The Chronic U.S.-Concocted Distortions about Cuba

June 1, 2000

The U.S. Record of Lawless Policies and Ill-conceived Laws Against Sovereign Cuba

On Wednesday, May 16, 2001, the historical surreal obsession of U.S. policymakers with nearby Cuba manifested once again. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), former democratic vice-presidential candidate under Al Gore in the 2000 elections, and nine other bi-partisan U.S. Senators including Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) and Bob Graham (D-FL) introduced the Cuban Solidarity Act of 2001. This illogical bill intends to promote "democracy" in Cuba by granting US$100 million over four years to provide Cuban dissidents with spending money, fax machines, telephones, food, medicines, books, educational materials, independent libraries, and sundry other items. The bill is backed by more than 90 members of the U.S. House as well. Sen. Helms indicated that this bill creates "a blueprint for a more vigorous U.S. policy to liberate the enslaved island of Cuba," and that it gives the President a mandate to increase all forms of U.S. support for pro-democracy and human rights activists in Cuba. On Friday, May 18, President Bush, who claims to be a born-again Christian who prays every day for God’s guidance, endorsed the bill and said he will seek other ways to "counter the silencing of the voices of liberty" on the island.

Predictably, the Cuban Solidarity Act of 2001 has the endorsement of the fanatical Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF), the most rabid of the anti-Communist Cuban exile groups. CANF was founded by the Reagan administration in 1981 and became part of "Project Democracy" (PRODEM), as a tool for promoting U.S. interventionist policy toward Cuba. In fact it is likely that CANF initially wrote and advocated for such bill. Helms and Lieberman, along with a number of other U.S. Senators (such as Torricelli and Graham) and Representatives, have a long history of being beneficiaries of funds from the CANF.

Cuban millionaire Jorge Mas Canosa was tapped by the Reagan administration, along with Raul Masvidal and Carlos Salman, to head up CANF. Consistent with Reagan philosophy to support counterrevolutionary leaders such as Jonas Savimbi of the UNITA terrorists in Angola, and Adolfo Calero of the Contra terrorists in Nicaragua, all three of these Cuban men possessed a counterrevolutionary history with acknowledged CIA connections. Thus, it is not surprising that CANF was an active participant in aiding the U.S. covert wars in both Angola and Nicaragua, among other locations. Mas Canosa had been a professional counterrevolutionary turned businessman. Masvidal, from a Cuban oligarchic family, had participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion and had admitted participating in missions for the CIA before becoming a Miami banker. Salman had been one of the first Cuban emigres to become active in the Florida Republican Party.

Interestingly, Reagan’s "Project Democracy" became a series of undercover operations possessing substantial assets applied primarily for covert, illegal aid to the Nicaraguan Contras, and arms to Iran intended as exchange for hostages. This represents another peculiar example of how the U.S. government uses the word "democracy." Further, PRODEM gave birth to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in 1983, an operation that in effect replaced the CIA in terms of funding internal dissent to U.S.-friendly groups in the "Third" World, while creating and funding alternative political parties in efforts to steal elections from popular candidates and parties that represented genuine local, but not U.S. interests. For example, it was so critical to the United States to assure a Sandinista defeat in the 1990 Nicaragua elections, that the NED orchestrated expenditure of nearly $50 million dollars to literally create, then bankroll, the United Nicaraguan Opposition (UNO). To make absolutely clear its intentions, the U.S. inferred that if the Sandinistas won the election despite NED financing and promoting of the alternative UNO, the U.S. would continue funding the Contra terrorist war that was taking a huge toll on the Nicaraguan society, killing and maiming increasing numbers of her citizens, and destroying large portions of the national infrastructure. Vote for the U.S. chosen candidate and know that the shooting war would stop. Vote for the Sandinistas and know that more Nicaraguan sons and daughters would be murdered on a regular basis.

The Cuban Solidarity Act of 2001 was preceded in 1992 by the "Cuban Democracy Act" (The Torricelli Act), signed into law by Republican President George Bush (in Miami for the signing with CANF representatives present), and in 1996 by the Helms-Burton Act, signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton. The former law forbids foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies from trading with Cuba and bans ships that have visited Cuba from docking at U.S. ports for six months. Ninety percent of the trade banned by this law consists of food, medicine and medical equipment; therefore, this law is in violation of U.N. resolutions and customary international law that prohibit food and medicine from being used as a weapon in international conflicts. The 1996 Helms-Burton Act authorizes U.S. investors to sue in U.S. courts against foreign companies utilizing their confiscated property in Cuba. Additionally, the executives of such foreign companies are refused entry into the U.S. The law also prevents any U.S. president from lifting the embargo until a transitional government is in place in Cuba and requires U.S. representatives to international financial organizations to oppose loans to Cuba. Finally, the Helms-Burton Law imposes without judicial review fines up to $50,000 on U.S. citizens who visit Cuba at their own expense without receiving U.S. government permission in advance. It is interesting to note that the U.S., the nation always describing the lofty value of freedom for the people, is the only Western nation where traveling to another country is a crime.

A total embargo of U.S. trade with Cuba has been in effect since February 7, 1962. This embargo became part of the "Trading with the Enemy Act" of 1917 which forbade commerce with enemy nations or their associates. It implies both a hostile state and a declaration of war. This embargo forbids U.S. citizens from spending any money in Cuba, thereby effectively banning travel to the island nation. Violation of the Trading With the Enemy Act subjects U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba to fines up to $250,000, and up to ten years in prison. The embargo is so total that it bars U.S. imports of third country products that contain any Cuban materials, such as nickel, for example.

Because the U.S. embargo and subsequent laws relating to Cuba have an extraterritorial effect, interfering with the normal flow of international economic relations with other nations, the embargo is legally a blockade. A blockade is an act of war as established in international law in 1909 by the Naval Conference of London. The United Nations General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly every year since 1992 to end the U.S. embargo against Cuba, asking instead that all member states, including the United States, adhere to the U.N. Charter and international law. Often the only two member states voting against this resolution are the U.S. and Israel. The Organization of American States (OAS) in a February 17, 1995 letter called the U.S. medical embargo against Cuba a direct violation of international law.

Whether forty-two years of paranoid, violent behavior by the U.S. government and its Cuban exile community against the nation of Cuba is a product of severe mental illness or egregious criminal intent can be debated. But the fact that this chronic lawless behavior has continued for so long without being arrested is a sad commentary on U.S. society, and on international institutions designed to preserve sovereignty under internation
al law.

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My Personal History With Cuba

My first memories about Cuba date to when, as a high school senior, I was distressed that a "Communist" revolution had prevailed there in January 1959, overthrowing the U.S.-supported leader, General Fulgencio Batista. I had recently completed reading FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s Masters of Deceit: The Story of Communism in America and How to Fight It (1958), a popular book about the dangerous lurkings of international communism and its encroachments in the United States. I became an early member of an organization that I remember as "Citizens For A Free Cuba," i.e., free from a repressive Castro and his brainwashed followers. Two years later, in April 1961, upon learning of the humiliating defeat of the CIA-trained and equipped invasion/overthrow forces of pumped-up angry Cubans, many Batistianos, at the Bay of Pigs on Cuba’s southern coast, I was depressed. I had followed the invasion battles on a short wave radio frequency, and the first reports I heard had been very reassuring.

