Cuba: an imagined scenario

the falter of uncle sam
This 1896 cartoon is a Spanish satirical drawing by Manuel Moline, published in a Catalan satire magazine, criticizes U.S. behavior in relation to Cuba. The cartoon is titled “the falter of Uncle Sam” and the caption at the bottom simply says that Spain should keep or save (depending on the translation) so the island (Cuba) so it won’t be lost. While it takes a view, which is basically in favor of Spanish empire to “save” Cuba, it is still relevant today as the US is clearly engaging in the same actions in regards to Cuba.

There has been much talk about the US “opening up” to Cuba since “normalization” of relations starting in late 2014 and its results. American hotel corporations such as Airbnb, Starwood, Marriott, and possibly Choice Hotels, along with other companies like AT&T, are already salivating at this opportunity of what they see as a new market, with many working out deals to obtain a foothold in the country. [1] Different articles in the bourgeois New York Times note that hotel chains such as Starwood and Marriott are expected to begin managing hotels that cater to American expectations, due to the expected increase of US tourists, but are owned by the Cuban state tourism company and staffed mainly by Cubans, with US elections apparently a factor of whether Cuban officials see these investments as worthwhile. [2] Additionally, companies such as PepsiCo, Home Depot, Caterpillar, and Deere & Company, want to, in the view of the Times, establish “a toehold in the country” but that it will be nearly impossible “for American companies with franchise-based models” like McDonald’s, Subway or Dunkin’ Donuts “to establish beachheads.” [3] Industry trade groups are at the front lines of this “race” to “open” up Cuba to more Western investment, first by ending the Cuba embargo, like the recently-created U.S. Agricultural Coalition for Cuba and the National Chicken Council. [4] The most fervent is the conservative business group, the US Chamber of Commerce, wanting to lift travel, trade, and any other restrictions on Cuba, such as economic sanctions, even creating an entity called the U.S.-Cuba Business Council, since at least 2000, and staying within the bounds of anti-communism. [5] This response by the capitalist class is not a surprise. After all, as Karl Marx and Engels noted in the Communist Manifesto, the bourgeoisie is in need of “a constantly expanding market for its products” meaning that “it must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere” and engage in “exploitation of the world market.” [6] This article puts forward a unique way of looking at this issue by proposing a not-so-distant-future scenario of what could happen if the “democratic” opposition, backed by the US government, is victorious in their fight against the Cuban communist government.

A frightening scenario

Let’s say the wild dream of the liberals and progressives comes true, and their “savior,” Bernie Sanders wins the U.S. presidency (which is highly unlikely, but bear with me). Even though he claims to be a socialist, he is clearly a social democrat with a “moderate” imperialist foreign policy, as noted in my previous post. Imagine if you will, this scenario in the year 2018, in the fall of that year. [7] Here it goes…


All those years of meddling paid off…for the American capitalists, of course. Radio/TV Marti, a program of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, declared triumphantly that John F. Kennedy’s wish for a “genuinely independent Cuba, free to determine its destiny” had been achieved and that the “captive people of Cuba” have been freed from the yoke of oppression. [8] At this time, the US Congress had voted unanimously for the Cuban Freedom Restoration Act of 2018 the previous fall (fall 2017), lifting the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba which the United Nations General Assembly had voted against year after year, declaring it as unnecessary. [9] There was no need for any more “mercenaries of empire” as the old communist Cuban government had called them, which the US propaganda news outlet, Voice of America, called the “moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers,” not like the mujahadeen, with a picture of the USAID-funded Cuban Transition Project researchers cheering. The International Republican Institute (IRI) mused that their magical public opinion poll, years back, cited approvingly by the bourgeois media, was right, and that they had predicted the reality.[10]

In the Miami Herald, Elizardo Sanchez, founder of the former Cuban Human Rights and National Reconciliation Commission, who had been declared as a “well-known human rights activist” and a “leading dissident” in the past, laughed that the former Cubans were right to declare her as an enemy who could easily stage a protest. She revealed openly that her group had been funded by USAID, the whole time that the US State Department used it as a source in their reports from 1999-2015, [11] which she was proud of, because in her words, the US was “greeted as liberators” in Cuba and was the indispensable bastion of democracy in the world. [12] The ZunZuneo project, which had been covertly backed by USAID years ago, was now openly backed by USAID, and a panoply of other agents, with millions of dollars going to support civil society initiatives in Cuba, with an anti-communist flavor of course, and it was booming, with over 400,000 users in Florida and parts of Cuba. [13] There was no need to call Cuba a “totalitarian” or “authoritarian” state headed by Fidel Castro, as the US State Department had done. [14] Instead, in a rare joint press conference between the US State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), it was declared that the only dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere had vanished, erasing the repression of what they called the Castro regime, and that the society was now open, thanks to the pro-democracy movement they had fostered with their monies, as they openly admitted. [15]

What an open society meant should be obvious. The new Cuban government, easily recognized by the imperial US government, was very welcoming of US investment. As a result, they had dismantled the collectivist system and removed government controls on agriculture, which the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) had criticized in 2008, and was glad to see removed. There was, as Conoco Senior Managers had wanted in 2002, blatant propaganda in the bourgeois media within the United States encouraging American workers and businesses to fulfill their wildest dreams in Cuba, to seize their economic opportunities by the horns. The new “democratic” Cuban government, at least as it was described that way by the US State Department, had reformed its economy, and improved its human rights record, as perceived by Tom Donahue, still president of the US Chamber of Commerce. [16]

