On the Obama visit to Cuba March 2016
It is quite amusing to watch the reactions of some US and European leftists who have vocally supported the idea of an end to the US trade embargo on Cuba as the reality of just that event approaches: they are horrified and rush to print their belief that this signals a capitulation to US imperialism by the Cuban Government. Yet, how did they expect that embargo to end? Did they think that Cuba would invade the US and thus free itself? Did they think that the US would be stung by the harsh words of these unyielding first-world super-revolutionaries with ultra ‘clean hands’ and just end the embargo out of shame? Perhaps they thought that the UN would simply demand it and the US would comply? No! The trade embargo will be lifted through negotiations, trade deals and some compromises; and these will be fraught with dangers for Cuba, its people and political system. But the Cuban government and its leaders, who have bravely faced up to their aggressive imperialist neighbour daily since freeing Cuba in 1959, are going into this with their eyes wide open and must be given the trust that they have surely earned from the left in general to pick their way through the potential minefield that life has spread before them and emerge economically stronger with their revolution intact.
It is in this spirit of trust for our Cuban comrades to make the right decisions that we view the recent visit by Obama, his close family, secret service agents, forty or so Congressmen, the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team, representatives of US companies and the imperialist press -totalling somewhere between 800 and 1200 persons. If the main representative of US imperialism, President Barack Obama, had to tone down some of his vitriol for the Cuban revolution and even swallow some criticisms of US policy at home and abroad, we must not be fooled into thinking that this particular leopard has changed his spots. The imperialists have an agenda, a goal that they want to achieve, and they are also in possession of something Cuba can use-and so the political trading begins. The US is looking, as ever, for ways to undermine Cuba and its system which has proved such a good example to so many in South and Central America, and Cuba has a great need for the embargo, which has stopped trade with much of the world, to end, not to mention the fact that the Cubans also very much desire the return of their land at Guantanamo which the US has held and used as a torturer’s ‘playground’ for inflicting utter misery and drawn-out death on so many of the hapless victims of its murderous foreign policies.
We know of course that the US has spies and small groups of anti-socialist propagandists inside Cuba and that some of these would perhaps try to stage some small event or incident in an attempt to embarrass President Raul Castro during Obama’s visit; and, of course, Obama was also bringing ranks of US imperialism’s most prominent (read rabidly anti-socialist) journalists with him to ask questions and twist the replies in order to portray the present Cuban leaders in as bad a light as possible. In the end, of those who reside in Cuba, a small number of the pro imperialist democracy ‘ladies in white’ group threw some anti-Castro leaflets in the air and lay in the street to get themselves arrested for obstruction, or whatever the Cuban equivalent, is prior to Obama landing. The US imperialist press corps made much stronger attacks but they were also more soundly rebuffed. An example of this was when journalist Jim Acosta, a second generation Cuban American, asked Obama about human rights in Cuba and Raul about Cuba’s political prisoners and why they were not being released. Obama, obviously prepared for the question answered in the usual bland and yet at the same time breathtakingly hypocritical manner; ” We believe that freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and freedom of religion are not just American values, but are universal values. They may not express themselves exactly in the same way in every country, they may not be enshrined in the founding documents or constitutions of every country the same way, or protected legally in exactly the same ways, but the impulse – the human impulse towards freedom, the freedom that José Martí talked about, we think is a universal longing .” While President Castro answered simply; ” Give me the list of political prisoners and I will release them immediately. Just mention a list. What political prisoners? Give me a name or names. After this meeting is over, you can give me a list of political prisoners. And if we have those political prisoners, they will be released before tonight ends .”
And when Andrea Mitchell of NBC asked; ” President Castro, for many of us, it’s remarkable to hear you speak about all these subjects. Can you tell us what you see in the future? President Obama has nine months remaining. You have said you would be stepping down in 2018. What is the future of our two countries, given the different definitions and the different interpretations of profound issues like democracy and human rights? ” She was despatched in no uncertain terms by Raul who answered; ” I was reading something about human rights, but I’m going to make the question to you now. There are 61 international instruments recognised. How many countries in the world comply with all the human rights and civil rights that have been included in these 61 instruments? What country complies with them all? Do you know how many? I do. None. None whatsoever. Some countries comply some rights; others comply others. And we are among these countries. Out of these 61 instruments, Cuba has complied with 47 of these human rights instruments. There are countries that may comply with more, there’s those that comply with less. I think the human rights issue should not be politicised. That is not correct. That is a purpose that will stay the same way. For example, for Cuba, the desire for all the rights. Do you think there’s any more sacred right than the right to health, so that billions of children don’t die just for the lack of a vaccine or a drug or a medicament? Do you agree with the right to free education for all those born anywhere in the world or in any country? I think many countries don’t think this is a human right. In Cuba, all children are born in a hospital and they are registered that same day, because when mothers are in advanced pregnancy they go to hospitals days before, many days before delivery, so that all children are born in hospitals. It doesn’t matter if they live in faraway places or in mountains or hills. We have many other rights — a right to health, the right to education. And this is my last example that I will mention. Do you think that for equal work, men get better paid than women just for the fact of being women? Well, in Cuba, women get the same pay for same work. I can give you many, many examples. I don’t think we can use the argument of human rights for political confrontation. ” When the visit ended, President Raul Castro saw the Obamas and their massive entourage off, but not before President Obama had the pleasure of driving past the factories with slogans like “socialism or death” written high on the walls that he had passed when arriving, one has to wonder if he thought to himself that he had been successful in his visit?