Six months after the Bay of Pigs fiasco I was a university student in Washington, D.C., sharing a large boarding house with a number of men, among them some Cuban professionals and business people who had chosen to leave their island nation with thousands of others following the triumph of the revolution. I learned that thirty-five percent of Cuba’s 7,200 doctors had left for Florida. One of those doctors, along with a lawyer, a sugar mill owner, and a banker, among others, shared their woes during our post-dinner discussions. Naturally distressed about having left their wealth in Cuba, they desperately wanted to return to the island with U.S. government (military) assistance. I sympathized with the Cubans, of course, as did our other housemates.

U.S. public relations rhetoric about the threat and dangers of "Communism" especially with Cuba being located only 100 miles from our shores was intense. At the time I had no information other than what was being reported by U.S. government officials, by the media that essentially replicated those reports, and from daily conversations with my Cuban housemates.

Subsequently I have traveled to Cuba where I experienced Cuban life and conditions firsthand. As with most people who have had the opportunity, this kind of visceral experience has helped me understand more clearly the tragedy of my own country’s policies and attitudes. The rhetoric of hate-based, ideologically-obsessed propaganda becomes easily demystified when there is opportunity for personal investigative experience and thoughtful reflection.

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The Bay of Pigs Fiasco

The Bay of Pigs defeat truly was a terrible setback for the wealthy beneficiaries, including organized crime, of that tropical playground and profit center. It was also a huge blow to the reputation and confidence of a young, cocky CIA, and the image of the U.S. as a champion for upholding international law. To this day that defeat remains a dark blot on the image of U.S. omnipotence.

The CIA-armed commandos of the 1,400-man 2506th Brigade had been trained primarily at a wealthy 5,000-acre coffee plantation in southwestern Guatemala by U.S. forces and other paramilitary instructors brought in from Latin America and Europe. They also had been supplied with a small U.S. air force of sixteen B-26 light bombers, six C-54s and six C-46s, trained and stationed in U.S./Somoza-friendly Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, and a small U.S.-furnished navy trained in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Regular U.S. U-2 spy flights, begun in October 1960, monitored Cuba’s defense and air forces, providing detailed intelligence to the U.S. advisors accompanying the 2506th Brigade force. The CIA had hired the services of Lem Jones and Associates, a public relations firm based in New York, to hype the invasion’s expected success and subsequent creation of an anticipated "provisional" government after establishment of a 72-hour held beachhead.

Arriving in a variety of U.S. naval ships and smaller landing craft, and armed with a multitude of light and heavy U.S. weapons and communications equipment, five M-42 Walker tanks, eleven deuce-and-a-half ton trucks, and ten jeeps, the Brigade was nonetheless resoundingly defeated within 72 hours of their April 17, 1961 landing. The holding of a beachhead was impossible.

Cuban exiles have long blamed President Kennedy for their defeat, as he cancelled the air strikes that had been expected to cover their landing. It should be noted, however, that four U.S. pilots from the Alabama National Guard who had trained Cuban flyers in Nicaragua defied Kennedy’s orders and flew two B-26s during the landing, inflicting heavy damage on Castro’s forces before being shot down. Since "plausible deniability" was essential for the U.S. government to maintain its cover of "innocence," the existence of four live U.S. Americans on the ground in Cuba posed grave problems for U.S. "diplomacy." Robert Kennedy, the President’s brother and U.S. Attorney General at the time, in a panic, declared to close associates, "Those American pilots had better goddamned well be dead." He was relieved when told that the U.S. airmen had not survived in their crashed planes.

Brigade members included 100 large landowners, three dozen industrial tycoons, 179 of the very richest Cubans, over 280 merchants and major landlords, and nearly 200 former Batista soldiers, among others. They aimed to recover about 900,000 acres of "their" land, nearly 10,000 houses, 70 factories, 10 sugar mills, 3 commercial banks, 5 mines, and 12 nightclubs and bars. Nearly 200 of them were killed during the invasion attempt. Just under 1,200 were captured, later "ransomed" to the U.S. in December 1962 for $53 million worth of food and medicines. Altogether, the unprovoked attack left over 1,800 military and civilian dead and wounded.

Understandably, Brigade 2506 members felt betrayed and abandoned. They had been set up for defeat. Their lives had been put on the line like guinea pigs in a lawless, thoughtless operation. [I could relate to these kinds of feelings later, after my experiences in Vietnam (see below). My initial conclusions, however, rested more on understanding the lawless decision to intervene in the first place and the needless harm done civilian populations. I came to understand that arrogant military policies are generally authored by ideologically-obsessed political leaders at the top. I was only sorry that I had been so brainwashed and as a result caused needless and tragic harm to others.]

The recently revealed CIA Inspector General’s (Lyman Kirkpatrick) late 1961 report on the Bay of Pigs fiasco indicates the agency terribly misread Cuba’s political situation and that deception dominated much of the thinking of the plan’s authors, particularly Richard Bissell. The IG inquiry cited "bad planning," "poor" staffing, faulty intelligence, "fragmentation of authority," mistreatment of the Cuban commandos, "failure to advise the President that success had become dubious," among other criticisms of the failed operation. It concluded that "Plausible denial was a pathetic illusion." However, nowhere was there discussion of the fact that such policy used methods of illegal and criminal aggression, and therefore should be dispensed with altogether.

The relatively easy success of PBSUCCESS, the CIA paramilitary operation that overthrew the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, also coordinated by Bissell, had provided the agency with a sense of confidence that it could break international law with impunity, "protected" by utilizing the deceit of "plausible deniability," or in plain language, LYING. Bissell was considered one of the brightest me
n in the U.S. government. A former professor of economics at Yale, he had implemented the Marshall Plan in Europe following World War II, and had overseen the CIA’s U-2 reconnaissance program.

The U.S. felt obligated to accommodate the defeated brigade members who now felt betrayed after having served as secret, shadow invaders. Half the brigade members later entered the U.S. armed forces, with some 300 trained in special operations at Fort Benning, Georgia. Many of them later served in Vietnam or in special covert CIA operations in various global arenas, including Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Angola. Virtually all of the thousands of anti-Castro Cubans were recruited by the CIA as standby commandos, funding their living quarters in cheap rooming houses from New Orleans to Miami. It is no wonder that the force of this restive population soon got out of control participating in drug trafficking, gunrunning, murder for hire, and various black market operations. Hundreds of Cuban groups began to compete for representation of the exiles and favor of the U.S. government, most of them located in southern states. In 1962 the CIA reported to the FBI the existence of more than 370 counterrevolutionary organizations operating in the U.S., more than 110 in Florida alone. Among many other shadowy activities, anti-Castro Cubans became involved in aiding Reagan’s contra terrorist fighters in Nicaragua in the 1980s, in CIA drug trafficking with profits going to support covert activities, in Chilean DINA murder schemes throughout the Americas, in counterrevolutionary activities in countries from Bolivia to Southeast Asia, and working with El Salvador death squads.

