The Cynical US Policy on Cuba

Pedro Campos

Raul Castro and James Carter. Havana March 2011

HAVANA TIMES — The accusation that the Cuban government is sponsoring “international terrorism” is not only false, but even former US President Jimmy Carter admitted in his last visit to Cuba that there exists ongoing intelligence cooperation between Cuba and the US in the fight against that threat.

In fact, everyone knows that the Cuban Five — who were unjustly sentenced in Miami to long prison terms as victims of the conflict between the governments of Cuba and the United States — were imprisoned partly because the Cuban government was cooperating with the US when it sent intelligence information to American authorities concerning the activities of anti-Cuba terrorist groups in that country in an attempt to stop the bombing of tourist installations on the island in the ‘90s.

This information apparently served US counter-intelligence agencies in their work against the Cuban intelligence network.

In this same respect, one cannot underestimate the signs of serious operational errors committed in Cuba’s the handling of its own “Wasp” network after the “restructuring” of Cuban political intelligence by the intelligence and counter intelligence forces in 1989. This may have facilitated the work of the FBI.

Cuban Five poster.

Given the history of hostility between the two countries, if the US had seriously believed that the Cuban government was sponsoring international terrorism, it would have most likely suspended that cooperation with the island and joint efforts around other regional security matters, such as their coordinated activities aimed at stemming the illegal trafficking of narcotics and people.

So what’s behind this cynical policy of the Obama administration, which on the one hand is working with Cuba to fight terrorism and the other including Cuba on its list of terrorist sponsors?

This is indeed a duel-tracked policy that aims to justify the reasons for the continuation of the US economic blockade, which mainly affects the foreign economic maneuverability of the Cuban government.

In this way it is preventing the Cuban government from receiving money from commercial trade with the US or financing from other countries.

The fault of the blockade?

Consequently, for the island to achieve economic solvency, this limits the Cuban bureaucratic state to the veritable looting of the masses of government workers and the population as a whole.

This is reflected in the high-tax rates imposed on the incomes of Cubans who work abroad, those who are self-employed and on people who receive remittances from relatives abroad.

Other factors involved in this looting include the dual currency, continued low wages for workers, the proposed massive layoffs, the high prices demanded at stores through the state’s monopoly over the domestic market, increased customs duties and the expensive fees for immigration procedures – to cite only the most alienating factors.

It is not the imperialist blockade that is responsible for these predatory, anti-popular economic policies of the Cuban party-government.

It is the Cuban government’s own fault in that it persists with its failed wage-labor-based, centralized, monopoly capitalist model, which hides under “state socialism” and yet remains trapped in the contradictions of its own injustice.

The results has been a bureaucracy that preys on the nation’s income, a bureaucracy that is in turn incapable of organizing an efficient economy or generating confidence within the international financial system (owing to the country’s non-payment on its large foreign debt and because of it withholding the funds of foreign companies).

A democratic left proposal

The revolutionary socialist alternative to state capitalism and its neoliberal “solutions” (which lead to private capitalism and robbing of the workers and the population) have been raised repeatedly by the democratic socialist left.

To gradually phase out state monopoly control over the economy and to prioritize forms of self-managed and cooperative production with wide access to credit facilities and markets, to actively lower taxes and to permit self-employment in all occupations and economic sectors are parts of our proposal.

This of course seems impossible without the bureaucratic class being weakened, and without also developing a policy of democratization and national reconciliation that would eliminate all sectarianism and discrimination by reason of politics, religion, race, gender, region and others.

This would require the participation of all Cubans in the solutions to our problems (including the diaspora) on equal terms.

Nevertheless the party-government is trying to ignore the calls from the left that emerged from the revolutionary process itself. They are even violating the “Guidelines” that came out of the Sixth Party Congress (April 2011), as shown by their refusal to promote a broad law on cooperatives. Instead they talk of reduced actions around this issue to a few experiments. Their hope is to later on — in a few years — issue such legislation when it will be too late to avoid disaster.

Cuba holding on to the old model / US waiting for the fruit to fall

As long as the government-party persists in its state-centrism, its sectarianism, its mono-party political model, its hyper-controlled electoral system, its attempt to ignore the existence of other thoughts and approaches to economics and politics in society, the “solutions” within its reach will be ones that do no more than exhaust the Cuban people even more.

Are those on top so stubborn and unwilling to share power with the people and workers?

Or is there a counter-revolutionary group acting from above that is doing everything possible to prevent the necessary movement toward the socialization of the economy and the democratization of politics”? Are they seeking to end Cuba’s attempt at socialism by playing imperialism’s game?

Or is there is a tacit congruence of these factors? As has been said previously, immobilism is regaining ground.

