Two countries have made the front pages and lead stories in our lemming-like capitalist media: Haiti and Cuba.
One country-- Haiti-- has earned the ire of the self-styled Western democracies by overthrowing its colonial slave masters and establishing a free state in 1803, the first country in history to liberate itself from European-imposed slavery. The Europeans and elites in the US never forgave the rebellious followers of Toussaint L’Ouverture and their descendants. Through occupations, threats, “incentives,” and economic extortion, imperialism has ensured that Haiti remains among the poorest countries of the Americas, ranking 145 on the UN’s Human Development Index.
The brutal assassination of the Haitian President, an attempted coup d’état by rightwing mercenaries, only added to the country’s miseries.
Meanwhile, the US cannot decide who it wants to lead Haiti since the assassination: The UN special representative for Haiti, Helen La Lime, a US citizen, designated Claude Joseph. But the self-styled International Core group-- a collection of ambassadors led by the US-- has designated Ariel Henry. As has become the custom, the Haitian people will have little say.
The other country-- Cuba-- earned its punishment in 1959 when Cuban revolutionaries defeated the US puppet government of Fulgencio Battista, liberating the island’s people from a destiny as the US’s playground and a source of super-exploited labor. The US has never forgiven the Fidelistas for their defiance of the empire to the north. Cuba’s embrace of socialism only enraged the beast even more.
US agencies devote persistent attention to overthrowing the government of Cuba and many millions of dollars back up those goals. Against the expressed UN opposition of nearly every country in the world, the US has imposed an air-tight blockade against the tiny island of eleven million people, denying its people even the most basic fruits of economic activity. Moreover, a day has not passed in the last sixty years that the US was not intervening in Cuban affairs.
Therefore, anyone who has any familiarity with recent Cuban history and has read reports of “demonstrations” on July 11 directed against the Cuban government must immediately look for the barely-hidden hand of US agency, supporting, even directing these demonstrations. It is impossible for any honest journalist to not at least entertain the possibility of US involvement.
And yet the first reports from NPR referred to the spontaneity of these demonstrations, as though there was no organization or planning, a ridiculous claim for a network that also insists that Cuba is a police state. Excited reporters inflated the numbers engaged from hundreds to thousands. Pictures cropped or lifted from entirely different, even pro-Cuba events were disseminated by the blood-lusting media, including AP, Reuters, The Financial Times, and The Guardian, and others, as evidence of street opposition.
The number of wild, outlandish claims about Cuba grew geometrically after the events of July 11. The watchdogs of social media were uncharacteristically docile as every imaginable slander of Cuba emerged, a commonplace of US destabilization campaigns.
NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and other media sources attributed the spark for these demonstrations to a dissident rapper who created a slick video in collaboration with a “superstar” expatriate rapper with deep pockets. While this made for an attractive cover-- a feel-good story of individual courage and initiative-- the mainstream media showed little interest in the US-financed twitter campaign waged through automated tweets emanating from outside the island and backed by US dollars.
They also fail to mention the focused US campaign to fund and influence the island’s youth culture against the Cuban government.
For an industry fixated on exposing “meddling” in US affairs, the infotainment corporations chose to ignore the long history of US-funded regime-change fronts assigned to destabilize Cuba. The World Peace Council provides a handy guide to numerous US-sponsored media organs aligned against the leadership of the Cuban Communist Party, all of which barely conceal their interference in Cuban affairs.
Shamefully, those who are today aghast at conditions in Cuba and blame Cuban problems on the revolutionary leadership that Cuban citizens have chosen never directly address the cruel blockade, the even more stringent sanctions, and the intimidation of Cuba’s friends by its unfriendly neighbor. They do not point to the lost trade, the forbidden remittances, the denied tourism that would allow Cubans to live a more prosperous life.
In a matter-of-fact fashion, Western commentators cite the recent rise of COVID cases in Cuba, neglecting to mention the lack of syringes to deliver the vaccines developed by Cuba’s advanced biomedical programs, a lack that is the direct result of the US-imposed blockade. A campaign to counter the blockade and provide syringes to save Cubans from COVID death has been in effect for many months, entirely ignored by the capitalist media.
While conditions are difficult in Cuba, the vast majority of Cubans have and will continue to support a revolutionary government that stands between them and the world of grinding poverty and degradation that their grandparents knew. Even the younger generations that never experienced the colonial horrors of gangster rule and slave-like working conditions bear the pride in independence that stretches from Jose Martí to Fidel Castro. They will not surrender their right to determine Cuba’s future to foreign interests and democracy haters.
The US’s capitalist allies choose to stand with the bully against a proud, but poor victim, surrendering their integrity to a vicious blockade. The values that NATO so sanctimoniously proclaims are mocked by the organization’s complicity in strangling the tiny Caribbean Island.
Of course, there is a lesson for those umbilically tied to the Democratic Party. Despite campaign pledges, Biden has continued, even exceeded, Trump’s assault on Cuban independence. Journalists have urged his press secretary to elaborate his Cuba policy, but received only evasions. That policy is now clear. The Miami Mafia and New Jersey’s Havana on the Hudson drive Biden’s team to retreat from Obama’s opening and toward subversion of Cuba’s right to self-determination. For the ethically challenged New Jersey Senator Menendez’s vote, the Biden administration is willing to sell out Cuba.
In the midst of the July 11 excuse for attacking Cuban socialism and Cuban sovereignty, a group including “leftist” intellectuals Etienne Balibar, Noam Chomsky, Robert Brenner, and Mike Davis picked this particular moment to circulate a petition to free Cuban intellectuals allegedly arrested by Cuban authorities on July 11. While propounding their solidarity with Cuba, they show no indication that they discussed the allegation publicly or privately with Cuban authorities; they grant no prima facie credibility to the Cuban criminal justice system; from afar, they assume innocence of charges despite little or no knowledge of the circumstances. In short, they presume that the Cuban authorities engage in arbitrary, unwarranted arrests-- a hallmark of a police state. This is a strange posture for “friends” of the Cuban revolution-- an irresponsible, unconscionable act while Cuba is under severe duress from imperialism.
This is not a moment for quarreling over individual rights-- the manic obsession of the comfortable and the privileged-- when the collective right of self-determination claimed by eleven million Cubans is under attack by our leaders.
At great costs, Cuba has escaped the plight of Haiti, successfully holding off the domination of the North American behemoth. Should US imperialism succeed, Cuba will be swarmed by US agencies, corrupt aid packages, World Bank and IMF carpetbaggers, and the other counterparts to the sanctimonious missionaries of the Colonial era.
Haiti and Cuba have the same enemies. They are victimized by the same opportunistic politicians, the same jaded journalists, and the same spies, who all work to maintain or turn both into neo-colonies.
The same nest of counter revolutionaries, criminals, and vultures headquartered in Miami that now call for the bombing or invasion of Cuba and for sending troops to Haiti gave birth to the assassination of Haiti’s president on July 7.
Cuba and Haiti will win!