Cuba the litmus test of American democracy

There is a shaft of light on the other side of the tunnel. Barrack Obama the first black president of the United States of America who I was beginning to despair to become the president destined to leave an important legacy, not just that of being the first black president of the land of the star-spangled banner, but a tangible legacy of a man who arrived at the White House to make a difference, to be celebrated for generations to come. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the US instead of behaving as a mature, tested  leader of the liberal democratic idealism had become a bully of unimaginable proportions: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan had borne the brunt of American superpower iron fist; Iran is hanging on by the skin of her teeth before the ultimate sanctions punch lands on her chin.

Whither the US divinity of do-as-I-say not as I do? By re-establishing the Cuban-American diplomatic relations Barrack Obama looks like breaking in a small but emphatic manner with the past. He has redeemed not only himself but hopefully the US in spite of the diehard Cuban haters who see him as a traitor. His flickering, waning image in as far as white police officers/African-American relations is concerned, the restoration of Cuba-US diplomatic relations is the presidential legacy that must define his presidency and the redirection of US geo-political relations with the rest of the world, particularly the developing segment of it, which continues to look to America for political guidance in vain.
He may become the American president who bequeathed a legacy of renewal when the doddering political image of the US was written in block letters on the face of the earth and the human species. The American blockade of Cuba is not different from the use of child soldiers by anti-government forces in some African countries. The Helms-Burton Act, by coercing American company subsidiaries in third world countries, behaves precisely like those routinely condemned anti-government forces who engage children to fight their often questionable and dirty wars. Obama’s  hesitant but bold decision comes at a time the US has inadvertently exposed herself as many times more of a terrorist state than Cuba whom it has wrongfully accused of sponsoring terrorism. Three of the Cuban Five who were still languishing in Miami prisons were released on December 17, 2014 as the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba was announced by President Barrack Obama. We will show below how the arrest, indictment, conviction and sentencing of the Cuban Five laid bare for the world to see, who the TERRORIST between Cuba and the US was. Hold on! The reopening of the diplomatic relations with Cuba saw unprecedented pressure piled on Barrack Obama.

The UN General Assembly, the African Union, the Latin American states, ecumenical societies, Pope Francis and above a prominent section of Americans was beginning to weigh in on Obama to lift the blockade imposed on the sovereign state of Cuba, partly because it was a violation of international law but more because it had failed to realise the purpose for which it had been imposed. Former Senator James Aborezk is one of the many Americans who wrote to the president: “Dear Mr President, As a former United States Senator from South Dakota, I call your attention to an important case of injustice, one that you can easily remedy. It has to do with a group called the Cuban 5.

After years of terrorism against Cubans-bombing tourist hotels, blowing up a Cuban airline, Fidel Castro sent five of his people to Miami to collect evidence on those committing such terrorism. They turned the information they had gathered over to the FBI, whose agents promptly arrested the Cubans. (Instead of arresting or restraining their own terrorists plotting terrorism against Cuba!) They were convicted by an intimidated Miami jury then sent to American prisons. That action showed the world our duplicity on our war on terror. I would hope that you would pardon these five men an act that would be a first step toward restoring relations with Cuba as a close neighbour to the United States. Our 50 year embargo against Cuba has caused a great deal of suffering to a people we say we want to help.

Back in the 1970s my colleague, George McGovern and I separately travelled to Cuba and met with Fidel Castro. We did so again together in 1977 and fostered an exchange of basketball teams from South Dakota….. Presdent Carter approved the exchange and his administration was on the way to normalising relations, a step halted by the actions of Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC). The Cuban government was open to normalising relations back then, and I believe are still interested in doing so. Freeing the Cuban Five I believe would be a first step in normalising relations with Cuba.

I also believe that such a step would result in the release to his family of Alan Gross, whose was carrying out US policy in Cuba when he was imprisoned there. Such a gesture on your part would lead to a restored neighbourly relationship. It would be seen as a very sensible and courageous step on your part.  You have made a lot of us very happy by succeeding in your re-election in the presidency.

Sincerely, James Abourezk
Letter is dated November 5th 2012.  I have reproduced the letter in full because it represents the myriad other letters to President Barrack Obama particularly by Americans on the same subject and encapsulates the American establishment’s disingenuousness and duplicity on the subject of Cuba and terrorism. Besides letters by individual Americans there have been a series of New York Editorials from the month of October 2014. One of November 9, 2014 editorials read in part:

“……In April (2015) Western Hemisphere heads of state will meet in Panama City for the seventh Summit of the Americas. Latin American governments insisted that Cuba, the most populous island and one of the most educated societies in the hemisphere, be invited, breaking with its traditional exclusion at the insistence of Washington ….. Normalising relations with Havana would improve Washington’s relations with governments in Latin America, and resolve an irritant that has stymied initiatives in the hemisphere The Obama administration is leery of Cuba’s presence at the meeting and Mr Obama has not committed to attending. He must………..and should see it as an opportunity to make history.”

President Obama has obviously been under tremendous pressure to make a move towards normalising relations with Cuba. From the tentative steps he has taken, releasing the three of the last of the Cuban Five for the freedom of Alan Gross the USAID-handled spy in USAID Cuban offices and relaxing the embargo where he can - he hopes the Congress will do its part and bite the bullet to finish off the blockade. The checks and balances/separation of powers can be quite a nuisance when it begins to frustrate urgent dire wishes! The blockade lives, but days of its life seem to be numbered! The Cubans have welcomed the developments: Said, Raul Castro Cuban president on restoring normal relations with the US on December 17, 2014: “Since my election as President of the State Council of Ministers I have reiterated on many occasions our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the US on the basis of sovereign equality, in order to deal reciprocally with a wide variety of topics without detriment to the national Independence and self determination of our people….As a result of dialogue at the highest level which included a phone conversation I had with President Obama we have been able to make in the solution of some topics of mutual interest for both nations.

President Obama’s decision deserves the respect and acknowledgement of our people…I wish to thank and  acknowledge the support of the Vatican, most particularly the support of Pope Francisco in the efforts for the improving relations between Cuba and the US. I also want to thank the government of Canada for facilitating the high-level dialogue between the two countries…..Though the blockade has been codified into law, the President of the US has the Executive authority to modify its implementation… As we have reiterated, we must learn the art of coexisting with our differences in a civilized manner….” 
The unilateral break of Cuba-US diplomatic relations by the US was petty, immoral, vindictive and a punitive act against Cuba for crimes she had never committed nor ever contemplated committing, nor placed these crimes before the court of world opinion!.

As we saw in the preceding article Helms-Burton Act was a precursor of all that was to the disadvantage of Cuba. An unprecedented embargo against the island nation was sown, ballooned out of proportion and almost condemned Cuba to a failed state had the small nation not had the calibre of leadership to be found in Fidel Castro and the unusual resilience and tenacity of purpose found in the islanders tested in the furnace of colonialism from foreign powers. Before Obama, President Jimmy Carter was the only other president who seemed to think the embargo against Cuba could be dismantled and the US and Cuba live in peaceful coexistence.

Last modified on Monday, 19 January 2015 13:04

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