Not surprisingly, they served as the nucleus of what became known as the White House Plumber’s unit. Supervised by G. Gordon Liddy of the FBI, and E. Howard Hunt of the CIA, there were at least eleven anti-Castro Cubans that participated in at least three serious criminal operations:

 

  1. Three Cubans, including Bernard Barker and Eugenio Rolando Martinez, were involved in the September 1971 break-in at the Los Angeles office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. They sought detrimental information to use against Ellsberg after his release to The New York Times of the secret Pentagon Papers study of the Vietnam War.

     

  2. Ten Cubans were involved in a conspiracy to severely assault and physically maim Daniel Ellsberg and attorney William Kuntsler at a rally in Washington, D.C. in early May 1972. The plan was fortunately foiled, and Ellsberg and Kuntsler escaped without harm. Those involved included Bernard Barker, Eugenio Rolando Martinez, and Frank Sturgis.

     

  3. Four Cubans participated in the June 17, 1972 break-in and burglary of the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. Caught red-handed were Cubans Bernard Barker, Eugenio Rolando Martinez, and Frank Sturgis, plus veteran CIA agent James W. McCord. At the time, McCord was a prominent member of Nixon’s Committee for the Re-election of the President (CREEP). Of course this break-in led to what became known as the famous "Watergate Scandal" that brought President Nixon to resignation as he was about to be impeached.

It is interesting to note the quality and character of people that the U.S. government chooses to associate with in combatting and attempting to destroy the movements of humble people striving for their basic right of self-determination (democracy). Bernard Barker, for example, had been an officer in Batista’s hated secret police, and had served as an early informant for both the FBI and CIA prior to the Cuban revolution. He served as E. Howard Hunt’s right-hand man in planning the illegal Bay of Pigs invasion, enjoyed established connections with the Mafia, and was an active participant in criminal activities for Operation Mongoose under President Kennedy. Eugenio Rolando Martinez, a veteran of hundreds of CIA sabotage missions in Cuba, by sea and by land, was pardoned by President Reagan in 1983 for his Watergate conviction. He later became a car dealer in Miami. Frank Sturgis (Frank Fiorini), a veteran of the Bay of Pigs and numerous paramilitary attacks against Cuba, including assassination plots against Castro, has been on the CIA payroll. He was a founding member of the militant Commandos L, had well established Mafia connections, and was head of the International Anti-Communist Brigade. Sturgis was a figure in the Warren Commission files relating to President Kennedy’s assassination.

It is instructive to describe one other anti-Castro Cuban, Feliz Rodriguez (Max Gomez). A Bay of Pigs veteran, he worked closely with CIA contact officer Thomas G. Clines and Cuban Rafael "Chi Chi" Quintero on a number of covert missions in Cuba and other Latin American countries, including Nicaragua and El Salvador. Some of these missions involved drug trafficking. A U.S. Army veteran as well, he was specially trained at Fort Benning and served in various clandestine operations in Venezuela, Bolivia (assisting in apprehension and murder of Che Guevara in 1967), and Vietnam. While in Southeast Asia he worked with CIA officer Donald Gregg in secret CIA Air America operations.

During the 1980s he worked in campaigns in El Salvador against the FMLN guerrillas, while also directing secret supply operations to the Nicaraguan Contra terrorists from the Ilopango airbase in San Salvador. Fellow Cubans Luis Posada (Ramon Medina) and Rafael Quintero assisted him in this operation. He reported directly to Vice-President George Bush through the latter’s national security advisor, all-too-familiar Donald Gregg. Later, Rodriguez testified about his role in the Iran-Contra scandal.

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My Awakening Vietnam Experience

Eight years after the Bay of Pigs disaster, in the fall of 1969, I had just returned from Vietnam where I had served as an Air Force combat security officer in the Mekong Delta. I was in shock about the distortions and lies I reluctantly discovered that my government had concocted in its illegal and grotesque attempt to destroy the Vietnamese society. It was the first time I had any firsthand experience with U.S. foreign policy. I felt betrayal, along with rage and intense sadness about all the death I had witnessed. I couldn’t escape the conclusion that my government chose to hide behind lie after lie as it put millions of Southeast Asian and U.S. American lives into harm’s way due to blind adherence to an unscrutinized, lame ideology. I felt abused, like a guinea pig. I began to realize that growing up in U.S. America, insulated geographically and culturally from much of the world, contributed greatly to a global ignorance, while feeding a dangerous ethnocentric arrogance.

Following the awakening provoked by my Vietnam experience, I chose to begin a process of reexamining the history and reality of U.S. foreign interventions and the rhetorical pretexts that had been offered to the public as their justifications. Because of my concerns during high school about communist infiltration into the western hemisphere, one of the first policies I looked at was the history of U.S.-Cuba relations . Not surprisingly, I began to discover a different history than the one that had been presented to me through the various traditional sources of information, and from the perspective of the formerly wealthy Cuban men in my earlier boarding house days.

However, I was no longer a passive citizen. I sought other sources that represented for me a more thorough version of a people’s history, versus the one presented by the elite and wealthy. I had grown up in a conservative, small agricultural community in upstate New York in a modest, but struggling lower middle class family where blind belief in the mythology of "America" being the greatest nation in the history of the world remained sacrosanct. However, I no longer could trust such rhetorical fancy. Rigid ideology that results
in, or rationalizes, murder and maiming is a clue that something is terribly wrong with the thinking and assumptions behind the ideology. Such policies have no place on Planet Earth whatsoever, and should be treated as totally invalid and vigorously defied by sane human beings.

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Early History of U.S. Interest in Acquiring Cuba

From the time Columbus found himself on the island of Cuba on October 28, 1492, to the present day, the European influence overwhelmed and destroyed the historic Indigenous societies present there, as it has in all the Americas. The Arawak (Taino) chief, Hatuey, after his capture by the Spaniards in 1511, was asked to convert to Christianity for which he would be granted the privilege of death by decapitation, rather than the more feared termination of being burned alive. Hatuey asked the accompanying friars whether Christians went to Heaven. When told that the good ones indeed did, the Arawak chief chose to burn in Hell to ensure that he would never have to look at such cruel European brutes ever again.

From an initial estimated population of as many as eight million Arawaks in the Caribbean, Spanish policies of slavery, starvation, and murder, as well as deaths from contracted European-diseases, had reduced their recorded population to only 200 by 1542. This pattern of arrogantly wielded power and crass violence created a genocide that set a tone that has continued for centuries to the present day. Upon virtual extinction of the Indigenous, Cuban nationality became founded on the basis of slavery from involuntarily imported African natives. The Creole elite defended that institution, contributing to Cuba being the last country in Latin America to gain its independence, as the Creole oligarchy was a natural ally of Spanish colonialism.

