By Alberto N Jones
HAVANA TIMES, Nov. 17 — On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro…”The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship….every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.
“Mallory proposed a line of action which…makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of the government”. A commercial, economic and financial embargo was imposed on Cuba in October 1960, which became a near total embargo on February 7, 1962, after US citizens and corporations properties were nationalized in Cuba.
My oldest daughter Isabel Maria was born on February 27, twenty days after this infamous law was enacted. Seven months later, on October 22, Isabel Maria, her mother and I were huddled in our dark home in Guantanamo, waiting for the nuclear conflagration to begin, in the worst military crisis in our lives.
Since, every possible reasons, real or imaginary have been invoked and presented by all subsequent US administrations, as a justification for keeping the embargo in place:
– Because of the loss of properties and the US refusal to accept reasonable compensation offered by Cuba.
– Because Cuba declared itself Socialist.
– Because of the presence of nuclear missiles in Cuba
– Because Cuba was accused of “exporting” revolutions to Latin America
– Because of Cuba’s military interventions in Africa.
– Because of a lack of open, free multi-party elections and Human Rights violations.
– Because of a lack of freedom of speech and for holding political prisoners.
– Because Cuba is on a list of terrorist nation, etc. etc.
An ever moving finish line
In order to support these arguments and to continue to move the finish line, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent by the US State Department, through front Foundations to create an enormous propaganda machine around the world, geared to distort the image of Cuba and their leaders, weaken all of its institutions through man-made, financed and directed subversive groups, massive Radio, TV, literature and film barrage and by providing safe haven to known terrorists on US soil.
Legally, these measures were enforced through different mechanisms such as expelling Cuba from the OAS, opposing invitations by western Europe governments of high ranking Cuban officials to visit their country, creation of exclusive anti-Cuba laws such as Peter Pan, Cuban Adjustment Act, Wet Foot/Dry Foot, the Office of Cuba Asset Control, Trading with the Enemy, Cuban Democracy Act, Helms-Burton Act and many more.
Cuba on the other hand has responded to these attacks, by raising this issue at every international conference, symposium, political gatherings, UN, Caricom, SELA, ALBA and other institutions, where they have denounced the crippling effects this suffocating measure have had on the lives, wellbeing and development of an entire nation. Over time, this message has permeated the powerful financial barrier the United States have erected around the world, to shield this despicable act.
All institutions aforementioned and others, have condemned this genocidal imposition on Cuba and the United Nations General Assembly have denounced and called for its repeal for nineteen consecutive years, which the United States have arrogantly ignored.
Across the United States, more and more counties, cities, states, committees, congressmen, senators, businesspeople, humanitarian groups, religious organizations, academic, research institutions, jurists, medical and other reputable institutions, have all decried and demanded the US government rescind these draconian measures and take concrete steps for normalizing its relations with Cuba.
The Hope Obama Kindled
During his presidential campaign and after being elected president, Barack Obama embodied a glimmer of hope, which led millions around the world to believe that the fossilized, antagonistic US-Cuba relations would be addressed differently. Change had been the motto of his campaign.
Twenty two months after assuming the presidency, the only visible change in the US-Cuba dispute has been restoring Cuban-Americans travel rights, as it was during the Bill Clinton era and by allowing unlimited family visits and cash remittances.
Notwithstanding, that the presidency of Barack Obama held the majority in Congress and in the Senate, many of the measures he proposed, lacked his vigorous, uncompromising defense, which led the extreme wing of the Republican party, pundits, radio and TV personalities, to assume his amicable, non-combative character as a sign of weakness, by openly questioning his citizenship, accusing him of being a Muslim and declaring war on each of his initiatives or bills presented by the Democratic Party, slowly eroding his support base and authority.
On November 2, 2010, after governing a nation that had been turned over to him by the worst president in recent memory, an economy on the verge of collapse and a demoralized citizenry, Barack Obama was being blamed for everything that was wrong by an enraged society that had been bombarded for months with every possible degrading lies and scare tactics provided by hundreds of millions of dollars of political campaign funds.
The loss was shattering in the US Congress, Senate, Governorship, Mayoral, councilmen, everywhere. At noon on November 3, a near teary eyed Barack Obama described the electoral results as humbling, apologetic and expressing his willingness to work closely with the incoming Republican leadership.
By surrendering and expressing regrets for doing the right thing, president Barack Obama have sent a clear message to those of us, who had placed our hopes and faith in him, who trusted his administration would be different, willing to sit down and extend a hand to those countries with whom the United States government had a rocky relation.
For those Cubans sharing a birthday with my daughter Isabel Maria and millions more who were born before or after her, this is a chilling admission of continuity, that nothing will change and that the only thing that matters to them, is the president political survival.
