Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cuba Newsletter, End the Sanctions

OMNI CUBA NEWSLETTER 2-4-11. Compiled by Dick Bennett for a CULTURE OF PEACE

Introduction by Dick
Spadoni’s Failed Sanctions
William Blum’s Empire Report on Cuba
Two Books on Pentagon Plans to Intervene Again

President Obama’s helpful improvements in US treatment of Cuba have returned us generally to where we were during the Clinton administration, before Bush II hammered the embargo tight. The world deplores US bullying of Cuba: The UN has annually voted overwhelmingly against the embargo (see the record below). Two-thirds of US voters support easing travel restrictions on Cuba, and 75% would have US and Cuban leaders meet. Major sections of US business agree, from agriculture (Arkansas rice) to pharmaceuticals and energy. Let’s join the push to end the embargo completely and finally. (Resources: Noam Chomsky, “U.S. Savage Imperialism” Part 3, Z Magazine Feb. 2011; Robert Dreyfuss, “Endless Embargo,” The Nation Feb. 7, 2011.)

After all, what was the embargo about? Cuba did not follow Washington’s orders, they were successfully defiant, they offered an alternative to US capitalism--all the rationalizations of empire.

And did the embargo conquer Cuba? Although the embargo punished the people of Cuba severely, it did not overthrow the Castro government. See:
--Spadoni, Paolo. Failed Sanctions: Why the U. S. Embargo against Cuba Could Never Work. UP of Florida, 2010. How corporations, nation-states (including Cuba), and individual tourists (particularly Cuban-Americans) were able purposefully or inadvertently to undermine the US embargo on Cuba so that from its earliest state in 1960 it was doomed to failure.

Here is William Blum’s quick history.
Washington's eternal "Cuba problem" — the one they can't admit to by William Blum
"Here we go again. I suppose old habits die hard," said US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, on October 28 before the General Assembly voted on the annual resolution to end the US embargo against Cuba. "The hostile language we have just heard from the Foreign Minister of Cuba," she continued, "seems straight out of the Cold War era and is not conducive to constructive progress." Her 949-word statement contained not a word about the embargo; not very conducive to a constructive solution to the unstated "Cuba problem", the one about Cuba inspiring the Third World, the fear that the socialist virus would spread.
Since the early days of the Cuban Revolution assorted anti-communists and capitalist true-believers around the world have been relentless in publicizing the failures, real and alleged, of life in Cuba; each perceived shortcoming is attributed to the perceived shortcomings of socialism — It's simply a system that can't work, we are told, given the nature of human beings, particularly in this modern, competitive, globalized, consumer-oriented world.
In response to such criticisms, defenders of Cuban society have regularly pointed out how the numerous draconian sanctions imposed by the United States since 1960 have produced many and varied scarcities and sufferings and are largely responsible for most of the problems pointed out by the critics. The critics, in turn, say that this is just an excuse, one given by Cuban apologists for every failure of their socialist system. However, it would be very difficult for the critics to prove their point. The United States would have to drop all sanctions and then we'd have to wait long enough for Cuban society to make up for lost time and recover what it was deprived of, and demonstrate what its system can do when not under constant assault by the most powerful force on earth.
In 1999, Cuba filed a suit against the United States for $181.1 billion in compensation for economic losses and loss of life during the first 39 years of this aggression. The suit held Washington responsible for the death of 3,478 Cubans and the wounding and disabling of 2,099 others. In the ten years since, these figures have of course all increased. The sanctions, in numerous ways large and small, make acquiring many kinds of products and services from around the world much more difficult and expensive, often impossible; frequently, they are things indispensable to Cuban medicine, transportation or industry; simply transferring money internationally has become a major problem for the Cubans, with banks being heavily punished by the United States for dealing with Havana; or the sanctions mean that Americans and Cubans can't attend professional conferences in each other's country.
These examples are but a small sample of the excruciating pain inflicted by Washington upon the body, soul and economy of the Cuban people.
For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an "international pariah". We don't hear that any more. Perhaps one reason is the annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba". This is how the vote has gone (not including abstentions), this year being the strongest condemnation yet of Washington's policy:
Year Votes (Yes-No) No Votes
1992 59-2 US, Israel
1993 88-4 US, Israel, Albania, Paraguay
1994 101-2 US, Israel
1995 117-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1996 138-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1997 143-3 US, Israel, Uzbekistan
1998 157-2 US, Israel
1999 155-2 US, Israel
2000 167-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2001 167-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2002 173-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2003 179-3 US, Israel, Marshall Islands
2004 179-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2005 182-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2006 183-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2007 184-4 US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau
2008 185-3 US, Israel, Palau
2009 187-3 US, Israel, Palau
2010 187-2 US, Israel
Is the United States foreign policy establishment capable of being embarrassed?
Each fall, however, the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of other governments.
How it began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: "The majority of Cubans support Castro ... The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. ... every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba." Mallory proposed "a line of action which ... makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government." 11 Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted the suffocating embargo against its eternally-declared enemy.


Psy War on Cuba: The Declassified History of US Anti-Castro Propaganda by Jon Elliston and Body of Secrets by James Bamford. These 2 books were reviewed in Peacework (July-August 2006). They “reveal that the US military approved a plan to attack US cities, citizens, and military bases—and blame it on Cuba.” Following the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1962, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff approved plans to attack the US and blame Cuba, the plan code named Operation Northwoods and titled ”Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba.” (These books discuss many other subjects also.)


1 comment:

DL3 said...

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)