[Marxism] Cuba to Obama: Drop Dead. [was: Castro offers to exchange dissidents for 'Cuban 5']

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at gmail.com
Thu Dec 18 20:24:10 MST 2008

	The AP report Walter posted is a pack of lies.

	It is an imperialist propaganda offensive meant to cover up the very
important diplomatic, political, moral and economic defeat American
imperialism suffered this week in Brazil: what in the Latin American media
has been called the "megacumbre" or mega-summit, actually four interlinked
summit crowned by --for the first time-- a summit of all Latin American and
Caribbean heads of state and JUST those heads of state: no damned yanquis;
no Canadians eh?; no Iberian highnesses; no European communitists. Like the
Irish used to say: We Ourselves. Alone.

	Only Bush's court clown, Salvadoran President Tony Saca, absented
himself from the summit, preferring instead to go to Washington to
ostentatiously kiss Bush's behind. As fate would have it, he wasn't even
graced with being allowed to speak during the (very brief) photo op with
Bush, being reduced to making comments at the "stakeout," as the microphone
stand by the White House driveway --usually reserved for administration
aides-- is known in the news racket. And even more humiliatingly, the only
thing that made the news was his comment about throwing shoes being bad
manners. EVEN the official White House mouthpiece recognized that this was
just sucker-bait to let us in TV control rooms throughout the world roll the
slo-mo clip of Bush ducking one more time. But not Tony Saca, who appears to
be just as quick in the wit as his commander in chief is in ducking flying
shoes. NOT!!!

	Can't wait until March, when --or so polls suggest-- FMLN candidate
and former CNN "stringer" Mauricio Funes wins the presidency of El Salvador.

	Even Uribe, Washington's Colombian sock puppet, accepted the
invitation to go to the summit, but at the last minute he got a lucky break
-- bad flooding in some parts of Colombia allowed him to skip the meeting,
saying he needed to stay on top of the crisis and relief efforts, with no
one being able to criticize him for it.

	The summit goers had a lot of interesting and important things to
say, especially around the financial panic and economic crisis, the drive
for regional integration and cooperation, and the need to create a NEW OAS
that would not be --as Che so justly called the current one-- a yankee
ministry of colonies because the yanquis would not be in it AT ALL.

	But there was one subject on which there was UNANIMOUS agreement:
the U.S. blockade and ostracism of Cuba must stop. Cuba is by right a full
member of the community of Latin American and Caribbean nations, and the
United States is NOT. 

	And to emphasize THIS message, the summit host, President Lula, set
aside the day AFTER the summit for a bilateral pow-wow with Cuban president
Raúl Castro.

	And it was from these meetings in Brazilia, not the resort where the
summit was held, that the diversionary counter-attack by the imperialist
media was launched.

	Raúl did not propose any prisoner exchange. He replied --quite
pointedly-- to hostile questions from a pro-imperialist journalist who was
demanding the release of the bought-and-paid-for yanqui agents in Cuban
prisons as a "gesture" to the incoming Obama administration.

	To which Raúl replied, as relayed by various imperialist agency news

"Esos prisioneros de los que hablan... ¿Ellos quieren que los dejemos ir?
Nosotros los vamos a enviar con sus familias y todas sus cosas. Devuélvannos
a nuestros cinco héroes. Eso es un gesto de ambos lados", afirmó. "Vamos a
hacer gesto por gesto." (DPA dispatch in Peru's El Comercio).

"Those prisoners they're talking about.... They want us to let them go?
We'll send them with their families and all their things. But return our
five heroes. That would be gestures on both sides."

"We will respond with a gesture to a gesture." 

*  *  *

And here is a different version of the quote, from Mexico's El Financiero:
"Si (Estados Unidos) quieren a los disidentes, se los mandamos mañana, con
familia y todo, pero que nos devuelvan a nuestros cinco héroes". 

"If (the United States) wants the dissidents, we'll send them tomorrow, with
their families and everything, but let them return to us our five heroes." 

El financiero, being more cautious than the German imperialist press agency
DPA, doesn't say Raúl proposed an exchange but "dio a entender" --implied--
he might be willing to make a trade.

*  *  *

In general ALL the imperialist news conglomerates gave the same spin to
Raúl's comment, rather than communicating its real content, which was to
tell the imperialist journalist-provocateur to go fuck himself. In my
experience, that almost invariably means that this was an interpretation
very aggressively pushed by those usually referred to in journalistic
circles as "western diplomatic sources in Brazil" or "U.S. diplomats in the
region," as it is VERY unhealthy to speculate --or worse, report-- the CIA
affiliations of State Department personnel. 

These reports have something else in common.

They very tellingly OMIT what Lula, who Raúl was visiting, had to say on the
subject of the report, US-Cuba relations: that the U.S. needed to lift the
blockade, that no "gestures" could be asked of Cuba because "lo único que
hizo de malo fue conquistar su libertad" ("the only 'bad' thing it did was
to win its freedom").

According to the much fuller report on the antena3noticias web site, Lula
was quite righteous [English translation follows]:

El líder brasileño reiteró que "la victoria de Obama significa mucho, porque
no es poca cosa que un negro sea elegido presidente de Estados Unidos", pero
insistió en que deberá haber "una diferencia en relación a América Latina".