Early in the life of our Republic, political leaders consistently expressed a coveted interest in wresting control of Cuba from Spain: President Thomas Jefferson in 1808 sent General James Wilkinson to Cuba to find out if the Spanish would cede Cuba to the U.S.; in an 1809 letter to his successor, James Madison, he suggested acquisition of Cuba would enable "control over the Gulf of Mexico and the countries and isthmus bordering it"; Secretary of State John Quincy Adams in 1823 wrote to the U.S. Minister of Spain describing the likelihood of U.S. "annexation of Cuba"; a year later, in 1824, Secretary of State Henry Clay under President John Quincy Adams again wrote the U.S. Minister to Spain, expressing Cuba’s "connection with the prosperity of the United States"; President Franklin Pierce formulated the Ostend Manifesto in 1854 recommending that the U.S. purchase Cuba; and President James Buchanan in his 1858 inaugural message to the U.S. Congress, said of Cuba, "Her addition to our confederacy is exactly what is wanting to round out our power as a nation."

By the end of the 19th Century the United States had invested at least fifty million dollars in plantations, railroads, mining and other interests in the island nation, and enjoyed more than one-hundred million in annual trade. Throughout the 19th Century, Cuba’s trade with the U.S. was larger than that with Spain, and by the end of the century U.S. trade with Cuba was greater than with the remainder of Latin America combined. Cuba had become the United States’ third-largest trading partner, behind only Britain and Germany.

In 1895, in their second revolution in twenty-seven years (the first one being from 1868-1878), Cuban peasants, inspired by poet and essayist Jose Marti, again rose up against their Spanish rulers. The 60,000 revolting peasants who fought for their independence were confronted by a Spanish army of 200,000 soldiers. In 1897, U.S. Navy Assistant Secretary Theodore Roosevelt urged President William McKinley to intervene to protect U.S. interests and to assess the rumors that U.S. citizens were in danger. By 1898, the outnumbered rebels had the Spanish garrisons on the defensive. In January the U.S. dispatched its battleship Maine to Havana harbor for a "friendly" visit. When the Maine mysteriously blew up and sank on February 15, 1898, 268 sailors lost their lives. Immediately, yellow journalists in the States claimed that the Spanish had sabotaged the ship, though to this day the best investigation suggests it was the result of an unfortunate accident. "Remember the Maine" became a battle cry. President McKinley subsequently asked Congress for a declaration of war on April 11, 1898, though careful to say he was not seeking independence for the Cuban rebels. Nonetheless, after Congress declared war on April 21 and the U.S. started moving some 17,000 troops onto the island, the rebels welcomed them as allies in their fight against the Spanish colonizers. The so-called Spanish-American War had begun.

Control over this nearby island, dreamt of for nearly a century, was about to come true. In a few months the Spanish land and naval forces were defeated. Tragically, the Cuban rebel army was not allowed to confer on the surrender or to sign it. The Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10, 1898 between Spain and the United States, not the Cubans. The United States did not formally annex Cuba but required the Platt Amendment, passed by Congress in February 1901, to be incorporated into the new Cuban constitution as a condition for removing U.S. troops. This amendment gave the U.S. the right to resume intervention at any time to maintain an "adequate government for the protection of life, liberty and property" and to establish and maintain a naval base at Guantanamo and other coaling stations. The Cuban people had virtually no choice but to agree, unless they wanted to resume fighting, this time against the powerful United States. The Cubans had been betrayed! Cuba was finally solidly under the U.S. American sphere.

Though the U.S. troops initially left Cuba in 1902, they returned in September 1906 under the "authority" of the Platt Amendment when a local revolt challenged the U.S.-supported Cuban president. By that time the U.S. had $160 million invested in tobacco, sugar and a multitude of other interests. The U.S. Marines remained there until "stability" was obtained in 1908. U.S. military forces were subsequently dispatched to Cuba in 1912 during an insurrection, and several additional times between 1917 and 1933.

[Involvement in the Spanish-American War launched the U.S. as an imperial power. A similar situation to that faced by the Cubans was simultaneously being experienced in the Philippines. Philippine independence fighters under the leadership of Emilio Aguinaldo, had the Spanish troops on the ropes when U.S. military forces entered the islands. After the Spanish were defeated, it was the U.S. that signed the Treaty of Paris in December 1898, precluding the Filipinos from being acknowledged as victors. The Filipinos demanded that the U.S. forces leave. When the U.S. refused, the imperial war against the Filipino independence fighters began in 1899 and wasn't concluded until 1902, when a relentless scorched earth policy prevailed over the fierce defending natives. U.S. military behavior was considered abhorrent and anywhere from 200,000 to a million Filipinos were killed. The Filipinos had been betrayed, just as had the Cubans! After the Treaty of Paris, the United States possessed Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines, and one of the Ladrone (Marianas) Islands. Hawaii, which had served as a strategic U.S. naval installation during the war against the Philippines, was formally annexed in July 1898 as well.]

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Misery and Repression Under U.S.-Supported Dictator Batista; Organized Crime Playground

Until the 1959 revolution, Cuba served as a virtual colony of the United States, providing a profitable venue for numerous investments, and by the mid-1930s, a protected and lucrative center for
organized crime in the Western Hemisphere. Beginning in the early 1930s, Fulgencio Batista rose to become the most powerful man in Cuba, and by the early 1950s he ruled with an iron fist, suspending all political liberties, governing with utter corruption, and enforcing an ever widening gap between the multitudes of poor and the few rich. As many as 20,000 discontented Cubans were murdered by Batista’s security forces in the 1950s alone. In 1958 nearly 85 percent of Cubans lived only in shacks without electricity, water, or sanitation facilities. Only a small number of children attended the few schools available. The vast majority of adults were unemployed, working only during the short sugar cane harvesting season. There was little health care except for the well-to-do. The United States government was the virtual sole support for Batista’s army and police, furnishing all their tanks, planes, bombs, and ammunition. With nearly a billion dollars of investments, U.S. citizens controlled most of the utilities, banks, hotels, industries, trains, sugar and tobacco plantations, mining, and other business interests.

The Mafia controlled drug trafficking, all the legendary casinos, and more than 300 brothels, 700 bars, and 15,000 prostitutes. The bulk of the clientele came from the United States. The level of control that had been exercised by the U.S. Mafia over large sectors of the Cuban economy, and the resulting political connections in both Cuba and the United States, help explain participation of U.S. organized crime in future lawless, counterrevolutionary activities.

Organized crime had been active in prerevolutionary Cuba for nearly twenty-five years, and Havana had become an important transit point for Lucky Luciano’s European heroin traffic. The most important underworld meeting after the 1929 Atlantic City conference was the December 1946 Havana convention coordinated by Luciano (originally from New York before being deported to Italy in 1946) and Meyer Lansky (New York, Las Vegas, among other centers). It was the last major Mafia gathering in which Lucky Luciano exercised authority. Attending the meeting were many Hall of Fame gangsters, men such as Carlos Marcello of New Orleans; Frank Costello,Vito Genovese, Albert Anastasia and Joe Bonanno of New York/New Jersey; the Fischetti brothers and Sam Giancana of Chicago; and Santos Trafficante of Florida.

