Friday, August 24, 2007

Viva Fidel Castro: Why America Hates Cuba



As the (probably wrong once again) rumors fly in Miami, perhaps it is time to reflect on why the United States has always hated Fidel Castro Ruz. The answer is simple, and serious US foreign policy documents have always been clear about this. The risk is that the very existence of the regime, by not subordinating itself to the world power just 90 miles away, is just an unacceptable defiance for the rest of the world.

Let us hear what someone else has said on the matter


What is Cuba’s sin? What honest person has any reason to attack her?

With their own blood and the weapons seized from the enemy, the Cuban people overthrew a cruel tyranny with 80,000 men under arms, imposed by the U.S. government.

Cuba was the first territory free from imperialist domination in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the only country in the hemisphere, throughout post-colonial history, where the torturers, murderers and war criminals that took the lives of tens of thousands of people were exemplarily punished.

All of the country’s land was recovered and turned over to the peasants and agricultural workers. The natural resources, industries and basic services were placed in the hands of their only true owner: the Cuban nation.

In less than 72 hours, fighting ceaselessly, day and night, Cuba crushed the Bay of Pigs mercenary invasion organized by a U.S. administration, thereby preventing a direct military intervention by this country and a war of incalculable consequences. The Revolution already had the Rebel Army, over 400,000 weapons and hundreds of thousands of militia members.

In 1962, Cuba confronted with honor, and without a single concession, the risk of being attacked with dozens of nuclear weapons.

It defeated the dirty war that spread throughout the entire country, at a cost in human lives even greater than that of the war of liberation.

It stoically endured thousands of acts of sabotage and terrorist attacks organized by the U.S. government.

It thwarted hundreds of assassination plots against the leaders of the Revolution.

While under a rigorous blockade and economic warfare that have lasted for almost half a century, Cuba was able to eradicate in just one year the illiteracy that has still not been overcome in the course of more than four decades by the rest of the countries of Latin America, or the United States itself.

It has brought free education to 100% of the country’s children.

It has the highest school retention rate –over 99% between kindergarten and ninth grade– of all of the nations in the hemisphere.

Its elementary school students rank first worldwide in the knowledge of their mother language and mathematics.

The country also ranks first worldwide with the highest number of teachers per capita and the lowest number of students per classroom.

All children with physical or mental challenges are enrolled in special schools.

Computer education and the use of audiovisual methods now extend to all of the country’s children, adolescents and youth, in both the cities and the countryside.

For the first time in the world, all young people between the ages of 17 and 30, who were previously neither in school nor employed, have been given the opportunity to resume their studies while receiving an allowance.

All citizens have the possibility of undertaking studies that will take them from kindergarten to a doctoral degree without spending a penny.

Today, the country has 30 university graduates, intellectuals and professional artists for every one there was before the Revolution.

The average Cuban citizen today has at the very least a ninth-grade level of education.

Not even functional illiteracy exists in Cuba.

There are schools for the training of artists and art instructors throughout all of the country’s provinces, where over 20,000 young people are currently studying and developing their talent and vocation. Tens of thousands more are doing the same at vocational schools, and many of these then go on to undertake professional studies.

University campuses are progressively spreading to all of the country’s municipalities. Never in any other part of the world has such a colossal educational and cultural revolution taken place as this that will turn Cuba, by far, into the country with the highest degree of knowledge and culture in the world, faithful to Martí’s profound conviction that "no freedom is possible without culture."

Infant mortality has been reduced from 60 per 1000 live births to a rate that fluctuates between 6 and 6.5, which is the lowest in the hemisphere, from the United States to Patagonia.

Life expectancy has increased by 15 years.

Infectious and contagious diseases like polio, malaria, neonatal tetanus, diphtheria, measles, rubella, mumps, whooping cough and dengue have been eradicated; others like tetanus, meningococcal meningitis, hepatitis B, leprosy, hemophilus meningitis and tuberculosis are fully controlled.

Today, in our country, people die of the same causes as in the most highly developed countries: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, accidents, and others, but with a much lower incidence.

A profound revolution is underway to bring medical services closer to the population, in order to facilitate access to health care centers, save lives and alleviate suffering.

In-depth research is being carried out to break the chain, mitigate or reduce to a minimum the problems that result from genetic, prenatal or childbirth-related causes.

Cuba is today the country with the highest number of doctors per capita in the world, with almost twice as many as those that follow closer.

Our scientific centers are working relentlessly to find preventive or therapeutic solutions for the most serious diseases.

Cubans will have the best healthcare system in the world, and will continue to receive all services absolutely free of charge.

Social security covers 100% of the country’s citizens.

In Cuba, 85% of the people own their homes and they pay no property taxes on them whatsoever. The remaining 15% pay a wholly symbolic rent, which is only 10% of their salary.

