- Created: Thursday, 23 April 2009 15:55
- Written by Cat Alison
The United States administration plans to increase the millions of dollars it is already pouring into its covert war against socialist Cuba in what US President Bush has described as a ‘compact’ with the Cuban people to support them ‘as they transition from the repressive control of the Castro regime to freedom and a genuine democracy’. Cat Alison reports
A draft report from the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, was leaked at the beginning of July. It recommends that $80m (£43m) be poured into Cuba over the next two years to boost ‘civil society’ (US front organisations and dissident groups) and plan for a ‘post-Castro’ transition (to capitalism). It focuses in particular on recommendations for destabilising Cuba in the event of Castro’s death. Under the plans for ‘transition’, administered by a US-appointed bureaucrat, Cuba would, in the words of Cuban National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon, ‘be liquidated. It would simply disappear’.
In 2004, the Commission issued its first report, with six recommended steps to ‘promote regime change’ in Cuba. These can be summarised as:
• promoting dissidence
• intimidating the country politically
• strangling the economy
• making accusations of ‘dangerous military capacity’
• demonising the government
• imposing US occupation
Such blatant disregard for national sovereignty and international law was met with outrage at the time. Although in essence this report is more of the same, it glosses its proposals by saying change must come from ‘within Cuba’, backed by US support – and then goes on to recommend actions including the dismantling of all the apparatus of the socialist state, reorganising the economy and educational system and holding ‘multiparty’ elections (from which communists will be excluded). However, it is clear that if political and economic coercion fails, the US has even more sinister plans in store – contained in a secret annexe to the report which remains classified for ‘security reasons’. As Ricardo Alarcon told reporters in Havana: ‘What’s most important is that they admit to a secret plan to overthrow another government. What on earth could the secret part say when the public part violates all kinds of international law?’
So outrageous and illegal are the proposals that even Cuban ‘dissidents’ in Cuba are seeking to distance themselves from their paymasters, describing the report as ‘counter-productive’. Veteran observer of US-Cuban relations Wayne S Smith, who served as Chief of the US Interests Section in Havana from 1979-82, has roundly condemned the report, arguing that its basic premise – that Cuba is on the verge of collapse – is simply wrong:
‘The Cuban economy has shown strong signs of reinvigoration. Even the CIA gives it a growth rate of 8%. Cuba has new and vitally important economic relationships with Venezuela and China...Things are looking up, not down.’
Cuba’s political system is robust, he argues, its social gains impressive and the Bush plan illegal and ‘meddlesome’. 200 British Labour MPs have signed an Early Day Motion organised by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign calling for Britain to develop its own relations with Cuba and distancing Britain from the US proposals. However, in November 2005 the Foreign Office held a secret meeting with Caleb McCarry, US Cuba Transition Co-ordinator.
The ‘democratic transition’ envisaged by Condoleezza Rice and her ilk would herald a return to the brutal neo-liberal reality from which the Cuban people liberated themselves in 1959 and which is faced today by the oppressed peoples of the world. But what is certain is that the Cuban people are organised and prepared to defend their Revolution – which was never about just one great revolutionary – against every form of imperialist aggression, sabotage and subversion.
FRFI 192 August / September 2006