También subrayó que "Cuba no tiene que hacer gestos. Es Estados Unidos el
que tiene que hacer un gesto, porque fue Estados Unidos el que impuso el
bloqueo, y el gesto (de Obama) debe ser decir que el bloqueó se acabó".

El general Castro, por su parte, no pareció muy confiado en lo que pueda
decidir el nuevo presidente de Estados Unidos: "Hay que irse preparando
porque el bloqueo no tiene perspectiva", declaró a periodistas.

Según Castro, "el señor Obama dijo que se suavizará el bloqueo, pero también
que se mantendrá el bloqueo, y eso es como la zanahoria y el garrote"....

Asimismo, ha negado que La Habana vaya a "tener algún gesto", porque en el
caso del embargo económico "es un país pequeño y agredido", que es objeto de
"una incomprensible venganza contra un pueblo que no ha agredido nunca a
Estados Unidos".

Dijo que recientemente recibió una carta de un ex presidente de Estados
Unidos, que no identificó, que "anunciaba que se aproximan cambios y que si
tenemos algunos gestos, puede haber gestos". Sin embargo, aclaró que su
respuesta fue que "la época de los gestos unilaterales se acabó en Cuba."

*  *  *

The Brazilian leader reiterated that "Obama's victory means a lot, because
it isn't a small thing for a Black man to be elected president of the United
States," but insisted that there must be "a difference in relation to Latin

He also underlined that "Cuba does not need to make gestures. It is the
United States that needs to make a gesture. Because it was the United States
that imposed the blockade, and Obama's gesture should be to say that the
blockade is over."

General Castro, for his part, appeared to have little confidence in what the
new president of the United States might decide. "We have to prepare,
because the blockade has no perspective." 

According to Castro, "Mr. Obama said he would soften the blockade, but also
that the blockade would stay in place, and that's like the carrot and the

Likewise, he denied that Havana would "make some gesture" because in the
case of the economic embargo, "it is a small country that is the target of

He said recently he had received a letter from an ex-president of the United
States, whom he did not identify, who "announced that changes were coming
and if we made some gestures, there could be gestures." 

Nevertheless, he made clear that "the epoch of unilateral gestures has ended
in Cuba."

*  *  *

>From all this, it is quite clear the kind of counter-revolutionary
propaganda campaign that Washington is launching. A former president --
everyone will assume Carter, of course, but it matters little whether him,
or Clinton, or Bush the Father or even Nixon from Beyond -- launches the
gambit. Cuba has to "make a gesture." 

The public message is, "Those damn Cuban commies are SO unreasonable! Can't
they see Obama WANTS to help them? They just need to give him some cover!"
To justify, of course, Obama doing nothing.

Because if Obama sought to unwind tensions, if THAT were REALLY the case,
that isn't the way it would be done, with big huge public gestures at the
outset. It would be some really innocent thing, like scheduling a meeting of
the joint commission on immigration matters or something like that, or some
little permission the UN mission or interests section in Washington has been
seeking, or the U.S. interests section in Havana, or a lecture or visit by
some academician or artist or writer that would be quickly approved along
with a "planted" question for whichever government done it at a presser so
the official mouthpiece can say of course there's no problem with this,
we're really looking forward to it, politics mustn't stand in the way of
contact at a human (or cultural, religious, scientific, sports, or whatever
other level is chosen). "This has got nothing to do with politics," being
the dead give-away that this is ENTIRELY and almost EXCLUSIVELY political,
and not about ping-pong AT ALL.

And then there would be similar smoke signals from the other side.

The stuff about dramatic public "gestures" from the Cuban side is simply
Washington's way of asking: are you ready to cry uncle yet? And Cuba's
response is, as it has always been to such U.S. inquiries, "Drop Dead." 

And Raúl's message, which the antena3 writer understood, is that Cuba is
preparing for some NEW "test" from the U.S. under Obama. Probably something
like a slander and propaganda campaign for Washington's cherished
"dissidents." In which case I would urge the imprisoned yanqui stooges to
settle in for a long stay. The completely predictable CUBAN response to such
a propaganda offensive will be to superglue the jail cells shut, and then
pour concrete where the doors used to be, just to make sure

It is a pattern with most new U.S. administrations, going all the way back
to JFK nearly half a century ago. They want to send a message that they're
"tough," that they're aggressive, that the new guy isn't going to be pushed
around. And looking for a suitable target they notice there's this island,
small but with tremendous symbolic value. So they do some damn fool thing
and often as not, it blows up in the face of the yanquis, though not usually
as dramatically as what happened to Kennedy. 

With Obama it isn't likely to be a military aggression. Not because I have
any faith in his innate pacifistic tendencies but MOSTLY because of "Obama
and what army?" The U.S. is a little short of combat-ready brigades and
Marine Expeditionary Units just now, and what with three more going to
Afghanistan, things aren't likely to get any better on this front before
January 20. And I do think Obama is smart enough not to try to bluff Cuba.
Because Cuba will double the bet and call the bluff. Yes it can. And yes it

Finally, I want to add that I don't think this tells us ANYTHING about the
ultimate course of an Obama administration on Cuba a few years, or even a
few months, down the road. But I do believe this little stink bomb tells us
how the Obama administration is going to START, which is pretty much the
same way all the others have since the Cuban revolution. 

As Fidel, I will note in passing, has been explaining for months to the
Cuban people that they need to be prepared for.



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