuba does more to benefit capitalism: the CIA, the opposition, or those who “enthusiastically” alienate and exploit wage workers in the name of “socialism”?

To answer this one needs to first consider the relationship between capitalism and wage labor, which is described and analyzed in The Manifesto, Capital; Wages, Price and Profit; The Civil War in France and several other works by Marx.

Yes to the Information Highway

Finally, but no less important, to equate imperialist objectives with the promotion of information technology in Cuba can only serve the enemies of the socialization of information, those who seek to perpetuate the lack of Internet access by the Cuban people so as to continue violating our right to free information, those who use imperialism to justify their anti-democratic policies. Enough with the lies.

Photo: Janis Wilkins

What hurts and hinders socialism in Cuba is not the Internet, but its absence. Technology doesn’t have surnames. It is neither capitalist nor socialist. In any case it is the work of intellectual and manual workers, and it serves those who use it best to serve their interests.

If the Cuban Revolution collapses, it will not be because of the Internet or the actions of imperialism.

Fidel said it best: It will be because of the inability of revolutionaries themselves to fight corruption and bureaucracy, to defend ourselves from our own mistakes. Internet would be a strategic weapon, an unequalled one in that struggle. The fact that people have no access to it favors only those who are corrupt and the bureaucrats.

Obviously much of this struggle urged by Fidel appears in Havana Times, but little in Cubadebate.

I ask Cubadebate, and the other websites that published the “editorial,” to also publish this article.

To contact Pedro Campos, write: [email protected]


10 thoughts on “Cuba: Reason Stands Up to Slander

  • REAL MEN DON’T EAT QUICHE. those who own the capital are the capitalists and if it is the state it is state capitalism even if the objective is socialism, a more equal distribution of wealth. i agree with most of what you write but i am not optimistic. the irish are getting in mondragon experts and after many years an american mondragon may be possible but in the meantime it will be business as usual as long as businesses survive without consumers with money to consume and the bail out capital wasted gambling again. in my opinion, the government that governs least governs best. obviously, the cuban government has failed to provide so it is up to ordinary people to provide for themselves. an editor of granma has complained that cubanos are like baby birds waiting to be fed. the government should let anyone start any kind of business that they see a niche for.

  • Not really, as this article among others demonstrates.

  • john, apology accepted. I just don’t like being placed in the same category as those who follow a bogus, cult ideology that has sabotaged and destroyed the socialist movement for a century-and-a-half.

    Monopoly capitalism has brought civilization to the precipice of environmental and nuclear war self-destruction. But it has been able to do so primarily because Marxism, by replacing socialism’s original cooperative essence with state monopolism, and screwing up every socialist experiment thus far, has allowed it to survive and continue its evil. I’m a modern cooperative, transformationary socialist, not a Marxist.

    Where are we? Our Cooperative Republic Movement has just begun. We are so small that, to call us microscopic would not be a mischaracterization. But our core idea for a workable socialist republic is what is important. We hope for a strategic alliance of the three major productive classes in society, the proletariat, small bourgeoisie, and intelligentsia.

    We hope to achieve a cooperative republic in the US by winning the people to our new program of socialist transformation. We believe the people will “go for it” ultimately because it is an excellent plan of reorganization that will solve our problems in the near term. Our four cardinal principles are non-violence, legality, openness and persuasion.

    The new government, by getting its revenues through partial, silent co-ownership of significant industry and commerce, would eliminate income and property taxes. It could dismantle the military-industrial complex, have full employment and eliminate poverty and homelessnes, protect private property and provide enormous opportunity for small businesses, & deliver universal healthcare and legal services insurance to all the people.

    We are microscopic at the present time, john, but our ideas and hopes are large. Stay tuned.

  • It’s true shameful for cubadebate to throw in the same bag Generación Y and Havana Times. They are poles apart.

  • sorry, grady. my comments were more appropriate to pedro who you were politely criticisng in your first comment above. but where is your cooperative republican movement? are you a legend in your own mind? “when i use a word it means just what i choose it to mean-neither more nor less. ” humpty dumpty in alice through the looking glass. so grady, your ideology is just as larded with words that mean more to the one using them than to anyone else. just as there are any number of concepts of god, so there are any number of concepts of what socialism is or should be. until they are tried they are just theories which may or may not be a good thing. mondragon in spain is a serious industrial and financial cooperative empire but they still have the incentive of wages. but what you should consider is this. mondragon grew up in a certain country, a certain area with a sense of community, basque, and in a certain era. mondragon is still a small part of the spanish economy. a small cooperative has started in the mid-west lately from the bankrupt ruins of a private company, like in argentina but i know america. there would be millions of anti-commie patriots to defend the kleptocratic dystopia from any kind of socialism on a large scale. commander moses would be promoted to general. “people who live in communes are communists.” archie bunker in “all in the family.” and you knew where you were then, girls were girls and men were men, mister we could use a man like herbert hoover again……

  • What the hell is wrong with you, calling me a Marxist? I’ve argued consistently in the pages of HT that Engels and Marx were agent provocateurs, and that their theoretical and organizational work in the socialist movement was to split the small business class from the working class and destroy socialism from within.

