Response to Washington Post Editorial, “Cuba’s Gesture”

After a July 7th, 2010 meeting that included President Raúl Castro, Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega, and Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, a representative of the Catholic Church announced that the regime would release 52 “prisoners of conscience” over the next several months. The anti-Castro, island-based Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation also released its semi-annual report this month which listed a total of 167 prisoners of conscience who were being incarcerated by Havana. This figure is down 20% from its previous report and is the lowest number since the 1959 revolution. The nation’s entire politically-based detainee population could all but disappear as a result of a steady stream of releases ordered by Cuban authorities in the next several months, which could represent a huge and very welcome development.

The pledged releases should demonstrate that the pragmatism associated with Raúl Castro’s rise to power seems to be here to stay and appears to be aimed at small reforms as well as transcending ones. It may not be a small coincidence that the announcement of the release of detainees came on the heels of the U.S. House Agricultural Committee’s approval of lifting the ban on U.S. tourism to Cuba as well as increasing and simplifying U.S.-Cuban cash-only food sales (H.R. 4645) to the island.

Unfortunately, the relationship between the United States and Cuba has been poisoned by a formula of toxic quid pro quo initiatives exchanged between Washington and Havana ever since the U.S. embargo first went into effect in October 1960. President Obama’s shallow linkage of any major lifting of current U.S. anti-Cuban sanctions with significant political concessions by Havana is neither “wise” nor therapeutic, but the same tired catalogue of specious reasoning and shabby Miami-aimed and electorally-driven political opportunism. Representative of this pitiable art form can be consistently found on the editorial page (as distinguished from its admirable news columns) of the Washington Post. The unremitting trashing of Havana is no way to field a winning ball team or to conduct a mature foreign policy.

The chief lobber on hemispheric affairs is Jackson Diehl, whose benighted rants against Castro’s Cuba bring with them no lucid end-games but only mean-spirited, ultra-formulaic arm twisting and petty tormenting. These have nothing to do with honorable diplomacy aimed at resolving conflicts before they dangerously worsen. Shame on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her non-productive Latin American team on serving the nation refried Bush-era regional policy. Adopting a more flexible and constructive ad hoc approach toward Cuba—such as that reflected by H.R. 4645—would make so much more sense than the continuation of the Post’s and the Obama administration’s monochromatic posturing.

The Chairman of the House Agricultural Committee, Collin C. Peterson (D-MN) commented on the issue in a most intelligent manner when he said: “We have tried to isolate Cuba for more than fifty years, and it has not worked. As it has in other countries, perhaps increasing trade with Cuba will encourage democratic progress.”

Rather than brandishing the rancid thesis of damning every act by the Cuban government with a pinch of pepper moistened by brine, Washington would do well by taking the Cuban authorities at face value and, armed with cautious optimism, accept Cuba’s possibly-earnest gestures and, at least for a while, take them to heart.

40 thoughts on “Response to Washington Post Editorial, “Cuba’s Gesture”

  • July 17, 2010 at 2:54 pm
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    Sorry for my writing mistakes above. To give you an insight into Cuban elections: here is an excerpt from Arnold August's "05/18/10 – Cuba-L Analysis (Albuquerque) – Cuba's Municipal Elections
    Results: Initial Notes, s.: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va… :

    A few more notes on the municipal elections. The current Cuban municipal
    elections are almost terminated but not quite yet. They were initiated on
    January 4, 2010 when the Council of State according to the Cuban
    Constitution and the Electoral law convoked the elections. One of the first
    acts is to update the voters' registration list based on the ongoing and
    permanent list of citizens, their age and addresses. Voter registration in
    Cuba is ex-officio: it is automatic for all those sixteen years and older;
    there is nothing to do in order to get on the registration list which is
    public.

    From February 24 to March 24 thousands of local compact neighbourhood
    nomination meetings were held with only a couple of hundred voters eligible
    to participate in each one. Citizens have the right to nominate any
    neighbour in their constituency (district/riding) to run as a candidate.
    From two to eight neighbours can be nominated, those getting the most votes
    in a show of hands voting procedure are declared to be candidates. Secret,
    universal suffrage elections then took place on April 25 whereby voters can
    choose one of these nominated candidates. Since one has to receive at least
    50% of the votes to be declared the winner, it is quite frequent that no
    candidate gets 50% the first time around. This year 14% of the 15,093
    constituencies had to go into a second round whereby electors voted for one
    amongst the two who had gotten the most (but not 50%) votes or the two who
    were tied.