The power of free enterprise, as bourgeois analysts in newspapers and talking heads in the corporate media declared, had been unleashed in Cuba in an unstoppable torrent. The first step was the continuation of a dialogue on confiscated assets. This dialogue, accompanied by the shift from a planned economy to a full-on market economy, included instituting laws that attempted to address claims of those “whose properties were wrongly expropriated without compensation” at least in the eyes of USAID and the new government in Cuba. Advisers of the new government had followed Matías F. Travieso-Díaz’s “Alternative Recommendations for Dealing with Confiscated Property in Post-Castro Cuba” as outlined in a 2003 report of the USAID-funded Cuban Transition Project. The report declared that resolution of US claims is not practicable as long as the socialist government, at this time not in power, is in power, and that a transition government will be burdened “by a very large external debt” owed to Western private and public lenders and will have to default “on its loan obligations.” By this point, the transition government was declared democratic by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the OAS had readmitted Cuba with a cheers of applause at its first meeting.

The property claims were resolved, which was why, based on a model as put forward in the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, the economic embargo had been lifted, following the exact pathway noted in a USAID report all those years ago. [17] President Sanders, in a speech in June 2018, cheered the removal of a communist dictator, just like had when he had called Venezuelan revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez a “dead communist dictator,” and certified that a “democratically elected government has achieved power in Cuba,” initiating this process. The events that followed were outlined precisely in the report, with the Cuban government paying about $6 billion to US individuals and corporations with property claims before expropriation in 1959 and the early 1960, encouraging right-wing Cuban-American exiles to be some of “the first investors in an open Cuban market” and compensating them for expropriated property. They knew that if this was unresolved, then the power of this exile community “could be turned against stabilizing a new government in Cuba” which could harm Cuba-U.S. relations. [18] Additionally, those Cubans were against the Cuban government, in the past, were compensated in order to avoid “capital flight from the island.” At the same time, the decision of a court in the past, which “awarded damages of $181.1 billion and ordered the U.S. to apologize” for the Cuban embargo, was annulled. There was also the establishment of a Cuba-U.S. Claims Tribunal and Cuban Special Claims Court with the Cuba-U.S. Claims Agreement, a treaty unanimously supported by the U.S. Senate and happily supported by President Sanders. At the same time, U.S. corporations have been rushing into Cuba since this new government took control, as they declared that there would be “sustainable foreign investment in the Cuban economy,” unlike in the past, and that they had to beat foreign competitors.

The new Western-friendly, “democratic” government of Cuba had followed what NED’s president said in 2006, ending “its isolation from the international economy,” implying neoliberal policy. This government has also released literature deriving from a speech by George W. Bush at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for NED’s 20th anniversary, declaring that its rise to power is part of “the swiftest advance of freedom in the 2,500 year story of democracy…the advance of markets and free enterprise” which ends an “outpost of oppression in our world” and declares that “Communism, and militarism and rule by the capricious and corrupt are the relics of a passing era.” It has made this a reality in a simple way. For one, the former four major pillars of the Cuban economy, “tourism, Venezuelan subsidies, Cuban health care to foreign patients, and nickel mining,” as noted in an old USAID report, has been expanded and changed. These changes includes the negotiating of a free trade agreement between the right-wing Venezuelan government and the the government of Cuba, pushed along by the United States. At the same time, Cuba had a lot of external debt, as was noted earlier, they worked with financiers from the World Bank, IMF, and hedge funds to hammer out a deal. This deal was destructive of the existing socialist system, but it made the companies very pleased.

The reforms demanded by Western donors were neoliberal and involved privatization. Rather than be guided by what some important people said at a conference in 2004 about Cuba’s future in transitioning from communism, the government leaped into action. It took to heart what Antonio Jorge had written in a report for Cuban Transition Project in 2003: “Privatization will be, in more than one sense, the centerpiece of the transition process. The particulars it will exhibit will be decisive in stimulating the reconstruction of the economy and energizing its development.” First, this government, in order to supposedly make Cuba’s workers more productive, “let wages and working conditions be determined by market forces,” meaning that there are few regulations on workplaces and a low minimum wage, along with consideration of education vouchers. [19] In addition, the government claimed that, similar to what Carmelo Mesa-Lago said in a 2005 Cuban Transition Project report, which advocates for neoliberalism and implies privatization, Cuba’s economy will only be “saved” “unless current policies are reversed again in the direction of the market.” [20] In an even bigger step, the government declared, following the view of USAID Director of the Office of Infrastructure and Engineering, Juan Belt, that there needs to be significant “reforms” to the electricity sector “to give comfort to potential investors.” These reforms include privatization of the state-owned utility Union Electrica and more utilities like in pre-1959 Cuba, Batista’s dictatorship. Also, following the report, the government declared that there needs to be movement to “a competitive model” in the electricity sector, which “would take three to five years” and welcomed US government support for the “potential reforms of the power sector.”

That’s not all. Following the views of USAID engineers in August 2007, the government declared recently that there should be more private sector participation in telecommunications, making the environment for private investment favorable, and privatizing numerous sectors. According to the report, the government would raise tariffs to cover costs, privatize “distribution companies [and] privatize [energy] generation after distribution companies have been privatized for one year,” open up the telecom industry to “competition” and ultimately engage in full privatization, and privatize the water sector. The report said something that the government completely agrees with, that “there may be a need to have an overall privatization strategy…a reform of these infrastructure sector and particularly privatization has to be carried out under a framework for addressing property claims,” with privatization completed in five years time. Other reports that the government followed, declared that the telecommunications network should be privatized by creating “a privately owned telephone network” along with increasing the “the attractiveness of a privatized communications enterprise.” The government has also followed the recommendations of Steven G. Ullmann in a Cuban Transition Project report in 2005, who argued that the Cuban healthcare system should be privatized with a plan to “allow and foster a two-tiered public/private system of health care,” and providing an “opportunity for foreign investment.” The current, Western-friendly government ignored the parts of the report which said that “Cuba’s comprehensive health care system serves the entire population” and touted some its successes, but noted that the privatization of health care was vital going forward but that “the basic health care system [must] be maintained” because otherwise it could “cause significant disruption and foster distrust for any new regime.”