Illegal drug use involves a negligible percentage of the population, and is being resolutely combated.

Lottery and other forms of gambling have been banned since the first years of the Revolution to ensure that no one pins their hopes of progress on luck.

There is no commercial advertising on Cuban television and radio or in our printed publications. Instead, these feature public service announcements concerning health, education, culture, physical education, sports, recreation, environmental protection, and the fight against drugs, accidents and other social problems. Our media educate, they do not poison or alienate. They do not worship or exalt the values of decadent consumer societies.

Discrimination against women was eradicated, and today women make up 64% of the country’s technical and scientific workforce.

From the earliest months of the Revolution, not a single one of the forms of racial discrimination copied from the south of the United States was left intact. In recent years, the Revolution has been particularly striving to eliminate any lingering traces of the poverty and lack of access to education that afflicted the descendants of those who were enslaved for centuries, creating objective differences that tended to be perpetuated. Soon, not even a shadow of the consequences of that terrible injustice will remain.

There is no cult of personality around any living revolutionary, in the form of statues, official photographs, or the names of streets or institutions. The leaders of this country are human beings, not gods.

In our country there are no paramilitary forces or death squads, nor has violence ever been used against the people. There are no executions without due process and no torture. The people have always massively supported the activities of the Revolution. This rally today is proof of that.

Light years separate our society from what has prevailed until today in the rest of the world. We cultivate brotherhood and solidarity among individuals and peoples both in the country and abroad.

The new generations and the entire people are being educated about the need to protect the environment. The media are used to build environmental awareness.

Our country steadfastly defends its cultural identity, assimilating the best of other cultures while resolutely combating everything that distorts, alienates and degrades.

The development of wholesome, non-professional sports has raised our people to the highest ranks worldwide in medals and honors.

Scientific research, at the service of our people and all humanity, has increased several-hundredfold. As a result of these efforts, important medications are saving lives in Cuba and other countries.

Cuba has never undertaken research or development of a single biological weapon, because this would be in total contradiction with the principles and philosophy underlying the education of our scientific personnel, past and present.

In no other people has the spirit of international solidarity become so deeply rooted.

Our country supported the Algerian patriots in their struggle against French colonialism, at the cost of damaging political and economic relations with such an important European country as France.

We sent weapons and troops to defend Algeria from Moroccan expansionism, when the king of this country sought to take control of the iron mines of Gara Djebilet, near the city of Tindouf, in southwest Algeria.

At the request of the Arab nation of Syria, a full tank brigade stood guard between 1973 and 1975 alongside the Golan Heights, when this territory was unjustly seized from that country.

The leader of the Republic of Congo when it first achieved independence, Patrice Lumumba, who was harassed from abroad, received our political support. When he was assassinated by the colonial powers in January of 1961, we lent assistance to his followers.

Four years later, in 1965, Cuban blood was shed in the western region of Lake Tanganyika, where Che Guevara and more than 100 Cuban instructors supported the Congolese rebels who were fighting against white mercenaries in the service of the man supported by the West, that is, Mobutu whose 40 billion dollars, the same that he stole, nobody knows what European banks they are kept in, or in whose power.

The blood of Cuban instructors was shed while training and supporting the combatants of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, who fought under the command of Amilcar Cabral for the liberation of these former Portuguese colonies.

The same was true during the ten years that Cuba supported Agostinho Neto’s MPLA in the struggle for the independence of Angola. After independence was achieved, and over the course of 15 years, hundreds of thousands of Cuban volunteers participated in defending Angola from the attacks of racist South African troops that in complicity with the United States, and using dirty war tactics, planted millions of mines, wiped out entire villages, and murdered more than half a million Angolan men, women and children.

In Cuito Cuanavale and on the Namibian border, to the southwest of Angola, Angolan and Namibian forces together with 40,000 Cuban troops dealt the final blow to the South African troops. This resulted in the immediate liberation of Namibia and speeded up the end of apartheid by perhaps 20 to 25 years. At the time, the South Africans had seven nuclear warheads that Israel had supplied to them or helped them to produce, with the full knowledge and complicity of the U.S. government.

Throughout the course of almost 15 years, Cuba had a place of honor in its solidarity with the heroic people of Viet Nam, caught up in a barbaric and brutal war with the United States. That war killed four million Vietnamese, in addition to all those left wounded and mutilated, not to mention the fact that the country was inundated with chemical compounds that continue to cause incalculable damage. The pretext: Viet Nam, a poor and underdeveloped country located 20,000 kilometers away, constituted a threat to the national security of the United States.