    This second round took place on May 2, the day after May 1, a major day for
    Cubans all across the island. Normally voter turn-out is lower for second
    tour election. For the 2010 second tour, all of the emphasis in the week
    leading up to the second tour was on the mobilization for May 1, virtually
    nothing on the elections. Surprisingly (including for this writer), 90% of
    the electorate voted despite all the emphasis on May 1. Normally the voting
    rate for the second round is between 89 and 93%, always lower than the
    first round; for example second round voting rate was 93.6% in 1986, 89% in
    1995, 94.77%, in 1997, 93.5% in 2005.[10]

    However, in three constituencies, seeing as that there was a tie between
    The two candidates, a third round was called. These elections were held on May 5. In all three constituencies one candidate received more than the other, thus completing the elections as such.[11]

    On May 19 the municipal assemblies' newly elected delegates will meet in
    the 169 municipalities across the country in order to constitute the assemblies. One of the main objectives of this first session is to elect the president and vice-president of the municipal assembly by secret vote from amongst those elected to the Assembly. This brings to an end the 2010 municipal elections, even though in the coming weeks, the permanent working
    commissions in the municipal assemblies and the People's Councils and their
    respective presidents and vice-presidents are updated taking into account
    the newly elected delegates. This is an important step in the elections
    seeing as that traditionally over the years slightly less than half of these
    elected had been delegates in the previous mandate. In the 2010 elections
    this tendency continued: only 49% of those elected were delegates in the
    previous mandate.[12] Therefore in establishing the new municipal assembly
    presidency and the permanent working commissions, the new municipal
    assemblies have to take into account the fact that on the national average
    slightly more than half of the delegates were not delegates in the previous
    mandate. The daily work of the elected delegates, with all its trials and
    tribulations, begins so that the electors can see the results and act upon
    them before the next elections.

    * Author/journalist/lecturer. Lives in Montreal, Canada. Cuba specialist.
    First book Democracy in Cuba and the 1997-98 Elections (English, 1999).
    Chapter entitled "Socialism and Elections", in Cuban Socialism in a New
    Century: Adversity, Survival and Renewal, edited by professors Max Azicri
    and Elsie Deal (University Press of Florida, 2004). Upcoming (English,
    Spanish, French)- Cuba: Participatory Democracy and Elections in the 21st
    Century. Member of LASA (Latin American Studies Association).

    Reply
  • July 17, 2010 at 3:42 pm
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    Well, I have to aplogize myself, my comment above was posted at the wrong place, by mistake.
    By this comment I would like to join the wisdom of the above mentioned Chairman of the House Agricultural Committee, Collin C. Peterson (D-MN),
    even if I would prefer a more ethically motivated comment than a merely pragmatic one in regard of more business profit.

    Reply
  • July 18, 2010 at 4:43 pm
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    Representative Collin C. Peterson's comments above are typical of the ignorance or deliberate disinformation spread by those who are witting or unwitting opponents of the Cuban revolution.
    When he talks about "encouraging democratic process" he is either totally oblivious of the democracy that is Cuba's socialist economy and of Poder Popular which is Cuba's electoral system.

    Cuba's socialism spreads the wealth in an egalitarian way so that all Cubans share the benefits of the society. It is this democratic economy that has taken Cuba to 51st place on the United Nations Human Development Index.

    There is no mention of the fact that the so-called political prisoners in Cuba are financed by sources in the United States which has been trying to destroy Cuba's revolution for fifty years. In any other country those people would be described as traitors.

    Imagine what would happen to anyone in the United States in the pay of Al Qaeda .

    The United States has no interest in establishing democracies anywhere in the world and the historic record is clear on that. (Doubt that? Go to William Blum's "Killing Hope " website and read the 29 page introduction).

    What the Congressman really means by encouraging the democratic process in Cuba is a return to capitalism and a return to the multi-party electoral sham that is called democratic in the United States.

    Let me point out that there is nothing less democratic than capitalism which is rule from the top with NO input from the workers.
    Let me point out that in our so-called democratic multi-party electoral system it is the handful of members of the two major parties who select those for whom we get to vote.
    The voters do not nominate their representatives directly as do the Cubans .

    (read Arnold August's book "Democracy In Cuba : The 1997-1998 Elections for an understanding of Cuba's electoral process. First, though, admit that you, like 99% of people in the United States, have no knowledge, no understanding of Poder Popular; Cuba's electoral system.0

    In summary, when people like the congressman talk of democratic reform in Cuba they are talking about quite the opposite and "reforms' that an overwhelming percentage of the Cuban people oppose and have valiantly opposed over the fifty years of the U.S economic war on them.

