By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Among the many unique qualities of the Cuban political process, and the organization of politics that has emerged from the revolutionary changes on the island, is the achievement of social peace in Cuba. It’s a phenomenon unthinkable in most other nations of the continent including, of course, the United States.
Surprised by this tranquility and security, many of the visitors from the United States who have been able to travel to Cuba with the exceptional authorization of Washington wonder if there are any organizations in Cuba that oppose the government. The answer, which is surprising to many, is that the only effective organizer and leader of the opposition in Cuba is the United States government. This is because Cuba’s citizens enjoy the daily right to participate in the construction of the new socialist order, but they also have the right to dissent. This is exercised in multiple instances of the vast and intense Cuban participatory system.
But another very important reason, one less spoken about, is that U.S. foreign policy has always been obsessive in maintaining a very direct and rigorous control over this dissidence. Very few Cubans agree to align themselves, to make use of their right to disagree, under the directions of a foreign government that openly proclaims itself to be an enemy of the independence, identity and social justice objectives of Cubans, and even less so with let alone do it in exchange for material benefits.
Washington’s instinctive imperialist voracity has never resigned itself to accepting a neighbor which does not blindly submit to U.S. hegemony. If not, they will learn from their own historical-practical experience, as have Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, the Dominican Republic and Haiti!
All these countries have suffered, in addition to Cuba, the extreme violence with which Washington is able to impose its neighbors’ submission to US designs.
The methods used by U.S. foreign policy to keep or return its neighbors to the fold have not always been identical. For example, from the dangers of absorption and subtle threats that have advised Canada to stay within the British Commonwealth. Why? To prevent its absorption by its American neighbors to the south. Then, the extension of borders by force with which Washington took half of its territory from Mexico. And, of course, the longest economic blockade in world history that still persists against Cuba. And we’re not even detailing the multiple invasion operations, coups and interventions sponsored by the OAS (Washington’s ministry of colonies), our America has experienced in recent centuries.
In the specific case of Cuba, a fierce campaign for the demonization of the purposes and actions of the Fidelista revolution began to develop before the triumph and seizure of power by the people in January 1959. It has been a sustained and relentless campaign, initially by the powerful US secret services of subversion and later publicly and notoriously, with multi-million dollar programs and plans aimed without discretion or shame at subverting order on the island.
This policy has been complemented, most of the time, by a ban on US citizens visiting the island in search of their own individual assessments.
With William Clinton in the presidency, the “people-to-people” policy was briefly put into effect. It authorized visiting Cuba by a certain category of individuals from academia and universities in general. It was designed with the purpose that the visitors would influence the Cubans by making them see the advantages of capitalism more, as was logical, the opposite was what happened.
President George W. Bush felt compelled to cancel the program, realizing its boomerang effect. By clashing with the truth of Cuba, the visitors became the best spokespersons for the Cuban reality.
In March 2016, then-President Barack Obama used his presidential powers to enact several measures that allowed certain categories of Americans to travel to Cuba with fewer restrictions. Nevertheless, the unconstitutional ban on tourist travel remained in place.
Donald Trump’s autocratic regime has preferred to apply measures of terror and threats in his speeches to counter the interest of U.S. citizens in approaching Cuba.
Cuba’s socialist revolutionary project does not impose anti-capitalist conditions on other countries. All it demands is respect for its experiments, essays, and studies. Cuba’s project is to create an alternative social and economic order to failed capitalism, one that is more just and better for the Cuban people and its independence.
April 9, 2018.
By: Cubadebate Editorial Staff
April 5, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Objectively, the credibility of the US government, with either party at the forefront, has always been in question because its foreign policy pronouncements on peace, freedom, democracy and human rights systematically contradict or contrast with its actions.
These days, the Associated Press (AP), a U.S. news agency, lamented in a commentary by its journalists that the conflictive and misleading daily statements of its President, Donald Trump, and the most important members of its team of senior advisors fuel new doubts about the credibility of the White House.
“Some Republican congressmen even wonder if they have a partner in the president of the nation with whom to negotiate in good faith and how much the president’s word is worth.
An AP paper says the former assistant Republican leader in Congress has told the agency that negotiating with White House officials has become impossible for Republicans, given the president’s propensity to undermine the public and private guarantees of his own team. White House officials have been seen in the unusual position of urging legislators to downplay some of the President’s statements.
“Recently, in one of his usual morning tweets, Trump threatened to veto a massive budget bill after the White House itself had assured legislators that the president would sign it.
The White House officials privately insisted, according to the AP journalist, that the president was venting his feelings after hearing reports that the agreement presented a defeat of several of his priorities.
Although, after hours of uncertainty, Trump signed the legislation into law, this situation disturbed some Republicans. “The lack of control over Trump’s outbursts is a concern on both sides of the House,” said a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania who has sometimes been critical of the leader. “The disorder, chaos, instability, uncertainty and excessive statements are not the virtues of conservatives,” he said.
Members of both parties have expressed concern that the President seems oblivious to the way in which, by assuming certain positions and then relinquishing them without modesty, he undermines his own influence and agenda.
Trump’s hesitancy with the budget bill was just one in a series of recent incidents that put the credibility of the White House’s words in the spotlight. Earlier this month, during a private fundraising event, Trump boasted of inventing trade data in a conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In recent days, Trump and his team have strongly denied the possible dismissal of General Herbert R. McMaster as National Security Advisor, as well as likely changes in the legal team dealing with Trump’s role in the special prosecutor’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election and constitute an obstruction of justice. Beyond public statements, John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, had privately assured his staff that there would be no restructuring.
