EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE FROM HAVANA IN PATRIOTIC MARCH ON WEDNESDAY
Chaos reigns in U.S. politics. Our people have just witnessed how the leaders of the U.S. government and Congress can become instruments of the Cuban-American terrorist Mafia from Miami and of some extreme right-wing politicians in leading congressional positions.
This had become evident with the absurd events surrounding the kidnapping of the Cuban child Elián González.
The intense seven-month battle fought by our people with the support of the U.S. public, kept informed of the details by the major media, inflicted them a humiliating defeat. Now they want to recover their lost ground at any cost. Hatred and a desire for revenge against our people are what they exude from every pore. A history of aggression and complicity by successive administrations and an endless number of laws and amendments passed throughout 40 years pave their way and boost their actions against Cuba.
The final stage of a close electoral campaign, when demagogy and politicking reach their peak, was the ideal timing for their latest felony against our country.
It was obvious that President Clinton, like the majority of Congress and the American people, were growing tired of a stupid and cruel policy that for more than four decades has clashed against the iron will of a small nation that with unbending strength has resisted and shown that there is a limit to the might of that superpower.
Respect for Cuba and its prestige keep growing all over the world. Nobody ignores anymore the enormous social work done by the Revolution. Very few developed countries can boast the health and education services that Cuba provides free of charge to its entire people, and the richest and most powerful of all countries, the United States of America, is certainly not among them.
Our current capability for offering medical care and personnel training for the benefit of tens of millions of people living in the remotest parts of the Third World –and this free of charge-- is something that Europe and the United States combined cannot provide simply because they lack the necessary human capital.
In the most recent Olympics, other nations with abundant resources and populations many times larger than Cuba’s were left way behind by our teams. Despite of all the money that flows in favor of professional Olympic sport, not one of our athletes could be bought.
Our people’s political conscience and spirit of solidarity are at their best and their education and knowledge are growing at a pace that will leave all other societies on the planet far behind. The Cuban people are more united than ever. Our political system operates on the basis of seriousness, stability, social participation and public honesty, unlike what happens every day in practically every other place of our embattled world.
In our country, violence has never been exercised against the people. Mass repression, the use of tear gas and threatening behavior, which are so common in the richest and most developed countries, with few exceptions, have not been seen here for four decades. Consensus is the key to the great political power of our Revolution.
The much touted and hypocritical bourgeois concepts of democracy and human rights sound completely empty when it is extreme inequality, violence against popular demonstrations, selfish individualism, the wasteful consumption of resources and environmental destruction that prevail in the highest developed countries and in those where the political and economic patterns of the current world economic order have been imposed. Only a tiny privileged minority in the Third World can indulge in consumption while billions, more than ever before in the history of humanity, endure hunger, illiteracy and poverty.
Only 90 miles from the United States and subjected to a blockade lasting almost half a century by the most powerful nation on Earth –a blockade which intensified twice as much in the early ‘90s when the other superpower disintegrated-- Cuba has done something the most reactionary sectors of that country find hard to accept. These sectors usually scorn, humiliate and destroy all those who dare to resist their will.
The USSR, which owned thousands of strategic nuclear weapons, a landmass of 22 million square kilometers and endless natural resources, had collapsed and so had all her European allies. But Cuba, located in the very heart of the West, blockaded, besieged, harassed and under all sorts of pressures whose collapse was expected every day, every week, every month, did not fall. Cuba held high her socialist banner and her dreams of justice; it never renounced a single principle or made a single ideological concession. This heroic deed has made our people worthy of a place in history that nothing or no one will ever take away.
Now that the world is becoming ungovernable and the economic order imposed on the peoples is unsustainable, again a spirit of resistance is rising everywhere. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, instruments of that order par excellence, cannot find a place to meet undisturbed. Whether in Washington or Prague, thousands upon thousands of people rise in protest, and are brutally repressed. Both institutions are totally discredited; their ideology and their methods to make the rich even richer while stealing from the poor is in swift decline. Bewilderment and demoralization has spread among those who had anticipated the end of history. Both, for Cuba and for the whole world, history is just beginning.
All of this explains why Cuba, that sidestepped such political and economic models to struggle for the social development it has achieved, is the only country in the world subjected to a brutal unilateral economic blockade by the United States. Of course, this does not proof the strength of the blockader but rather its weakness and helplessness.
