Woods and Sarti on Cuba

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue May 13 12:38:45 MDT 2003


Cuba: Executions and repression - a class point of view
By Alan Woods and Roberto Sarti

The execution of three men who had hijacked a ferry and the harsh
sentences handed out to 74 opponents of the Cuban regime in April has
generated nearly universal condemnation, at least on the part of the
media and most governments. US State Department spokesman Richard
Boucher said the United States was "outraged," and Secretary of State
Colin Powell demanded that Cuba release the "prisoners of conscience".

However, before analysing the issues involved let us first look at the
actual facts. The three individuals that were put to death had hijacked
a passenger ferry in an attempt to reach the United States. This was the
third attempted hijacking in Cuba in just two weeks. This situation is
favoured by a US law, which guarantees asylum to all Cubans who can make
their way to the USA, regardless of the methods they use.

In the same period the Cuban government had begun rounding up
dissidents, including members of the "Varela Project". The main demand
of this group is for a referendum, which they see as part of a "gradual
approach" towards the elimination of the present state which was born
out of the 1959 revolution and with it the state-run economy. In essence
they stand not for "democracy" but a return to capitalism. The 74
"dissidents" received sentences ranging from between six to twenty-eight
years.

The formal charge against most of the defendants was that of "crimes
against the independence or territorial integrity of the state." There
was a lot of evidence that proved beyond any doubt that most of these
oppositionists had received large amounts of money from the US
government through James Cason, the chief officer of the US Interests
Section in Havana - the United States' de facto embassy. This fact has
never been denied by Powell or by any other of the US spokesmen. In fact
all this information is easily available on US government web sites.

In the year 2000, the US Agency for International Development (USAID)
donated US$ 670,000 to three Cuban organisations to help in the "the
publication abroad of the work of independent journalists from the
island... and to distribute their writings within Cuba" (USAID report,
Evaluation of the USAID Cuba Program, 2001).

By such means the American imperialists seek to promote the work of
counterrevolutionary forces in Cuba and other countries. They constantly
interfere in the internal affairs of other states when they do not like
the policies they are carrying out. There is no doubt that the American
embassy and the CIA were actively involved in the attempts of the
counterrevolutionaries to overthrow the government of Hugo Chavez in
Venezuela.

The US State Department describes this kind of activity officially as
"outreach." When it comes to anyone acting in this way to defend the
interests of US imperialism against a foreign government then it is
regarded as legitimate. However, if any foreign power attempts to apply
the same methods against the USA it is a different story. Under the
United States Code, similar "outreach" activities on the part of a
foreign diplomat in the United States can result in criminal prosecution
and a 10-year prison sentence. This applies to anyone "who agrees to
operate within the United States subject to the direction or control of
a foreign government or official" (Title 18, section 951 of the United
States Code).

full: http://www.marxist.com/Latinam/cuba_executions.html
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