Cuban blood was shed together with that of citizens of numerous Latin American countries, and together with the Cuban and Latin American blood of Che Guevara, murdered on instructions from U.S. agents in Bolivia, when he was wounded and being held prisoner after his weapon had been rendered useless by a shot received in battle.

The blood of Cuban construction workers, that were nearing completion of an international airport vital for the economy of a tiny island fully dependent on tourism, was shed fighting in defense of Grenada, invaded by the United States under cynical pretexts.

Cuban blood was shed in Nicaragua, when instructors from our Armed Forces were training the brave Nicaraguan soldiers confronting the dirty war organized and armed by the United States against the Sandinista revolution.

And there are even more examples.

Over 2000 heroic Cuban internationalist combatants gave their lives fulfilling the sacred duty of supporting the liberation struggles for the independence of other sister nations. However, there is not one single Cuban property in any of those countries. No other country in our era has exhibited such sincere and selfless solidarity.

Cuba has always preached by example. It has never given in. It has never sold out the cause of another people. It has never made concessions. It has never betrayed its principles. There must be some reason why, just 48 hours ago, it was reelected by acclamation in the United Nations Economic and Social Council to another three years in the Commission on Human Rights, of which it has now been a member for 15 straight years.

More than half a million Cubans have carried out internationalist missions as combatants, as teachers, as technicians or as doctors and health care workers. Tens of thousands of the latter have provided their services and saved millions of lives over the course of more than 40 years. There are currently 3000 specialists in Comprehensive General Medicine and other healthcare personnel working in the most isolated regions of 18 Third World countries. Through preventive and therapeutic methods they save hundreds of thousands of lives every year, and maintain or restore the health of millions of people, without charging a penny for their services.

Without the Cuban doctors offered to the United Nations in the event that the necessary funds are obtained –without which entire nations and even whole regions of sub-Saharan Africa face the risk of perishing– the crucial programs urgently needed to fight AIDS would be impossible to carry out.

The developed capitalist world has created abundant financial capital, but it has not in any way created the human capital that the Third World desperately needs.

Cuba has developed techniques to teach reading and writing by radio, with accompanying texts now available in five languages –Haitian Creole, Portuguese, French, English and Spanish– that are already being used in numerous countries. It is nearing completion of a similar program in Spanish, of exceptionally high quality, to teach literacy by television. These are programs that were developed in Cuba and are genuinely Cuban. We are not interested in patents and exclusive copyrights. We are willing to offer them to all of the countries of the Third World, where most of the world’s illiterates are concentrated, without charging a penny. In five years, the 800 million illiterate people in the world could be reduced by 80%, at a minimal cost.

After the demise of the USSR and the socialist bloc, nobody would have bet a dime on the survival of the Cuban Revolution. The United States tightened the blockade. The Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts were adopted, both extraterritorial in nature. We abruptly lost our main markets and supplies sources. The population’s average calorie and protein consumption was reduced by almost half. But our country withstood the pressures and even advanced considerably in the social field.

Today, it has largely recovered with regard to nutritional requirements and is rapidly progressing in other fields. Even in these conditions, the work undertaken and the consciousness built throughout the years succeeded in working miracles. Why have we endured? Because the Revolution has always had, as it still does and always will to an ever-greater degree, the support of the people, an intelligent people, increasingly united, educated and combative.

Cuba was the first country to extend its solidarity to the people of the United States on September 11, 2001. It was also the first to warn of the neo-fascist nature of the policy that the extreme right in the United States, which fraudulently came to power in November of 2000, was planning to impose on the rest of the world. This policy did not emerge as a response to the atrocious terrorist attack perpetrated against the people of the United States by members of a fanatical organization that had served other U.S. administrations in the past. It was coldly and carefully conceived and developed, which explains the country’s military build-up and enormous spending on weapons at a time when the Cold War was already over, and long before September 11, 2001. The fateful events of that day served as an ideal pretext for the implementation of such policy.

All said by Fidel Castro himself in a speech in 2003

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2 Comments:

Anonymous magbana said...

Thanks for posting Fidel's speech. With his usual penchant for numbers and precision, he very succinctly laid out the evidence for how and why US propaganda against Cuba was developed. I'd like to add a favorite quote that typifies how the rest of the world views Cuba: "Cuban fighters are ready to lay down their lives for the liberation of our countries, and in exchange for this aid to our freedom and the progress of our people, all they take from us are their comrades who fell fighting for freedom." --Amilcar Cabral, freedom fighter, Guinea-Bissau, 1924-1973

12:52 PM  
Blogger leftside said...

Welcome, and thank you for your excellent blog...

Yes, your quote is made abundantly clear in the book 'Conflicting Missions.' Gleijeses concludes Cuba was on acting uniquely "selfless" in its foreign policy. It usually only got involved after the CIA had...

9:02 PM  

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