There is one more step forward, one that will shake the bedrock of Cuba completely. This isn’t in reference to the 1996 law [21] which claims that “the timing, nature and course of the Cuban transition [from communism] must be determined by the Cuban people themselves” which is a lie. It also isn’t in reference to the fact that with such a transition government, the United States is prepared “to enter into negotiations to either return the Naval Base at Guantanamo to Cuba” or renegotiate it, and it isn’t about establishing a market economy, as an old USAID report notes. Its about looking back to either retain or incorporate elements of the 1940 Cuban Constitution, assisted by Western donors to bring neoliberalism to “areas such as market economics, finance, accounting, business management, law, sociology and history,” assisted by the United States and the international community, whatever that means. The government simply followed the guidelines of Oscar M. Garibaldi and John D. Kirby in their 2003 Cuban Transition Project report. [22] The report argued that “the constitutional protection of private property rights” is an economic necessity, with “a system of private property rights adequately protected by law and free of excessive restrictions is a necessary condition to the development of free-market democracy” noting that the Cuban communist government, in their words, engaged in “outright destruction of the fabric of private property rights.” The transitional government now in place agrees that there should be economic redress for dispossessed owners of seized property, legitimizing the government to “the international investment community,” and accompanied by “rapid privatization of state-owned property, especially by means of restitution to dispossessed owners.” Most concerning to people who care about justice across the world, on the radical side of the equation, was the creation of a new Cuban Constitution, based off the 1940 constitution, which has numerous clauses “more or less directly related to the protection of property rights” including Articles 23, 24, 33, 43, 87, 89, 90, 93, 273, 274, 276. The government then declared, echoing the report, that there was a need to “strengthen the institution of private property” in order to “develop markets and to attract outside investment” and that the new constitution needs to be brought into “harmony with the democratic, freemarket revolution that has swept much of Latin America and Eastern Europe during the last two decades.” They lastly declared that “the regime of Fidel Castro has left Cubans in chains and in tatters.”

All of this was possible because of rushed elections in spring of 2018, which followed the guidelines of a IFES document on non-communist elections in Cuba. The document’s executive summary declares that there need to be “free and fair elections” in Cuba, which have “minimum international norms and standards” along with “honest, efficient and transparent system of election administration.” The 1999 report, which spans more than 140 pages, in whole, declares that: (1) elections of “all candidates and political parties” must be “truly competitive,” (2) special attention be paid to “voting and election rights,” (3) registration is impartial, voting is accessible to all who are registered, every citizen’s vote “should have equal value to that of any other citizen,” and (4) all adult citizens should have the right to be a political candidate or form and/or “join a political group in order to compete in an election” but there can be rare exceptions to this. The report also declares that the following: “there should be equal opportunity of access to the media” and that “all candidates and parties should have equal protection of the law” with restrictions on the rights of a candidate, party or campaign if they have a “demonstrable impact on national security or public order, the protection of public health, morals and safety, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.” This report goes on to say that the state must affirm its election responsibilities, political parties should be allowed “the greatest possible freedom consistent with minimum standards of public safety and welfare,” a Code of Conduct should be adopted, any media that is state-controlled should let any “candidates and parties…communicate their views to the electorate without interference” in a privatized “free press.” The transitional government of Cuba followed this report in its fullest dimensions, by “governing de facto without a Constitution” until general elections were held. While some countries, such as Russia and China declared this was authoritarian in nature, the Cuban government scoffed at such remarks, with liberal pundits laughing such characterizations, declaring that Cubans are free at last, free at last, using clips of Martin Luther King Jr. to illustrate their points.

Before we get to who was elected, there is an important element to note. Following with the IFES report said about restricting rights of a certain party, candidate or campaign if they impact, presumably negatively, “national security or public order, the protection of public health, morals and safety, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others,” the Communist Party of Cuba was banned from fielding candidates. This happened through decrees of defected members of Cuba’s military, paid by the CIA, who had engineered a coup de’tat, in early 2018, which overthrew the communist government. Then, these military men decreed that the Communist Party of Cuba was banned and that elections for the transitional government would occur later that following year. These elections happened without any violence, except toward those who were former supporters of the communist government, because the US government wanted it that way so they could declare that a new transitional Cuban government was duly elected in a democratic manner. However, the elections were just a facade, a way for the companies and the US government to pull the strings in Cuba once again. Clearly, what had unfolded was the coming of what bourgeois analysts called liberal democracy, allowing the United States, Spain and other countries to “play a decisive role in Cuba’s immediate future” as William Ratliff argued in a 2004 report for the Cuban Transition Project. [23]

