Revolution #56, August 13, 2006
Behind the Giddy Castro Death Watch
U.S. Maneuvering and Anticommunist Lying
NOTE (March 2008): On February 19, Cuban leader Fidel Castro announced that he was resigning from his posts as President of the State Council and Commander in Chief. Bush immediately declared that there will be no change in U.S. policy on Cuba—in other words, the decades-long efforts by the U.S. to destroy the Cuban regime will continue. This article by Raymond Lotta appeared in Revolution in August 2006, when the vultures began circling after Castro underwent emergency intestinal surgery and temporarily stepped down as Cuba’s President. The article’s exposure of the U.S.’s plans for recolonization of Cuba and the anti-communist propaganda are very relevant today. Included in the article is a link to a background piece by Lotta about why Cuba is not actually socialist (“U.S. Imperialism, the Cuban Revolution, and Fidel Castro”). Read on…
Cuban leader Fidel Castro has undergone emergency intestinal surgery. The U.S. media have been almost giddy in reporting “death watches” about Castro’s possible passing from the scene. The Bush administration is licking its chops about a potential leadership crisis in Cuba. There is cold-hearted calculating going on about openings and pretexts for U.S. interference and intervention to bring about “regime change” in Cuba. Reactionary elements in the Cuban-American community have been given platforms to call for the return of the “Cuba of old.”
President Bush stated that the U.S. would support those working “to build a transitional government in Cuba committed to democracy.” One has to ask, do the Cuban people really want the democracy that the U.S. brings to Iraq and the world?
CASTRO: THORN IN THE SIDE OF U.S. IMPERIALISM
The removal of Fidel Castro from power has been a goal of U.S. foreign policy since the Cuban revolution of 1959. Why? Fidel Castro led a mass anti-imperialist struggle that declared to the U.S.: Cuba does not belong to you! The Castro regime nationalized U.S. enterprises and holdings. It gave hope to the oppressed throughout Latin America that they too could oust the yanqui exploiters. For U.S. imperialism, this was unforgivable. And for decades, the U.S. has worked to destroy this regime: invading and blockading, infiltrating spies and saboteurs, and making direct attempts on Castro’s life.
That Cuba is not genuinely socialist and that Castro is not a genuine communist (see "U.S. Imperialism, the Cuban Revolution, and Fidel Castro") has hardly diminished U.S. imperialism’s hatred for this regime. Castro has refused to give in to U.S. terms and demands to turn Cuba back over to U.S.-sponsored forces and interests. He has remained a vocal critic of U.S. foreign policy. He has given support to various anti-U.S. forces in Latin America. With the U.S. waging its “war on the world” and demanding of all, “you are either with us or against us,” Castro’s obstinacy is even more unacceptable to the U.S. rulers.
THE BUSH TEAM’S RECOLONIZATION PLANS
In 2003, the Bush administration put together a multi-agency Commission for Assistance for a Free Cuba, chaired by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In 2004, the Commission issued its first report outlining steps the U.S. would take to bring about regime change. These included subversion of Castro’s plans to relinquish duties to his younger brother Raul. A follow-up report last month recommended an $80 million fund to support Cuba’s opposition and the deployment of U.S. aid once a “transitional government” was in place. Last year, Rice announced the creation of a new post to help “accelerate the demise” of the Castro government.
Now that Castro is hospitalized, the Bush team is making louder noises and bolder threats against the Cuban regime. The assumption is that Cuba is a ripe fruit for imperial plucking. A State Department spokesman stated, “the United States would take an active role in shaping events on the island if the Cuban leader dies.” Just before Bush left for vacation in early August, he warned that the U.S. would “take note of those, in the current Cuban regime, who obstruct [Cubans’] desire for a free Cuba.” In other words, the U.S. is declaring the right to insert itself in a “post-Castro Cuba” and even drawing a line in the sand: there will be no place for remnants of the Castro regime. This is a big part of the reason that reactionary Cubans are being revved up in Miami. They are being counted on as loyal servants and enforcers of U.S. plans for “Cuba after Castro.”
There are important geostrategic considerations bound up with U.S. maneuvering for a “post-Castro” Cuba. In waging their “war on the world,” the U.S. imperialists have not paid as much attention to Latin America as they have to the Middle East and Central Asia. The government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela has been flexing its oil-revenue muscles and allying with Castro. If the U.S. can take down a weakened Cuba and reintegrate it into its imperial network, this will send a message to Chavez and other governments staking out more independent positions from the U.S.
The U.S. is also using the current situation to blast out lies about communism—that communism is “totalitarian control” over people. This caricature has nothing to do with real communism, which is about the proletariat taking hold of and consciously transforming society to abolish all classes and class distinctions and to emancipate all of humanity.
The U.S. media trots out reactionary Cuban exiles to talk about the “horrors” of communism and how they personally suffered. But who are these people and what is their program? Many were part of families who were beneficiaries of the pre-1959 Cuba of U.S. corporate control and privilege. And they want to turn Cuba once again into a U.S. neo-colony—which will mean “horrors” for the masses of Cubans.
Cuba is not socialist (see background article) but has certain formal characteristics that make it appear to be socialist: state-owned enterprises and extensive state-financed social programs. The Bush administration, working from the anticommunist script, rhapsodizes about “privatizing” Cuba’s economy. For whom: the Miami elite seeking their estates and power…for U.S. corporations seeking cheap labor? The New York Times editorializes for an “economically dynamic society” in Cuba. Well, let’s look at the wonders of unfettered capitalism in Latin America. In the 1990s, deregulation and privatization were widely imposed on countries by the U.S. and the International Monetary Fund. The result was a “lost decade” of development and a vast increase in poverty and inequality. And Cuba, while not in fact socialist, has a lower infant mortality rate—and this is a Third World country—than does Washington, D.C.
A DANGEROUS MOMENT
The U.S. has no right to meddle in Cuba’s affairs. It has no right to dictate Cuba’s future. U.S. plans for Cuba must be called out and opposed for what they are: the brutal maneuverings of empire.
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