Meyer Lansky, who had become a close associate with Batista, owned most of Havana’s casinos and the Florida-based Trafficante family served as the in-country managers. Mafia figures Sam Giancana, Santos Trafficante, and Johnny Roselli, gang leaders who had many profitable operations to lose if they permanently lost their Cuba playground, all were later recruited by the CIA for involvement in plots to assassinate Castro.

Cuba was known as a lucrative playground for U.S. American investors, gamblers (of which there were at least 27,000), tourists, pleasure seekers, and those desiring safe and unlimited drug usage. It was a great place for the wealthy, and even not so wealthy, to visit a nearly endless, rumba-driven, tropical cocktail and sex orgy. However, it was an absolutely terrible place for the overwhelming majority of Cuban people who lived in squalid conditions. Most who noticeably objected to this misery ended up in Batista’s dungeons, or were murdered by his security forces. The remainder suffered silent degradation.

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The 1959 Cuban Revolution Ends U.S. Colonization and Exploitation; U.S. Launches Covert War

This fantastic profitable playground for the few rich, and misery cesspool for the multitudes of poor, literally ended on January 1, 1959. The overwhelming majority of the Cuban people immediately began celebrating their revolutionary triumph, and relief from decades of repression and socio-economic misery. Fifty-some years of U.S. weapons being sold to heavy-handed political and military administrations came to a halt. Two years later diplomatic relations were broken. General Batista and U.S. gangster Meyer Lansky, who was Batista’s official advisor for tourism, hurriedly fled with most of the Cuban treasury funds to the Dominican Republic where they could reside under the protection of fellow dictator Rafael Trujillo. Other Cubans whose sympathies had been aligned with Batista started leaving Cuba as well, mostly fleeing to the United States. Many others, in exile because of Batista’s ruthlessness, started returning. I met some of those who left Cuba in my Washington boarding house in 1961. However, many lower-level collaborators with the cruel Batista oligarchy remained in the country.

The record of U.S. efforts to destabilize and overthrow the Cuban government and society is nothing short of demonic. Of course, when I lived at the Washington boarding house I really knew nothing about the history of Cuba or U.S.-Cuban relations. As early as 1957, prior to the success of the revolution, U.S. President Eisenhower’s ambassador to Cuba, Arthur Gardner, suggested that the CIA assassinate Fidel Castro, then a guerrilla fighter located in the Sierra Maestra in the southeastern portion of the island. By late 1958, when it was apparent that Batista might seriously be threatened by the growing activities of revolutionary forces, the CIA created the "Cuba Project" with intentions to penetrate the revolutionary movement. Within days after the new revolutionary government took power in January 1959, the CIA began a campaign aimed at overthrowing the Cuban government, including the assassination of Castro. In August 1960, the CIA initiated steps to recruit organized crime figures for help in assassinating Fidel Castro.

Bombings and strafings of Cuban targets began as early as July 1959 when U.S. planes napalm-bombed Cuban sugar fields. In August 1959, a counterrevolutionarry plot directed by Trujillo and Batista, including plans for widespread arson and murders, was exposed. By October, planes from the United States bombed sugar mills in the provinces of Pinar del Rio and Camaguey, a passenger train in the province of Las Villas, and neighborhoods in Havana, killing at least two people.

By late 1959, anti-Castro Cubans began conducting seaborne raids against Cuba from U.S. territory. The U.S.-orchestrated bombings continued. In February, the first organization of the Catholic rightwing was formed, the Movement for Revolutionary Recovery (MRR). In its preamble, Manuel Artime wrote that the goal was "not only to overthrow Fidel Castro, but to permanently fight for an ideology of Christ." In May, the CIA sponsored the creation of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (FRD) to provide legitimacy for U.S. overthrow policy and as a catalyst for development of a broad-based counterrevolutionary movement. Artime, along with Juan Carrillo, Justo Rasco, and Manuel Varona formed the organizing committee of the FRD.

In mid-1960, an insidious campaign of terror against the Cuban people was conceived in Washington. Called Operation Peter Pan, it was part of the psychological warfare arsenal designed to instill mistrust among the Cuban people toward their new revolutionary government. With the help of the Catholic church, the CIA faked documents and issued Radio Swan "news" bulletins stating that parental authority would soon be transferred to the Cuban state. Widespread destabilization was envisioned as the likely result. The rumor created panic among fearful parents. The Catholic church of Cuba, working hand-in-hand with Catholic Services Bureau in Florida and claiming the pretext of "humanitarian assistance," sent nearly 15,000 unaccompanied children to the United States between late 1960 and 1962. This operation took its name from the play in which Peter Pan takes three darling children away to Never-Never Land. Ironically, many of the children sent out of Cuba to the United States never did return to their natural home. Mel Martinez, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the new Bush administ
ration, formerly the top county official in Orange County, Florida, was one of those unaccompanied children who left Cuba in 1962 at the age of fifteen. Martinez lived in foster homes until his parents arrived in the U.S. in 1966.

In January 1960, Cuba began expropriating property owned by U.S. sugar companies and the United Fruit Company. Reasonable compensation was offered by Cuba, but the U.S. government and companies refused. In contrast, property owners and governments in countries such as Great Britain, France, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Mexico, and Spain accepted the terms of compensation for their confiscated property. United Fruit had played a large role in the U.S. decision to overthrow the Guatemalan government in 1954 when similar land was confiscated there for land reform. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had been both a stockholder and legal adviser for United Fruit. His brother Allen Dulles, director of the CIA, had been president of the company. United States U.N. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge had been a member of United’s board of directors. And Walter Bedell Smith, who had preceded Dulles as CIA director, had become the president of United Fruit after the overthrow of the Guatemalan government in 1954. Cuba was provoking a sacred cow no messing with U.S. corporate property, no matter how much compensation was offered.

This action provoked the incendiary bombing of sugarcane in Havana province on January 12. More bombings occurred in the provinces of Camaguey, Oriente, Matanzas, Las Villas, and Pinar del Rio, for example, on January 21, 28-29, February 7, 18, and 23, and March 8, especially of sugar cane fields and associated infrastructure. On March 4, La Coubre, a French freighter loaded with Belgian arms, was blown up in Havana harbor, killing seventy people.

The first meeting of the Bay of Pigs task force convened on March 9, 1960. Then, on March 17, President Eisenhower formally, though secretly, ordered CIA director Allen Dulles to prepare a comprehensive covert campaign to destroy the new Cuban government. The campaign included organizing and training Cuban exiles for an invasion of Cuba utilizing Department of Defense personnel and equipment, though no combat troops were to be involved. The CIA immediately began training 300 guerrillas. The first contingent was trained in Florida and the Panama Canal Zone, but by June most training was conducted in Guatemala. There was one important condition: Washington must be able to "plausibly deny" its involvement. "The main thing was not to let the U.S. hand show." After the U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Cuba on January 3, 1961, it retained an "intelligence net" of 27 agents inside Cuba to conduct and coordinate paramilitary and assassination plans.