Fidel Castro waited in disciplined fashion until the visit had ended to add his voice to his brother’s. In a long article in the newspaper Granma entitled ‘Brother Obama’, he warned Cubans to beware the honeyed words of Obama and blasted the US President for not referring in his speech to the extermination of native peoples in both the United States and Cuba, not recognising Cuba’s gains in health and education, and not divulging what he might know about how South Africa obtained nuclear weapons before apartheid ended, with the aid of the US government. ” My modest suggestion is that he reflects (on the U.S. role in South Africa and Cuba’s in Angola) and not now try to elaborate theories about Cuban politics ,” Fidel said.
Only time will tell how things will eventually go but we are convinced that neither the Cuban people nor their leaders will lightly lay aside any of the achievements of their revolution and will remain true to the revolutionary guidance of Marxism-Leninism.
Message of the Communist Party of Cuba to the friendly political and social forces
From April 16th to April 19th, the Communist Party of Cuba will hold its 7th Congress that will have as main objective to assess the fulfillment of the Guidelines of the Social and Economic Policy approved at the 6th Congress. It will also discuss and approve the development strategy of the country and the conceptualisation of the Cuban economic and social model.
The Congress will be held in an international environment characterised by the world crisis and the deepening of the global geo-political contradictions. Meanwhile, in the Latin American context there is an intensification of the imperialist and rightist counteroffensive against the democratic, revolutionary and freedom process in the continent and against the integration efforts in the region.
In the face of this situation, the Cuban Revolution keeps its steady and unchanged course. Since 2011, and with the overwhelming support of the Cuban people, we are carrying out the updating of the economic model aimed at building a prosperous and sustainable Socialism.
At the same time, since 2014, there is an ongoing complex process of normalisation of the relations with the United States of America aimed at achieving a civilised coexistence with the government of that country, in keeping with the efforts that Cuba and the rest of Latin America have made to make our region a peace zone as it was proclaimed at the 2nd Summit of CELAC held in Havana on January 2014.
The Communist Party of Cuba is aware of the challenges raised by this process of normalisation. We know that important U.S. sectors still follow their objective of undermining the foundations of the Revolution and overthrowing our political system through their approach and direct influence. In this regard, we consider that President Barack Obama´s visit to Havana reaffirmed the commitment to make irreversible this new tactic against Cuba.
The normalisation of the relations with the United States of America opens a new road in the battle of ideas that we have waged between solidarity and individualism, between inclusion and disregard, between Monroe´s design and Marti´s spirit, between exploitation and social justice, between neoliberal domination and sovereignty and Latin American integration.
We have reached up to here thanks to the unity and resistance of our people in the face of the military, economic and cultural might of imperialism, and to the wise leadership of comrades Fidel and Raúl Castro. To that we have to add the loyalty to our principles, the coherence of our foreign policy and our solidarity with the noble causes in the world.
We should underline that the victories of the Cuban people cannot be separated from the extraordinary international solidarity movement that has accompanied us during these years in the main battles waged for the release of the Cuban Five; a solidarity to which we will eternally be grateful and which we consider today more vital than ever.
The Cuban people and its organised vanguard will continue the struggle against the U.S. economic and financial blockade. We will not rest until we see our flag flying on the territory illegally occupied by the U.S. Navy Base in the Guantanamo Bay. We will continue denouncing the interventionist plots and the funding of counterrevolutionary groups in Cuba, as well as the illegal radio and television, paid by U.S. government´s public funds, which violate our sovereignty.
As the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro said recently, our noble and dedicated people will not renounce to the glory, to the rights and to the wealth obtained through the development of education, science and culture. We do not need – and we will never need – any gift from the Empire. We will keep our commitment with peace and fraternity, and we will always be true to our history.
DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA