This week in Cuba
December 1 to December 7, 2019
By Charles McKelvey
(1) Declaration of Ministry of Foreign Relations on U.S. policy in Latin America
On December 3, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations released a declaration, entitled “Our America before the onslaught of imperialism and the oligarchies,” stating that the government of the United States and the Latin American and Caribbean reactionary oligarchies are responsible for the dangerous convulsions and the political and social instability in the region. The declaration cited Raúl Castro, who stated nearly a year ago that the people in the region no longer accept imperialist domination, and any effort to restore it would generate an uncontrollable fire that would be detrimental to the national interests of all.
The statement declared that President Trump seeks “to preserve imperialist domination over the natural resources of the region and to impede national sovereignty and the aspiration of regional integration and cooperation.” The Trump administration seeks to eliminate the political and social gains of progressive governments and to impose neoliberal policies, without regard for “International Law, the rules of the game of representative democracy, the environment, or the wellbeing of the peoples.” The declaration asserts that the accusation that Cuba and Venezuela try to elevate the agitation in the region is a shameful manipulation that intends to hide the reality that the central element of instability is the permanent intervention of the United States in the region. The only responsibility that Cuba has in the protests is that which emanates from its example as a sovereign nation that invariably practices solidarity and cooperation with the sister nations of Latin America and the Caribbean. Cuba demonstrates that a better world is possible, for it has constructed an alternative to neoliberalism, based on solidarity and cooperation, the just distribution of income, equality access to the professions, and full citizen security. “The Cuban Revolution is and of itself evidence that a people strongly united, in control of its country and its institutions, in a permanent and profound democracy, can resist and advance in its development, in the face of aggression and the longest blockade in history.”
The declaration asserts that the legitimate protests and popular mass mobilizations in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil are caused by popular awareness that neoliberal policies aggravate the unsustainable situation of social vulnerability, and they are caused by the limited availability of services of health, education, and social security. The statement asserts that the mass mobilizations and the repression reveal the crisis of the political systems. It states that “the United States defends and supports the repression of the demonstrations with the pretext of safeguarding a supposed democratic order,” with the shameful complicity of the great corporate media of information. “The corruption that characterizes the comportment of the present government of the United States no longer can be hidden. Its impact on the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean has a cost in lives, suffering, instability, and economic losses.”
As we saw last week, the Cuban journalist Raúl Antonio Capote has observed that the government of the United States is now in the hands of the most ignorant elements of the nation. However, he notes, those in U.S. policymaking circles who oppose the Trump clique do not oppose its imperialist objectives, only its primitive methods. This points to the responsibility of the U.S. Left to create a viable anti-imperialist political formation.
(2) Unity, example, and sacrifice: the three keys of the vanguard political party
An article by Alejandra García Elizade reflects on the characteristics of the vanguard political party in Cuba. She cites the well-known Chilean sociologist Marta Harnecker, who asserted that in the face of any challenge, one must have the capacity “to construct a correlation of social, political, and military forces that permit the transformation of the present conditions of struggle, making possible in the future what in the present moment appears to be impossible.” Fidel repeatedly warned that “to confront forces as powerful as U.S. imperialism and local oligarchies, the principles task of a revolutionary” is to construct “the unity of the revolutionary forces.” And Fidel taught that a vanguard party must be created, because it is “the principle instrument for unity.” A revolution, Fidel taught, must have a single command that is able to orient the revolutionaries, defining strategies and the form of struggle that ought to be adopted. In any call to action, the deed is more important than the word, and in Fidel’s call to unity, even though the July 26 Movement was recognized by the vast majority of the people as the architect of the revolutionary triumph, Fidel led his own movement toward joining with the first Communist Party of Cuba and a revolutionary student organization in the creation of a unified revolutionary vanguard party, which became the current Communist Party of Cuba.
García writes that the Communist Party of Cuba was assigned the task of “defending the Revolution of all the people, with the participation and organization of workers, peasants, technicians, professionals, students, and rebel youth in general.” With the immense majority of the people organized, any attempted coup d’état or economic blockade will fail.
Fidel taught that the party leads by example, by merit, by sacrifice and work, by self-denial, and it never seeks privileges. As Fidel declared, for example, in Santiago de Cuba in 1974, “The Party ought to have authority before the masses, not because it is the Party, or because it has power, or because it has force, or because it has the faculty to make decisions. The Party ought to have authority before the masses for its work, for its ties to the very same masses, for its relations with the masses; the Party in the masses, the Party with the masses, but never above the masses.” Fidel concluded, “That the Party be sacrifice, that the Party be work, that the Party be self-denial, that the Party be honor, but that it never has privileges.”
(3) Russia and Cuba deepen bilateral economic relations
On Tuesday, December 3, an article in the Cuban daily newspaper Granma by Gladys Leidys Ramos described the deepening bilateral economic relation between Russia and Cuba, in such areas as energy, telecommunications, metallurgy and the automobile, railroad, and civil aviation sectors as well as agriculture and the biopharmaceutical industry. The article notes that in the seventeenth session of the Cuban-Russian Intergovernmental Commission held recently in Moscow, Cuban products for export to Russia were displayed. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Minister of Foreign Commerce and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca pointed out that Cuba ought to increase its exportations of goods and services in order to have a better trade equilibrium between the two countries, and possibilities include traditional exports as well as pharmaceutical and biotechnological products, fresh fruits, and other agricultural products.
Russia presently is contributing to Cuban development in the renovation and expansion of the steel industry, in the exploitation of oil deposits in the northern coast of the island, and in the improvement of the railroad system. In addition, the Russian company JSC-UCT is the Russian partner in the first Russian-Cuban joint venture, incorporated under the name TecComp Caribe, which is dedicated to the production in Cuba of non-metallic corrugated iron reinforced with glass fibers, a material that has twice the resistance and two or three times the durability of constructions with steel; it also has lower maintenance costs, and it diminishes damage due to corrosion.
The deepening bilateral economic relations between Russia and Cuba renew the economic relations between Cuba and the former Soviet Union that existed from the early 1960s to the late 1980s, during which time the two nations had extensive commercial and cultural ties. One noteworthy example was Soviet cooperation in the Cuban fabrication of nickel. Although the Soviet-Cuban cooperation in nickel production had some problems, the relation was in many respects a model of North-South cooperation, in which the more technologically advanced partner contributes to the development of the partner’s industrial capacity. Cuba has extensive nickel reserves along the north coast of the eastern province of Holguin, which in recent years have been developed with the cooperation of Canadian companies.
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