“El periódico ha de estar siempre como los correos antiguos, con el caballo enjaezado, la fusta en la mano y la espuela en el tacón.  Debe desobedecer los apetitos del bien personal y atender imparcialmente al bien público”.
José Martí

Cuba with a Little “Help” from the USA

Capitan América

“Napoleon was to them, an Italian man, who organized the fight without the US; and people are more than sure, that he wouldn’t have lost Waterloo with the US’ help” (1), says an upbeat song from Rio de la Plata, which I used to listen to when I was young.

And it really seems like history isn’t the US politicians’ strong point. Every time they meddle with a country, they leave an apocalypse behind, however, like the good sorcerer apprentices they are, they continue to try and have influence across the entire world.

Their most recent interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria should be enough proof of this. In these countries, violence, its ungovernable nature and mass emigration have become a lot worse after having received “the US’ help.”

Obama reconoció que los americanos no tienen capacidad de imponer cambios en Cuba. La nueva política parece ser promover las transformaciones desde dentro. Foto: Raquel Pérez Díaz

Obama recognized the fact that the US doesn’t have the capacity to impose change on Cuba. The US’ new policy seems to promote change from the inside. Photo: Raquel Perez Diaz

This isn’t anything new. In 1954, they were involved in the Coup d’Etat against the government in Iran at the time to impose a dictator, the Shah, and they made an activist leader out of an imam who had never participated in politics before and who 30 years later would lead the first Islamic revolution.

They’ve been trying to create an opposition in Cuba for over half a century, which would operate with the US help. Even though it seems deranged, they wanted to win over Cubans with the embargo which would sink them into “hunger”, “misery” and “despair”.

They have made many attempts to influence the course of this island by many different means, from organizing a military invasion, trying to assassinate its leaders, giving supplies to armed groups, financing dissidents, creating a TV channel, a radio station and even internet networks just for Cubans.

With these kinds of policies, the US has fed the siege mentality at home and internationally the “David vs. Goliath” rivalry. Standing up to the US was a key element in making the Revolution a flag bearer of national sovereignty.

When in Havana last March, Obama recognized the fact that this strategy had failed and promised to leave the fate of our country in Cuban hands. That day, I saw so people crying with happiness in front of their TV screens, many of them believed that this was the end of a long feud.

Resulta difícil de creer que los estudiantes cubanos son tan influenciables que basten unas semanas estudiando con “los americanos” para que se conviertan líderes anticastristas. Foto: Raquel Pérez Díaz

It’s hard to believe that Cuban students can be influenced so much that it just takes a few weeks studying with “the US” to be converted into anti-Castro leaders. Photo: Raquel Perez Diaz

However, Washington’s “new” strategy continues the old script of “promoting regime change”. It appears to be the same show but with a different set of faces, where dissidents receive secondary roles while self-employed workers and Cuban youth take the leads.

They are offering scholarships to young Cubans to go and study in the US. They are doing this outside the official channels of student exchange programs, which stirs up a lot of people’s suspicions, which is to be expected given Washington’s long history in Cuba.

This mistrust increased when the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor announced that it would hand over 6 million USD this year to programs that “promote democratic change” in Cuba and these include “academic exchanges or study grants”.

It’s hard to believe that these young people will be converted against the Cuban government after just being in the US for a couple of weeks. The growing number of young people already emigrating is much more harmful to the country, which is bleeding to death right now and nobody in the government media says anything about it.

The people over at the La Joven Cuba website believe that in order to attract new generations, the government should end “revolutionary alienating programs, revolutionary stagnation, revolutionary “guidance”, as well as wiping out truly revolutionary initiatives and getting rid of its leaders.(2)

With these study grants in the US, Cuba is going back to the time of “political unrest.” Youth protests are being held across the entire country, the press is filled with articles and videos, the country is preparing itself for an ideological war and extremists are licking their lips.

“Los americanos” confía en que los cuentapropistas serán el “enterrador” del socialismo cubano. Tal parece que no han visto lo que ocurre en China o Vietnam. Foto: Raquel Pérez Díaz

“The US” is confident that self-emloyed workers will be the “gravediggers” of Cuban socialism. It seems like they haven’t seen what has happened in China or Vietnam. Photo: Raquel Perez Diaz

Washington is returning to the battleground where Havana already has vast experience and where it acts as a judoka, using the force of the opposition to make it crumble. Since 1959, US operations have only served to consolidate the Revolution.

They don’t seem to understand that the bilateral conflict goes way before the time of Fidel Castro, it has the bitter taste of the mambises who didn’t let them set foot in Santiago, of the constitutional ammendment that allowed the US to invade Cuba on more than one occasion and an economic blockade that has lasted for half a century.

Here, any political attempt that has “US’ help” is condemned to failure, which is something that they should have learned after 50 years of promoting “leaders”, both violent and pacific to seek “regime change”.

What’s more, today the US’ blunder is better positioning extremist political factions and their strategy to return and live with a siege mentality, silencing any space for public debate to raise the old flag of unanimity and single thought.

“The United States has neither the capacity, nor the intention to impose change on Cuba. What changes come will depend upon the Cuban people. We will not impose our political or economic system on you.  We recognize that every country, every people, must chart its own course and shape its own model.”

In these four phrases, spoken by Obama in Havana, the best strategy that Washington could come up with comes into play to promote change in Cuba because, even today, many Cubans would prefer to lose the Battle of Waterloo before they win it thanks to “US’ help.”

El acercamiento de los cubanos y los americanos tiene objetivos muy bien definidos por ambas partes

The relationship between Cubans and the US have well-defined objectives on both sides.

Translation: Havana Times

About Fernando Ravsberg

Nacido en Uruguay, corresponsal de Público en Cuba y profesor del post grado de “Información internacional y países del Sur” de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Fue periodista de BBC Mundo, Telemundo de EEUU, Radio Nacional de Suecia y TV Azteca de México. Autor de 3 libros, El Rompecabezas Cubano, Reportajes de Guerra y Retratos.


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