By Jesús Arboleya (Progreso Weekly)
HAVANA TIMES – On April 30, a person stood in front of the Cuban embassy in Washington and fired with impunity 32 shots at the façade and the inside of that building using an AK-47.
If this had been a US embassy in any other part of the world, the act would be classified as a clear case of terrorism, the host country’s government would be obliged to provide explanations, and the international press would subscribe to any conspiracy theory regarding to the promoters of the event and its objectives.
But the US gospel is not the same for everyone. In this case it is considered enough that information has been leaked informing that the aggressor is crazy. That, according to U.S. gospel, should be enough for the interested parties. Indeed, this man may have been a madman, one that was sane enough to choose the hour of least danger and surrender to the police in the most docile way possible, but definitely a crazy man. So why keep harping about the shooting…
However, even if we accept the crazy man hypothesis, there remain many questions. Because although it is not a rare thing for an individual under psychiatric care to run around the US with an assault rifle, the question still remains how a destitute man was able to travel the country without any significant financial resources. And one might even wonder where he got enough money to buy cocaine, which was conveniently found in the back seat of his car.
Also unclear are his ties to Miami organizations and political activists denounced by the Cuban government. Not surprisingly, Miami’s El Nuevo Herald affirmed a priori, and with emphasis in the news story’s headline, that the Cuban government had no evidence regarding the allegations, although the incident was recognized by those involved and can easily be checked on social media.
Still today Cuban authorities await a formal explanation from their U.S. counterparts, as well as an answer to the offer to collaborate in the investigative effort. The least one can expect, according to diplomatic norms, is a message of regret offered by the president or secretary of state regarding the matter. But the U.S. response came from elsewhere and mockingly consisted of placing Cuba on the list of countries that do not collaborate in the fight against terrorism!
They might think that because it’s Cuba the rules are different. Thereby the U.S. does not feel compelled to offer explanations, not even in the face of such a serious event that occurred in the nation’s capital and in an area surrounded by other embassies, and blocks away from the White House. However, the contempt for their diplomatic obligations is not an exception but a rule of the Trump administration’s policy and another expression of the dysfunction that threatens the sustainability of the system’s own architecture.
US policy has never been characterized by great courtesy to other countries. Rather it’s been a generalized pattern of violence and lack of respect. However, during the cold war the US was compelled to act within the limits imposed by competition with the Soviet Union and the norms of the moment’s international order, which gave rise to a certain revaluation of diplomacy.
After the end of that period the dykes of American arrogance broke open and impositions and aggressions were escalated during the W. Bush administration, one where President Bush himself warned that “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” This philosophy turned out so badly for US hegemony that Barack Obama had to use ‘smart power’ in order to restore the battered prestige of his country.
Donald Trump has now taken a step back into the caverns of politics. His administration demonstrates a crisis of substance and form, which encompasses the entire political system of the country, imposing the logic that anything goes in order to satisfy interests that cannot be called national due to the extraordinary economic, social and policy circumstances that exist and that Trump himself has honed.
We are in the presence of a president who has generated the wild fanaticism of one part of the population, and the absolute rejection of the other; mediocrity and irrational submission of government officials; corruption at levels that will make history when the rot is uncovered; and lying as a recurring political weapon and contempt for the ‘others’ as a philosophy of government.
It cannot be said that the press has been indifferent to this behavior. Most of the major U.S. and foreign media have not stopped crushing Trump without mercy. The problem is that, paradoxically, this has played in favor of the New York magnate.
Because the press itself no longer has the prestige of yesteryear, and because his supporters do not care about the criticism he receives and, thanks to the attention he receives, Trump is in a position to set the daily news agenda, it allows him to manipulate the content and divert attention from any inconvenient issue — such as the thousands of deaths caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Cuba policy also falls in this bag of arbitrariness and falsehoods. If one looks closely, one sees that it is sustained by three monumental lies: the invention of a mysterious sonic attack no one has proven or understands; the absurd claim that the thousands of Cuban doctors who work abroad are slaves; and that Cuban security forces prop-up the Venezuelan government.
It is a politics lacking decency whose objectives are as elementary as obtaining a few votes in Miami. Everyone knows that this is the case. It is openly acknowledged by supporters and opponents. Acting in this manner has become acceptable practice in US politics, and therein lies the moral deterioration before our eyes.
Based on those thunderclaps, may no one expect explanations or excuses for the shooting at the embassy. Of course, one is not obliged to believe the story of the far-sighted fool who decided to attack the statue of José Martí found at the entrance to the Cuban diplomatic compound. By the way, Cuba just commemorated the 125th anniversary of Marti’s death in combat.