The Endless USA-Cuba Dispute

By Fernando Ravsberg

1HAVANA TIMES — “The United States has no friends, only interests,” confessed John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State in the 1950s. One could add that freedom, democracy or human rights only seem important to Washington in those countries where its interests are endangered.

In 1965, the US invaded the Dominican Republic to support the military dictatorship that had overthrown the democratically elected president. Tens of thousands of US soldiers landed on the island to save the violators of democracy.

Five years later, the Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger said: “I do not see why we should sit idly by, watching as a country becomes communist due to the irresponsibility of its people.” It was the green light to overthrow the democratic government of Salvador Allende.

Later, they supported all the military dictatorships in Latin America and collaborated in the “Condor Plan”, which was the globalization of repression. They did it while blocking the participation of Cuba in the OAS for not being a democracy.

In 1965 the US invaded the Dominican Republic, to defend those who had broken democracy.
In 1965 the US invaded the Dominican Republic, to defend those who had broken democracy.

Obama visited Cuba and met with dissidents. However, he did not contact the Saudi opposition when shortly after he traveled to that country, where there is no democracy, elections or religious freedom and women are forbidden even their most basic rights.

With such double standards, relations between Cuba and the United States will be difficult. The centenary tug-of-war between the two nations will not end while Washington considers the island within its sphere of influence and Cubans insist on running their own show.

The history of conflict goes back to the “ripe fruit” policy, including independence without the presence of the mambises, and several invasions of the Marines, authorized under the Platt Amendment. Later came the organization of the Bay of Pigs invasion, support for the rebels in the Escambray Mountains and the economic embargo.

Throughout the island’s history those seeking Cuban independence have been at loggerheads with the interests of the most powerful nation. National sovereignty was forged by revolutions, the mambises first, the one in 1933 and later the one in 1959.

They have had to spend over 50 years of open confrontation, which even brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, so that a tenant of the White House would finally admit that “the United States has neither the ability nor the intention to impose changes in Cuba” .

Obama and the Saudi Prince: In Saudi Arabia the US president did not speak out in favor of democracy and human rights as it did in Cuba.
Obama and the Saudi Prince: In Saudi Arabia the US president did not speak out in favor of democracy and human rights as it did in Cuba.

This bilateral struggle has been the “norm” so academic Luis Suarez proposes “anormalizing” relations between the two countries. However, can it really be expected that the world’s leading power will not try to influence a small island located 90 miles from its shores?

Like it or not, the “normal” in this world is that such a powerful nation will always try to exert political and economic “influence” on neighboring countries, be they a messy backyard or a garden with lovely flowerbeds.

But they say in Cuba that “the drunkard thinks one thing and the shopkeeper something quite different,” so if “normal” are the hegemonic pretensions of the great power, the desire for Cubans to be independent are also “normal” and just.

Throughout history there was always a group of Cubans fighting to gain greater opportunities for independence. In some periods they were many and in others just a handful, but one must recognize that the flame never extinguished.

This spirit survived even the times when the US ambassadors complained that the governments of Cuba did not take a step without consulting them. You would think that in the future many will not accept the tutelage of the United States over the Cuban nation.

In this clash of interests it is difficult to be able to establish cordial and respectful relations. If Washington interferes in the communications of the President of Brazil and the German Head of State, why should they allow the “free will” of Cuba?

The bilateral conflict enters a phase more beneficial to Cuba if it knows how to deal with the US without losing its sovereignty.
The bilateral conflict enters a phase more beneficial to Cuba if it knows how to deal with the US without losing its sovereignty.

At the most you can hope for is a more “civilized” confrontation and that US attempts to influence politics and the economy of the island are less aggressive, and that the response of Cubans follows suit, without conditioned reactions.

US policy changed and that forces Cuba to also change its strategy. Nowadays it wouldn’t occur to a Vietnamese general to storm the US embassy because now Washington tries to influence the national economy.