The people who were elected as part of the transitional government in Cuba were the folks that you would expect. These included Rosa Maria Paya, a recipient of a NED award as a young leader of a likely USAID-backed Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), who declared in April 2013 to NED that “Cuban people do not need external solutions” and that “this is a dangerous moment but it is also a moment of hope…It is time for a referendum, it is time for the truth, it is time for democracy. It´s the time of the Liberation.” [24] As the pundits now agreed, what she had said in 2013 was an utter joke because the Cuban people were being given “external solutions” by USAID, NED, IFES, IRI, BBG, and likely the CIA. One woman, Marisel Trespalacios, a NED fellow, was flown down to Cuba at the expense of the US State Department before the elections, and was elected due to her part in an NGO called Ágora Cuba. Additionally, five “Cuban democracy activists” as NED had called them when each received a “Democracy Award” in 2009, Jorge Luis Garcia Pérez (“Antúnez”), José Daniel Ferrer García , Librado Linares García, Ivan Hernandez Carrillo, and Iris Tamara Pérez Aguiler, won political office in this transitional government. [25] Also, Berta Soler, the leader of the Damas de Blanco or Ladies in White who had received a NED “Democracy Service medal” in person, in 2012, was elected. [26] If this wasn’t enough, Mr. Normando Hernández a supposedly independent journalist who co-founded the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights, and was a NED fellow, was also elected. Some former dissidents, as the Western world calls them, were elected, like the son of Afro-Cuban Orlando Zapata Tamayo (I don’t know if he has a son, but go with it), along with the co-founder of the Cuban Democratic Directorate, Orlando Gutierrez, Ramon Humberto Colas from Cuba, Antonio Rodiles, Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva, and Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, and a number of other former “democracy” activists not listed here or here.

The political environment in Cuba also changed, arguably for the worse. The Cuban Democratic Directorate, which worked closely with Carl Gershman, who was a Reaganite and still the acting NED President, applauded the transitional government for recognizing those within their organization for “their historic contribution to the cause of human freedom” along with the demise of “the Castro dictatorship” and “revolutionary and anti-imperialist posturing.” [27] Those “Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs)” that Gershman hated, had been abolished, and the Varela Project was put on a higher pedestal than before, since, as the Directorate noted, the Cuban government had normalized its relations with the Cuban people.” [28] Gershman, in a NED press release, was glad that NED’s awards to the Pro-Democracy Movement in Cuba, as they called it then, had done something, and that “totalitarian Cuba” had come to an end. He also declared that this new government was, like that “democracy reform” movement NED had backed, creating “a democratic future,” while he was glad that there was “greater rights guarantees in Cuba” and that the “harsh dictatorship,” an “authoritarian stronghold,” had its demise just like in Mexico. [29] Gershman also declared that these elections meant that NED wouldn’t need to work inside what his organization had called “a closed, totalitarian system” in order to achieve “political change” and that the number of programs in place would be diminished. He still reasserted NED’s supposed support for “dissidents everywhere who struggle for democracy,” or what they define as democracy, by continuing programs such as “Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program” named after one of NED’s main founders, Ronald Reagan and continuing to issue “alerts” as they deemed fit. Gershman, later, in an interview with the New York Times, laughed at how big unions, big corporations, foundations, and universities backed/sponsored them, which no one had seemed to notice except a few hard-nosed critics. [30]

On top of this, NED put out literature from renowned anti-communist Dr. Mary Speck, who was once a NED fellow, about Cuba’s “consolidation of communist rule.” Other literature quoted the late Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, noting that his claim that he was falsely accused of working for the US government and threatening national independence of Cuba, were wrong since his efforts were funded fully by the US government, specifically NED and USAID. [31] Around the same time, congressmember Ileana Ros-Lethinen gave an interview in which she declared that “the thugs in Cuba” had been defeated and she, along with other members of Congress, stood “united in solidarity” and supported the Cuban government’s “courageous efforts for democracy.” She also said, in that interview, that now USAID had no reason to fear the government of Cuba restricting its programs and that a “peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba” had finally come.

Despite all of these efforts, the ardent communists and socialists, those who were actually on the side of justice, freedom, liberty, and the Cuban people at-large, were holding huge demonstrations despite the ban in the electoral system on the Cuban Communist Party and repressive measures used against them. There has been mass anger in the streets, some even saying that the 2018 elections were rigged in support of the supposedly democratic forces. There are allies of the communists, who are abroad and on the island, who have considered engaging in another communist revolution to restore what is lost and to return the island to a state of peace and prosperity rather than a playground for the American imperialists and their capitalist buddies. Others fear that Cuba was going back a time when the United States modeled Cuba “as both a miniature of and a complement to the United States.” recreating the island itself “in the image of American liberal capitalism.” [32] Whatever happens, it is abundantly clear that neoliberalism in Cuba in the year 2018 will reign down destruction and lead to benefits for an American capitalist class, along with other Western investors, but not benefit the Cuban populace.


As a final note in this section, I know that not everything was included in this imagined future, but my idea was to portray what might happen if the US-backed Cuban opposition took power. I can assure that all of the links to official government sources such as NED, USAID, and so on are summarized to the best of their ability. This is meant to show what those who defend Cuba are up against. The next article in this series will explain more about communist Cuba in terms of the efforts of imperial destabilization by the murderous American empire, a historical background, refuting the claim that the Cuban government is “authoritarian,” and generating, hopefully, a fruitful discussion.