    The state monopoly ownership perversion of socialism originates in the writings of Engels and Marx, not in the bad personal character of Stalin or anybody else. I usually have to point this out to the ultra-Left Trotskyists and Maoists who follow those two phonies. Do I now have to waste time pointing it out to you, as well?

    The next time you wish to speak of me or the Cooperative Republic Movement, please try to know what you are talking about. Other than that, john sparre, best wishes.

  • Moses, I’ve indicated over and over that a US modern cooperative, state co-ownership republic would be both non-Marxist and anti-Marxist, and that it would retain and value private property rights and a conditioned free market.

    I’ve also indicated that it would only be installed by the people of our country through that vast majority being won over democratically to its support.

    And yet, you continue to assume that if I say the word “socialist,” that I mean the bourgeois, counter-transformationary, cult ideology and state monopoly program of Marxism. May I ask you to use your head for something other than a hat rack and understand what the Cooperative Republic Movement is all about.

    You are quick to speak arrogantly about citizen gun-play in defense of the monopoly capitalist, big bank regime you apparently so admire, and mis–identify as patriotic. You should know that, as a certain point in the history of our country, a sea change can occur in the sentiments of the people, and the guns in their hands would only be used to defend the Constitution and the peaceful, democratic transition to a “real” socialist republic.

  • everything karl marx wrote on economic and political subjects was theoretical. he didn’t live to see a marxist state. if the state is the employer is the state a capitalist or socialist employer? what difference does the definition make to the employee’s wages and conditions? it seems to me that grady is one of these marxists that regards the writings of karl marx as religious fundamentalists regard their holy book. it’s infallible. if there are contradictions in practice then there’s a debate like rabbis trying to decide what god meant. it’s the old joke of economists when a policy is a failure. but does it work in theory? grady should read a critique of marx’s writings. as soon as das kapital was published other economists pointed out or published what they believed were very serious mistakes and assumptions about the future of capitalist production. machines would cause overproduction, products could not be sold and this would cause mass unemployment. marx didn’t see the greed of ordinary consumers and the multiplicity of consumer products in the future that would keep workers employed from fridges, radios and cars to computers and iphones and ipads and the next big thing is unknown. these things are not consumer products but there’s the high speed solar train and space tourism. certainly the boom and bust cycle of capitalism produces unemployment. but capitalist or marxist, many people grow tired of consumerism. as a young man steve jobs went to nepal to find god or something. i am not a believer but it is impossible and unproductive to try and suppress religion. others find another religion in environmental causes which is a worthwhile cause to me and the cuban regime has a fairly good record in this area. one of the causes of the present economic crisis was people trying to pay for a house which was too big and which they couldn’t afford. the consumers were willing accomplices in the destruction of the american economy.

  • Wow, Grady, had I known that “the future of humankind depends on ” clarifying what flavor of socialism is correct, I would have been more attentive in my 11th grade World History class for the whole week that we covered it. Do you really believe that hooey? If you do, good luck with that. Just know this, there are at least 300 million Americans and at least that many guns (including mine) that would resist such a backward step. If socialism looks like Cuba (buildings, streets, cars, food, technology), I want no parts of it. I prefer San Franisco. P.S. Pedro, don’t hold your breath waiting for Cubadebate to publish this post…not in a million years.

  • Good article, Pedro. The thing expressed in it that is incorrect and misleading however is your reiteration of the ultra-Left view that the Cuban state monopoly system is a form of capitalism. You just can’t accept that state monopoly socialism is not a form of capitalism, or that it comes directly from the stipulation of Engels and Marx.

    What can be said about a comrade who will ballyhoo the Communist Manifesto, then refuse even to acknowledge the next-to-last page of the second chapter where it is said, in black and white, that the socialist state is to concentrate all the instruments of production in its hands? Is he intellectually dishonest?

    We socialists around the world should debate openly and respectfully the nature of “real” socialism. The future of humankind depends on it.

    Your article focuses on the unethical accusations made in an editorial of Cubadebate website. Most of what you write herein is “right on.” But you yourself refuse to address that little formulation in the Manifesto paraphrased above; and this little formulation, after all, is the core principle that has destroyed almost every experiment under socialist state power, thus far.

    You will never be able to say anything truly effective, with regard to building workable socialism in your country, until you admit to the Marxian textural origin of state monopoly socialism, and stop blaming everything on Stalin and all the bureaucrats of the Universe.

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