    Reply
  • July 19, 2010 at 6:49 pm
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    "shallow
    tired
    specious
    shabby
    opportunism
    benighted rants
    mean spirited
    ultra-formulaic
    arm twiesting
    petty tormenting
    shame
    non-productive
    monochromatic posturing
    rancid" : All in four paragraphs. Armchair revolutionaries, you have nothing to lose but your thesaurus!

    Reply
    • July 19, 2010 at 9:53 pm
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      Don't you get tired of listening to the same old leftist rhetoric? I don't know why I
      read the rants of people like Mr. Birnes and Mr. Raveendran! Mr. McElhone hit
      the nail right on the head!! Thanks

      Reply
  • July 19, 2010 at 9:58 pm
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    Castro is releasing 167 people from prison? Excuse me if I don't share Mr. Birns' euphoria. The entire country is a prison, Larry. Castro is just allowing another 167 people out into the prison yard.

    Reply
    • July 19, 2010 at 10:20 pm
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      So sorry to read all the propaganda fueled comments, like those of Mr Henry and Mr Hohl. The prison is within their minds. Are you both working for Goebbels?
      Nothing constructive, no brains…

      Reply
      • July 19, 2010 at 11:11 pm
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        Jose Luis, have you never heard that Cuban citizens are arrested if they try to leave their prison island without Warden Castro's permission? Does it matter to you that Cuba is the second least productive nation in the Western Hemisphere, just nipped out by Haiti? Are you aware that Cuban society cannot support itself, and would starve if not for handouts from Chavez and – believe it or not – several billion dollars sent from the USA each year, primarily by American Cubans who were lucky enough to escape? If slavery and indolence describe the life you cherish, then by all means, move to Castrolandia. Or North Korea,or Zimbabwe. Or hey, give Chavez a few more years and maybe he can bring Venezuela to its knees and down to your level.

        Reply
        • July 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm
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          But there are plenty of countries that you can't leave without permission, and some of them are U.S. allies… Productivity, well sure there is a huge cost to trying to prop up an ageing statist political system – but productivity measured in capitalist terms isn't really a measure which would interest a self-proclaimed 'state socialist system', is it? And the blockade affects the ability of the nation to obtain parts etc which undermines traditional notions of productivity.

          People should be able to criticise U.S. policy (appalling both in terms of directly measurable affect on the citizens of Cuba and in terms of negatively affecting government-level relations) towards Cuba without being accused of 'cherishing' the system of that country. The 'with us or against us' rhetoric is very unhelpful (not a direct attack on you, just the Manichean way of looking at Cuba that I see so often).

          Reply
        • July 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm
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          Henry,
          In the most recent United Nations survey, Cuba place 51st on the Human Development Index placing it in the first tier of highly developed nations. This was due to the improvements in life made possible only through its socialist economy.
          You may not like it but the Cuban people evidently do.
          They have supported their government throughout the 50 years of a U.S. imposed embargo that has made their lives very difficult.

          The embargo is not in place because of any human rights situation. It is in place in order to make life so miserable for the Cuban people that they , like the Nicaraguans will overthrow their own revolution and end the successful socialist experiment that the U.S. elite fear will spread throughout Latin America and the world.

          BTW- Hugo Chavez has cut the poverty level in Venezuela in half during his time in office. Again, the Venezuelan people seem to differ with you in your opinion of Hugo Chavez. They elected him three times and the last time with 67% of the vote.

          Reply
        • July 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm
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          Henry,
          Cuba just place 51st on the United Nations Human Development Index placing it in the first tier of developed nations.
          There is no starvation in Cuba. All receive free and excellent educations and medical, mental health and dental care. Crime is very low. There is no drug problem.
          You can walk through the streets of Havana at night and not fear for your life.

          Show me another similar Third World country that has accomplished those things.

          BTW, Chavez has cut Venezuela's poverty rate in half, brought the illiteracy rate way down and has provided health care to the poor who heretofore could not afford it.

          Reply
          • July 21, 2010 at 5:42 pm
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            At the expense of creating the oldest police state in the Americas. If the UN HDI took civil liberties into account, Cuba's half century of institutionalized terror would place it near the bottom of the heap. Your simplistic view of life in Cuba is charming at best, dangerously naive at worst. It's a good thing the Castro regime takes care of their citizens' mental, physical and dental health. They can then proceed to drive them crazy, starve them and knock out all their teeth in prison.

          • July 22, 2010 at 2:25 am
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            El Jefe,
            A specious argument at best.
            Civil liberties aren't much good to the tens of millions of Third Worlders who die of starvation, preventable and curable diseases or who, like half the people in the world are illiterate, live miserably on$1-2 a day and who will never get to be all a human being can aspire to be.

