U.S. gov’t is to blame for plight of Cubans …
Ninety miles off the coast of Florida lies one of the globe’s last reminders that there’s another way to exist, one that’s free of anxiety over pink slips, and crime, and homelessness, and the million and one abuses and aggravations caused by living in thrall to the bottom line.
The 30-year U.S. embargo against Cuba is meant to erase this example of socialist striving and workers’ cooperation, to re-enshrine the rule of profit and end a giant threat posed by a tiny nation.
The fall of the USSR and the cutting off of Soviet trade with Cuba powerfully abetted this campaign. Cuba is running short of oil, medicine, food, all kinds of consumer products, parts for industry, and, in some quarters, hope.
Thousands of balseros (rafters) are taking to the sea, seeking a brighter economic future in the very country that denied this to them in their homeland.
But Clinton doesn’t want them. Business’ pool of cheap reserve labor (otherwise known as the unemployed) is quite full, thank you, and he doesn’t want 65,000 refugees rioting in the streets of Miami when they find their prospects are no better here. They’re already demonstrating against the scandalous conditions at Guantanamo Bay.
But the biggest problem of the U.S. ruling class isn’t the balseros, and it isn’t even Castro, really, despite the media’s morbid fascination with the leader Time magazine calls a “master mischief-maker.”
The real torment is Cuba’s ten million people, the vast majority of whom remain loyal to the revolution and would defend it with their lives. They are defending it with their lives.
And they are not alone. Millions of people around the world look to Cuba as a promise still to be fulfilled — endangered but not extinguished.
As part of its tightening the noose around Cuba, the U.S. government is making it harder for people to organize in defense of the island, or even offer a helping hand to individuals there. The bank account of the Freedom to Travel Campaign was frozen; the rights of family members in the U.S. to visit Cuba and send money have been squashed; and drastic restrictions on humanitarian aid are in place.
But the solidarity movement is undaunted. Pastors for Peace is forging ahead with the organizing for its next blockade-busting Friendshipment of aid in November.
The role that the mobilization in defense of Cuba plays is crucial. The stronger the campaign is, the more the U.S. government is held in check in its machinations against the workers state.
And, as important as that is, perhaps one thing is even more important. The movement keeps Clinton and his cohorts from “disappearing,” through lies and censorship, the real facts about Cuba and the light Cuba’s existence shines on a different, higher path for humankind the world over.
… and for desperation of Haitians fleeing junta
Haiti is the hemisphere’s poorest country. During the 1700s, however, it was the richest and most lucrative colony in the West.
This is a case of cause and effect. Haiti has been bled dry by a succession of foreign powers — most recently, the U.S. The Marines invaded to protect U.S. economic and geopolitical interests in 1915; as we go to press, it looks as though they may be about to land again.
This time the excuse is the need to replace an illegitimate, terrorist military regime. But this pretext is paper-thin, given that the U.S. has never stopped training, sharing intelligence with, and otherwise collaborating with the malevolent junta it officially disclaims.
Whether the U.S. invades or not depends on how the decision-makers calculate the odds; the only thing that bothers them about the inhuman rule of the junta is the possibility that it will provoke mass revolt.
And they have good reason to fear revolution in Haiti, because Haiti’s workers and peasants are no passive victims. They defeated Napoleon’s fabled army; they pushed out the Marines in 1934; and, while still under the thumb of the U.S.-created Haitian military, swept reformer Jean-Bertrand Aristide into the presidency in 1990.
Aristide is not the answer to Haiti’s problems; the workers and peasants who elected him are. It is on their account that he must be restored as head of the government — not by sending in U.S./UN troops, but by the U.S. government withdrawing every last iota of financial, political, and military support from its Frankenstein, the Haitian generals.