The US knows that the bureaucratic neo-Stalinist-style system — by maintaining the failed and inefficient wage-labor-based, centralized model and lacking of external financing — can only be maintained through an increasing level of exploitation and oppression of the workers and the people – a contradiction they hope will come to a head sooner or later.

At that point, they believe, the “ripe fruit” will fall into their hands.

This was what happened in the USSR and the “socialist camp.” The Cuban party-government seems to have failed to assimilate the experience, or perhaps the “historic leadership” is too confident that there will be no “deluge” until after their disappearance. Notwithstanding, imperialism learned the lesson well.

If the Obama administration doesn’t find “solid” justifications for its policies of blockade — now internationally discredited — it will have to invent them.

Otherwise it would be difficult not to accept free trade with the government that is referred by them as the “communist and tyrannical system of the Castros that has reached the point of threatening the nuclear security of the United States” or to even provide opportunities and resources for its “survival,” with all its consequences for their domestic electoral politics.

As the “Castros” are unwilling to pass the baton in order to move forward toward the lifting of the blockade or toward any serious rapprochement on the part of Cuba, imperialism will have no choice but to exert pressure in this direction with the hope of increasing internal opposition as long as they are still alive.

To contact Pedro Campos, write to: [email protected]


9 thoughts on “The Cynical US Policy on Cuba

  • but i’m not american…

  • Cuba has diplomatic relations with all but 12 member sttes of the U.N. when a country is embargoed they get supplies where they can. rhodesia got oil from iran and everything else wherever they could get it. it is cuban government policy to have good relations with every country and that has been the policy for a long time. the cold war is over. cuba has provided medical foreign aid after disasters to countries which have governments opposed to the cuban system of government. medical aid was offered to the u.s. but refused after hurricane katrina.

  • Jerzy,well put

  • ever heard of the school of the americas at fort benning, georgia? a few thousand demonstrators go there every year for a fiesta.

  • apres moi, le deluge. louis XIV. apres moi, le deluge seemed to be the attitude of breshnev, chernenko and andropov. when gorbachev started reforms it was too late to save the soviet union. but like the western part of the roman empire became a lot of states, most of the soviet union is still there as the commonwealth of independent states. the new rome? by cullen murphy got good reviews in the financial times. i read it in cuba. the european union is like the holy roman empire which was not holy, roman or an empire.

  • Another excellent post Pedro. There is another alternative to starvation or annexation and that is greater cooperation and integration of the economies of South and Central America. The EU (despite the drawbacks and problems) manages to follow its own policies and to some extent distribute wealth to poorer countries and regions as well. The countries of Latin America have a lot more in common linguistically, culturally and politically than the EU has. With integrated economies and a common voice, it would be much more difficult for the rights of individual countries to be trampled on.

  • “Blame the leader – not the people” is an american doctrine that engineers easy control replacement. (Never mind millions murdered). It’s amazing how easy the ” brain implant chip” works in the US. Rest asure my friend – Castro is not a devil… we just hate his balls – just the very fact that he stood on the way of taking control that Batista was serving us on a silver plate. US will never rest creating bullshit stories – it’s simply part of the ‘take over’ game. Sad to see it most Americans take take it daily just to keep’em dumb and full of hate. Wanna see the truth? – Quit the pill and look around – you’ll see way different world.

  • … It really shouldn’t say ‘anti-Cuba’ It should say ‘anti-Castro’
    and just another little thing… all the money the Cuban gov’t spends on printing those ‘free the Cuban five’ posters could feed a lot of people. A lot of my Cuban friends resent this very much.

  • Pedro, I am as far right as you are left yet I agree with most of what you have written in this post. However, you have failed to mention the very public alliances Cuba shares with Iran, North Korea, Syria and Belarusa to name a few. These compacts with avowedly terrorisism-sponsoring states herald the saying “birds of a feather, flock together”. Guilt by association is a weak excuse but it certainly, from a public perspective, makes the inclusion of Cuba as a terrorist state an easier claim to make. You are correct in your assertion that time is on the side of US policy. Maintaining the embargo causes little if any downside for the majority of Americans. I lack nothing due to US policy towards Cuba (which doesn’t mean I lack nothing. Only that it is not because of the embargo) On the other hand, all Cubans feel the effects of the embargo on a daily basis. The only motivation Americans have in lifting sanctions against Cuba is moral. We have historically managed our moral contradictions with surprising ease of conscience. Cubans, whether they realize or not, are rapidly headed toward the economic abyss. Low productivity, corruption, failing infrastructure, and political indifference are converging towards unraveling the frayed triumphs of the revolution. The only answer supporters have is that capitalism is suffering as well. Your plan to save Cuba from the left is thoughtful and has its merits. The problem is even if Cuba decides to move to the left instead of to the right as it appears to be doing, the economy is weak to survive the transition.

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