            There's a billboard in Havana that read:
            In the world today millions of children sleep in the streets.
            Not one is Cuban.

            That may be what you would call simplistic because you have no problem with tens of millions of people dying every year from poverty that is preventable in a socialist economy like Cuba's..
            I call that accomplishment admirable and also unmatched in the capitalist Third World..

        • July 22, 2010 at 1:19 am
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          Have you been allowed to visit Cuba? (Sorry if I asume you are a US citizen)
          Or, were you born there many years ago and don't remember your country of origin?
          You've possibly been to North Corea, Zimbabwe. If you are American you can travel there. But not to Cuba…
          If I was you, I'll try and avoid propaganda films about Cuba and get your facts right.
          Spite of so many years of blockade, sabotage and dirty war, Cuba stands there, proud of its achievements. I'm Cuban, and I'm proud of my country/.
          As I wrote in another post:.
          "Whoever from a distance defends the blockade and agression agains my mother , brothers, daughter and nieces with the excuses of fighting "The Castro Regime" is an accomplice of a crime. Shame on those who laud crimes againt my people"
          Those so called "dissidents" are against trhe inmense mayority of Cubans, they support the blockade and the European "Common Position". They were the enemy within, against the ordinary Cubans..

          Reply
  • July 20, 2010 at 12:06 am
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    Yeah right, I'm Cuban myself so you can't possibly trick me. Keep doing your dirty job. Have you been to Cuba to see it for yourself? BECAUSE I GUESS YOU LIVE IN THE USA, and you are not allowed to go there (If you are American). You are so free! (Or you are a cuban american in disguise?)
    If you are Cuban and ask for a Visa to travel the USA, you won't get one ( unless you are a doctor, engineer or somebody needed in Cuba, so if you don't return, your loss inflicts damage to Cuba's economy or services)
    In those cases you will get permission to travel from Cuba if you have acomplished a given number of years of social services. If you are not in any of those groups, you'll get the permission very quickly. They are right not to want the country drained of trained specialist. That happened before!
    I know you will keep telling lies and slogans, so over and out.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2010 at 1:08 am
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    A couple of points:
    for those who think the Cuban Revolution a failure, Cuba place 51st in the United Nations Human Development report which covers medical care, education and the general standard of living . This was accomplished within a relatively short time and all the while under economic and terrorist attack from the United States. Cuba has discovered a huge oil field within its territorial waters so just wait until that money comes rolling in.

    For Henry, Hugo Chavez has cut Venezuela's poverty rate in half.

    Most of the prisoners who are being released were convicted of being in the pay of the United States which has been trying to overthrow Cuba's revolution for 50 years .
    Imagine someone in the United States taking money from al Qaeda to work against the government of the United States . He'd be spending his life in prison IF he survived the waterboarding.

    Doesn't anyone remember the Mariel Boatlift? Back in the 80's there was a similar hue and cry about "political prisoners " in Cuba's jails. The Cubans told the United States that these people were common criminals but the United States persisted in saying they were ALL politicall prisoners. So the Cubans offered to release all these "political" prisoners and the United States accepted the offer. All the prisoners were released into the streets and the United States reneged on the deal. A huge crime wave developed in Havana and the Cubans, by radio told the Florida ex-Cuban community that the port of Mariel would be open and that they could come down in their yachts and pick up anyone they wanted. When the flotilla showed up at Mariel they were loaded up with all the released "political" prisoners first. When these people arrived in Florida and were checked out by U.S. authorities miribile dictu they were discovered to be , in the main common criminals..
    The United States leadership lied. The Cuban leadership told the truth.

    Lastly anyone who talks of the United States being interested in bringing democracy to Cuba is either lying or is totally ignorant of U.S. history in the hemisphere.
    (go read "Killing Hope" by ex-CIA William Blum-visit the website and read JUST the introduction to the book).

    What is meant by bringing democracy to Cuba is bringing capitalism back to Cuba along with multi-party "democracy".
    Capitalism by its very nature is totalitarian. It is absolute rule from the top with no input from the workers.
    Multi-part "democracy" as practiced in the United States is also rule from the top down.
    The electorate is presented with the people for whom they are allowed to vote by a handful of people in the democrat and Republican parties. The people do not get to select their representatives . Those representatives are chosen to preserve the status quo and the privileges of the ruling classes. That's how we get people like Obama who are supposed to be the agents of change but who, in reality , are carefully vetted to make sure that they will change nothing.

    So spare me those tired lies about the United States being interested in supporting democracy anywhere .