Notes
[1] See Nancy Trejos’s article in USA Today titled “Marriott CEO to join Obama in Cuba” (March 17, 2016) and Matt Spetalnick’s article in Reuters titled “AT&T, Starwood, Marriott working on Cuba deals ahead of Obama visit” (March 12, 2016). Also see articles in Politico, Toronto Sun, Fortune, Vox, and numerous others (see here, here, here, here, and here).
[2] See two articles by Victoria Burnett in the New York Times: “American Hotel Brands Move Into Cuba” (Mar. 22, 2016) and “American Firm, Starwood, Signs Deal to Manage Hotels in Cuba” (Mar 19, 2016).
[3] See Julie Creswell’s article in the New York Times: “U.S. Companies Clamor to Do Business in New Cuban Market,” Dec. 18, 2014.
[4] There is a possibility that the members of CropLife America would not be opposed to this either, based on the link on their website about biotech crops (read GMO) introduced in Cuba. For the list of other industry trade groups in general, see here.
[5] The evidence that the US Chamber of Commerce wants Cuba opened up is very obvious. Its right there on their website: “Dump the Cuba Embargo, Americans Say” (2015); “Letter Supporting H.R. 4645, the “Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act”” (2010); “Submission for the Record to the USITC on Cuba” (2015); “U.S. Chamber Applauds Bill to Lift Cuba Travel Ban” (2009); “Letter Supporting H.R. 874 and S. 428, the “Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act”” (2009); “With Cuba, Jobs and Opportunity Taking Flight” (2016); Chamber Leads U.S. Delegation to Cuba as Doors and Networks Open” (2015); “U.S. Chamber Testimony Urges End to Embargo on Cuba” (2009); “U.S. Chamber Welcomes Moves to Ease Travel, Trade Restrictions on Cuba” (2016); “Prospects for the Cuban Economy & The Potential of U.S.-Cuba Bilateral Ties”[event] (2016 presumably); “U.S. Chamber Applauds White House for Easing Cuba Travel Ban” (2009); “Donohue Joins House Leaders to Advance Trade with Cuba” (2009); “Testimony on U.S.-China Policy” (2010); “U.S. Chamber’s Donohue to Lead Delegation to Cuba” (2012); “Chamber Welcomes Bill to Ease Farm, Medical Sales to Cuba” (2007); “U.S. Chamber Testifies in Support of Steps to Ease Restrictions on Exports & Travel to Cuba” (2010); “U.S. Chamber Hails Moves to Ease Trade, Travel with Cuba” (2010); “Testimony on “Examining the Status of U.S. Trade with Cuba and its Impact on Economic Growth”” (2009); “U.S. Chamber President Says Cuba Restrictions Must End” (2000); “U.S. Chamber Welcomes Progress in U.S.-Cuba Relations” (2014); “Letter regarding H.R. 4645, the “Travel Restriction Reform and Export Enhancement Act”” (2010); “Oppose Unilateral Economic Sanctions” (2015); “U.S. Chamber Calls Nethercutt” (2000); “U.S. Chamber Urges Bipartisan Foreign Policy” (2001, mentioned in passing); “How Government Can Really Help Workers” (2000, mentioned in passing); “U.S. Chamber Policy Accomplishments January–December 2015” (2015, mentioned as one short section); “Text of 2016 State of American Business Address” (2016, mentioned in passing); and “Illinois Chamber PAC Dinner Speech” (2002, mentioned in passing).
[6] Marx, Karl and Engels, Frederick. The Communist Manifesto/Manifesto of the Communist Party. New York: International Publishers, 2009 (this edition originally published in 1948). 12.
[7] It might seem unthinkable since the Cuban communist government has not been dislodged or overthrown due to outside meddling either by the United States or Western countries, but it is something that should be considered.
[8] These quotes come from Kennedy’s speech during the US-induced Cuban missile crisis, in which he spoke of “…the possibility of a genuinely independent Cuba, free to determine its destiny” (page 28) and said: “…to the captive people of Cuba…your leaders are no longer Cuban leaders inspired by Cuban ideals. They are puppets and agents of an international conspiracy which has turned Cuba against your friends and neighbors in the Americas…[when the Cubans removed Soviet influence then they] shall…be welcomed back to the society of free nations and to the associations of this hemisphere” like the OAS (page 29). Of course, Kennedy is a big liar and knows it since he is really just promoting a policy of imperialist destabilization. More directly, these quotes come from this source: Kennedy, John K. “The Cuban Missile Crisis: President Kennedy’s Address to the Nation (1962).” A History of Our Time: Readings on Postwar America (ed. William H. Chaffe, Harvard Sitkoff and Beth Bailey). New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. 27-8.
[9] Here is the most recent resolution condemning the US embargo of Cuba: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/5
[10] Here are links on the IRI site to their magic poll purporting to show low support for the Cuban government, which any informed observer should be skeptical of or just dismiss as imperialist bunk based on their funders: http://www.iri.org/resource/usa-today-features-iri-cuba-pollhttp://www.iri.org/resource/los-angeles-times-cites-iri-cuba-survey, http://www.iri.org/resource/washington-times-cites-iri-cuba-report, http://www.iri.org/resource/chicago-tribune-cites-iri-cuba-poll, http://www.iri.org/resource/miami-herald-cites-iris-cuba-poll, http://www.iri.org/resource/new-york-times-features-iri-cuba-poll, and http://www.iri.org/resource/iri-releases-survey-cuban-public-opinion
[11] Here’s a list of their reports if you want to read such filth: 1999(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/1999/382.htm), 2000(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/wha/751.htm), 2001(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/wha/8333.htm), 2002(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18327.htm), 2003(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27893.htm), 2004(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41756.htm), 2005(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61723.htm), 2006(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78887.htm), 2007(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100635.htm), 2008(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/wha/119155.htm), 2009(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136108.htm), 2010(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/wha/154501.htm), 2011(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186505#wrapper), 2012(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2012&dlid=204441), 2013(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2013&dlid=220434), 2014(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2014humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2014&dlid=236680#wrapper), and 2015(http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2015&dlid=253005#wrapper).
