July 26 marked the 68th anniversary of the dawn raid on the Moncada Barracks led by Fidel Castro that sparked the revolutionary movement that would triumph six years later in 1959. Due to COVID-19, mass demonstrations were canceled but the celebrations of the National Day of Rebellion continued nonetheless. Cuban leaders and youth performed voluntary work in the countryside, as a part of a tradition that stretches back to the early days of the revolution. Voluntary work is part of a collective effort by the conscious working class to combat the worst elements of the blockade and set a positive example for society. Trade unions, cultural collectives, women’s movements, and other socialist-led organizations demonstrated and came out with statements in support of the Cuban revolution on this auspicious anniversary.
After the 1952 coup carried out by dictator Fulgencio Batitsta, many young Cubans were ready to take up arms against the hated puppet of the U.S. empire. The assault was foiled and revolutionaries fled into the rugged Sierra Maestra as they were hunted down by the soldiers of Batista, blood dripping from their hands after torturing and murdering captured revolutionaries.
Fidel relates in his autobiography My Life how he survived the slaughter by revealing his identity to a Black officer. Impressed by Fidel’s bravery and resolve, the officer held back his soldiers whispering to them, “You can’t kill ideas.” The ideas of Moncada will never die. The ideas of national self determination, freedom from colonialism and a life with dignity remain firmly anchored in millions of Cubans who have demonstrated in recent weeks to express support for their revolution and sovereignty against a multi-pronged war carried out by the United States.
War by another name
In an effort to strangle the Cuban Revolution in an hour of great need, the U.S. government has tightened the blockade against the nation. The goal of the illegal blockade is to strangle the working class of Cuba by making daily life extremely difficult. Electrical blackouts caused by the inability to import key parts for generators have caused a lot of disruption on the island. Tourism, a source of foreign currency used for international trade, has been mostly shut down due to concerns over COVID-19. Medical supplies may be running thin but shortages have not dented the Cuban commitment to healthcare as a human right. Medical services remain free for the people, despite not being able to carry out surgeries due to a lack of anesthetics.
Counter-revolutionary groups have taken advantage of the hardships imposed by the U.S. blockade to attempt to confuse the Cuban people. For many years U.S. regime change organizations like USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy have cultivated pro-imperialist collectives with the aim of creating a fake, pro-US civil society to parade on social media and utilize in propaganda warfare.
These imperialist groups are a tool against the U.S. working class just as much as they are against the Cuban government. In every case, an essential part of the preparations for military intervention against a country the U.S. has targeted for regime change is the creation of a media event as a pretext for further intervention. By creating a media spectacle with selectively edited videos, the U.S. hopes to turn domestic and international public opinion against the country it has targeted. A similar tactic was tried in Venezuela, where a false flag attack on an “aid convoy” was manufactured to test the steadfastness of the Venezuelan military.
Social media corporations have loyally marched to the tune of their masters in the U.S. government. A massive social media blitz carried out with pre-packed slogans like “#SOSCuba” or “Patria y vida” presaged a call for protests against the Cuban government. Twitter, WhatsApp and other social media sites were used to spread lies about an alleged harsh response to the protests by the Cuban government. Thousands of bot accounts, created in July of 2021 with few followers, anonymous profiles and few tweets, boosted this counter-revolutionary information war across the internet. Contrary to the biased reporting of the corporate media, many Cubans use the internet and see the fake news that is being spread to discredit the Cuban government.
The goal of the media pretext is to create a “humanitarian corridor” so that counter-revolutionary terrorists could be inserted into the country for the purpose of sabotaging economic infrastructure, assassinating socialist movement leaders, bribing officers to create counter-revolutionary cells in the military, setting up illegal markets reliant on U.S. dollars and organizing marginalized groups, those who suffer the most under the blockade, into violent street gangs for the purpose of creating social instability.
War, as the old saying goes, is a mere continuation of politics by other means. The efforts of the United States to destroy the socialist government of Cuba are warfare. The plot against Cuba remains in its embryonic stages but pieces are still in movement. Friends of Cuba must remain vigilant against attempts by the empire to manufacture future pretexts and crises to exploit for their counter-revolutionary ends.
Revolutionaries stand firm
The street protests, despite the doctored images and dishonest reporting of the capitalist media, were relatively small. Many more people heeded the call from Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel: Revolutionaries to the streets! The Cuban government gave the world an object lesson in resolving contradictions among the people. Many honest people were confused by the media assault and angered by the economic crisis imposed on the island nation. Government ministers and social movements joined people in the streets to speak with them about their concerns. Education and dialogue were the order of the day. Only in a socialist country could the president go among the people so openly and engage them in discussion about the state of the revolution. After the initial provocations, the Cuban people came into the street on July 17 for massive demonstrations of defiance against the U.S. plots against the people.
A total news blackout of major socialist, pro-government demonstrations shows the class character of the capitalist media. Demonstrations in support of the revolution discredit the lies that the Cuban people are in a state of rebellion against socialism. The blockade and silent hand of U.S. intelligence agencies are always conspicuously absent from these reports. Notably, the U.S. media has been totally silent on the Colombian government’s murderous repression of anti-government, anti-imperialist protests and general strike.
July 24-26 saw protests in solidarity with Cuba across the world. Chants of “Cuba Si, Bloqueo No!” could be heard in many cities and towns all across the United States.
The July 26 assault on the Moncada barracks was a tactical failure but because of the political will of Fidel and other revolutionaries it was transformed into a resounding victory. Moncada reminds us that in every period of setback the seeds of victory are sown.
Feature image: Granma.