Washington’s Cuban cannery

“…a genuine national political movement cannot be manufactured in the capital of the enemy.  Parties and movements are not exportable commodities, because a political party cannot be bought and sold as though it were a can of spam… That this kind of foreign production might have any kind of legitimacy in Cuba is a myth that is only believed by those who do not know Cuba and do not live there.”

The War Against Cuba: New Budgets, Same Premise español

José Pertierra

Translation: Machetera

Presidents in Washington come and go, but the end goal of U.S. foreign policy remains the same: derail the governments who dare to defend their national sovereignty and destroy any revolution that ventures toward a different world than that which is programmed for them.  The weapons that the United States has used in its offensive against Cuba have evolved over the last fifty years, but the war remains the same.

Cubanologists in Washington and Miami want to build a supposed socio-political movement in Cuba as a tool of subversion.  But a genuine national political movement cannot be manufactured in the capital of the enemy. Parties and movements are not exportable commodities, because a political party cannot be bought and sold as though it were a can of spam.

Since George W. Bush assumed the U.S. presidency in 2001, the budget for creating a social opposition allied with the interests of Miami and the White House escalated astronomically: from $3.5 million dollars in 2000 to $45 million under President Bush in 2008. In 2003 Bush created a “Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba.”  This commission issued a document more than 400 pages long in which it proposed “[exploring] ways the U.S. can help hasten and ease a democratic transition in Cuba.” President Barack Obama’s policies follow the pattern set by this Commission and the budget created at the Commission’s recommendation: “to carry out measures to aid the training, development, and empowerment of a Cuban democratic opposition and civil society.”

Since the war against Cuba is an industry in Miami, those who benefited most from this project were those who administered the funds from Florida. A 2006 audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that millions of dollars had been squandered by groups in Miami.  For example, the  money was used to buy Godiva chocolates, cans of crab meat and Nintendo Game Boys.  In 2008, the director of one of the groups admitted to having embezzled nearly $600,000, before quitting in order to take a political job in President Bush’s White House.

Indignant at the waste of the multi-million dollar legacy, Senator Kerry (D-Massachusetts), president of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, called last year for a review of the project that now has a $20 million annual budget.  Consequently, the State Department froze the opulent disbursement until the conclusion of the investigation.

This month, the State Department concluded its investigation and announced plans to release $20 million dollars of the anti-Cuban patrimony, arguing that the program had been restructured in such a way that the funds would arrive covertly to certain Cubans on the island and not to certain others in Miami. However, Senator Kerry remains unconvinced and has temporarily frozen the project in order to study it further.  The freeze imposed by Kerry is pragmatic, not philosophical.  In other words, it’s not the subversion that bothers him.  He wants to study its effectiveness.  The arrest in Cuba of a U.S. contractor named Alan P. Gross, sent by Washington, illustrates that the State Department project is endangering agents who’ve been contracted to carry out this clandestine work in Cuba.

The Cuban prosecutor is studying the charges that will be presented against the contractor.  To defend itself from the multi-million dollar subversion originating in Washington, Cuba passed a law that carries a penalty of up to twenty years for collaboration with the USAID program created by the U.S. Helms Burton legislation in 1996.  The crime is a serious one.

Perhaps that’s why the State Department and USAID refuse to identify the Cuban recipients of Washington’s largesse, and are distributing funds covertly instead.

The program against Cuba that is in check includes:

  • $750,000 to promote human rights and democracy in Cuba.
  • $250,000 to assist the families of supposed political prisoners (for example, the so-called Ladies in White, and the recently created Ladies in Support [of Ladies in White].
  • $500,000 for those who fight for the liberation of supposed political prisoners.
  • $900,000 for Freedom House.  Freedom House is an organization that has been directed for ten years by Frank Calzón.  The money would go to strengthen leaders of the supposed opposition: artists, musicians and bloggers.  It carries a cynical emphasis on AfroCubans.
  • $400,000 for the Institute for Sustainable Communities.  This is to try to “identify the new leaders in the Cuban community” and help them in their publicity and political campaigns.  Or in other words, almost half a million dollars so that Washington might identify the new leaders to whom it will allocate money.
  • $200,000 to supposedly strengthen the support networks that Washington has created in Cuba.  Equipment and training are to be provided for them.
  • $2,600,000 for Development Associates Inc.  The proposal is to widen the Cuban support network that Washington has created and promote Miami’s message toward Cuba.
  • $2,000,000 to support Washington-related support groups in Cuba, especially certain women and AfroCubans, in order to promote individual economic initiative (i.e; capitalism).
  • $2,500,000 for Creative Associates.  This is an organization that is active covertly in the widening of a social network in order to seek support for political change in Cuba, with special emphasis on the development of the “individual economic initiative of women and AfroCubans.”
  • $2,900,000 to promote, under the tutelage of the State Department, free expression on the island: especially among certain artists, musicians, writers, journalists and bloggers.
  • $500,000 so that individuals linked to religious or spiritual groups might defend their right to freedom of religion.
  • $500,000 to promote a particular labor policy in Cuban and generate “international pressure on the Cuban government to reform its labor laws.”
  • $350,000 to exercise influence on certain Cuban civil society groups, “especially women who are often sexually exploited.”
  • $500,000 for NGOs and other organizations linked to Washington.
  • $1,150,000 for training of certain organizations, including journalists and bloggers in Cuba, to use new communications technologies.
  • $2,500,000 to administer the programs in this budget.