[12] The truth is that we will never truly know, without Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests, who USAID’s grantees are, for the most part. They are basically secret as these two documents show (see here and here). It is true that there is some transparency on this government site, but still not every grantee is revealed. In a chart on the last page of a GAO report it was revealed that USAID, from the period of 1998 to 2005, gave Center for a Free Cuba over $8.3 million, the Directorate over $6.2 million, Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia Inc. [Support Group for Democracy Inc.] over $8.4 million, and Accion Democracia Cubana Inc. [Cuban Democracy Action] over $1.3 million. So, it is possible they received USAID funding, but only a FOIA request could prove if this is more than a hunch. However, they have CLEARLY participated in destabilization efforts. As they noted on their own website, they have reached “out to the dissident community…USAID has helped train hundreds of journalists over the last decade whose work has appeared in major international news outlets” and current USAID partners are the International Republican Institute [$3 million from 2012 to 2016] and Grupo de Apoyo o la Democracia [$3 million from 2012 to 2015].”
[13] The story of ZunZuneo and the USAID’s denials is almost hilarious. There’s USAID’s supposed “eight facts”, defending the program as supposedly creating a “platform for Cubans to speak freely among themselves, period” and that USAID’s work on this was “not secret, it is not covert, nor is it undercover.” A report by the Inspector General of USAID admits that ZunZuneo was meant to support “civil society, “was designed…to foster democracy,” and claims that AP was wrong, but also: “the grantee—concerned about the risk that the Cuban Government would discover the U.S. Government’s involvement and shut down the project—took action to conceal the origin of funds and ownership of the platform. Without identifying financial support to sustain ZunZuneo, the project ended in August 2012” and had a number of minor problems. Back to the point of USAID that they claimed they were transparent about ZunZuneo. According to the public data, there is a grant to a “Support Group for Democracy” from Grupo de Apoyo a la Democracia, Inc to “add incremental funding to support human rights” which lasted from September 2010-September 2012, but this isn’t it. I looked for all programs ending in August 2012 and I couldn’t find one and no results came up when searching for ZunZuneo, so I don’t know what they mean by transparency. I think they are lying when it comes to transparency.
[14] In the 2012 reports, as linked in note 13, and onward, Cuba was called an “authoritarian” state rather than a “totalitarian” one as in all reports previous to this. In contrast, USAID, as recent as this year, has it declared on their website the following: For more than 50 years, Cubans have lived under a totalitarian regime that has severely restricted fundamental freedoms, repressed political opponents, and violated human rights.” Similarly, in a 422-page report, it was noted that “…the United States can help the Cuban people bring about an expeditious end of the Castro dictatorship…part of America’s commitment to stand with the Cuban people against the tyranny of Fidel Castro’s regime…The Castro dictatorship has been able to maintain its repressive grip on the Cuban people…isolate the Castro regime…In concert with efforts to strengthen Cuban civil society, and building on the excellent work already underway by U.S. Government broadcasting entities, the means exist to increase the availability to the Cuban people of reliable information on events in Cuba and around the world and to assist in the effort to present a democratic alternative to the failed policies of the Castro regime…U.S. initiatives should maintain avenues by which Americans can engage the Cuban people…Cuba presents itself internationally as a prime tourist destination, as a center for bio-technological innovation, and as a successful socialist state…The Castro dictatorship is pursuing every means at its disposal to survive and perpetuate itself…Cuba’s transition from the Castro regime to a democratic society with a free economy will be a challenging process.” To me, this indicates right then and there, plainly as anyone can see that the US is backing the Cuban opposition which it claims are almost like freedom fighters. To say they aren’t backing the opposition is to be a bad liar.
[15] This sentence is based off quotes from actual documents. In one document, the US State Department declared that “as the only dictatorship and closed society in the Western Hemisphere, Cuba lies at the core of NED’s attention.” In the 2001 annual report, NED declared that “in Cuba, the independent, pro-democracy movement has continued to expand and deepen despite severe repression.” In the 2000 annual report, NED declared that “the Castro regime stepped up its repression of independent civic actors.” In their 1999 report, NED declared that “despite the challenges of and barriers to working within a closed, totalitarian system, over the past seven years NED developed a program that supports a wide variety of independent social actors inside of Cuba, from human rights activists to independent farmers…NED’s work in Cuba began primarily with support for dissidents and human rights activists on the island…a totalitarian state.” In their 1997 report, NED declared that Cuba was “the Hemisphere’s only totalitarian state…significant NED funds were devoted in attempts to break the state monopoly on information and transmit news from the island.” In their 1996 report, NED declared that “Cuba is…the glaring exception to democratic trends.” In their 1995 report, NED declared that “Cuba was the most notable exception…[our funded groups] have overcome the determined efforts of the regime to eliminate them.” In their 1994 report, NED declared that “the Endowment continued to place a high priority on promoting peaceful transition in Cuba.” In their 1993 report, NED declared that “Cuba and Mexico were high priorities for the Endowment.” In their 1992 report, NED declared that there were “remaining authoritarian holdouts, notably Cuba.” In their 1991 report, NED declared that Cuba was “Latin America’s only closed society.”
[16] This sentence is based on two statements of Donahue. The first is a speech in April 2015 when he declared: “…it’s imperative that the Cuban government act quickly to reform its economy and improve its human rights record…Here’s what we really need: We need more trade and investment—operating under transparent and reliable rules—that leverages our strengths, capitalizes on our opportunities, helps us overcome our common challenges, and commits us to relentlessly pursue the one thing we need most—economic growth.” The second is a speech in December 2014 saying that there should be steps to allow “opportunities for free enterprise to flourish” and that “it is imperative that the Cuban government build on today’s positive steps with a more ambitious economic reform agenda at home, while we continue to push for the end of the embargo here in Washington. The Chamber and its members stand ready to assist as the Cuban people work to unleash the power of free enterprise to improve their lives.”
