Lippmann's "Cuba=U.S. Relations at Year's End"

Fred Feldman ffeldman at
Sun Dec 22 06:47:12 MST 2002

The comments of Walter Lippmann (moderator of the CubaNews list) on
Cuba-U.S. relations were very useful.
In the months since I began receiving mailings from CubaNews,  I have been
stunned -- nothing less -- by the degree of political and economic
disintegration of the economic blockade.  I knew there was a debate in the
ruling class about this and a slow erosion on the ground, but I had no idea
of the scope.  I was blown away by th scope of the decay, beginning to take
on the character of collapse, of this forty-odd years old
counterrevolutionary policy.

For example, I too had assumed that the opening on food purchases had been
vitiated by the restrictions imposed by the pro-blockade forces in Congress.
Instead, it looks like they opened  up a flyhole and a grizzly bear walked
through it.  In addition to the practical economic consequences, we see the
beginnings of a political-economic bond (smychka, as I believe they used to
say in Russian, between the Cuban revolution and Black farmers, the most
beleaguered section of the economically besieged working farmers in the
United States.

If you don't get the CubaNews clippings, unless there is some other website
giving out the same information, there is no way to know the scope of what
has been taking place.

Basically this is a spontaneous economic process founded on a political
reality: the failure of U.S. imperialism to overturn the Cuban revolution
and recapture control of the Cuban market in that way.  The businesspeople
are starting to move out and make the best -- often highly lucrative  --
deal they can cut.

In general, I think it has been forgotten how important Cuba used to be as a
market for U.S. goods and as a provider of products and services.  It is
hard to convince capitalists -- large, medium, and small -- to forego
today's profits in the hopes on someday, somehow reconquering the country.

The decay of the blockade registers a setback for U.S. imperialism, now
matter how much individual capitalists make out on the deal.  It speaks
against the claims that the United States has achieved, or is on the verge
of achieving the long-sought goal of world domination. And the process has
taken place without the kind of political concessions that Washington has
successfully demanded from Vietnam, China, Russia and others as the price of
ending economic embargoes and discrimination.

The weakening of the blockade was particularly inspiring to me, for example,
because it indicated that U.S. imperialism was becoming vulnerable to the
kinds of challenges it is now beginning to face in Latin America -- not a
rising empire but an empire in growing disorder and revolt. It is consistent
with the obstacles Washington has run into in pursuing its determined drive
toward war against Iraq.

I am sure that many businessmen have been lobbying against Otto Reich.  I
suspect, however, that what seems to have doomed him was the setbacks to
U.S. domination in Venezuela, the fact that the resistance of Argentine
workers has not been ground down by the economic crisis there, and the
elections in Brazil and Ecuador.  I notice that as Washington runs into more
challenges, in Latin America and the Korean peninsula especially, Rumsfeld,.
Cheney, and Wolfowitz have grown more quiet, and the much more measured
voice of Powell (advancing the same basic goals) has become more audible.
That hasn't kept Bush from appointing Elliot Abrams to serve as a Middle
Eastern Otto Reich, however.

I agree with Walter that the blockade is falling fast.  But I am not sure
that the U.S. rulers have any ready replacement for the main
counterrevolutionary weapon they have used against Cuba since the failure of
the Bay of Pigs invasion and the naval blockade.  Ending the blockade is not
a new and more effective counterrevolutionary policy.  Although it will
deepen class polarization in Cuba, the easing of the material pressures that
often dominates workers' and peasants' day-to-day lives can work in their
favor in the polarization process, especially given the revolutionary
character of the leadership.

Because Washington has no alternative strategy or even tactic yet  for
overthrowing the revolution, I think it is possible that the blockade may
stagger on, in a weakening or even moribund condition, for quite a while.
But the direction of motion is in  favor of the great majority of people in
both Cuba and the United States.
Fred Feldman

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