But by the end of the week, McMaster had been separated and the legal team seemed to be looking for his replacement.
Trump’s problems with the truth are not new, the AP commentary says, often altering the facts, from the number of people who came to his inauguration to the scope of the tax reform he signed last year. And just as he did in boasting of his lie to Trudeau, the president rarely seems ashamed to repeat claims that have proven to be false. Polls show that Americans do not believe Trump is truthful, and in a recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac, 57% of respondents said the president is dishonest. The leader’s supporters say he was elected despite similar polls during his campaign.
Such a bias often puts his advisors in the uncomfortable position of issuing strong public statements that the President immediately denies. Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeatedly denied reports of McMaster’s departure in the days leading up to Trump’s announcement that he had a new National Security Advisor.
Peter Wehner, who worked in the governments of President Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush said, “Trump has no one to blame but himself. He doesn’t even know his own position.
April 2, 2018.
July 31, 2015
In Miami today, Hillary Clinton forcefully expressed her support for normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba and formally called on Congress to lift the Cuba embargo. Hillary emphasized that she believes we need to increase American influence in Cuba, not reduce it — a strong contrast with Republican candidates who are stuck in the past, trying to return to the same failed Cold War-era isolationism that has only strengthened the Castro regime.
To those Republicans, her message was clear: “They have it backwards: Engagement is not a gift to the Castros – it’s a threat to the Castros. An American embassy in Havana isn’t a concession – it’s a beacon. Lifting the embargo doesn’t set back the advance of freedom – it advances freedom where it is most desperately needed.”
A full transcript of the remarks is included below:
“Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. I want to thank Dr. Frank Mora, director of the Kimberly Latin American and Caribbean Center and a professor here at FIU, and before that served with distinction at the Department of Defense. I want to recognize former Congressman Joe Garcia. Thank you Joe for being here – a long time friend and an exemplary educator. The President of Miami-Dade College, Eduardo Padrón and the President of FIU, Mark Rosenberg – I thank you all for being here. And for me it’s a delight to be here at Florida International University. You can feel the energy here. It’s a place where people of all backgrounds and walks of life work hard, do their part, and get ahead. That’s the promise of America that has drawn generations of immigrants to our shores, and it’s a reality right here at FIU.
“Today, as Frank said, I want to talk with you about a subject that has stirred passionate debate in this city and beyond for decades, but is now entering a crucial new phase. America’s approach to Cuba is at a crossroads, and the upcoming presidential election will determine whether we chart a new path forward or turn back to the old ways of the past. We must decide between engagement and embargo, between embracing fresh thinking and returning to Cold War deadlock. And the choices we make will have lasting consequences not just for more than 11 million Cubans, but also for American leadership across our hemisphere and around the world.
“I know that for many in this room and throughout the Cuban-American community, this debate is not an intellectual exercise – it is deeply personal.
“I teared up as Frank was talking about his mother—not able to mourn with her family, say goodbye to her brother. I’m so privileged to have a sister-in-law who is Cuban-American, who came to this country, like so many others as a child and has chartered her way with a spirit of determination and success.
“I think about all those who were sent as children to live with strangers during the Peter Pan airlift, for families who arrived here during the Mariel boatlift with only the clothes on their backs, for sons and daughters who could not bury their parents back home, for all who have suffered and waited and longed for change to come to the land, “where palm trees grow.” And, yes, for a rising generation eager to build a new and better future.
“Many of you have your own stories and memories that shape your feelings about the way forward. Like Miriam Leiva, one of the founders of the Ladies in White, who is with us today – brave Cuban women who have defied the Castro regime and demanded dignity and reform. We are honored to have her here today and I’d like to ask her, please raise your hand. Thank you.
“I wish every Cuban back in Cuba could spend a day walking around Miami and see what you have built here, how you have turned this city into a dynamic global city. How you have succeeded as entrepreneurs and civic leaders. It would not take them long to start demanding similar opportunities and achieving similar success back in Cuba.
“I understand the skepticism in this community about any policy of engagement toward Cuba. As many of you know, I’ve been skeptical too. But you’ve been promised progress for fifty years. And we can’t wait any longer for a failed policy to bear fruit. We have to seize this moment. We have to now support change on an island where it is desperately needed.
“I did not come to this position lightly. I well remember what happened to previous attempts at engagement. In the 1990s, Castro responded to quiet diplomacy by shooting down the unarmed Brothers to the Rescue plane out of the sky. And with their deaths in mind, I supported the Helms-Burton Act to tighten the embargo.
“Twenty years later, the regime’s human rights abuses continue: imprisoning dissidents, cracking down on free expression and the Internet, beating and harassing the courageous Ladies in White, refusing a credible investigation into the death of Oswaldo Paya. Anyone who thinks we can trust this regime hasn’t learned the lessons of history.
“But as Secretary of State, it became clear to me that our policy of isolating Cuba was strengthening the Castros’ grip on power rather than weakening it – and harming our broader efforts to restore American leadership across the hemisphere. The Castros were able to blame all of the island’s woes on the U.S. embargo, distracting from the regime’s failures and delaying their day of reckoning with the Cuban people. We were unintentionally helping the regime keep Cuba a closed and controlled society rather than working to open it up to positive outside influences the way we did so effectively with the old Soviet bloc and elsewhere.
