Gloria La Riva is a labor, community and anti-war organizer based in San Francisco, Calif., and is the 2016 Presidential Candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Her running mate is Eugene Puryear, a Washington, D.C.-based activist. Learn more about the candidates, their 10-Point Program and how to get involved in the PSL’s “Vote Socialist in 2016!” campaign at www.VotePSL.org.
In a presidential campaign stop in Miami on July 31, Hillary Clinton called for lifting the U.S. blockade of Cuba, or embargo as some call it.
Clinton said, “The Cuba embargo needs to go, once and for all.”
It sounds amazing, coming from a politician who never lost an opportunity to rail against the Cuban Revolution.
Clinton continues to be openly hostile to Cuba’s sovereignty, its independence and socialism.
She is simply taking a different approach to try to undermine Cuba.
Clinton’s view is not unique. She reflects that of many in the U.S. ruling establishment—soon, perhaps a majority—who are now suddenly clamoring for a different approach in U.S. policy to try to accomplish the same aim of the last 56 years: destabilization of Cuba’s government and system.
President Barack Obama spoke similarly on Dec. 17, “… we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests. … ”
Clinton’s Miami speech was filled with disingenuous claims about helping the Cuban people, in the typically arrogant attitude of U.S. imperialists towards Cuba, Venezuela and the rest of Latin America.
Clinton: “They want to buy our goods, read our books, surf our web, and learn from our people. … We want Cubans to have access to more phones, more computers, more satellite televisions. We want more American airplanes and ferries and cargo ships arriving every day. I’m told that Airbnb is already getting started. Companies like Google and Twitter are exploring opportunities as well.
“ … Regional spoilers like Venezuela took advantage of the disagreements to advance their own agendas and undermine the United States. Now we have the chance for a fresh start in the Americas.”
“ … as Secretary of State, it became clear to me that our policy of isolating Cuba was strengthening the Castros’ grip on power rather than weakening it—and harming our broader efforts to restore American leadership across the hemisphere.”
Does she mean the kind of leadership that dragged Mexico’s economy under, with the U.S.-engineered 1994 NAFTA treaty, or more recently the 2009 U.S.-backed military coup in Honduras? “American leadership” in Latin America meant the destruction of hundreds of thousands of lives until countries began to shake off U.S. domination with ALBA and other alliances.
By playing to a Miami right -wing Cuban audience that for so long was a battering ram for Washington’s policies, Clinton calculated that she could quell their anger and test Florida’s waters. With that same political cynicism, her campaign is aware that a new poll shows 72 percent of people in the United States want an end to the blockade.
Clinton’s speech harkened back to the U.S. strategy against the Soviet Union—including an arms race—that contributed to its demise, proposing to use “outside influences the way we did so effectively with the old Soviet bloc and elsewhere” toward Cuba.
Lift the U.S. blockade now
The Party for Socialism and Liberation and all true friends of Cuba demand the immediate lifting of the U.S. blockade for completely different reasons than those advanced by Clinton and the U.S. ruling class.
For more than 55 years, Cuba’s people have been subjected to a crushing policy of blockade to force them to submit to U.S. dictates. Denying a whole people medicines, food and the necessities of life and thwarting commerce and trade internationally—is a genocidal policy. U.S. imperialism has created a massive arsenal of economic and political weapons that comprise what is more accurately called “Blockade.”
“Embargo” does not begin to describe what Washington heaped on Cuba, causing $1.2 trillion in economic damages.
In all these years, Cuba never surrendered. Despite the harsh blows caused by the U.S. financial, commercial and trade blockade, Cuba has survived precisely because of socialism and the overwhelming support of the people.
Certainly, Cuba faces new challenges with U.S. plans at “engagement” and subversion. Congressional funds are currently financing more anti-Cuba “democracy” programs.
But if there is a people, country and government that can face those challenges and continue defending the Revolution, it is Cuba.
President Raúl Castro made Cuba’s position clear at the Jan. 28 CELAC summit in Costa Rica: “ … the spokespersons of the U.S. government have clearly stated that the methods are changing, but not the objectives of their policy, and insisted on actions that interfere with our internal affairs, something we will not accept. The American counterparts should not try to relate with the Cuban society as if a sovereign government did not exist in the Island.”
Rather than hurt Cuba, ending the blockade will be a significant boost to Cuba’s economy and tremendous source of relief for the people. Lifting the U.S. travel ban will allow the people of the United States to experience Cuba’s reality firsthand, to see its remarkable social development, economic security and social peace.
The most important priority of all is for the blockade to end.
Hillary Clinton and those with ulterior designs on Cuba can keep on trying another 56 years. They will fail again.