Obama continues to fund dissent and expands its work to the self-employed, cooperatives and small businesses. However, when he acknowledged in Havana that the US has no right to intervene in Cuba he put in the hands of Cubans a key weapon for negotiating future conflicts.

The two countries are ending a hard phase of bilateral confrontation and enter a new one more advantageous for the Cuba. Nonetheless, the next stage will require much political ability to “de-escalate” the conflict with the US, without losing the sovereignty obtained.

40 thoughts on “The Endless USA-Cuba Dispute

  • May 14, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    In my comments regarding Fidel Castro and Nikita Krushchev I have adhered totally to historic fact. Dani in your struggle to protect the image of Fidel Castro it is you who are deviating. In your endeavors you even consider that you are better able to define the meanings of Fidel Castro’s cable to Krushchev than Krushchev himself. I with every respect for your personal protective instincts for Fidel, think that Krushchev was accurate.
    Living part of my time in the free world, I am able to say when here, what I know and my opinions about such knowledge. You will just have to accept that despite your typically socialist wish to shut up those who despise socialism, that living in a free society, you are unable so to do. That’s the price you have to pay, but in Cuba you would be able to succeed by reporting my views and those of others to the CDR. That is obviously attractive to you.
    Your comment in response to Moses: “You should know by now that I am rarely wrong as far as facts go.” is quite priceless reeking as it does of arrogance and conceit.

  • May 14, 2016 at 10:31 am

    For the 167th time, I agree that Cuba during the Batista dictatorship was no picnic. You keep harping on that. Let it go. Cuban ballet, Cuban jazz, Cuban cigars, Cuban rum, and most of all my Cuban family. All of these are among the great things produced in Cuba. But the Castro dictatorship has nearly destroyed everything good about Cuba. The good news is that time is quickly running out on the regime.

  • May 14, 2016 at 10:08 am

    I continue to disagree with you. Fidel ‘feared’ an invasión was imminent. His comments reflect all but a peaceful solution.

  • May 14, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Read the quotes below and the links provided. Whatever your views of Castro or Communism, it doesn’t mean you have carte blanche to make any allegation you want. There are such things as historical facts.

  • May 14, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Out of context. Read the above response to Moses and the link supplied. I don’t know much about the Syria/Israel conflict, but from what you say I would agree that it was risking a nuclear war and would be very foolish.

  • May 14, 2016 at 9:38 am

    If you read the history of the period the US was indeed planning to invade Cuba and had already set a date. This was going to be done on the pretext of a concocted attack by Cuba on Guantanamo. The Cuban intelligence service was very effective and had warned Fidel of this. The only thing that he was unaware of was that this plan was not cast in stone, but was one of a few possible strategies. And it is clear from the quotes I’ve already shared (read them again) that he wasn’t advocating a first strike, only in the aftermath of an invasion. Again read the excerpts – throughout he advocates a peaceful solution.

  • May 14, 2016 at 1:56 am

    Dani, “facts” mean very little to those who hide behind the skirts of the U. S. government to assail Cuba — a process that started in 1898 after the Spanish-American War, picked up steam with the Batista-Mafia dictatorship in 1952, and blossomed in 1959 when the Cuban Revolution chased the Batistianos to U. S. soil. Three dates in the darkest history of the U. S. democracy are 1898, 1952 and 1959. Moses and Carlyle, of course, disagree. But those dates prove that Cuba says a lot more about the United States than it says about Cuba.

  • May 14, 2016 at 1:48 am

    According to the Cuban narrative in the U. S. that has been dictated since 1959 by the Batistianos and Mafiosi booted off the island, Revolutionary Cuba has never done a single positive thing. Well, Moses, tell that to the Rockland Cancer Institute in Buffalo or the hundreds of poor Americans who received and deeply appreciate the free 6-year medical degrees they received courtesy of Cuba or…well, you get the point. I wonder, Moses, if Revolutionary Cuba cured the world of all its ills, would you agree, at least in that aspect, that the revolution was better than Batista-Mafia rule?

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