“So in 2009, we tried something new. The Obama administration made it easier for Cuban Americans to visit and send money to family on the island. No one expected miracles, but it was a first step toward exposing the Cuban people to new ideas, values, and perspectives.
“I remember seeing a CNN report that summer about a Cuban father living and working in the United States who hadn’t seen his baby boy back home for a year-and-a-half because of travel restrictions. Our reforms made it possible for that father and son finally to reunite. It was just one story, just one family, but it felt like the start of something important.
“In 2011, we further loosened restrictions on cash remittances sent back to Cuba and we opened the way for more Americans – clergy, students and teachers, community leaders – to visit and engage directly with the Cuban people. They brought with them new hope and support for struggling families, aspiring entrepreneurs, and brave civil society activists. Small businesses started opening. Cell phones proliferated. Slowly, Cubans were getting a taste of a different future.
“I then became convinced that building stronger ties between Cubans and Americans could be the best way to promote political and economic change on the island. So by the end of my term as Secretary, I recommended to the President that we end the failed embargo and double down on a strategy of engagement that would strip the Castro regime of its excuses and force it to grapple with the demands and aspirations of the Cuban people. Instead of keeping change out, as it has for decades, the regime would have to figure out how to adapt to a rapidly transforming society.
“What’s more, it would open exciting new business opportunities for American companies, farmers, and entrepreneurs – especially for the Cuban-American community. That’s my definition of a win-win.
“Now I know some critics of this approach point to other countries that remain authoritarian despite decades of diplomatic and economic engagement. And yes it’s true that political change will not come quickly or easily to Cuba. But look around the world at many of the countries that have made the transition from autocracy to democracy – from Eastern Europe to East Asia to Latin America. Engagement is not a silver bullet, but again and again we see that it is more likely to hasten change, not hold it back.
“The future for Cuba is not foreordained. But there is good reason to believe that once it gets going, this dynamic will be especially powerful on an island just 90 miles from the largest economy in the world. Just 90 miles away from one and a half million Cuban-Americans whose success provides a compelling advertisement for the benefits of democracy and an open society.
“So I have supported President Obama and Secretary Kerry as they’ve advanced this strategy. They’ve taken historic steps forward – re-establishing diplomatic relations, reopening our embassy in Havana, expanding opportunities further for travel and commerce, calling on Congress to finally drop the embargo.
“That last step about the embargo is crucial, because without dropping it, this progress could falter.
“We have arrived at a decisive moment. The Cuban people have waited long enough for progress to come. Even many Republicans on Capitol Hill are starting to recognize the urgency of moving forward. It’s time for their leaders to either get on board or get out of the way. The Cuba embargo needs to go, once and for all. We should replace it with a smarter approach that empowers Cuban businesses, Cuban civil society, and the Cuban-American community to spur progress and keep pressure on the regime.
“Today I am calling on Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell to step up and answer the pleas of the Cuban people. By large majorities, they want a closer relationship with America.
“They want to buy our goods, read our books, surf our web, and learn from our people. They want to bring their country into the 21st century. That is the road toward democracy and dignity and we should walk it together.
“We can’t go back to a failed policy that limits Cuban-Americans’ ability to travel and support family and friends. We can’t block American businesses that could help free enterprise take root in Cuban soil – or stop American religious groups and academics and activists from establishing contacts and partnerships on the ground.
“If we go backward, no one will benefit more than the hardliners in Havana. In fact, there may be no stronger argument for engagement than the fact that Cuba’s hardliners are so opposed to it. They don’t want strong connections with the United States. They don’t want Cuban-Americans traveling to the island. They don’t want American students and clergy and NGO activists interacting with the Cuban people. That is the last thing they want. So that’s precisely why we need to do it.
“Unfortunately, most of the Republican candidates for President would play right into the hard-liners’ hands. They would reverse the progress we have made and cut the Cuban people off from direct contact with the Cuban-American community and the free-market capitalism and democracy that you embody. That would be a strategic error for the United States and a tragedy for the millions of Cubans who yearn for closer ties.
“They have it backwards: Engagement is not a gift to the Castros – it’s a threat to the Castros. An American embassy in Havana isn’t a concession – it’s a beacon. Lifting the embargo doesn’t set back the advance of freedom – it advances freedom where it is most desperately needed.
“Fundamentally, most Republican candidates still view Cuba – and Latin America more broadly – through an outdated Cold War lens. Instead of opportunities to be seized, they see only threats to be feared. They refuse to learn the lessons of the past or pay attention to what’s worked and what hasn’t. For them, ideology trumps evidence. And so they remain incapable of moving us forward.
“As President, I would increase American influence in Cuba, rather than reduce it. I would work with Congress to lift the embargo and I would also pursue additional steps.
“First, we should help more Americans go to Cuba. If Congress won’t act to do this, I would use executive authority to make it easier for more Americans to visit the island to support private business and engage with the Cuban people.
“Second, I would use our new presence and connections to more effectively support human rights and civil society in Cuba. I believe that as our influence expands among the Cuban people, our diplomacy can help carve out political space on the island in a way we never could before.
