[Marxism] Military Takeover of Cuba Not Such a Remote Possibility

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 15 10:18:39 MDT 2006

(A rather thoughtful way to frame the argument that Washington should
simply butt out and allow the people of Cuba to deal with this with 
no intervention from the United States. Should be widely reposted.)

The Berkeley Daily Planet
Issue Updated:
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
8:41 AM

Commentary: Military Takeover of Cuba Not Such a Remote Possibility
By Jean Damu

Some politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. and anti-Castro
activists in Florida have been waiting so long for the passing from
the scene of Cuban president Fidel Castro, that now that he has
actually ceded power, it remains to be seen whether or not they can
restrain themselves from attempting to provoke an event or series of
events that would force Cuba to turn to its military for political
stability and military defense during this transition period.

As far as Cubans likely are concerned, of all the circumstances that
could have initiated the transition of political power, the one
currently unfolding is best. By ceding power to Raul Castro, 
Fidel's younger brother, presumably while Fidel is still alive, the
government has given time for the Cuban people to psychologically
prepare for a new leader.

Having been born since the advent of the Cuban Revolution the
majority of the population has known no other political leader. As
they wait to hear a definitive statement on Fidel's health the
emotional tension now must be overwhelming. The military waits as

Contrary to prevailing wisdom in the U.S. press, this is not the
first time Fidel has ceded power to Raul. In the 1970s Castro
underwent another medical situation and temporarily handed power to
his brother. Then the mood was not nearly as somber as now.

Correctly the U.S. press has focused on four men whom are considered
to be top candidates to replace Fidel. The four, Raul Castro, Foreign
Minister Felipe Roque, National Assembly head Ricardo Alarcon and
Cuba's top economist Carlos Lage are all eminently qualified and
politically skilled. Of the four, however, it would seem Roque, just
41, is the one who has been most diligently groomed for the job. In
addition he commands the most passion among Cubans.

Many consider Roque the most likely long term replacement. He is a
former head of the Young Communist organization and in the Cuban
perspective is considered politically sound. Raul Castro on the other
hand has often been considered to the left of Fidel and he is a
sterner person. He does not generate emotion in the people in the way
his brother does.

But for the time being Raul Castro is the head of the Cuban
government, not because his brother says but because the Cuban
Constitution says. Therefore now Raul is not only the head of the
Cuban state but he is also head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces.

Raul Castro is not the head of the Cuban armed forces the way George
Bush is head of the U.S. armed forces. Raul, as a youth was a member
of the Cuban Communist Party's Young Communist League and broke party
discipline to join the armed July 26 Movement that brought his older
brother to power. He is now a highly trained and more importantly
highly experienced militarist, having attended numerous advanced
military courses in the former Soviet Union and overseeing Cuba's
highly successful military expeditions in Angola and Ethiopia. Most
often in public he is seen wearing his uniform.

Furthermore, Cuban are comfortable with the army in their midst.
Unlike the United States where most military units are confined to
military reservations and are seen only on television or in parades,
the Cuban army is integrated into the people's everyday life. The
army, in particular, is seen everywhere from doing security work at
office buildings and large apartment complexes to working in
agricultural enterprises. In Cuba the RAF are mostly self-sustaining
and control nearly 11 percent of the economy. It participates in the
tourist sector of the economy by running hotels and in agriculture by
operating sizeable and productive farms.

In addition to all this the Cubans are already organized into a
paramilitary organization that has access to arms, the Committees to
Defend the Revolution. Most Cubans participate in the CDRs, many even
donning uniforms on special occasions, especially when they feel
threatened by war sounds coming from Washington. Georgina Chebou, a
leading member of the Cuban Communist Party's Central Committee told
this writer not long ago, "We've always felt if we were ever to solve
our energy problems, Washington would invade us."

One would be hard pressed to convince Cubans they are all paranoid
conspiracy theorists. As far as they are concerned all their enemies
are real. History would seem to bear them out. Fabian Escalante, a
long time head of Cuba's Ministry of the Interior (in charge of state
security) recently revealed he believes there have been in excess of
over 600 assassination attempts against Fidel.

Also, this writer, as a guest of Cuban general Arnaldo Tomayo, has
been inside the fortified tunnels that surround the U.S. naval
installation at Guantanamo. Reportedly the existence of these tunnels
is not unique in Cuba. Clearly any military incursion the U.S. might
launch into Cuba would create a far, far more complicated and
militarily ferocious response than what took place during 1961 Bay of
Pigs invasion.

No one in Cuba in their right mind would want the military to take
over the Cuban government, unless the United States creates the
conditions to warrant it.

The best course for everyone involved, especially the politicians and
bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. and Florida, is to keep their
distance and to allow this uniquely Cuban transition of power to
continue peacefully.

Jean Damu can be contacted at jdamu2 at yahoo.com

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