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Proletarian issue 64 (February 2015)
Cuba: US imperialism changes tack
Meanwhile, the Cuban revolution marches on.
US diplomatic relations with Cuba

The announcement by US President Obama of US imperialism’s intention to restore diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba, having been broken off by the US more than half a century ago, represents a great victory for Cuban steadfastness in the face of imperialist bullying and confirms that the Communist Party of Cuba continues to chart a course for the revolution in extremely hostile waters off the shore of the US imperialist monster.

Cuban socialism has existed for 55 years on the doorstep of the world’s number one aggressor and exploiter, yet the Cuban masses have nevertheless pushed on towards a bright socialist future in the vanguard of the international proletariat; ably represented by a Marxist-Leninist party that has led the people in the long, arduous struggle for national liberation and socialism, despite all the provocations and set-backs of recent decades – particularly the collapse of the USSR and the socialist republics of eastern Europe.

US imperialism, far from emerging as an all-conquering victor, is now shown to be a giant with feet of clay. It has been forced to negotiate with the Communist Party of Cuba, forced to release the Cuban Five who have endured so many years of unjust incarceration in US jails, and forced to admit that its decades-long economic embargo has completely failed to topple Cuban socialism!

Naturally, many people are suspicious of the motives of US imperialism, since they rightly suppose that US imperialism has not suddenly become a friend of communism. It was inevitable that, despite years of campaigning for the ending of the blockade, there would be those ‘friends’ of the revolution who would nervously cry foul and declare the coming of the end of the revolution. It was also to be expected that the [a name="_GoBack"][/a]Trotskyite left in this country would take this event as another opportunity to attack socialism.

Prominent AWL (Alliance for Workers’ Liberty) extremist Jim Denham, who does very little but blog his own insecurities via his Shiraz Socialist blog, went so far as to declare that Obama has shown real leadership which may yet “bring democracy” to the “benighted Stalinist island”! To make it completely clear for anyone who may be reading his ramblings that he is completely out of touch with reality his article was entitled ‘The US makes peace with Cuba’! (18 December 2014)

What is quite clear to any rational person, whether adopting a bourgeois world outlook or a proletarian one, is that the USA has done anything but ‘make peace’ with Cuba. A decades-long embargo against socialist Cuba, armed invasion and numerous violent attempts on the life of the leaders of the Cuban revolution, along with an undying hatred of national liberation and socialism, are things which do not change with the opening of a US embassy!

After decades of failing to achieve any serious change to the Cuban people’s chosen way of life, the current diplomatic dealings represent nothing more than United States imperialism recognising that its policy to date has failed.

Reasons for the change of policy in the USA

In a recent Financial Times article, John-Paul Rathbone provided a concise and at times reasoned summary of the various internal and external pressures on the US as a result of the Cuba policy originally pioneered by President Kennedy,

They [the newly-introduced measures] recognise that US policy towards the island has failed to achieve its objective of change – Mr Obama is, after all, the 11th US president to face a socialist Cuba. They recognise that the embargo has often poisoned US diplomacy in the broader region. And the changes recognise that, for over half a century, the US embargo has been emblematic of Washington’s bully-boy approach to the socialist island, which has won Cuba international sympathy that the dictatorship of the Castro brothers would otherwise not have enjoyed ...

On the US side, the coming-of-age of younger Cuban-American voters has transformed domestic political calculations, especially in Florida. In 2000, Cuban-American voters broke three-to-one for Republicans in the presidential election. But in 2012, exit polls showed Cuban Americans splitting 50:50. Indeed, Cuban Americans have been among the most enthusiastic champions of engagement. Although several highly-placed Cuban-American legislators remain strong opponents of rapprochement, over 300,000 of their peers travelled to Cuba last year. They also send as much as $3.5bn annually to their relatives. Cuba’s exiles remain part of the island’s solution, not, as is so often thought, part of the problem ...

