Cuba's record on internationalism

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at
Mon May 6 16:21:24 MDT 1996

Jon replies to my question on Cuba's line on the debt:

>The Cuban's line was Cancel the Debt.
>That doesn't mean that they expected individual countries to not pay, unless
>that was the only thing they could do. They attempted to organize a POLITICAL
>campaign across Latin America around the debt question. [snip]

The way Jon puts this makes me think I wasn't quite clear when I used the
phrase 'cancel the debt'. I didn't mean 'Get the lenders to cancel the debt
and let the debtor countries off the hook'. It's not very revolutionary to
ask the States to lay off the pressure - it's part of the public relations
effort of making sure people know where the blame lies, but it's as
realistic as asking Henry Ford to stop exploiting auto workers.

What I wanted to emphasize was 'Don't pay the Debt'. Repudiate the debt.

When Jon says:

>   I guess Hugh thinks Cuba should have made life even worse for its people by
>refusing to pay their debt. Under current circumstances that might lead to the
>overthrow of the revolution.
>   By jeesum, they would have stood on a principle though!

his fear of revolutionary action backfiring is quite understandable given
the schooling we've had in this from left and radical 'realists' for as
long as I can remember. Mostly it has little basis in any real relationship
of forces. It results from a constant putting down of the strength of the
working class in mobilization and an equally constant exaggeration of the
strength of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie is nothing without its
mercenary forces (media people, cops, lawyers, etc), and these mercenaries
>from the intermediate strata of society don't want to risk their lives in
any battles with determined opponents.

In the case of Latin America and the foreign debt, the popular support for
an intransigent line of No to the Debt would be huge. Cuba, by taking the
lead in the agitation, would fire the popular imagination and bring great
pressure to bear on wavering Latin American governments and the
imperialists themselves. It is very very difficult for the States to
actively make war on American countries. We know this because it does just
this every couple of years, and makes itself look extremely foolish. Who
can forget the glorious victories of Grenada, Panama and Haiti? Or the
fiasco of the Bay of Pigs?

It does a better job of slow strangling and secret poisoning. But these
require water-tight blockades on the one hand and powerful local friends on
the other. The imperialist camp being what it is, there are bound to be a
number of imperialist countries ready to break an American blockade to make
a killing in such a newly opened Latin American market (Sweden, France,
Japan). And with the heat and mobilization such a policy would engender, a
lot of the powerful local friends might just decide it was safer in Miami.

So what I would like to see does not mean anyone will have to do anything
like stopping a chain-saw with their bare hands. In fact, our hands will
turn into claws of steel as the mobilization progresses, and the
imperialist chain-saw will get limper by the day.

While we are isolated and running scared, the imperialists and their goons
look invincible. As soon as we stand together and turn and fight, things
even out. In my opinion, the debt question in Latin America is one of the
most likely issues to get people to turn and fight -- but only if it's
raised in an intransigent, revolutionary way that can't be misunderstood.
Our interests *here*, the imperialists *over there*. No more letting
ourselves bleed to death -- by saying No to the Debt we bind our wounds and
in fact become stronger and better able to fight the imperialists on other
fronts in the war.



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