“We will follow the lead of Pope Francis, who will carry a powerful message of empowerment when he visits Cuba in September. I would direct U.S. diplomats to make it a priority to build relationships with more Cubans, especially those starting businesses and pushing boundaries. Advocates for women’s rights and workers’ rights. Environmental activists. Artists. Bloggers. The more relationships we build, the better.
“We should be under no illusions that the regime will end its repressive ways any time soon, as its continued use of short-term detentions demonstrates. So we have to redouble our efforts to stand up for the rights of reformers and political prisoners, including maintaining sanctions on specific human-rights violators. We should maintain restrictions on the flow of arms to the regime – and work to restrict access to the tools of repression while expanding access to tools of dissent and free expression.
“We should make it clear, as I did as Secretary of State, that the “freedom to connect” is a basic human right, and therefore do more to extend that freedom to more and more Cubans – particularly young people.
“Third, and this is directly related, we should focus on expanding communications and commercial links to and among the Cuban people. Just five percent of Cubans have access to the open Internet today. We want more American companies pursuing joint ventures to build networks that will open the free flow of information – and empower everyday Cubans to make their voices heard. We want Cubans to have access to more phones, more computers, more satellite televisions. We want more American airplanes and ferries and cargo ships arriving every day. I’m told that Airbnb is already getting started. Companies like Google and Twitter are exploring opportunities as well.
“It will be essential that American and international companies entering the Cuban market act responsibly, hold themselves to high standards, use their influence to push for reforms. I would convene and connect U.S. business leaders from many fields to advance this strategy, and I will look to the Cuban-American community to continue leading the way. No one is better positioned to bring expertise, resources, and vision to this effort – and no one understands better how transformative this can be.
“We will also keep pressing for a just settlement on expropriated property. And we will let Raul explain to his people why he wants to prevent American investment in bicycle repair shops, in restaurants, in barbershops, and Internet cafes. Let him try to put up barriers to American technology and innovation that his people crave.
“Finally, we need to use our leadership across the Americas to mobilize more support for Cubans and their aspirations. Just as the United States needed a new approach to Cuba, the region does as well.
“Latin American countries and leaders have run out of excuses for not standing up for the fundamental freedoms of the Cuban people. No more brushing things under the rug. No more apologizing. It is time for them to step up. Not insignificantly, new regional cooperation on Cuba will also open other opportunities for the United States across Latin America.
“For years, our unpopular policy towards Cuba held back our influence and leadership. Frankly, it was an albatross around our necks. We were isolated in our opposition to opening up the island. Summit meetings were consumed by the same old debates. Regional spoilers like Venezuela took advantage of the disagreements to advance their own agendas and undermine the United States. Now we have the chance for a fresh start in the Americas.
“Strategically, this is a big deal. Too often, we look east, we look west, but we don’t look south. And no region in the world is more important to our long-term prosperity and security than Latin America. And no region in the world is better positioned to emerge as a new force for global peace and progress.
“Many Republicans seem to think of Latin America still as a land of crime and coups rather than a place where free markets and free people are thriving. They’ve got it wrong. Latin America is now home to vibrant democracies, expanding middle classes, abundant energy supplies, and a combined GDP of more than $4 trillion.
“Our economies, communities, and even our families are deeply entwined. And I see our increasing interdependence as a comparative advantage to be embraced. The United States needs to build on what I call the “power of proximity.” It’s not just geography – it’s common values, common culture, common heritage. It’s shared interests that could power a new era of partnership and prosperity. Closer ties across Latin America will help our economy at home and strengthen our hand around the world, especially in the Asia-Pacific. There is enormous potential for cooperation on clean energy and combatting climate change.
“And much work to be done together to take on the persistent challenges in our hemisphere, from crime to drugs to poverty, and to stand in defense of our shared values against regimes like that in Venezuela. So the United States needs to lead in the Latin America. And if we don’t, make no mistake, others will. China is eager to extend its influence. Strong, principled American leadership is the only answer. That was my approach as Secretary of State and will be my priority as President.
“Now it is often said that every election is about the future. But this time, I feel it even more powerfully. Americans have worked so hard to climb out of the hole we found ourselves in with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression in 2008. Families took second jobs and second shifts. They found a way to make it work. And now, thankfully, our economy is growing again.
“Slowly but surely we also repaired America’s tarnished reputation. We strengthened old alliances and started new partnerships. We got back to the time-tested values that made our country a beacon of hope and opportunity and freedom for the entire world. We learned to lead in new ways for a complex and changing age. And America is safer and stronger as a result.
“We cannot afford to let out-of-touch, out-of-date partisan ideas and candidates rip away all the progress we’ve made. We can’t go back to cowboy diplomacy and reckless war-mongering. We can’t go back to a go-it-alone foreign policy that views American boots on the ground as a first choice rather than as a last resort. We have paid too high a price in lives, power, and prestige to make those same mistakes again. Instead we need a foreign policy for the future with creative, confident leadership that harnesses all of America’s strength, smarts, and values. I believe the future holds far more opportunities than threats if we shape global events rather than reacting to them and being shaped by them. That is what I will do as President, starting right here in our own hemisphere.
