Cuba Amid Games of Hunger

July 13, 2017 | Print Print |

By Fernando Ravsberg

Rosa Maria Paya, Jorge Luis Garcia (aka. Antunez) and Antonio Rodiles applaud the new Trump measures against Cuba.

HAVANA TIMES — The Ladies in White and other dissident groups published a letter against the European Union for having reached an agreement with Cuba and normalizing bilateral relations. They hope to push Brussels to exert financial pressure on the island again in this way.

A member from the La Joven Cuba website wrote: “If I ever felt tired; if I felt that there weren’t enough reasons to defend the Revolution, I would sit down and watch the counter-revolution’s videos. They are a school of thought, they clear up any doubts and recharge your batteries to move forward.”

I publish this because I perfectly understand the reaction of many Cubans when they realize that these groups are set out to besiege them again, when anti-Castroites in Miami and “dissidents” in Cuba are criticizing Europe, they are applauding Trump’s policy against Cuba.

Washington’s policy shift clearly revealed who the real “enemies” are, which plays to the Cuban government’s favor politically-speaking. However, they are harming the country, the economy – both the macro and family economy will suffer as a result of cutting back on relations with the US.

It was pitiful to see these “saviors of the Cuban people” applauding Trump and singing the US anthem with their hand on their heart. It could only be compared to when the dissident who ran through Revolution Square, raising a US flag.

They accuse Kennedy of treason but the truth is that the Bay of Pigs invaders surrendered en mass to Cuba’s militia.

The Cuban government has always accused them of being “mercenaries who serve the Empire” but I have to admit that the opposition makes it really easy for them to do this. We could even say that the official propaganda machine doesn’t fully use the photos that dissidents give them.

The Anti-Castro movement doesn’t seem to have generational problems, young people like Rosa Maria Paya or Antonio Rodiles, continue to use the same strategy from the 1960s: to pressure the US to overthrow the Revolution. It wasn’t a coincidence that invaders of the Bay of Pigs were present as well.

Among the dissidents present on June 16th in Miami, it’s worth mentioning Jorge Luis Garcia (aka. Antunez), who applauded but wasn’t completely happy. The changes being undertaken by Trump seem to be lukewarm to him, so he wrote a letter to the White House asking it to take a more hardline approach.

Antunez is demanding that the Economic Embargo be maintained and that Washington receives a green light to use “any other form of pressure” against the island, thereby establishing a “policy against the government in Havana without the slightest concession.”

He wants Cuba to reappear on the “state sponsors of terrorism” list, which it “should have never been taken off”, and he is declaring himself against cultural exchanges between the two countries. Next to Antunez, Donald Trump looks like a cautious and moderate politician.

The anti-Castro movement in Miami and domestic opposition have always placed their bets on Washington being the one to overthrow the Cuban government.

Asking the leader of the greatest military and economic power in the world to use any form of pressure against his own country is nothing new, it perfectly fits into a strategy that has been in effect ever since the bearded ones were victorious with their Revolution.

The opposition has always placed their bets, in one way or another, on the US being the one to destroy the Cuban Revolution and later they would hand over the country to them as a gift for good neighborly relations. This reasoning has led them to be defeated time and time again since 1959.

They are still accusing President Kennedy of treason for not ordering the Pentagon to attack Cuba, when the “heroic” members of the 2506 brigade had surrendered at the Bay of Pigs just 72 hours after the 1961 invasion began.

These anti-Communist fighters are very unfair because they were the ones who made this military operation fail because they couldn’t resist long enough. They are ungrateful too given the fact that it was JFK who rescued them, swapping them with Fidel Castro for baby food.

No Cuban would forgive the dissidence for promoting the economic embargo against Cuba.

With such partners, it is no wonder that the dissidence is isolated. Every Cuban knows that it is the poorest, the weakest, the most vulnerable Cubans who pay the price of this “pressure strategy”, having been converted into “collateral damage” in these hunger games.

What the Ladies in White and Antunez are asking for, what Rosa Maria Paya or Rodiles is applauding, is a return to the harassment policy against ordinary Cubans, which was put on paper on April 6th 1960 by the Under-Secretary of State, Lester D. Mallory.

The directive ordered a “skilled and discreet” line of action to be taken which would deprive “Cuba of money and supplies, decreasing their financial means and real wages, and bringing about hunger and desperation and the overthrow of the Government.”


What's your opinion?

  • Dan Makgow Smith

    Even though I voted Trump, I disagree with his Cuban policy. I don’t think this same line of thinking will do anything but push down, and continue to punish the Cuban people. The embargo does not bother the richest and wealthiest, but it does deprive the poorest of needed food and necessities. It does not promote an open door to promote freedoms for Cubans. It’s the same old policy that has been around for 59 yrs. The more things change, the more they stay the same, except in this case, there is no change.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      As an author Dan you know the difficulty of making succinct analysis. Many if not most of those who discuss the US embargo on Cuba, have never read the US Cuban Democracy Act which brought it into being. The declared objectives were admirable.
      When considering the embargo in 2016, I wrote in ‘Cuba Lifting the Veil’
      “Whereas the imposition of the second current US embargo of 1960 against Cuba was understandable when it was initiated, the policy clearly failed. The terms of the embargo although directed at improving the conditions of the people of Cuba, were aimed directly at removal of the Castro family regime. By far the majority of Cubans have never seen those terms but accepted the explanations of the regime that the embargo was directed against them as a people being unaware that the objectives of the embargo including free open elections, free media and human rights and the actual effect was to assist the Castro regime and make life even more difficult for the people, clearly the reverse of its intention.”
      For several years in these pages I have favoured removal of the embargo. When Barack Obama made his March 2016 visit to Cuba, he openly expressed the view that maybe the time had come to lift the embargo and to consider the position of Guantanamo, but that there would have to be some reciprocation. That proposal was rejected outright by the Castro regime only eight days later. Subsequently there were a few meetings between Cuba and the US (both represented by ladies) but which were futile because of the dogmatic view of the regime.
      There is little difference between the policies introduced by Obama and the reality of Trump(f)’s speech in Havana – yes there was much pandering to his audience, but no significant change, much was sabre rattling.
      Those who contribute here, will assure you that I am not of the left!