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President John F. Kennedy Continues the Obsession

When President John F. Kennedy came to power on January 20, 1961, he knowingly inherited the Cuba Project. Bay of Pigs D-Day turned out to be less than three months away. Discussions of assassination of targeted world leaders had begun under Eisenhower. But top secret assassination plans were expanded under Kennedy. He asked Richard Bissell, CIA’s director of clandestine operations at the time, to create a formal capacity for political assassinations. Known by the code name ZR Rifle, this plan included assassination of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, and Fidel Castro. [Lumumba was murdered sometime before early February; Trujillo was murdered on May 30, 1961. In both cases, the actual murders were committed by nationals, but with the apparent complicity of the CIA].

William K. Harvey, a former FBI agent and one of the CIA’s most trusted operatives, was put in charge of ZR Rifle. Harvey later became indispensably involved in Operation Mongoose when he directed its operational arm, Task Force W, which continued assassination goals as well. The Cuban Ministry of Interior actually has documented 612 such plots against Castro and several of Cuba’s other political leaders between 1959 and 1993. By 1960 the CIA was using Mafia members among its contacts to carry out plans to murder Fidel Castro, and Harvey’s coordination with mobster Sam Giancana became a central ingredient in the assassination plans.

Then came the Bay of Pigs disaster (as described above). This defeat was extremely depressing to the young president. However, instead of reflecting on its lawlessness and challenging the assumptions behind it, he developed an obsessive motivation "to get even." Though this kind of reaction seems irrational, even dangerous, it has historical precedents. It is similar, for example, to the reaction of the U.S. government to the remaining Native Americans after Lakota/Dakota (Sioux) warriors, under the leadership of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, shockingly annihilated Lt. Col. George Custer and his 264-man contingent of the Seventh Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn (in mineral-rich present-day Montana), June 25-26, 1876. Following that defeat, the U.S. government and its continental army showed no mercy for the Indigenous, engaging in hundreds of battles until virtually wiping them out in a final slaughter of some 350 unarmed Lakota prisoners, mostly women, children and older men, at the "Battle" of Wounded Knee on the Black Hills Reservation (in mineral-rich present-day South Dakota), December 29, 1890. General William Tecumseh Sherman, serving as General of the U.S. Continental Army under his friend, President Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877), was given the job to assure the continued "safe" westward expansion of White settlers which included determined railroad building and mineral exploitation. Sherman talked of the need for "extermination" as a "solution" to the Indian "problem."

In an apparent attempt to temper some of the post-defeat blues and offer a larger perspective, Kennedy’s close aide, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., had written a memo in May 1961, just a couple of weeks after the Bay of Pigs ill-fated invasion, discussing Western Europe’s reaction to the U.S. obsession with Cuba: "Why was Cuba such a threat to you? Why couldn’t you live with Cuba, as the USSR lives with Turkey and Finland?" The U.S. already had numerous missiles in those countries on alert pointed at the Soviet Union.

Nonetheless, President Kennedy continued his obsession with assassinating Castro and overthrowing the Cuban government. Revenge, indeed, seemed to be guiding U.S. policy. There needed to be a "solution" to the Cuban "problem." Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the President’s brother, took the authoritative lead in eliminating Cuba as a "problem." The Attorney General told CIA and Pentagon representatives in January 1962 that the Cuba "problem" was the "top priority in the United States government all else is secondary no time, money, effort, or manpower is to be spared . . . The final chapter on Cuba has not been written." And it hasn’t been written yet in 2001 due to the continued U.S. disgusting infatuation with destroying this sovereign island nation of less than 12 million people comprising but 1.2 percent the land area of the United States.

The President created Operation Mongoose in November 1961 as the covert war portion of Project Cuba, headed by counterinsurgency "expert" Edward Lansdale of Philippines and Vietnam fame. This plan, formalized on March 14, 1962, was designed to conduct systematic sabotage to create massive disruptions in Cuba, such as blowing up power stations, airports and other important parts of Cuba’s infrastructure, assassinating leaders, planting U.S. intelligence infiltrators, mining harbors, bombing various targets from the air, etc. Lansdale had identified 33 tasks to help "defeat the Communist regime in Cuba." This operation included
6 large naval ships and more than 122 smaller craft, manned mostly by former members of the Batista security forces, designed to penetrate Cuban waters for infiltrating paramilitary units and performing sabotage campaigns. By the end of 1962, nearly 300 acts of international piracy had been carried out in the Caribbean against Cuban coastal targets. Mongoose had a number of airplanes under its command as well.

The CIA created a station at the University of Miami, code named JM/WAVE under Operation Mongoose. This was its largest operational base in the world, with as many as 600 case officers and 4,000 resident Cuban agents receiving instructions from the highest U.S. authority to achieve the overthrow of the Cuban government and the assassination of Castro. JM/WAVE formed some 55 front companies in Florida to assist in its many operations. The CIA operated paramilitary training at some 40 locations, mostly in the southeast United States, including Louisiana and Florida, with centers in South Carolina and Maryland as well. JM/WAVE had a staggering $100 million available for its numerous operations.

The Pentagon had been instructed to prepare contingency plans for a military invasion of Cuba in the fall of 1962, using as many as 100,000 troops. In March 1962, Kennedy officials sought a pretext for a new invasion of Cuba. One plan contemplated concocting an explosion of a U.S. naval ship in Guantanamo Bay, faking casualties, then blaming it all on Castro. They cited "Remember the Maine" as being the earlier pretext that thrust the U.S. into the Spanish-American war. This plan was never carried out. However, Castro, justifiably fearing another invasion, signed a defense pact with the U.S.S.R. in 1962 which led to the installation of Soviet missiles on Cuban soil. Newly declassified documents reveal that Kennedy responded with expanded plans to conduct ever more sabotage, discussed as late as October 4, 1962. Plans included orders to the Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare contingency plans (OPLAN 314 and 316) for a U.S. military invasion of Cuba. New discussions revived the idea of creating a pretext over a concocted Cuban threat at the Guantanamo Navy base.

Everything changed rather suddenly when on October 15, U-2 photographs indicated construction sites for Soviet intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Cuba. This, of course, led to the October 1962 "Cuban missile crisis" that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. During that crisis, Kennedy finally did concede to close aides that U.S. allies "think we are a little demented on Cuba." Kennedy’s "settlement" with Khruschev of the U.S.S.R. brought an end to the formal policy of Operation Mongoose, but did not by any means end the covert activities against Cuba.

By January 1963, Desmond Fitzgerald, a veteran CIA officer replaced William Harvey as head of Task Force W, later to become "Special Activities Staff" (SAS). There was a renewed commitment to destroy Cuba. Kennedy’s only agreement with Soviet Premier Khruschev had been simply to promise there would be no U.S. military invasion of Cuba. By spring 1963, with Operation Mongoose technically out of business, a decision instead was made to grant large amounts of money for arms, ammunition, and sabotage equipment to anti-Castro groups operating on their own. In June 1963, President Kennedy formally approved ad hoc raids by rogue exile groups with virtually no instructions or oversight by the CIA or any other U.S. agency. To this day there has been virtually no accountability for the activities of anti-Castro Cubans. They have continued to operate with impunity, unless caught red-handed by Cuban authorities on the sovereign island of Cuba. The U.S. considers them assets in the continued efforts to undermine the Cuban revolution.