“I’m running to build an America for tomorrow, not yesterday. For the struggling, the striving, and the successful. For the young entrepreneur in Little Havana who dreams of expanding to Old Havana. For the grandmother who never lost hope of seeing freedom come to the homeland she left so long ago. For the families who are separated. For all those who have built new lives in a new land. I’m running for everyone who’s ever been knocked down, but refused to be knocked out. I am running for you and I want to work with you to be your partner to build the kind of future that will once again not only make Cuban-Americas successful here in our country, but give Cubans in Cuba the same chance to live up to their own potential.
Thank you all very, very much.”
For Immediate Release, July 31, 2015
PAID FOR BY HILLARY FOR AMERICA
Contributions or gifts to Hillary for America are not tax deductible.
Hillary for America, PO Box 5256, New York
Cuban media coverage, an example:
Hillary Clinton Calls in Miami for Lifting of U.S. blockade on Cuba
HAVANA, Cuba, Aug 1 (acn) Democrat pre-candidate to the 2016 presidential elections in the United States, Hillary Clinton, asked Congress on Friday, from Miami, Florida, to lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba since 1962, the Prensa Latina news agency reported.
In a speech at the International University of Florida, the former Secretary of State asked lawmakers to take advantage of this decisive moment, after the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries and the reopening of embassies in the respective capitals on July 20.
The U.S. policy towards Cuba is at a crossroads and next year’s elections by the White House will determine whether we will carry on with a new course in this regard or return to the old ways of the past, she added.
We must decide between commitment and sanctions, between adopting new thinking and returning to the deadlock we were during the Cold War, she pointed out.
She added that even many Republicans on Capitol Hill are beginning to recognize the urgency of continuing onward to dismantle the sanctions and this is the moment when their leaders must join this task or get out of the way of those who carry on.
Clinton added that the blockade must end once and for all; we must replace it with “more intelligent measures that manage to consolidate the interests of the United States,” and called the red party leadership on Capitol Hill to join this policy.
The former Secretary of State reiterated her support for the policy of rapprochement with the island that began after December 17, when Cuban President Raul Castro and his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, announced the decision of reestablishing diplomatic relations.
For years, the state of Florida was the base of a strong opposition to bonds with Havana, which made the blockade an untouchable issue among those who aspired to be elected for posts in that territory, especially for Republicans.
On several occasions, the former first lady has defended the lifting of the blockade against the Caribbean nation, particularly in her book Hard Choices, in which she assures that while she was Secretary of State (2009-2013) she recommended Obama to review the policy towards Cuba.
A survey conducted last week by the Pew Research Center showed that 72 percent of U.S. citizens are in favor of lifting the blockade against Cuba and 73 percent approve Obama’s decision of reestablishing diplomatic relations with the Caribbean island.
A survey by the McClatchy newspaper chain and the Marist Institute for Public Opinion released on Friday showed that 44 percent of likely voters prefer Clinton; 29 percent Republican Jeb Bush; and 20 percent controversial aspirant Donald Trump, for the November 2016 elections.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
“The systematic dehumanization of the leaders of other countries; the routine exaggeration of their military capabilities; the monotonous falsification of the nature and attitudes of other peoples; the reckless application of double standards in comparing the conduct of others with our own, as well as the inability to recognize the common character of many problems of others with our own, and the consequent tendency to see all aspects of the relationship with others in terms of a total and irreconcilable conflict of concerns and purposes. These, I believe, are not signs of the maturity and discernment that can be expected in the diplomacy of a great power…”.
Although the above description may seem applicable to Washington’s current foreign policy, it is a warning that George Frost Kennan (1904-2005), a long-serving diplomat and American historian, reminds us of the fact that it was Kennan who formulated and advocated a “policy of containment” against alleged Soviet expansionism, but later changed his theory.
Kennan enunciated his “containment policy” in February 1946 in a text that is remembered as the long message (“the Long Telegram”) he sent from Moscow in 1946 against so-called Soviet expansionism at the end of World War II. The text, signed with just one “X”, appeared in the July 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, intended to analyze the structure and psychology of Soviet diplomacy at that time. It was widely disseminated by Washington and brought Kennan a lot of popularity in the academic world.
Shortly after that same year, he was appointed director of policy planning at the State Department and, in 1949, advisor to that department. He returned to Moscow in 1952 as his country’s ambassador and in the following year, he had to return to the United States after being declared persona non grata by the Soviet government.
In the late 1950s, Kennan revised his views on “containment” and began advocating a program of “disengagement” from areas of conflict with the Soviet Union. He later emphatically denied that containment was applicable tp situations in other areas of the world, such as Vietnam.
Kennan is identified as one of the architects of the Cold War. His postwar writings about the supposed Soviet threat nurtured the U. S. policy of containment that led to the devastating arms race that still threatens the world with utter destruction.
But the development of events and variables in Washington’s foreign policy led Kennan to reconsider his initial views and to formulate those with which he begins this article.
Kennan then suggests that, although the Russians were still fundamentally opposed to peaceful coexistence with the West and inclined to achieve the extension of the Soviet socialist system around the world, they were particularly sensitive to the logic of military force and will respond or retreat in the face of skillful and determined resistance to their wishes for expansion.
Thus, Kennan goes on to advocate a policy of “counter-pressure” where the Soviets threatened or it could be predicted that such counter-pressure could lead to the Soviets being willing to cooperate with the US or, eventually, be seen to lead to an internal collapse of the Soviet government. This point of view would eventually become the focus of US policy towards Russia.
