Friday, March 19, 2010

Answering the EU’s attack on Cuba

By Cheryl LaBash

Published Mar 18, 2010 8:09 PM
On March 11, using the pretext of a suicide of a prisoner in Cuba, European Union politicians attacked socialist Cuba, once again falsely alleging human-rights violations and demanding the release of a small number of paid U.S. agents imprisoned there. By doing so the EU Parliament not only ignored the overriding 50-year violation of Cuba’s democratic right to self-determination, but joined in it.

Cuba’s 1959 revolution set out to make human development and needs — not corporate or banking profits, not colonial or neo-colonial extraction of wealth and resources — the social priority. To punish Cuba for taking this independent path, Washington has mercilessly enforced an economic blockade and relentlessly attacked Cubans through bombings, invasions, biological warfare and attempts at political destabilization.

Thousands of Cubans and others have died in the U.S.-sponsored attacks — starting 50 years ago on March 4, 1960, when the French cargo ship “La Coubre” was detonated in Havana harbor. The ship was carrying arms to revolutionary Cuba from Belgium, which was defying U.S. orders to stop the shipment.

Former U.S. Central Intelligence agent Philip Agee has documented how the U.S. planted explosive-laced dolls in a Havana department store, burning it to the ground. On Sept. 4, 1997, Italian tourist Fabio di Celmo died in a Havana hotel bombing. These are but a small sample of the attacks.

Today five Cuban heroes are captives in U.S. prisons for attempting to protect Cuba from attacks orchestrated from U.S. territories. But Washington protects Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles, the admitted bombers of Cubana 455 in 1976, the first mid-air destruction of a civilian plane. These two killers are free to roam the streets of Miami.

Amazingly, Cuba has not only developed human well-being internally — it is one of the few countries on track to meet the U.N. Millennium Development Goals despite the impact of hurricanes and the U.S. blockade — but has shared selfless solidarity around the world, opening its medical schools, distributing its literacy methods, and assisting the African continent to decisively smash the racist apartheid regime in South Africa. Today more than a thousand Cuban and Cuban-trained doctors are providing medical aid to Haitian earthquake survivors.

Washington’s admitted policy has been and is to create such desperate conditions inside Cuba that capitalist exploitation can be re-imposed. This policy has failed. And in Latin America especially, Cuba has broken out of the imperialist-imposed isolation.

Intervention by other means

Facing these setbacks, Washington cultivates pseudo-librarians or purported journalists, ladies-in-white, bloggers and others in Cuba who are funded and supported by dollars from the U.S. in an attempt to organize counter-revolution by other means.

That is the origin of the prisoner who in February committed suicide by hunger strike. He did this with the encouragement of U.S. imperialism. Cuban doctors had tried their best to keep him alive, feeding him intravenously in a major Havana hospital.

At a conference to encourage increased educational exchanges with Cuba, former chief of the U.S. Interest Section in Havana, Wayne Smith, said that the United States “is not ‘in the best position’ to speak of hunger strikes, given the U.S. military’s practice of force-feeding hunger strikers at the detention camp for terror suspects in Guantanamo, Cuba.” (

The EU has not condemned U.S. human rights violations or demanded the release of U.S. political prisoners like Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Angola 2, and the Scott sisters. Nor has it criticized the conditions for the more than 2 million people imprisoned here, disproportionately African-American and Latino/a, or the beatings and deaths of Black and Brown people at the hands of racist police merely for driving, walking, or living in the racist USA.

The capitalist state here kills death-row prisoners regardless of their innocence. The Pentagon kills wholesale with wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Right-wing and social-democratic EU politicians vote for their armies to join the criminal U.S. occupations against the will of the EU populations and they vote to condemn Cuba, in both cases to promote imperialist domination.

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