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Conclusion

The concerted, comprehensive U.S. policy to intentionally destroy Cuba has been continuous for more than forty years now, and it has taken many forms: direct military invasion; secret bombings of Cuban hotels, sugar mills, ships and other targets; numerous assassination attempts on Fidel Castro’s life, and as well on the lives of other Cuban political leaders, some of which have been successful (consistent with a long history of U.S. assassinations and assassination attempts of "undesirable" leaders around the world); airplanes blown up in flight; several examples of biological warfare with the introduction of disease-carrying organisms such as Swine and Dengue Fevers, and other plagues (the U.S. conducted biological warfare against the North Koreans and Chinese during the Korean War and unprecedented chemical warfare against the Vietnamese during the Vietnam War); attempts at meteorological manipulation to cause flood-drought cycles designed to destroy Cuba’s sugar crop (similar to what the CIA was attempting to do in Southeast Asia to create excess mud to impede movement of supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail); thousands of sabotage activities; a long radio and TV propaganda campaign beginning with Radio Swan in 1960, then Radio Voice, Radio Americas, the Voice of America (VOA), and Radio and TV Marti; as well as a long-enforced, cruel economic blockade that has been total since February 3, 1962.

The embargo and concerted U.S. efforts to overthrow the Cuban government have been based on a series of ever-changing politically articulated pretexts. Some of them:

 

  1. Cuba’s nationalization of property;
  2. Cuba’s expropriation of U.S. businesses and the "unpaid" compensation;
  3. Cuba’s alliance with the Soviet Union;
  4. Cuba’s "subversion activities" in Latin America and support of people’s liberation movements in Africa;
  5. Cuba’s refusal to adopt similar reforms to those of perestroika (decentralized, market-oriented economic restructuring) in the Soviet Union;
  6. Cuba’s harboring of "terrorists";
  7. Cuba’s lack of elections, democracy, and respect for human rights.

There are probably others.

As early as January 1962 the Cuban government had registered 119 violations of its territorial integrity, 76 alone by planes from the U.S. base at Guantanamo. By 1964, the Cubans had identified nearly 1,200 aggressive actions taken against them, plus more than 1,600 acts of provocation from U.S. military located at Guantanamo.

In May 1999, Cuba filed a lawsuit in a Havana court demanding more than $181 billion in U.S. compensation for death and injury suffered by Cuban citizens during forty years of U.S. "war" against Cuba. Nearly 3,500 people were identified as having been killed and another 2,099 injured due to U.S. actions. The court papers were delivered to the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. U.S. officials refused to accept them, as might be expected.

A number of Cuban terrorist groups, officially or unofficially sanctioned by the CIA and the U.S. government, and safely living in and operating out of the United States, have been active. Among them are Alpha 66 (1961), Commandos L (1962), Cuban Nationalist Movement (CNM) (1964), Cuban Representation in Exile (RECE) (1964), Omega 7 (1974), the umbrella group United Revolutionary Organization (CORU) (1976), Brothers to the Rescue (1991), and Commandos F4 (1994). Many of the anti-Castro Cubans have been involved in drug trafficking and counterrevolutionary activities in other countries as well, such as the Contra terrorists in Nicaragua during the 1980s and the UNITA terrorists in Angola in the 1980s. They also served the United States loyally in a variety of capacities in Southeast Asia in the 1960s-70s. Evidence also exists of their involvement in conspiracies shrouding the assassination of JFK. This is understandable, since the exiles continually blamed Kennedy for the Bay of Pigs defeat after the President had apparently cancelled the expected air support covering their landing.

A note here about Brothers to the Rescue would be informative.
Formed in 1991, it accumulated a fleet of various boats, small planes, and helicopters to initiate numerous provocative incursions into Cuban territory. On one of these illegal missions, two of three Cessna aircraft were shot down by Cuban jets on February 24, 1996. The U.S., of course, along with their anti-Castro Cuban allies, raised a big stink about Cuba being an aggressive state, calling for military retaliation. Brothers claimed they were over international waters, but Cuba insisted that the Brothers’ planes had entered forbidden space in spite of prior radio warnings. The Brothers’ incursions had become so bold as to sometimes fly over Havana at rooftop level despite warnings by Cuba to cease such flights. Cuba had issued numerous warnings that it would begin to shoot down any intruding aircraft. The FAA had also warned Brothers a number of times not to violate Cuba’s territorial airspace. On February 24, 1996, the Brothers’ pilots once again deviated from their flight plan without notifying the aviation authorities. The three planes headed straight for Havana rather than flying along the coastline, activating Cuban radar and military. This despite the fact that all three aircraft were equipped with sophisticated GPS navigational systems. The FAA had earlier warned Brothers that their behavior was increasingly reckless and careless "so as to endanger the life and property" of others and that they would suffer "serious consequences" if their violations continued. The tragedy is that the violations continued and the FAA took no action to arrest Brothers’ leaders or suspend their licenses.

Think about the situation if the tables were turned. What if a known enemy from abroad was to enter U.S. airspace in airplanes headed toward Washington, D.C.? The planes did not have permission and had been warned not to proceed. SOP would consider such intruders a serious threat subject to being shot down over territorial ocean waters before they got close to Washington in order to prevent the risk downed planes pose to populated areas.

The shoot down incident, blamed by the U.S. on Cuba, became a pretext for pushing a new "screw Cuba" bill through Congress. The Helms-Burton Law (see above) was swiftly passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law on March 12, 1996, just sixteen days after the shoot down.

Instead of supporting the Cuban people in their effort to be free of repression and exploitation, the United States, as is so tragically typical in its historic pattern of repressing genuine people’s movements, sought to destroy the people’s revolution and re-establish a capitalist colony that would continue to inflict misery on the vast majority of the Cuban people.

What explains this U.S. pattern of official association with criminal behavior to carry out its policies? More to the point, what explains this pattern of formulating, then aggressively implementing, policies that are themselves criminal? It is the belief of this author that the historical ethos of the U.S. civilization and its culture are deeply rooted in Eurocentric racism and arrogant ethnocentrism that have driven a "Manifest Destiny" with few limits. The methods in which the civilization developed itself first, stealing the Hemispheric land at gunpoint from the Indigenous, committing a holocaust in the process; second, by stealing labor at gunpoint from involuntarily imported Africans, committing a second holocaust; and finally, stealing resources (and labor) from around the world at gunpoint during the Twentieth Century (what some call the "American" century), committing, in effect, a third holocaust of bodies of the poor scattered around the globe has, over time, produced an American Way Of Life (AWOL) that is addicted to limitless consumption (and to itself). Now with but 4.5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. collectively consumes anywhere from 25 percent to nearly half of the world’s resources (depending on the particular resource). In order to behave and think in this manner, the people of the U.S., along with their plutocratic rulers, must be able to justify and rationalize themselves as being especially deserving. In effect, the U.S. is stuck on itself and has developed a rap to explain it. The extraordinarily immense costs to the health of the other species on the planet (and, incidentally, to ourselves) caused by AWOL are rarely considered.