It is remarkable how much the imprint of Kennan’s policy of containment has influenced U. S. imperial policy, despite its belated retraction. It is something that can be noticed in the current stage of Washington’s hegemonic decline with an almost identical performance in the manner of demonizing its enemies or those who do not agree with its designs.
It is as if the complacent media and the two political parties that govern alternatively could only agree to attack their opponents when they have fabricated an image that fits into certain diabolical and perverse preconceived patterns.
In Latin America, the current U. S. offensive against dissident governments in its hegemonic area goes through a period of great intensity in which Bolivarian leader Nicolás Maduro Moro, president of Venezuela, occupies the prominent place that for half a century had Cuba sitting in the chair of the accused. The head of the Caracas government has reached, if not surpassed, the level of gossip that Fidel and Raúl Castro used to have, although the latter do not escape today from the diarrhea of lies and dehumanizing insults of Donald Trump.
February 27, 2018.
By Redaccion OnCuba
January 27, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews[The sign says, “If we weren’t Cubans, we would pay to be.”]
Padura, who was in the Spanish city of Toledo to present his new novel La transparencia del tiempo, answered reporters’ questions, that although he can’t be sure, he believes Trump is president “because in ahead of him, there was a candidate who was a woman.
And, in the United States, it was easier to have a black president than a female president, it’s a very complicated society,” he added.
Cuban writer Leonardo Padura said that the president of the United States, Donald Trump,”is the sin that Americans themselves are paying for their way of thinking”.
In this regard, he recalled that the story he tells in his latest novel takes place fundamentally in 2014 and ends with the beginning of talks between Cuba and the United States to re-establish relations.
It was a very hopeful development for the vast majority of Cubans and a large majority of Americans. But unfortunately, one of President Trump’s fundamental policies has been to dismantle President Obama’s policies,” said Padura.
I don’t believe that he has had a definite policy, except in the dismantling of what Obama created, and that’s where Cuba also fell,” said the writer, for whom relations between Cuba and the United States were restored but not normalized,” because, with an economic and financial embargo there can’t be normal relations.
In this context, he stressed that the Cuban community in Miami “is really very important.
It is a community that has made great efforts, which has even been able to accumulate capital “and will be important in the future development of Cuba,” according to Padura. He added that although in his principles this community “was characterized by being totally hostile to the Cuban revolutionary system,” now other more open generations have arrived.
The new generation of Cubans from Miami is much more open, its members travel to Cuba very often ” and they feel Cuban,” said Padura. He added that he has personally perceived that “it is increasingly possible for a Cuban artist living in Cuba to present himself as something normal in Miami.
There is an atmosphere “in which you can find some sense of hostility,” although he pointed out that “this has remained for a political class for which the bad relationship with Cuba is part of their work and is also part of their business.
But, in general, I feel that it is a community that has changed a lot in recent times. The historical exile no longer exists,” said Padura, who, for this novel brings back the character of police officer Mario Conde, who has starred in half a dozen novels.
In the plot, Conde is going to turn 60 years old and age begins to worry him. Not because of vanity,”but because he wants to witness things that may happen in the future” even though he is a man obsessed with the past “and knows that this vital period is running out”.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Cuba produces, consumes and exports substantial amounts of Havana cigars and rum, products that enjoy a lot of prestige and are in high demand in international markets.
It is somehow perplexing that a nation which –according to United Nations specialized agencies– contributes greatly to the prevention and cure of ailments through the medical assistance offered by its scientists in many countries, is likewise an important supplier in the world market of products that are harmful to health, such as alcohol and tobacco.
The inhabitants of the islands that make up the Cuban archipelago took control of their destiny after a bloody liberation struggle. By then, the humble and exploited Cuban peasants and workers had managed to develop –with sweat and tears resulting from strenuous capitalist exploitation– cultivation techniques, handicraft and manufacturing techniques which, together with climatic and agricultural conditions specific to parts of the Cuban archipelago, had placed the island at the head of the world in these product which make it proud today.
Cuba had always been denied democratic paths. It had to achieve its independence, in the decade of the 1950’s, through an armed struggle waged by a rebel vanguard at the cost of thousands of lives.
But when the popular revolution won and the Cuban people became owners of the country’s destiny, the new government was forced to limit the scope of its social welfare goals.
This was because of the need to defend against the counter-revolutionary actions of the oligarchy, already displaced from the government but supported by the United States superpower.
After the proclamation of Cuba’s independence from Spanish colonial rule, the US played the same hegemonic role that Spain had exercised previously.
Not all the big companies that were nationalized by the revolution reacted in the same way.
Virtually all non-US foreign companies accepted the path of negotiation and resolved the matter sensibly, without further conflict. Several of them, over the years, have returned to have investments in Cuba at much higher levels.
For more than sixty years, US companies nationalized in Cuba were not allowed by the US blockade laws against Cuba (euphemistically called “embargo”) to sit down and normally discuss compensation issues.
Everything had to be done in an organized manner, and the inevitable impact had to be treated carefully to minimize violent effects, always in the hope of future understanding and tolerance.
In the case of Bacardí, the former owners of the firm opted for making a legal war against Cuba.
Shortly after the triumph of the revolution, they registered the Bacardí Company in Bermuda and fought a legal battle in the International Court of The Hague for the ownership of the brand.
They managed to maintain the right to the Bacardi brand and the bat as its symbol, but they were denied the right to identify their rum as Cuban or originally from Havana.