Ultra-Right make big gains in Congress
Compounding everything that was said before is the sad reality that a handful of ultra-right-wing Cuban-Americans groups, those in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, have successfully crafted a powerful lobbying network that closely mimics the Israeli lobby and its impenetrable stranglehold on every decision of the US government.
The method applied by the Cuban PAC (Political action committee) is simple and effective. They receive millions of dollars from the US government for the purpose of subverting and overthrowing the Cuban government. A small portion of that is dedicated to its original goals. The rest of whatever is not embezzled among its leadership is widely disbursed among members of Congress and the Senate of both parties.
By contributing, most of the time ridiculous sums of money, they are able to buy the conscience and allegiance of these politicians, for whenever their vote may be necessary to support or oppose anything related to Cuba.
Proof of the above, are the Torricelli Bill and the Helms Burton Act, which was written and rammed through the US Congress and Senate by people who live in New Jersey, North Carolina and Indiana, neither of which have anything in common with Cuba.
Most of us remember, the terrible US-Cuba relations during the Reagan and Clinton administrations, because of a bunch of ultra-right wing, reactionary individuals such as Otto Reich, Roger Noriega, Negroponte, Diaz-Balart, Ros-Lethinen, Menendez, Perez Roura and Jorge Mas Canosa, pushed back all hopes of improved relations between both countries for decades.
Come January 2011, the prospects of US-CUBA relations are worse than ever. In addition to rabid Marco Rubio heading to the US Senate and ferocious David Rivera to Congress, Ileana Ros-Lethinen will become the Chair of the all powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, from where no bill with hints of improving US-CUBA relations, will ever see the light of day.
Never before in the past fifty years, had the hard line, right-wing Cuban-American political lobby been in a better position. They are in the driver’s seat and with full control of events. Once again Cuban-Americans in south Florida are beginning to pack their bags, gassing-up their yachts and are assigning themselves positions, they intend to occupy in new the Cuban government.
Other influencing reasons
Are the reasons described above, sufficient for keeping the embargo in place for fifty years?
Can the Cuban people endure another 48 years of this wasting, eroding war of attrition imposed upon them by the US Government, which is enforced by their henchmen in the Cuban-American community or worse, allow them to take over the country?
Or could it be that the real reasons for the embargo have not been made public?
The prevailing thought in the 19th Century was the Manifest Destiny, by which, the Anglo-Saxon race felt they was destined to expand across the north American continent from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific ocean.
President James K Polk (1795-1849) is noted for his foreign policies successes. He threatened war with Britain over the Pacific Northwest, then backed-down and split the ownership with Britain.
When Mexico rejected the American annexation of Texas, Polk led the nation into a sweeping victory in the Mexican-American war, followed by the purchase of California, New Mexico and Arizona.
In the summer of 1848 Polk authorized Romulus M. Saunders Ambassador to Spain the purchase of Cuba for 100 million dollars, which in today’s money is an equivalent of 2.5 billion dollars, which was of great interest to southern slave owners.
The Platt Amendment of 1901, stipulated a host of conditions for the withdrawal of US troops remaining in Cuba after the Spanish-American war of 1898:
– Cuba would not transfer land to any power other than the US.
– Cuba could not contract any foreign debt without guarantees that interest payments could be met.
– Cuba would allow US intervention in Cuban affairs when the US deemed necessary.
– Cuba was prevented from negotiating treaties with any country other than the US.
– Cuba could not allow any foreign power or powers to obtain by colonization or for military or naval purposes, lodgment in or control over any portion of Cuban territory.
– Cuba was restricted in the conduct of foreign policy and commercial relations.
– Cuba boundaries would not include the Isles of Pines.
– Cuba also “agreed” to sell or lease to the US, lands necessary for coaling or naval stations at specified points to be agreed upon, leading to the Guantanamo Bay lease.
After President Teddy Roosevelt withdrew federal troops from the island in 1902, Cuba signed the Cuban-American Treaty in 1903 by President Tomas Estrada Palma, who once favored outright annexation.
Is additional evidence needed, to establish the real motives behind this 200 years yearning of Cuba becoming another star on the United States flag?
If all Cubans, wherever they are and whatever differences they may harbor, fail to come together at this crucial moment in history in defense of our country and the Cuban government does not introduce new policies and strategies, replacing those that for fifty years have been unable to dislodge the embargo and do its outmost to fend off this life and death threat to our sovereignty, it is a real possibility that our country’s name will be added to those of Guam, Palmyra Atoll, Virgin Islands, Wake Island, Midway Island, Puerto Rico and others.