The most intelligent people in America, the most honest sectors, the most honorable politicians and the most dedicated supporters –out of personal conviction or interest-- of economic and cultural exchanges between countries, claim for the end of this policy towards Cuba. They understand that the United States cannot continue to suffer the increasing humiliating isolation at the United Nations General Assembly. Not one country in the world backs the criminal blockade with the exception of a handful of its most unconditional allies. Every year the number of nations that vote openly against the blockade increases. The Cuban resolution is adopted almost unanimously.
Never before had a superpower played a more ridiculous role or displayed such disregard for the general opinion of governments and peoples around the world. This is telling proof that in the current statutes of the United Nations no equality of prerogatives or democratic rights exists for the majority of member states.
The vast majority of the public and the very members of the Senate and House of Representatives feel that the policy of the U.S. government against Cuba has failed and should be changed. In the last 15 months, unequivocal vote counting in both Houses showed that the majority of members in one way or another supported the sale of food and medicines to Cuba. But, as the implementation of such measure would be unfeasible without revoking or revising the provisions of other laws and amendments, it would explicitly or implicitly involve the lifting of the economic blockade and, on this issue, various actors and considerable political, academic and economic forces have been unable to progress. On the contrary, their initiatives have been arbitrarily blocked and forced into retreat.
Now, when the electoral campaign is in full swing, and uncertainty and puzzlement prevail, the Mafia and the extreme-right have imposed their will through murky, anti-democratic and cynical procedures. They have infringed rules and regulations. Abusing the positions they hold in the leadership of both Houses and in major legislative Committees, they hijacked bills and prevented their discussion in the appropriate meetings knowing that they were in the minority.
The tactic used was the introduction of arbitrary modifications and amendments to bills crucial to key sectors that no lawmaker, or only a few of them, could oppose. The first case was the Agricultural Appropriation Bill authorizing 78 billion dollars to cover the farmers’ subsidies and the recipients of food stamps. This had to be urgently approved a few weeks before the elections. This is the bill where they introduced gross modifications that make it morally and materially impossible for our country to buy food and medicines in America.
Moreover, while snatching from the President one of the few prerogatives left to him regarding the economic measures against Cuba, they secretly introduced another arbitrary modification that legally prevents Americans from traveling to Cuba. This violates a constitutional right of every American and it makes Cuba the only country in the world, with few exceptions, that they cannot visit. They intend to deprive us of the hard currency that the tourist industry contributes to our economy.
Only one thing was left to the irritated members of Congress who opposed the coarse maneuver: to demand the free discussion of the amendment. Then, the extreme-right and the Mafia resorted to the principle of party discipline that is of crucial importance 27 days from an election. The majority of the republican representatives, a significant number of whom sincerely supported the sale of food and medicines to Cuba, were thus forced to follow the party line and vote against open discussion. The debate was blocked by 214 republican votes against 201 democratic votes, except for a few cases from one party or the other. And so, two important international policy decisions were adopted in that session of the U.S. House of Representatives.
These sinister modifications to the Agricultural Appropriation Bill are considered measures to ease or loosen the blockade against Cuba.
The same tactic was used with an underhanded amendment that puts Cuba’s blocked assets at the disposition of the Miami terrorist Mafia. Both Houses have passed it as it was incorporated in a bill that addressed vital questions for large and significant sectors of the American public that no legislator could oppose.
This is how formulas for robberies and dispossessions are planned and approved and how precedents are established that violate international principles and norms, the consequences of which could be extremely serious. These facts however do not strengthen the U.S. versus Cuba; on the contrary, they make Cuba’s position stronger in every way and discredit and weaken the position of the United States.
The basic issue for us now is that, strategically speaking, the 40-year-old U.S. policy towards Cuba is now defeated, and there is no alternative in the short or long term other than abandoning the economic warfare against our country.
If the U.S. government were one day to make the absurd decision to resolve the situation by the use of force, the cost would be unpayable from both the human and the political points of view. The weapons have not been invented that can defeat the people who are truly willing to fight. The current conditions that surround Cuba --an impenetrable trench of stones and ideas-- are dissimilar to all theatres where they have led military adventures in this century.
In Cuba, as in Vietnam, regardless of the new weapons developed since then, the conflict would never end until the total liberation of the country, whatever types of war this would entail. There would be no victory for the aggressors.