What of the changes in US policy themselves? In essence, they involve removing clunky US bureaucracy from US-Cuban relations, and replacing it with the free exercise of citizen contact. Travel will be expanded. Limits on financial transfers removed. US companies will be able to sell certain goods freely – such as telecoms equipment. Formal diplomatic relations will be re-established – although expect tougher (and also more credible) criticism of Cuban human-rights abuses alongside that.

The president has also ordered a six-month review of Cuba’s designation as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’. Even the state department no longer attempts to justify this label, which devalues Washington’s word on international terrorism issues and triggers international financial sanctions against Cuba. Removal of this last measure may prove the most valuable of all to Havana.”(‘Cigars all round: the thaw in US-Cuba relations’, 17 December 2014)

But just because US imperialism has been constrained to change its ‘outmoded’ tactics against Cuba (to use Obama’s expression), it does not follow that their new tactical approach will be any more successful than their previous one.

President Castro addresses the nation

On 26 December, at the closing session of the National People’s Power Assembly in Havana, Comrade Raúl Castro stated:

“We have known about the well-intended and not very well-intended opinions that are being expressed both inside and outside the country about the rhythm of the process to update our economic model.

“There has also been an open encouragement from abroad to speed up privatisation, even of the main production and service sectors, which will be equal to laying down the flags of socialism in Cuba.

“It seems as if the latter have not bothered to read the guidelines, which clearly state as follows, and I quote: ‘The economic system that shall prevail in our country will continue to be based on the people’s socialist ownership over the fundamental means of production, governed by the socialist principle of distribution: “from each according to his/her capacity to each according to his/her contribution”.’ …

“Between the governments of the United States and Cuba there are profound differences which include, among others, different views about the exercise of national sovereignty, democracy, political models and international relations.

“We reiterate our willingness to establish a respectful dialogue on our differences based on reciprocity. We have firm convictions and many concerns about what is happening in the United States in terms of democracy and human rights, and we would agree to talk on the basis of the principles referred to previously, about any issue, and about all that the US might be willing to discuss, about the situation here in Cuba but also about the situation in the United States.

“No one should expect Cuba to renounce the ideas for which it has struggled for more than a century, and for which its people have shed lots of blood and run the biggest risks in order to improve its relations with the United States.

“It is necessary to understand that Cuba is a sovereign state, whose people, through a free referendum held to approve the constitution, chose a socialist path, as well as its political, economic and social system ...

“We do not ignore the vicious criticisms that President Obama has had to put up with as a result of the already-mentioned announcements by some forces that are opposed to the normalisation of relations with Cuba – including some lawmakers of Cuban descent and ringleaders of counter-revolutionary groups, who refuse to lose the means of support granted to them by the several decades of conflicts between our two countries.

“They will do whatever it takes to sabotage this process. We should not rule out the perpetration of provocations of every sort. On our part, a prudent, moderate and reflexive – though firm – behaviour shall prevail. ”

Thus it is clear that the Cuban government is well aware of the dangers presented by the US change of tactics, but is confident nevertheless of being able to overcome them. Establishing diplomatic relations with US imperialism in no way signifies surrender or the collapse of socialism.

Revolutionaries stand with Cuba

It is clear for all to see that the remaining socialist countries have had, to a considerable extent, to fight on alone since the collapse of the USSR, and we salute their bravery, tenacity and commitment to socialism.

Far from these advanced outposts of socialism nearing collapse, it is the contention of the CPGB-ML that it is the rotting system of imperialism that is ripe for destruction. Beset by systemic crisis, bogged down in never-ending war and challenged by the rising material, scientific and cultural development of many formerly weak, colonised and oppressed nations, imperialism faces total disaster.

It is the job of revolutionaries in the imperialist countries to build up a movement here at home to challenge our imperialist rulers, to provide solidarity and assistance to our class brothers and sisters in Cuba and elsewhere, and to hasten the collapse of the whole rotten edifice of capitalist imperialism!

Long live Cuban socialism!

>The US makes peace with Cuba, Shiraz Socialist

>Cigars all round - the thaw in US-Cuba relations, FT

>Statement by General Raul Castro Ruz

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