If there was ever any doubt of the extent of the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the Unites States of America’s hard-line Cuban community, spawn of Batista and his henchmen honed to pornographic precision by the CIA, the mean-spirited displays on the streets of Miami by gaggles of gloating gusanos following the announcement of the illness of President Fidel Castro will lay it to rest.
Not satisfied with killing, maiming, and otherwise injuring at least three thousand Cuban citizens and scores from other countries over the last 40 years, kidnapping a small boy, and unjustly imprisoning five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters for the past seven years, this illustrious community further demonstrated its attainment of the heights of civilized behavior and humanity by dancing in the streets to celebrate the suffering of one of the greatest statesmen in human history -- and the guy isn’t even dead!
I guess you can’t expect much different, considering the examples that have been set by successive governments of their adopted country, whose idea of civilized behavior is to completely disregard international law and just about every human right on the books, almost since its inception pillaging and raping any country with resources capable of cramming the voracious craws of US consumers.
While the second half of the 20th century saw Cuba under the Presidency of Fidel Castro redistributing resources to bring free health care and education, affordable housing and minimum dietary requirements to all Cuban citizens, next door the US government was raising human rights abuse to an art form in Latin America, as well as forcing many millions of its own citizens into poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and early death.
Even now, while President Castro exports humanitarian aid, health care and literacy programs to needy countries, the US continues perfecting its own aberrant exports in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and a string of secret prisons where torture is daily fare and due process something the librarian deals with...isn’t it?
Those mindless Miamians should ponder who will history remember well: the man whose governments have fairly and equitably distributed its resources not only nationally but also internationally, that do not have even one disappearance, torture or political assassination on their record, whose governments have fed, housed, educated and cared for millions of its own and other countries’ citizens at little or no cost -- or the country whose governments have driven millions of its own and other countries’ citizens into poverty and death through its own internal social and political organization as well as interference in theirs, or just plain military invasion, a current government that names the deaths of civilians caused by anyone “not with us” terrorism, but has happily killed hundreds of thousands, if not millions of civilians in the name of democrUSAy, and is right now supplying arms to Israel for the illegal, immoral, and completely insupportable hit they and the Coalition of the Silly couldn’t succeed with in the Middle East. (Gentle hint, US and Israel -- the way to bring lasting peace to the Middle East is to FUCK OFF back to your own countries, and stay there.)
The endless litany of purported human rights abuses leveled at Cuba with tedious regularity by these dreary detractors, dutifully trotted out every 15 minutes on CNN by Miami gusanos greedy for individual wealth at the expense of anyone/everyone else, ignores the most fundamental, and telling, differences between the two countries.
The rights to sovereignty and self-determination, i.e., to respect the sovereignty and self-determination of other countries and to in turn have your sovereignty and self-determination respected, are fundamental to international statehood and law. Cuba has always respected these rights, whereas the United States has an unmatched record for interference, intervention and invasion in the internal politics of sovereign nations. Just a few examples - Afghanistan 1979-1992, 2001; Albania 1949-1953; Angola 1975-1980s; Bolivia 1964-1975; Brazil 1961-1964; British Guiana 1953-1964; Bulgaria 1990; Cambodia 1969 to 1973; Chile 1964-1973; China 1945 to 1960s; Costa Rica mid-1950s, 1970-71; Cuba 1957 to present; Dominican Republic 1963-1966; East Timor 1965; Eastern Europe 1948-1956; El Salvador 1980-1994; Ecuador 1960-1963; France/Algeria 1960s; Germany 1950s; Ghana 1966; Greece 1947-1950s, 1964-1974; Grenada 1979-1984; Guatemala 1953-1954, 1960-80s; Haiti 1959-1963, 1986-1994, 2004-; Indonesia 1957-1958, 1965; Iran 1953, Iraq 1972-1975, 1990-, 2003-; Israel and Palestine (2nd Intifada) 2000; Italy 1947-48, 1950s-1970s; Jamaica 1976-1980; Korea 1945-1953; Kosovo 1998-1999; Laos 1957-1973; Lebanon 1957-58, 1982; Liberia 1990; Libya 1981-1989; Middle East 1957-1958; Morocco 1983; Nicaragua 1981-1990; Panama 1989-1990; Peru 1960-1965; Philippines 1940s and 1950s, 1989; Seychelles 1979-1981; Soviet Union 1940 to 1960s; Suriname 1982-1984; Syria 1956-1957; The Congo 1960-1978; Turkey's Oppression of the Kurds 1992-; Uruguay 1964-1970; Venezuela 2002-; Vietnam 1950-1973.