      • Jon

        “objectives of the embargo including free open elections, free media and human rights and the actual effect was to assist the Castro regime”
        We don’t have this here in the us. Capital needs an enemy. Socialism or any attempt to build it.

    • Emily

      It is not an embargo it is a Blockade

      • Eden Wong

        “… It is not an embargo it is a Blockade…”

        Emily, you need a dictionary.

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        In both English and Spanish Emily there is a difference of definition between ’embargo’ and ‘blockade’. So what is your language?

      • Dan Makgow Smith

        There has not been a Blockade since President Kennedy. We ship food and medicine to Cuba on a routine basis. Most other products are embargoed. There are other services that are still provided as well.

  • Jon

    Capitalism fears any success that Socialism achieves. Hence the blockade.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      I agree with you Jon that Cuba represents Socialist success! Repression with removal of freedom and liberty, diminution of individuality in favour of a proletarian mass and imposition of one party dictatorship. For Fidel Castro’s much vaunted “Socialismo” that is success!
      Take time to look up in your dictionary the meaning of ’embargo’ and that of ‘blockade’. Then explain your miss-use of the word ‘blockade’.

    • St Jeremy of Islington Allotme

      What “blockade” …… https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c2390.html

      even around 70% of chicken sold in Cuba comes from the USA

  • Olgasintamales

    Calling Cuban dictatorship Socialism is a disgrace. Socialism is healthy and well in In the Scandinavian countries. Th Castro’s monarchy is a leftist dictadura just in order to control de media and the ppl and exchange for “free” education and free health care. Just like some masters used to provide to the slave.

  • Nick

    Another very good article from Fernando. The directive from L.D. Mallory is actually still quite shocking 57 years later.
    If that was the original intention of the embargo, then it has failed miserably.
    For many years now the embargo has been largely about winning the key Florida Electoral College votes. That much is just plain obvious.
    Regarding the famous Ladies in White and certain other so called ‘dissidents’.
    On the one hand they urge the USA and Europe to exert pressure which will result in greater financial hardship for Cubans. On the other hand many of them are quite happy to trot down to the US Embassy and get their little hand out (provided by the US tax payer) to help resolve their own personal financial issues. This is widely acknowledged in Cuba, certainly so in Havana.
    This is one of several reasons why many of these people are largely regarded with suspicion in Cuba.
    However not all ‘dissidents’ take the US hand-out.
    The late Osvaldo Paya was a political activist/’dissident’ who received assistance from European christian groups, but was widely held to have never accepted a single cent from the USA.
    Mr Paya was totally opposed to the embargo.
    It is therefore a bit of a shame to see his daughter getting involved in applauding trump’s ridiculous and fairly toothless embargo posturing as she appears to be in the photo.

  • Kennedy Earle Clarke

    These so-called dissidents are nothing more than mendicants (beggars) and Judases (traitors). While they are busy trying to get the USA to tighten the economic embargo on Cuba in order to bring the 1959 Revolution to its knees, they are visiting the US Interest Section and now the US Embassy for their thirty pieces of silver (as with the betrayal of Master Jesus by Judas Iscariot in the bible); they must be able to live from the pieces of silver handouts, delivered to them monthly, but the senior citizens, the sick, the little children must be annihilated from the tightening of the economic noose around the necks of the Cuban people.

    Their callous, inhumane attitude, unconcern for the less fortunate is their testimony of how things will be, were the Revolution ever to be brought to its knees.The behavior of these Judases, theses heartless, these uncaring monsters should fortify the Cuban People with the impregnable will and grim determination to defend their Revolution with all their might and at all cost, Patriotic Cuban Citizens enjoy the privileges you now enjoy since the success of the Revolution, for these Judases, these mendicants, these heartless people will trample you under their feet; they will squash you the way they squash a mosquito.

    These are people who do not care about other people. They are a selfish bunch who are only interested in their own survival and that of their friends, acquaintances and their family members!. A return to Cuba to these people, will result in the worst of the worst type of oppression, suppression, degradation, exploitation, subjugation, mankind has ever meted out to his fellowmen. Cuban People, Defend your REVOLUTION with all your might! Continue the good works Comrade Fernando!!

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      This time Kennedy Earle Clarke, you have excelled yourself. Unravelling whatever your garbled rant meant is impossible. The only clear bit is that you condemn dissidents who seek freedom and liberty as “Judases”. Why don’t you leave your island retreat and move to Cuba?

    • Olgasintamales

      I hope you see one day the ” Patriotic Cubans people” celebrating the fall of Castro regime. Just like Eastern Europe, when people like you used to say the Eastern European were happier that the people in the west.