Tragically, this long pattern of committing harm to others and the Planet Earth to materially benefit ourselves has occurred with little or no critical thought from the prevailing political, religious, economic or academic structures. Thus we tend not to think about it. When confronted by reality we have a way of denying it, and have developed such a rhetorical double-speak that we may have committed linguicide of our own English language. Our obsession with limitless materialism (and the huge profits derived therefrom) requires a constant need to steal more and more resources. Thus, we need to be assured of control over vast regions of the world where the resources, markets, and labor are located. In effect, the Cold War was a cover for this deeper battle of the Haves against the Have-Nots. Any kind of genuine local or regional people’s movement for economic and political autonomy, local reliance, and justice (the essentials of real democracy) becomes a threat to our need for global hegemony. These perceived threats must be eliminated to assure the continuance of our way of life. Thus, for example, Cuba’s existence as a revolutionary society is a threat, as it is an experiment of a people’s society not subject to the whims and exploitation of an outside force such as the United States or Spain. Of course, many other people’s movements over the past century, especially since World War II, have been ruthlessly thwarted because they have posed similar "threats."

Linguist and U.S. policy critic Noam Chomsky has identified a Fifth Freedom that the United States always fights to preserve, unlike the lip service it gives to the four freedoms that President Franklin D. Roosevelt articulated (freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from want and fear). The Fifth Freedom: To rob and pillage at will! Throughout our short history, whenever that freedom has been impinged upon by people’s movements, revolutionary governments, Indigenous societies, etc., the U.S. has simply cited a threat to its "national security" and sent in the Marines (or a proxy substitute).

Credit must be given to the U.S. American people; the vast majority, if aware of the demonic measures necessary to maintain AWOL, would in fact oppose them. Thus, the U.S. government has implemented its policies covertly, using "plausible deniability" as its cover. Lying is the norm! Concern with reality, i.e., a serious pursuit of the truth and mutual respect, is the exception, not the rule.

When looked at fairly, the Cuban revolution has brought incredible relief to the Cuban people from the repression and grinding poverty they suffered for so long under pre-1959 conditions that were supported unequivocally by the United States government. Land reform has enabled thousands of Cubans to have their own productive land and affordable housing. Creation of a nationwide health care system has made medical care available to every Cuban at no cost. The same is true for their comprehensive educational system. The insidious corruption that dominated the Batista regime was eliminated. Organized crime was kicked out. Drug addiction was virtually wiped out. Racism practiced over decades was combatted with a serious education effort to break down historic biases and class divisions. Utility rates were dramatically reduced making them affordable to virtually everybody. Why would the United States be so threatened by this program?

The fact that the United States has imposed, in effect, a long travel ban on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba is astonishing in light of the rhetoric surrounding our historic claim
s of belief in freedom. It is almost as if the U.S. government is fearful that its citizenry will see a reality that dramatically contradicts the official U.S. rhetoric about Cuba. And it is sad commentary that the U.S. never had a problem with Batista’s incredible repression. In fact it was the opposite the U.S. continually armed Batista’s security forces to the hilt to assure the repression. The constant U.S. browbeating of the Cubans living under a revolutionary government has ironically prevented the healthy and dignified relationship that Cuba always wished for with the United States from the very beginning. It was the refusal of the U.S. government to acknowledge the Cuban revolution and to dialogue with its leaders that ultimately drove the Cuban government to seek help from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

United States has consistently revealed its intent at undermining and overthrowing the sovereign government and society of Cuba, and at assassinating its political leadership. These activities, of course, all constitute violations of international law, including the United Nations Charter. This aggressive policy also violates the Neutrality Act, the Firearms and Munitions Acts, U.S. Customs and Immigration regulations, IRS and FAA regulations, and the laws of at least six states. The absolutely only reason that this bellicose, lawless behavior and intent to commit harm continues is that there is no political or legal force in existence to date that has the capacity to assure that the U.S. complies with lawful standards of international behavior.

The big bully on the globe can do virtually as it chooses, no matter what the world community thinks or wishes, and no matter what the Cuban people think or wish. Furthermore, since the U.S. operates as a cold, unaccountable plutocracy, the policy continues no matter what the vast majority of U.S. American people think. The continued U.S. hate policies toward Cuba, as demonstrated once again in the Cuban Solidarity Act of 2001, are shameful, consistently criminal, and display a behavior that conforms with various definitions of mental illness.

 

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A Bibliography For Learning More About Cuba

**Arboleya, Jesus. The Cuban Counterrevolution. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Center for International Studies, 2000.

**Blum, Willaim. Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2000.

**Central Intelligence Agency 1967 Inspector General’s Report on Plots to Assassinate Fidel Castro. CIA Targets Fidel Melbourne, Australia: Ocean Press, 1996.

**Elliston, Jon (Ed.). Psywar on Cuba. Melbourne, Australia: Ocean Press, 1999.

**Frank, Marc. Cuba Looks to the Year 2000. New York: International Publishers, 2000.

**Franklin, Jane. Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History. Melbourne, Australia: Ocean Press, 1997.

**Hersh, Seymour M. The Dark Side of Camelot. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1997.

**Kornbluh, Peter (Ed.). Bay of Pigs Declassified: The Secret CIA Report on the Invasion of Cuba. New York: The New Press, 1998.

**Marshall, Jonathan, and Scott, Peter Dale. Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1991.

**Muniz, Mirta, and Shnookal, Deborah (Eds.). Jose Marti Reader: Writings on the Americas. Melbourne, Australia: Ocean Press, 1999.

**Prada, Pedro. Island Under Siege: The U.S. Blockade of Cuba. Melbourne, Australia: Ocean Press, 1995.

**Ratner, Michael, and Smith, Michael Steven (Eds.). Che Guevara and the FBI: The U.S. Political Police Dossier on the Latin American Revolutionary. Melbourne, Australia: Ocean Press, 1997.

**Rius (Eduardo del Rio). Cuba for Beginners: An Illustrated Guide For Americans (and their Government) to Socialist Cuba. New York: Pathfinder Press, 8th printing 1986.

**Rodriguez, Juan Carlos. The Bay of Pigs and the CIA. Melbourne, Australia: Ocean Press, 1999.

**Stanley, David. Cuba. Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia: Lonely Planet Publications, 2000.

**Walton, Richard J. Cold War and Counterrevolution: The Foreign Policy of John F. Kennedy. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books Inc, 1972.


One Comment

  1. Nicole
    Posted September 18, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    you should add what Jorge Was Canosa’s belief in freedom was ,what it meant to him, and how he fought for everyone to be free in your article. thank you.

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