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Issue #1868      May 15, 2019

Report from Cuba

Defying the Trump threats

Considering the level of belligerence and hostility coming from the empire of the North one might expect that the powerful May Day march through the Plaza of the Revolution might take on a defensive military overtone. But Cuba is never that way and instead they show their resolution and defiance cloaked within their humanity.

Just as the sun started to rise the march to celebrate the International Day of the Workers began and behind the banner that read Unity, Commitment and Victory were not soldiers with weapons but waves of doctors, soldiers in white, who had recently been expelled from Brazil by the right-wing government of Bolsonaro leaving vast areas of Brazil without medical professionals. Vibrant demonstrations also marked the occasion in all 15 provinces of Cuba and the Isle of Youth.

No one really talks about the numbers here but it took almost two hours for the marchers that filled the wide Paseo Avenue to pass the towering statue of Jose Marti. This year’s theme featured thousands of people who work in medical services and medical research along with contingents from medical universities like the Latin American School of Medicine that is the largest medical university in the world.

Organised by the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC), thousands of trade unionists representing 103 unions from 87 countries participated. Hundreds of solidarity activists were there including 300 who are attending the 14th May Day Brigade at the Julio Mella Camp in Caimito. The largest delegation in the camp this year comes from the United States.

US protectionism and threats

Today, at the CTC trade union meeting at the Palace of the Conventions, Ana Teresita Gonzalez Fraga, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister, explained to the assembled supporters of Latin American unity and sovereignty that we were in a complex period where US Imperialism was trying to hold on to its international hegemony through all out protectionism, the advancement of the Monroe Doctrine, the threat of war, political lies and the use of unconventional warfare against legitimate governments.

As she was speaking the first lawsuits from Title III of the Helms Burton Act were being filed in Federal Court in Miami against Carnaval Cruise Lines for its use of the docks in Havana harbour. Title III is a unique measure of acquiring the rights to regain former property that Cubans who fled the revolution in 1959 by somehow magically turning it into US property because those Cubans later became US citizens.

This legal stretch had been shelved by previous administrations from the pressure of European allies who will be affected. Also going into effect is Title IV that prohibits entry into US territory people being sued under Title III.

It remains to be seen how deep the new sanctions will be until they are written into law. In 2018 over one million Americans, including Cuban Americans, visited Cuba and in the vicious minds of Trump, Pompeo, Bolton and Pence this type of family and human interaction has to end, to squeeze even harder in an economy that has been blockaded since 1962 for being a disobedient colony and positive example to the world. Trump says he will limit family visits and remittances to $1,000 every three months that will primarily affect small private enterprises.

Even before the laws are in effect intimidation is already taking place. In the Miami airport, after passing normal security checks passports were being re checked at the gate and before Cuban Americans could board the plane to Havana their carry-on bags were being opened and searched by Federal Police while a police dog was aggressively checking everyone as they walked down to the plane. What else could this be but to create a chilling effect on Cuban travel?

The charade of Guaido

The failure of the amateurish coup attack on April 30 in Caracas only strengthened the forces of Chavismo in Venezuela according to the Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba Adan Chávez at the CTC meeting. “The attacks on the Bolivarian Revolution started on day one but one thing we know now is that we will never again be a US colony. Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez made it possible to achieve victories that will not regress.”

The coup that didn’t happen was built up in the corporate media but it has now fizzled out of the airwaves and the reality of installing Guaido, their selected president, is evaporating and that is starting to sink in on Wall Street and their impatience is starting to show. Forbes, the Capitalist’s Tool, begrudged, “We are not making money ... We are all waiting for the catalyst that leads to change in Venezuela. Maduro has outlasted all expectations. He’s entrenched in Caracas.”

How low can you go?

John Bolton, the criminal architect of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that directly led to the death of a million Iraqis and the displacement of millions more, has come up with the latest attack to include both Cuba and Venezuela.

Along with claiming that Venezuela has been colonised by Cuba he is also repeating the cynical and outrageous claim that the Cuba-Venezuela cooperative agreement that provides 20,000 Cuban medical professionals to every province, in cities and rural areas of Venezuela are in actuality Cuban soldiers and security forces.

That is something they would do, as they have in 177 countries, with more than 800,000 soldiers on 800 bases. Trump is picking up the lie saying it over and over so that the US public will hear it so much that ... well, it must be true. This lie is to justify the threats and tightening of all sorts of sanctions on both countries.

The shackling of Venezuela is a key component of the US strategy in the destroying of Cuba, but as was on display here in Havana, in Caracas and in the defence of the integrity of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, the resistance is a force they have to reckon with.

Resumen Latinoamericano
North America bureau

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