In 1999, thanks to their political links and the blockade, Bacardi managed to get the US Congress to approve a provision that would allow it to seize the Havana Club brand within the US territory.
The World Trade Organization condemned the action, but allowed Bacardi to market, within the United States, the fake Havana Club rum made in Puerto Rico.
Through bizarre legal maneuvers, Bacardí allegedly had acquired from an industrialist named José Arechabala, the property of a small rum factory called Havana Club. This had been his property since 1934 until its nationalization in 1960. In truth, those rights were non-existent, because they belonged to the Cuban state.
Despite the blockade, Cuba has regularly renewed the Havana Club brand with the US Patent Office since 1976.
The brand was given to the rum Cuba produces that in the past had been named Bacardí. Cuba has continued producing the Havana Club rum with total international legal backing. Obviously, because of the US blockade, the Havana Club brand could not be registered in the United States.
Since 1994, the production of Havana Club rum and its worldwide distribution, except in the United States, has been done by a joint venture of the French Pernod Ricard and the Cuban Ron Cuba. This is a measure of defense against the intense harassment of the blockade against the Island.
In a short time, the Cuban Havana Club rum quality has captured the preference of rum drinkers from around the world who have stopped consuming Bacardi (manufactured in Puerto Rico). Drinkers of the best rum in the world, including Americans, do not settle for the fake that Bacardí is today.
February 6, 2018
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The crass coarseness of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, in matters of civic and formal education cannot justify the daily barbs of this false lunatic turned head of state that, ultimately, goes to the main detriment of the reputation and dignity of US citizens.
Following Trump’s racist pronouncement, which described Haiti and the whole of the countries of Africa as “shithole nations”, Cuban journalist José A. Téllez Villalón published on the Spanish site “Rebelion” a work to remind us that a large part of the arms, ammunition and men with which France contributed to the independence of the then Thirteen Colonies, passed through the then-French colony of Saint-Domingue (today Haiti) which had contributed with the blood of its children to the triumph of the forces in struggle for their independence from the British metropolis.
On March 12, 1779, the French colonizers began the recruitment of a body of volunteers to participate in the American Revolution. “The Volunteer Hunters of Saint-Domingue,” as the contingent was called, was made up of French settlers and between 500 and 800 black and mulatto freedmen.
Between the end of 1780 and the middle of 1781, the troops commanded by General George Washington and those commanded by the French general Jean Batiste de Vimeur, Count of Rochambeau, had been left without resources to land a final blow on the English troops positioned in Yorktown.
George Washington, the leader of the independence movement, reflected it on May 1, 1781 in his diary: “In a word, instead of having everything ready to go to the campaign, we have nothing. Instead of having the perspective of a glorious offensive campaign before us, we have but a confused and defensive situation, unless we receive powerful aid in the form of ships, land troops and money from our generous allies. For now, this is too eventful to be able to count on it. “
French Marshal Rochambeau wrote to French Admiral François Joseph Paul, Count de Grasse: “I must not hide from you, Sir, that the Americans are at the limit of their resources. Washington does not have half the troops it calculates, and in my opinion, although he remains silent about it, he does not have 6,000 men, nor does Mr. de La Fayette gather 1000 regulars in the militia to defend Virginia … “.
Téllez Villalón explains that Rochambeau asked the head of the fleet to recruit troops and bring them with him as reinforcements for General Washington’s Continental Army. The Admiral complied with instructions, recruited 3,000 volunteers from Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien, and placed them under the orders of the young officer Claudius Henry of Saint-Simon who was the founder of French socialism and utopian socialism. The same man who, for Engels, was, together with Hegel, the most encyclopedic mind of his time and in whose work most of the later ideas of socialism are contained.
The multinational reinforcement, consisting of a battalion of ex-slaves, pardos [tri-racial descendants of European, black and indiginous peoples] and mulatos from Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien commanded by Saint-Simon, disembarked in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, and took part, between September 26 and October 19, 1781, in the Siege of Yorktown.
So, says Tellez, the Americans owe a lot to foreign forces -French, Latin American and Haitian- for the achievement of their Independence. It was ratified by the United States Congress on November 15, 1784, after Great Britain capitulated on September 3, 1783 with the Treaty of Paris.
Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the American nation, acknowledged in an editorial published on July 5, 1803 in the New York Evening Post that “to the fatal climate of Saint-Domingue (Haiti), and to the courage and obstinate resistance of its black inhabitants, that we owe the obstacles that delayed the colonization of Louisiana until the favorable moment when a rupture between England and France gave a new turn to the latter’s projects”.
Nevertheless, another American founding father, Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, who was second vice president (1797-1801) and third president (1801-1809) of the United States, showed no gratitude for this assistance. On the contrary, he suspended all trade with Haiti in 1804.
The United States resisted recognizing the newly independent country for many years, joining the European empires in punishing Haiti for its insubordination. It was not until June 5, 1862 that President Abraham Lincoln granted American diplomatic recognition of the generous and heroic Fatherland of Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines.
February 7, 2018.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.The multiple crises affecting Donald Trump’s administration from the day the real estate multi-billionaire entrepreneur arrived at the Oval Office of the White House has not spared the State Department.
