The US Embargo: Cuba’s Ally or Enemy?February 17, 2014 | Print |
Vicente Morin Aguado
HAVANA TIMES — Friends of the United States, political leaders who are not revolutionary in the least and many people who stand at a considerable distance from communism stand out among the vast majority of individuals, presidents and governments that oppose Washington’s obstinate policy towards Cuba. Many are of the conviction that, to date, the blockade/embargo has actually been an ally of Fidel Castro.
Such a conception of an “alliance” maintains that the socialist economic model established in Cuba relies on the US blockade, as an excuse it can invoke in order to justify its failure. It would indeed be hard to renounce such an “excuse”, particularly when we recall how unmatched the adversaries are and the evident damage that US aggression has caused in my country.
If we’re to talk of the blockade as an “ally”, we should, however, bear in mind another way of understanding this, namely, that of discerning that the establishment of capitalism in Cuba has been set in motion, slowly but irreversibly, and that the policy of isolation is best replaced with one of collaboration which can help hasten such changes as are considered inevitable.
In this light, Havana’s authoritarian government needs the continuing blockade, on the one hand, to justify its constant economic failures and, on the other, prevent radical changes within the country. I am also referring to political changes – the United States’ aggressiveness as a superpower strengthens the strong all-powerful leader system which still prevails in Cuba’s political practices.
At any rate, it is at most a circumstantial alliance, because Cuba’s revolutionary leadership has invariably condemned Washington’s posture, despite the unpredictable twists and turns of history over the past fifty years.
The logic behind this could well be: “you imposed the blockade on us; you have to take it away. Whether you do this or not, your actions will benefit me anyways.”
Lifting the blockade would, first of all, entail an avalanche of tourism to Cuba, multiplying the States’ incomes with a direct inflow of dollars – of cash – and giving the country’s battered economy (in much need of hard currency) considerable impetus.
Such a step would necessarily entail others, such as ending the persecution of Cuban commercial activities abroad, affording the country every facility to trade in US dollars and access to credit (hitherto denied the island).
Can anyone actually be unaware of the great benefits that the lifting of the blockade would bring the Cuban State?
Whether such a decision would benefit the majority of the population to the same degree is another question entirely. Here, opinions tend be divided along the course of political passions. Sincerely, I am convinced that the Cuban people also stand to benefit immensely from it.
For those who abhor the socialist state, which has been authoritarian to date, the current tendencies of the country’s reform process, impelled by the lifting of the blockade, would give considerable impetus to the non-State sector, such as cooperatives and the self-employed.
The State monopoly would of course reap the greatest benefits, but let us not forget that such a State is bound by socialist tenets and it will have to honor these, even if the corrupt bureaucracy gets in the way. We also must not underestimate the experience acquired by Cuba’s working class over time. In the worst of scenarios, to recall the dandy of the game Monopoly, dollar bills will flutter downwards towards the underprivileged.
I am in no way suggesting we should content ourselves with breadcrumbs. I am merely pointing out the options we have, on the basis of our experiences so far.
The last resort would be to return to capitalism, as “manifest destiny” dictates. If that were to happen, we would become the chief tourism emporium in the Caribbean, a den of gambling, prostitution and drugs, “protected” by Washington, with money flowing at full speed. It is an old project, thwarted when “the Comandante stepped up and shut everything down.”
I will continue to oppose this ever happens in my country. Those seeking revenge would return to reclaim what the revolution took from them when it brought Capital to its knees, and the dream of any form of socialism would vanish, because property owners are implacable – Miami’s obstinacy proves this.
To date, those who are set on maintaining the blockade have triumphed. They are after the complete victory of capital, the destruction of the revolution – it is a question of taking the punishment imposed on us in 1961 to the end. These past 55 years, however, have sown profound ideals (today the subject of frank debate among us). The defeated bourgeoisie does not lay its bets on a possible and gradual transition to a market economy in Cuba.
What history teaches us is that, if a dictator capable of returning this vanquished bourgeoisie its properties were to appear, their tired demands for human rights would immediately disappear.
By the looks of it, given today’s circumstances, the far-right in the United States believes it is better to leave the blockade in place, even if it’s an ally of the government, in order to deny the Cuban people different options in terms of social progress. Explicitly or tacitly, there is the fear we will be able to attain the miracle of a new form of socialism.
Vicente Morín Aguado: email@example.com