[17] Everything after this sentence comes from quotes and summaries of this USAID report.
[18] There’s one report, by the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, with Colin Powell as its chairman. In this May 2004 report, which is addressed to the President, Colin Powell has the first word, declaring that “Cuba alone among the nations of Americas is a dictatorship…We want to help the Cuban people put Castro and Castroism behind them forever,” explains the requirements of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996, that a post-communist government only received US aid if it “legalizes all political activity, releases all political prisoners, publicly commits to organizing free and fair elections within 18 months, and bars Fidel and Raul Castro from any role in a future government.” Basically this means that the socialist system in Cuba would be utterly destroyed. Powell also claims that “in Cuba’s transition to democracy, we envision and welcome an active role for the Cuban American community” with these horrid exiles “able to provide valuable insights, as well as business acumen and capital, as the citizens of Cuba work to repair the devastation done to the Cuban society and economy by more than forty years of communism.” What he is saying is complete crap and what he mentions about the 1996 law is utterly haunting.
[19] This report is one of the worst by the Cuban Transition Project. Not only are they calling for low wages, but they said point-blank that “painful, though necessary, adjustments in the transition to a market economy should not be delayed because some individuals may be unduly hurt.” The fact that they don’t care if people are hurt, then this just shows how heartless these people are.
[20] Yet again, USAID has a disclaimer (“The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID”) but that doesn’t matter, because regardless of whether they reflect the views of USAID, what is said in this report and many others are principles which are pushed by the US government and corresponding elites. If this wasn’t the case then USAID wouldn’t have funded the Cuban Transition Project in the first place.
[21] One GAO report claims that “Cuban law prohibits citizens from cooperating with U.S. democracy assistance activities authorized under the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, punishable with prison terms of up to 20 years” with the Cuban government accusing “some of these individuals [named in the report] of receiving assistance from USAID grantees.” The report is also revealing in noting in a sense why USAID is so secretive: “Grantee reluctance to share information with other grantees because of concerns about potential Cuban government infiltration of grantee operations. USAID and grantee concerns that sensitive agency records could be disclosed in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.” All in all, this says to me that USAID doesn’t want to be transparent because they are afraid it will disrupt their imperial destabilization.
[22] In the appendix of this report there is an “Outline of a Program for the Restoration of Property Rights by a Democratic Cuban Government” which is 17 pages long, showing that they don’t like the current system of property in Cuba and want something that will favor Western business.
[23] This report is so bad its almost worth laughing at. First off all, Ratliff declares that “Mao Zedong, who denied the realities of human nature and economic common sense, left China in an economic crisis when he died in 1976.” Sounds like a guy who has lived under a rock for too long. He then “predicts” what a post-Castro Cuba would look like, claiming also that “both Castro and Mao were hard-core anti-Marxists” and engaged in “militant anti-Marxism,” whatever the heck that means. Anyway, he goes on to claim that Castro has “long-standing antimarket, egalitarian principles,” argues basically that social programs in Cuba should be cutted, claims like many bourgeois analysis that “the embargo is in many respects a boon to Castro.” He does note at the end that “the U.S. government will have to weigh what is to be gained and/or lost by cooperating or rejecting cooperation with an authoritarian government in the immediate post-Fidel period. Cooperation, should that occur, will require compromises by all involved parties.” In a sense that doesn’t make much sense either.
[24] Elsewhere during her remarks for the 2013 Democracy Award> she declared: “We need to stop this repression. I’m sure that Harold would also receive this prize as a recognition of the rights of all Cubans to live in a free country.”
[25] In 2009, NED held an event for the Democracy Award where these five people spoke, with one of them writing an article titled “A Word from the Opposition” in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of Democracy, and there was an event moderated by NED’s Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Miriam Kornblith titled “Toward a Free Cuba: the Prospect for Democracy after 50 Years of Dictatorship.” Also that year, the Journal of Democracy examined political and social trends in Cuba (with Eusebio MujalLeón, Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez,” and Carl Gershman and Orlando Gutierrez— January.” Both are definitely telling. There is also an IRI interview with this Antunez guy, with some hilariously calling him the “Cuban Nelson Mandela” considering that Mandela was wiling to use violence (some even complained that he had renounced it) and, as noted on Orchestrated Pulse, Mandela was imprisoned because, while commander of the insurgent wing of the ANC, he supported violence and sabotage…If we really want to reflect on Mandela’s life, we are going to have to acknowledge the role of revolutionary violence in the anti-apartheid movement…Nelson Mandela was indeed an exceptional man, but let us forever remember him as a rebel, not just a president.  Let’s embrace the truth about his lifelong struggle against apartheid, and fully honor his many sacrifices.”
[26] In 2011, NED honored, in their words, “Laura Pollán, the founder of Cuba’s Las Damas de Blanco (The Ladies in White)…The ceremony included a video link to Laura’s husband and daughter in Cuba, as well as remarks from Members of Congress Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Howard Berman (D-CA), Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). The Medal was accepted by Yolanda Huerga on behalf of Las Damas de Blanco.” If that’s not significant, I don’t know what is. This was also noted in the NED’s president’s report that year.
