George Bush has just made a speech denouncing socialist Cuba as a "dying order," a "totalitarian" house of horrors, and looking forward to the coming "victory" of the "democratic movement," the dissidents of today, who should remember whom their friends were (namely the old Bay of Pigs crowd in Washington). Bush also called for an "international fund" to help Cuba establish a "free market society" aka a capitalist economy which will be at the beginning subsidized by foreign investors the way that Pinochet's brutal fascist regime, which overthrow the socialist government of Salvador Allende (which by no means had at the time of the counter-revolution built a socialist society, as Cuba has today).
The UN General Assembly is going to vote soon on Cuba's resolution to end the U.S. embargo against Cuba, which has existed since 1960. The resolution has been passed with large majorities in recent years and the U.S. government has ignored it in a cavalier fashion. The Bush comments today are clear evidence that his administration is launching a preemptive strike against the resolution, which will no doubt pass with a substantial majority again.
Americans of all political persuasions willing to listen should know something about the history of Cuban-American relations. Cuba was a slave colony of the Spanish empire which some from slavery elements dreamed of annexing to the U.S. before the Civil War. The U.S. intervened in Cuba's war of independence against the Spanish Empire ostensibly to liberate Cuba ("Cuba libre" was the cry, and it lived on so to speak in the mixed drink of rum and coca cola by the same name). But the U.S. kept its army of occupation in Cuba until the Cubans wrote into their constitution a clause giving the U.S. the right to intervene in order to preserve Cuban independence(which meant the U.S. could intervene as it saw fit) U.S. governments then served U.S. companies in turning the island into a semi-colony and supporting brutal dictatorial regimes for the next sixty years.
When Fidel Castro refused to knuckle under to the Eisenhower administration in 1960, took the revolution in a socialist direction, and turned to the Soviet Union for assistance, the embargo was enacted followed by the failed CIA organized Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which almost led to a nuclear World War III between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. In the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, there were no invasions of Cuba, but CIA directed attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro and acts of sabotage against the Cuban economy continued for many years (one is not certain that they have completely ended today).
Cuba has survived. It has established in the context of a state of siege a society that is qualitative more advanced than the one that the revolution inherited in 1959. Its achievements, given the social circumstances that it has faced, are well beyond what any nation in Latin America has achieved (and in terms of equal rights and equal treatment in regard to education and health care, along with other basic human needs, beyond what the U.S. has in reality achieved for all of its people).For thirty years the rationale for the embargo against Cuba was its relationship with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union ceased to exist nearly sixteen years ago, yet the embargo if anything becomes more repressive. Since U.S. capitalist domination of Cuba began nearly two decades before the Russian revolution and essentially ended thanks to Soviet aid to the Cuban revolution, there is no reason to continue this blockade, except hatred by the U.S. ruling class both of any state that dares to establish socialism and also, in Cuba's case, a former de facto colony that dared take back its sugar plantations, mills, and casinos from their U.S. owners.
"For Cuba's ruling class," Bush said, "its grip on power is more important than the welfare of its people." If ever there was an example of Freud's principle of projection, that is, ascribing to someone you see as an enemy what you yourself are either doing or want to do and then using that as a rationale for your aggressive thoughts or actions, that statement certainly is it. "Life will not improve for the Cubans under their current system of government,"Bush went on to say (another example of projection). But life would certainly not improve for the majority of Cubans if the austere and egalitarian socialism that they have created would be replaced by a restoration of capitalism, one in which the the casinos and the bordellos of Havana would live again, sharp class divisions would become apparent through the society, and a new Cuban class of compradors serving the interests of the U.S. and other foreign investors would spring up as the majority of Cubans looked on, unwelcome "visitors" in their own country. This is Bush's prescription for "Cuban freedom" aka counter revolution.
Taking Freud's principle of projection and throwing it back at Bush, one might say that "For the U.S. ruling class, its grip on power is more important than the welfare of its people." One might might also say that "life will not improve for the Americans under the current corrupt political system, where corporations and the rich spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy politicians and the Republican Party undermines basic democratic rights at home and advances militarism and war abroad."
Ending the blockade against Cuba should be a matter of conscience for Americans, given what successive U.S. government have done to Cuba and its people starting long before the Cuban revolution. It would also gain respect for the U.S. in the United Nations and in the larger world community, a respect that the Bush administration has done more to undermine than any administration in modern U.S. history.