It's become fashionable to attack Cuba

Walter Lippmann walterlx at
Tue May 13 20:41:06 MDT 2003

(Excellent commentary by Luis Ortega,
the kind we need more of at this time.)

El Diario / LA PRENSA, New York
May 2003
It's become fashionable to attack Cuba
By Luis Ortega

Journalists, both the good ones and the hacks, often tend to
act like lemmings. Lemmings, whose scientific name is Lemmus
Myopus, are little rodents found in northern climates who
live near coastlines in large groups. They exhibit a very
strange behavior: they often commit suicide en masse.
Everything might be going well, with no sign of danger, when
suddenly one of the lemmings in the group will start
screaming in alarm and then the whole herd of lemmings panic
and stampede into the ocean and drown themselves.

The same thing tends to happen with journalists, especially
those who write in Spanish, and if they are from Latin
America, the situation gets even worse. When the Cuban
revolution triumphed in 1959, and beards became fashionable,
all those literary rodents enthusiastically descended on
Cuba ­ Spanish, English, American, Chinese ­ they all came.

All of them wanted a piece of the revolutionary pie. They
were almost heroic in their efforts. It is said that Mario
Vargas Llosa broke his ankle running after Fidel Castro.
He even claimed to be very proud that his son, still in his
mother's womb at the time, had been able to hear one of
Castro's long speeches. Nobody missed their chance to praise
Cuba. It was a flood of literary homage. Even the executions
carried out during the early years did not deter them from
breaking their hands applauding the revolution. Everything
was justified. Everything was OK. As Gertrudis might have
said, a revolution is a revolution is a revolution.

But then things started to get hard. The United States
started nailing Cuba to a cross and Cuba was increasingly
abandoned to bear her cross alone. A revolution that dares
to confront Washington is a serious matter. The literary
tributes started to diminish. Even Neruda became annoyed
because revolutions are fine for inspiring poetry and salon
chatter but not if they get you into a clash with the
empire. Destiny had a sad death in store for him anyway.
Carlos Fuentes invented a feud with Roberto Fernández
Retamar and opted to stay home and sign autographs, which
was much more comfortable. After 44 years, there were few
intellectuals left willing to risk voicing their support for
Cuba. Especially if they knew that it would mean having
their American visas rejected. Still, in any case, a few
supporters remained. The revolution, after 44 years,
appeared to be growing calm. It was no longer a revolution,
and it's a lie to claim that revolutions could last for so
long. What was left was a country still confronting a
menacing neighbour to the north and a people that refused to
surrender after 44 years of aggression. A heroic nation was
still on its feet, battered by a world of misery, led by a
man who had refused to lower his guard for 44 years.

It is clearly obvious that Cuba, even after 44 years of
American aggressions, facing many miseries and with an
aging leadership, still hasn't lost the nerve and vision
propelled it in 1959 on the hardest road that any nation in
Latin America has ever had to endure. As time goes by, and
we who have lived through all the horrors of this period are
long gone, history will remember American aggression against
Cuba as a prime example of genocide. A defenseless and
peaceful country, that has never been a threat to its
northern neighbour, has had to endure endless systematic
attacks of the worst kind. And now, after 44 years, the
threat still remains. There are almost 2 million so-called
"liberators" of Cuba still on Washington's payroll.

What has caused the current media attacks against Cuba? Why
have some horrified intellectuals jumped on the bandwagon to
curry favor with Cuba's enemies? The reason is that the
Cuban government, in accordance with its own laws, has
sentenced a group of dissidents who were being funded by the

United States to jail and executed another three persons for
the armed hijacking of a ferryboat. Then, in an orchestrated
manoeuvre, a series of heated protests appeared. The
reaction to the actions of the Cuban government has been
well coordinated, but what do they want? Should Cuba not
defend itself? Should it not respond when attacked? Should
Cubans meekly accept the actions of an American
representative who has been fomenting a rebellion on the
island whose goal is the overthrow of the Cuban government?

Did they think that the government should allow foreign
agents and their paid accomplices to conspire against Cuba
without intervening? How many other hijackings had been
planned before the executions of the three hijackers? It was
reported that the hijacking was well organized, but the
executions may have helped to thwart other plotters. Why
would a sovereign country allow a foreign agent from an
enemy nation to travel around the countryside promoting
rebellion and organizing resistance cells? Why would anyone
accept this policy of incessant destabilization and bribery?

The foreign campaign against Cuba today has been well
planned. Nothing has happened by chance. The conflict
between Cuba and its northern neighbour has not been
aggravated by chance either. It is the consequence of the
aggressive policies initiated by Washington. Today, I am
almost a stranger in my native country, but that doesn't
stop me from feeling its pain as if it were my own. The
threats against Cuba today are one consequence of the way
that American politics has deteriorated under the current
administration. Perhaps the only thing that can save Cuba
and the rest of the world from the threat posed by
Washington is the economic crisis looming over America in
the near future.

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