[27] Eerily enough Gershman predicts/foresees this scenario in part in his speech in which he says: “if the regime amends its laws to hold an election after Castro steps down in 2018, then let us insist that it be a real election, free and fair, with the opposition being able to organize and campaign, with a level playing field, and with the whole process monitored by international observers…Cuban democrats deserve the support of the global democracy movement.  Because of the poisonous role that Cuba has played in international politics for more than half a century, a democratic breakthrough in Cuba will have a very broad impact.” If that doesn’t sound hostile to the current Cuban government and calling for destabilization, I don’t know what is.
[28] This is based off what Gershman declared in a horrid Washington Post piece recently. As for the link about CDRs, what it says about the CDRs counters his obvious hate: “Seeking to shape a new society, the government strongly fostered cooperative activities in neighborhoods and in the work place. Neighbors cleaned up streets and parks, encouraged recycling of materials, and helped in mass vaccination campaigns. Workers built housing units next to their work places. Committees for the Defense of the Revolution were formed in each neighborhood to ensure that all activities were focused on the preservation of the Revolution’s gains.” That doesn’t sound like a bad idea after all to be honest. After all, there is evidence that CDRs have worked to confront medical outbreaks, and maybe inspired Correa in Ecuador to defend his leftist government by having local committees formed to defend the revolution.
[29] The words “harsh dictatorship” are based on what he said in a 2008 report (“…an international campaign for human rights in Cuba…Harsh dictatorships such as those in North Korea Burma, North Korea, Cuba, and Zimbabwe have demonstrated a ruthless ability to hold onto power despite the suffering and economic devastation  they have inflicted on their respective populations”), a 2005 message(“…dictatorships like Cuba, Burma, North Korea, and Syria”), a 2009 message (“Cuba is another vulnerable dictatorship, with an aging and ideologically exhausted leadership, a failed economy, and a growing grassroots opposition movement of young people, women, workers and intellectuals, as well as the marginalized Afro-Cubans who comprise a majority of the population), a 2013 message (“It has not been just dictatorships like China and Cuba that have mounted this resistance, but also partially-open, hybrid states like Venezuela and Azerbaijan where regimes use formal democratic procedures to legitimate authoritarian power…the Campaign for Another Cuba”). The evidence shows that the PRI dictatorship in Mexico wasn’t completely eliminated by the 2000 presidential elections anyhow and that many elements remain. One could argue that the Mexican government still is authoritarian. Others have fell in line with Gershman. These included Samuel Huntington, who, on pages 21-22 of the Journal of Democracy in Spring 1999, claimed Cuba the movement toward “democracy” “might occur in Cuba” if the Soviet Union stopped giving aid, which didn’t happen, and that Cuba was a “Marxist-Leninist regime…produced by [a] home-grown revolution” (21-2). A NED strategy document in 2012 also said the following “NED will continue and, wherever possible, increase its support to democrats in countries such as Burma, Cuba, China, and Uzbekistan, improving their access to information and expanding political space…Over the years, it has not only assisted exile groups but also developed effective ways, consistent with the requirements of grant oversight, to provide concrete support to activists working inside the toughest dictatorships – countries such as Burma, China, Cuba, and Uzbekistan.” Then there’s a NED report on Russia from last year that declare that “aside from outliers such as Cuba, North Korea, and Turkmenistan, today’s authoritarian regimes don’t seek total media domination. Instead they opt for ‘effective media control’—enough for them to convey their strength and puff up their claims to legitimacy while undermining potential alternatives.”
[30] What I’m referring to here is their sponsors, who funds them, which is noted in the following links: https://web.archive.org/web/20160330190054/http://www.ned.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2013-sponsors.pdfhttps://web.archive.org/web/20160330181607/http://www.ned.org/docs/11annual/NED-2011-Annual-Report-Sponsors.pdfhttps://web.archive.org/web/20160330182031/http://www.ned.org/wp-content/uploads/Sponsors2010.pdfhttps://web.archive.org/web/20160330183028/http://www.ned.org/wp-content/uploads/sponsors09.pdfhttps://web.archive.org/web/20160330183555/http://www.ned.org/wp-content/uploads/annualreports/2008/PDFs/AR_Sponsors08.pdfhttps://web.archive.org/web/20160330183924/http://www.ned.org/wp-content/uploads/annualreports/2007/PDFs/AR_Sponsors07.pdfhttps://web.archive.org/web/20160330184323/http://www.ned.org/wp-content/uploads/annualreports/2006/sponsors06.pdfhttps://web.archive.org/web/20160330184629/http://www.ned.org/wp-content/uploads/annualreports/2005/sponsors05.pdf
[31] He also claimed that “we want to be – and always will be – an independent country, and we do not wish to live any other way. But we also do not know how to – nor can we, nor do we want to – live without freedom. We never chose this regime that oppresses us and leaves us without rights…No tyrannical power, nor group of powers, can make us abandon this path…If you wish to support our people, support with your voice and with your heart the path of peace and reconciliation that leads us unmistakably to freedom and to the rights that we Cubans want for ourselves.” As anyone knows, this is total bullshit.
[32] Weber, Cynthia. Faking It: U.S. Hegemony in a “Post-Phallic” Era. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. 19. Weber also writes in her strange, and somewhat interesting queer theory book that imperial domination lasted since “U.S. victory in the Spanish-American War of 1898…which for a short time made Cuba a territory of the United States, the United States shaped Cuba militarily (by military rule from 1899 to 1902), politically (with Cuban constitutions simulating that of the United States), and economically (through a reciprocal economic treaty).” She also noted that “there is another side to Cuba, that of U.S. complement. In this respect, Cuba appeared in the U.S. imaginary not just as a lesser feminized copy of America but as iconically feminine.” I won’t get into her interpretations of certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy in ways that still confuse me and seem weird, but I think she is completely right about imperialist domination, which is why I use her in this article.