All of this is under the guidance of a Washington that has distinguished itself in most recent decades by its efforts at destabilization, invasion and suppression on every continent on the planet: the coup d’etat against Salvador Allende in Chile, the military coup in Guatemala that left more than 200,000 dead and missing over four decades of repression, the attempted coup against President Hugo Chávez in 2002, the support for death squads in Central America, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil.  The invasion of Iraq in 2003.  The torture and indefinite detention of prisoners in Guantánamo, the transfer of prisoners to other countries so that they might be tortured and interrogated, the exploitation and massive deportations of undocumented workers.  The Bay of Pigs, Operation Mongoose, JM Wave (the most powerful terrorist enclave ever to exist on U.S. soil) and the terror campaign against Cuba over the last 50 years through the use of killers such as Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch.  An immoral terrorist war against Cuba that has multiplied like a virus around the world until it found its modern manifestation in the aircraft exploding at New York’s twin towers on September 11, 2001.

Cuba is a country blockaded, besieged and attacked by the United States.  This is because Washington cannot tolerate the island being governed outside the scope of U.S. tutelage.  It has been this way for more than fifty years.

The supposed political prisoners have been sentenced, after having been legally tried, for being at the service of an enemy country that has the destruction of the Cuban Revolution as its goal.  Just like the contractor Alan P. Gross, they work in Cuba under Washington’s direction and control.  The best way to achieve their liberation is for the United States to renounce its war against Cuba, lift the blockade, establish relations, extradite Posada Carriles and liberate the Cuban Five who have remained as prisoners in the United States for nearly twelve years.

Perhaps President Obama remains too busy with the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and health reform to pay much attention to Cuba.  Perhaps he has left this little problem to the bureaucrats at the State Department and the National Security Council, and that’s why we are where we are.

It all goes back to an erroneous premise.  More than a hundred years of U.S. aggression toward Cuba are based on the mistaken idea that Cuba belongs to Washington.  The arrogant view of the U.S. Secretary of State in 1823, John Quincy Adams, is still in force:

“There are laws of political as well as of physical gravitation; and if an apple severed by the tempest from its native tree cannot choose but fall to the ground, Cuba, forcibly disjoined from its own unnatural connection with Spain, and incapable of self support, can gravitate only towards the North American Union, which by the same law of nature cannot cast her off from its bosom.”

From this false premise flows the concept that the United States can manufacture dissidents, bloggers and twitterers under Washington and Miami’s sponsorship: as though such a thing were a natural law. That this kind of foreign production might have any kind of legitimacy in Cuba is a myth that is only believed by those who do not know Cuba and do not live there.  With the millions of dollars invested annually in this business, Washington has not created an opposition, much less a political party.  It has only established an industry of people in Cuba who are happy to receive a significant bundle of cash to dissent, blog and twitter.

Within Cuba, there’s a great diversity of legitimate opinions about the country’s future.  Anyone who’s stood in line at the bodega, or participated in organized discussions on the island knows this.  These debates happen in the workplace as much as in the meetings of the Communist Party.  But on one point there is unanimity: Cuba belongs to Cubans and not to U.S. Americans. On this philosophical principle straight from José Martí, Cubans are prepared to close ranks and die.

If Washington were to understand this, it would do away with the blockade and everything that corresponds to it.  Unfortunately it is a concept that appears to be against the nature of an imperial Washington that views Cuba as its political back yard.  The other day at Casa de las Américas, Silvio Rodríguez pointed out that Cuba is not a normal country because of what it has tried to be, nor for the treatment it has been given for what it has tried to be. Independent.

Downloadable pdf: Congressional Notification with $20 million budget for 2010, for the war against Cuba.

José Pertierra is a lawyer.  He represents the Venezuelan government in the case to extradite Luis Posada Carriles.  His firm is located in Washington D.C.

Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the international network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the author and translator are cited.

2 responses to “Washington’s Cuban cannery

  1. This Article is awesome thank you for the Translation Machetera

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s