In order to protect a country’s sovereignty and right to self-determination, certain “rights,” such as the right to freedom of movement, speech and communication, are considered in international law to be derogable in the interests of national security. Many European countries, including England, derogated such rights during World War 2, for instance, with censorship of letters in and out of the country, blackouts, limits on criticism of the government or the war, restriction of movement within the country as well as on entering and leaving it, etc. Given the forty-plus years of war on Cuba by the US -- the unremitting terrorist attacks, and the US’s publicly stated determination to overthrow the legitimate Castro government including pouring millions annually into funding groups to undermine it - there is overwhelming evidence of the need for Cuba to derogate some civil rights in the interests of its national security. In fact it would be irresponsible of any government not to do so in the face of such blatant and overt threats to its country’s very survival.
However, certain rights are absolute, and are never derogable. Amongst these are the right to sovereignty of nation states, the right of detained persons to due process, and the right not to be tortured. These are rights Cuba has never breached under the Presidency of Fidel Castro. It is a matter of international public record that these are rights the United States has systematically breached over scores of decades, under several presidents, democrat and republican alike.
Ex-patriot Cubans should remember Fidel Castro did not impose the US blockade of Cuba, which caused immeasurable hardship to the Cuban people and immeasurable damage to their economy, the reason many of them left Cuba.
Despite the economic blockade, rejected by the overwhelming majority of the world as successive United Nations votes demonstrate, Fidel Castro has led his country through almost 50 years of social and political progress that has in some way benefited every single Cuban citizen bar none, as well as the illiterate, the sick and the disaster-affected in numerous other countries, a feat unmatched by any other world leader. Fidel Castro’s leadership has probably directly benefited, and will continue to benefit, more people in the world than any other statesman before him.
Against all odds, Fidel Castro led his country and his people through a period few expected them to survive, conditions far worse than those that have brought down many lesser regimes. The reason Fidel Castro has survived as the democratically elected President, that he and his country got through such unprecedented hardship, is that he had, and continues to have, the support of the vast majority of Cubans to lead his country’s socialist project, a project to which they remain committed -- something the US just cannot comprehend or accept.
Fidel Castro is human, and undoubtedly he will die one day, but that day has not yet arrived. The premature evacuators on the streets of Miami are missing the most important point -- the values Fidel represents, and that the majority of Cubans share, will not die with him. Fidel Castro is a man, but the revolution is a way of life, and there are some 12 million Cubans of all ages who will still be living it, along with an increasing proportion of Latin America.
Fidel Castro has always stood firm against US imperialism whatever the cost, at times being the only world leader to do so. His example is now bearing fruit worldwide, and will live long after he does. After all, you can’t kill ideas -- something George Bush just might understand if he had ever had one.
While Fidel’s death, whenever it happens, will undoubtedly be a major loss to Cuba and to the world, his example and inspirational statesmanship, and the socialist principles he has devoted his life to advance, will be carried on by the Cuban government and those left behind, not only in Cuba, but also in Latin America, Africa and everywhere people believe a better world is possible.
And to the hawks hanging up there with the vultures, be warned. The US will make a mistake as big as its invasion of Iraq if it tries to implement its plan Cuba for a “transition to democrUSAy.” Cuba already has its own constitution, its own democratic electoral system, and the right to sovereignty and self-determination -- and these will surely be defended as long and as fiercely and as well as the revolution was fought. In the words of sovereign and indigenous peoples everywhere, from the Middle East to Latin America, from Palestine to Mexico, “Patria o Muerte.” Viva Fidel! Viva la revolución!
Julie Webb-Pullman is a writer and activist currently in Central America.
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