If the decision is to maintain a blockade that is now unsustainable and will expose them to ever greater isolation and ever deeper contradictions with their allies, then our people, with their patriotism, their example and their higher political culture will tear the U.S. world influence and prestige to pieces.
In the area of ideas, the enemies of our Homeland, those bent on breaking us, lack the capacity to maintain a serious and convincing debate before the billions of impoverished people who are increasingly poorer and aware of the causes of their tragedy; nor before the tens of thousands of influential and informed people of the developed countries who see more clearly than ever that the world is being steered towards the abyss.
Therefore, we face new and decisive battles. Today more than ever we can understand the importance of the Oath of Baraguá.
Our country will not spend a single penny in food or medicines in the United States. Firstly, for reasons of ethics and dignity we cannot accept humiliating and unfair conditions that leave untouched all the laws and measures of an economic warfare waged against our people. Secondly, as has been demonstrated, it is completely impossible to buy medicines and foods from the U.S. while the rigorous and inflexible rules of the Torricelli Act and other legislation are in place. This has been explained in detail in the latest round table meetings and by the President of the National Assembly, Dr. Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada.
Likewise, it is completely unacceptable that the U.S. hands over the control of the blocked Cuban assets to terrorist groups that have perpetrated all kinds of aggression against our country. It is public knowledge already that half of these assets will stay in the hands of the Mafia’s lawyers.
Such an amendment constitutes an extremely grave action and a strong incentive to the violation of our sovereignty and to criminal and pirate attacks against our country from U.S. territory.
According to the information collected to this date, the blocked Cuban assets in the U.S. are the following:
In summary, $121,400,000 for communications services and $40,201,000 in blocked assets mostly owed to the National Bank of Cuba raises the total of blocked Cuban assets in the U.S. to $161,601,000.
As can be appreciated, the majority of these funds come from communications services provided by Cuba for 28 years, which enabled contact between people born in Cuba living in the U.S. and their families on the island. These were not paid to our telephone company and were blocked by the U.S. government.
That arbitrary and brutal amendment will definitely receive an appropriate response.
Successive U.S. administrations were responsible for the organization of massive acts of terrorism against our country: bombs and arsons against places of economic and social importance, dirty war, mercenary invasion, pirate attacks by air and sea, plans for the assassination of Cuban leaders, the introduction of lethal viruses and bacteria, and many other infamous acts of aggression and violence.
A total of 5577 people has lost their lives or has been left crippled for life.
These repugnant acts were denounced and proved before competent courts of law. Many of them have even been recognized and exposed in official U.S. government documents. As a result, the United States was fined with 181.1 billion dollars for the human damage caused.
The blockade and economic warfare against Cuba include medicines and foods. This is an act of genocide according to the international treaties of December 9,1948 and August 12, 1949 of which both countries are signatories. Both, the blockade and the economic war have been penalized following trial in competent civil courts of law to the order of 121 billion dollars in compensation for economic damage.
It has yet to be established what the rightful compensation would be for the moral damage inflicted or the penal action that our courts of law would be entitled to undertake in accordance with the previously mentioned treaties.
Relationships between the United States and Cuba cannot be really normalized until these outstanding obligations are discussed by both governments in association with the U.S. economic demands for compensation on account of nationalized property belonging to U.S. citizens at the time of the triumph of the Revolution.
Only the formality of the Senate vote on the modifications included in the Agricultural Appropriation Bill awaits realization since they cannot be debated in an open discussion and will inevitably be passed in the next few days.
As an immediate reply to the extreme right and the Cuban-American terrorist Mafia and against the sinister modifications and amendments clumsily introduced and imposed in the U.S. Senate, which not even the President of the country is in a position to veto despite his severe criticism, 800,000 people from the capital will march upon the United States Interests Section in Havana on Wednesday, October 18, at 9:00 a.m.
This patriotic march will also send a message to the U.S. people --a large majority of whom supported the liberation of the kidnapped Cuban child and increasingly oppose the criminal blockade-- by exposing and protesting the gross violation of their constitutional right to travel to Cuba where they have always been received with hospitality and respect.
Once more, the streets of Havana will echo with our cries!
We will all be there!
(GRANMA EDITORIAL FROM OCTOBER 16, 2000)