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Vets for Peace
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Beyond Same-Sex Marriage
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Planning for a ReColonization of Cuba
T he Bush administration’s Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, cochaired by U.S. Secretaries of State and Commerce, presented a report to the president in early July, 2006. This “Report to the President” (www.cafc.org) is a lengthy and comprehensive plan, detailing the steps that the U.S. government and other “vital actors” will take to bring Cuba back into the family of U.S. colonies, which now include some of the Pacific Islands, Puerto Rico, Kabul, and the Green Zone in Baghdad.
This plan is much the same as the one for Iraq (which was not publicly articulated beforehand). By privatizing what used to be done publicly, it will bring Cuba into the modern, civilized world by creating a capitalist “utopia.” Private entrepreneurs from the “international community” (mostly U.S. corporations) and the “Cuban community abroad” (mostly U.S. citizens), unencumbered by societal restraint, will save the “longsuffering” Cuban people from continuing poverty and tyranny while, incidentally, benefiting themselves.
The recommendation for the Cuban destabilization activities going on now is to continue or increase everything, especially the radioTV projects illegally being forced on Cubans by U.S. airplanes, tightening the blockade—i.e., fining foreign banks that deal in Cuba transactions, punishing and rewarding foreign governments that increase or decrease Cuba trade, and tightening and increasing punishment for travel restrictions—the cost of which already triples what we spend trying to trace Al Qaeda funds.
The funding for all this will be a new U.S. slush fund of $80 million, increased by $20 million per year, plus all the dirty destabili zation money (unknown multimillions per year) now being funneled through AID, NED, the socalled NGOs in Florida and the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.
Under the plan, in the future all Cuban communication, electric power, transport, mining, industry, agriculture, medical, and other productive enterprise will be privatized and the vital actors (the U.S. and its entrepreneurs) will build and create for Cuba a water and sanitation system, a healthcare system, an education system, a transportation system, a communication system, a shelter system (homes for everyone), a food security system (a chicken in every pot), all presumably similar to what we are doing for or to the Iraqi people. Much more than we are willing to do for the people of New Orleans.
Our“ generosity” to the Cubans is conditioned, however, on their acceptance of a new political economy, which is similar to our own. There’s very little said about what already exists in Cuba and nothing about the effects of our blockade and terrorism against Cubans. It’s as if the institutions, infrastructure, and protective capabilities that have been created in 45 years of independence are so insignificant they’re not worth mentioning.
Not surprisingly, this plan is rife with the usual code words the Administration uses to manipulate public opinion, such as “democracy” (commercial oligarchy), “freedom” (of the big fish to eat the little ones), “dissenters” (most ly a few hundred U.S. paid mercenaries). The plan is also full of statements about what changes the Cuban people want (with no supporting evidence), but says little about any role for them in pursuing their supposed desires. Indeed, they are treated overall as the objects of a transformation to be carried out by others. They are seen as helpless and ignorant, in need of education and training in the complexities of modern consumer society.
The plan is to rebuild the Cuban nation from scratch to an eventual capitalist neocolony similar to those that now exist in Central America and the Caribbean. Nothing is said, however, about how we get from present reality to “scratch.” The first six months are said to be crucial. This is when the Cuban Transition Government (CTG) will be set up. Clearly this means a puppet government, such as was created for Afghanistan and Iraq. Funding will consist of an imposed IMF structural adjustment loan, other international bank loans, international investment, especially by the “Cuban community abroad,” and direct U.S. taxpayer help where deemed appropriate.
M uch concern is expressed in the plan about Fidel Castro’s “strategy” for succession. Cuba has a constitution, but no mention of it is made in the plan. Nor, seemingly, is one to be written for them, as was done in Afghanistan and Iraq. The plan says that Castro’s strategy is that his brother becomes president when he leaves office, which the plan’s vital actors will not allow to happen.
This Constitution establishes a nonpartisan participatory/representative electoral system, which is not similar to ours, but in some respects is more accountable and democratic. At the local and provincial levels there must be two or more candidates for each office. At the national level it’s a parliamentary type system where any candidate for the 619, 5year National Assembly seats must receive at least 50 percent of the vote to win office. The executive (called the Council of State, analogous to our president and cabinet) consists of 24 members of the Assembly headed by a president and vice president, which presently are the duly elected Castro brothers.
The Constitution provides that if the president is unable to continue or leaves for any reason, the vice president will take over until the National Assembly elects a new president. The Assembly and the Castro brothers have frequently said the succession will occur per the Constitution. The only way it could be stopped or changed is by outside military intervention. Thus, the U.S. plan is, in effect, as Cuba’s Assembly President Richard Alarcon has stated, a declaration of war. It’s a combination of unsupported generalities, gross exaggeration, insults, hypocrisy, and outright falsehoods. It’s an ultimatum, which acknowledges no possibility that there may be other views and perspectives about Cuba.
It’s unusual to publicly issue beforehand a plan for the subjugation of a sovereign nation. Americans should ask themselves why our government is issuing a plan like this at this time. Clearly, pander is an important factor. The South Florida business community, which consists of people with all kinds of ancestry, including European, Latin, and Cuban, tends to see Cuba as its competitor in its main industry, tourism. It funds most of our national and Florida antiCuba politicians and receives from them in return a brutal blockade, a vicious antiCuba policy, and more taxpayer money in return.
Many of these people see the present Administration as their last chance to retake power in Cuba. At this point the overbuilt South Florida real estate market is looking like a lead balloon and things are getting a little “iffy” in the construction, mortgage, banking, tourism, stock markets, and other areas. As suggested in the plan, business conferences are being held frequently in Miami to plan the takeover of Cuba and they are already arguing among themselves about the spoils.
The plan alleges that Cuba and Venezuela are “intermeddling” in other Latin countries’ internal affairs (which is something the U.S. would never do?). No Latin country has complained of such Cuban actions and no evidence has been produced to support such a charge. It’s true that Cuba sends physicians, nurses, and teachers to help poor people in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa, but only on request of their governments. The truth is that after a century of U.S. corporate exploitation, some countries in South America are becoming independent nations. The Cuban Revolution stands as a shining example that such can be done.
The plan was written and assembled by over 100 experts from various government agencies, but the CIA is not among these. There are plenty of good reasons to believe that the CIA, at least the agents who know something about Cuba, agree with previous Pentagon investigations of Cuban military installations that Cuba constitutes no risk to our national security. Nevertheless part of the plan is being kept secret on national security grounds.
There are several possible scenarios that could be used to publicly justify another military intervention in Cuba. One of the most unfounded and dangerous aspects of the U.S. propaganda campaign is the assertion that the Cuban Revolution has been the work of one man (“the tyrant”) and the people on the island are desperate to return to corporate rule.
Several years ago a poll indicated that 25 percent of Miamians of Cuban ancestry want to return to Cuba when the leadership changed. Thus, there’s a distinct possibility of a boat exodus from South Florida to Cuba, possibly tens or hundreds of thousands of people. In the Clinton years, Washington, Florida, and Miami had contingency plans to prevent this by using the Coast Guard and various agencies. This is nowhere mentioned in the plan, but it can be inferred that such contingency plans no longer exist or will not be used.
Any intervention in Cuba will lead to a brutal war and a harsh, and bloody occupation/insurgency, which will end only when the U.S. withdraws completely.
Tom Crumpacker is a member of the Miami Coalition to End the U.S. Embargo of Cuba.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.