An article by journalist Gardiner Harris, correspondent for the The New York Times at the White House, discusses the serious situation the diplomacy of the superpower has been going through since that day. He predicts it will tend to grow more serious in tune with the vices inherent in Trump’s administration, even when, in this case, it is Secretary of State, Rex W. Tillerson, the first-acting figure.
Harris describes what has been happening in the upper ranks of the State Department as “a parade of dismissals and early retirements”. Tillerson’s intense campaign to clean out the State Department has called upon each office of the Department to contribute to this goal.
The guarded optimism that greeted the arrival of Rex Tillerson to the post of Secretary of State soon gave way to concern about the lack of communication between the boss and his subordinates.
By midyear, Tillerson’s reiterated focus on issues such as inefficiency and the need to reorganize foreign policy provoked increasing anger and concern about his performance within the department.
Now, the estrangement is in the open. Diplomats going out the door are making their feelings known and a number of members of Congress have raised questions about the impact of these firings and resignations on US foreign policy.
In a recent message addressed to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Democratic members of the House Foreign Relations Committee of Representatives, citing what they said was the “exodus of more than 100 Senior Foreign Service Officers of the State Department since January “, expressed concern about what “appears to be the intentional hollowing out of our senior diplomatic ranks.”
Tillerson, a former chief executive of the EXXON corporation and a supporter of fundamentalist capitalism, has made no secret of his belief that the State Department is a bloated bureaucracy. He regards much of the day-to-day diplomacy that lower level US diplomats conduct (and he now leads) as unproductive.
Even before Tillerson’s appointment was confirmed by the Senate, his team of assistants fired 6 of the State Department’s top career diplomats, including some who had been appointed during governments headed by Republican presidents. None were given any reasons for their dismissals.
Secretary Tillerson announced a reorganization to be carried out in the following months. He stressed that this would be the most important action that he would do while in office. He hired two consulting companies to lead the process.
Since he announced, before arriving at the State Department, that he would slash its budget by 31%, many in the Department have always seen the reorganization as a smokescreen for drastic cuts.
Tillerson has frozen most hiring and offered $25,000 buyouts, hoping to get about 2,000 career diplomats and civil servants to leave their positions by October 2018.
His small group of assistants has managed to fire some diplomats and gotten others to resign by refusing them the assignments they wanted, or taking their duties away altogether.
Among those fired or sidelined there is a high proportion of Latino and African-American diplomats, as well as women. These were important to maintain the Department’s troubled diversity balance.
Gardiner Harris quotes Nancy McEldowney, a career diplomat and former ambassador who retired last June after 30 years as a US Foreign Service Officer, “There is a vacuum throughout the State Department and the junior people now working in these top jobs lack the confidence and credibility that comes from a presidential nomination and a Senate confirmation.”
An example of the trend being followed in the State Department was seeing during the farce against Cuba about “sonic attacks” (which never existed and were probably the result of Senator Marco Rubio’s initiative to promote his image as the probable future Republican president). One of the episode’s first outcomes was the reduction of the staff at the US Embassy in Havana to such an extent that it practically brought to a standstill the consular relations between both sides of the Florida Strait.
January 23, 2018.
By: Dr. Néstor García Iturbe
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The Trump administration, at the head of the United States government, has just included Cuba on three new lists.
That is part of the policy change, which Trump announced when he met in the city of Miami, with a group of “rank Batistianos, annexationists and terrorists” as our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez, described them in his recent speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations.
One of the lists, from the State Department, refers to different Cuban entities with which the US citizens will not be able to carry out financial transactions. This list is headed by the MINISTRY OF THE ARMED FORCES, THE MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR, THE POLICE AND OTHERS ORGANS OF STATE SECURITY. They also include a series of hotels and other entities that supposedly belong to the security forces of the Cuban government.
This measure has been shaped by the main interest of trying to affect the trips of US citizens to Cuba. But what it establishes is unconstitutional, within the so-called freedoms that American citizens have proclaimed, as well as being irrational.
For example, if a US citizen commits a traffic infraction, he has to pay a fine to the police, in doing so he is violating a regulation of the US government and could be incriminated for this.
It is irrational and ridiculous to include in the ban two brands of soft drinks made in Cuba. The so-called “individual freedoms” of the American are torn up again when the government regulates them up to the brand of soda pop that can be drunk.
To continue issuing regulations, the Trump administration will establish the type of toilet paper that Americans should use in Cuba. It is possible that even THAT will have to be regulated for people from the US. That is the so-called “democracy”, and a sample of the “freedom” that prevails in capitalist society.
The other lists, also regulating what the US citizen can do or not do, have the same goal, try to affect the relations between the Cuban people and the American people, the contacts that are established between visitor and visited, in order, to the greatest extent possible, to avoid these contacts.
In general, people from the US who have traveled to Cuba are kind, respectful and interested in knowing the truth of what is happening on the Island. That is the danger that the enemies of our country are considering.
Those who return from Cuba, speak with honesty of our people, of the advances of the revolution and of the situation in which we live, which is always much better than the image disclosed by the enemies and the Miami mafia.
What kind of regime is Trump creating?
It is not only trying to reverse the progress in relations with Cuba that was achieved during the Obama administration. The violations of the US Constitution and to the liberties proclaimed in that same document, are directed at creating a repressive, discriminatory, terror regime, comparable to the existing one at the time of peak of the McCarthyism.
Perhaps that is the true meaning of his motto “Make America great again”.