    What the 10% of the American people who own 80% of the wealth of the country and who also own the government want in Cuba is an end to the successful revolution that provides the good example to the rest of Monroe Doctrine countries .

    What is wanted is an end to Cuba's successful socialism and the making of the world safe for neo-liberal capitalism.

    Lastly some 95% of the Cuban electorate choses to participate in every election held in Cuba.
    They overwhelmingly support their government, their revolution
    They get to choose THEIR nominees for representative directly from among the people in their voting district .
    Didn't know that ?
    Try reading Arnold August's " Democracy In Cuba: The 1997-1998 Elections"

    Reply
  • July 20, 2010 at 2:13 pm
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    In 1979 professor of finance Edward Herman and professor of linguistic Noam Chomsky wrote the book, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism: The Political Economy of Human Rights: Volume I, and Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.
    “Chomsky and Herman cite official statements by State Department planner George Kennan, to illustrate the mindset behind US policy in Latin America and around the world. In 1948, Kennan wrote Policy Planning Study 23, stating that if the U.S. wanted to maintain (and expand) its position of world dominance, it could not truly respect human rights and democracy abroad. The document said:

    We have about 50 percent of the world’s wealth, but only about 6 percent of its population…In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships that will permit us to maintain this disparity…To do so we will have to dispense with sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives…We should cease to talk about vague and…unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards and democratization.

    Kennan elaborated on this concept in a 1950 briefing of U.S. ambassadors to Latin American countries. Of prime importance was to prevent the spreading of the idea “that governments are responsible for the well being of their people.” To combat the proliferation of this idea, Kennan argued that “we should not hesitate before police repression by the local government…It is better to have a strong regime in power than a liberal one if it is indulgent and relaxed and penetrated by Communist.” (1)
    That concept seems to dominate the USA until now, it puts ideas across why they are resenting Cuba its pioneering task in the matter of independence within their back yard, and why they don’t be afraid of hidden wars carried out by therefore educated terrorists such as Orlando Bosch Ávila and Luis Posada Carriles.
    That is why they are desperately fighting by their propaganda campaigns for reviling any form of socialism as “populism” or even “Stalinism” in Latin America and else where.
    That is why they are keeping “Los Cinco”, the “vermins” of their system as hostages in prisons.
    Within the Action Plan adopted by participants at the 5th International Colloquium "For the Release of the Cuban Five and Against Terrorism" there is said among others:
    “Thousands of people work in the world to lift the genocidal blockade against Cuba, for several reasons not all of them work for the release of the Cuban Five. We must gather the work of all those who are in solidarity with Cuba because demanding the release of the Five is to demand the right of Cuba to live in peace.” (2)

    (1) s., Hans Bennet, http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2009/01/edward-herm… ;
    (2) s. : http://www.freethefive.org/updates/Solidarity/SLA
    or in German at: http://www.miami5.de/informationen/freunde-091121

    Reply
  • July 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm
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    In 1979 professor of finance Edward Herman and professor of linguistic Noam Chomsky wrote the book, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism: The Political Economy of Human Rights: Volume I, and Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.
    Well, it was not printed because of its anti-patriotic contents: In 1948, Kennan wrote Policy Planning Study 23, stating that if the U.S. wanted to maintain (and expand) its position of world dominance, it could not truly respect human rights and democracy abroad. The document said:

    We have about 50 percent of the world’s wealth, but only about 6 percent of its population…In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships that will permit us to maintain this disparity…To do so we will have to dispense with sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives…We should cease to talk about vague and…unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards and democratization.

    Kennan elaborated on this concept in a 1950 briefing of U.S. ambassadors to Latin American countries. Of prime importance was to prevent the spreading of the idea “that governments are responsible for the well being of their people.” To combat the proliferation of this idea, Kennan argued that “we should not hesitate before police repression by the local government…It is better to have a strong regime in power than a liberal one if it is indulgent and relaxed and penetrated by Communist.” (1)
    (1) s., Hans Bennet, http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2009/01/edward-herm… ;

    Reply
    • July 20, 2010 at 11:33 pm
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      Fortunately in 2010 the vast majority of Americans do not feel this way (in fact we did not believe that way in in 1979 either) and the USA remains, in its foriegn policy, the most humane and charitable super power in the history of the world. Nobody is perfect, but if you know anything about history, even going back just one generation, world brutality has diminished to a remarkable extent. World population has doubled, yet world per capita wealth has more than doubled. There is an argument to be made that American ideals such as democracy and free enterprise, combined with military strength that dissuades the Hitlers, the Stalins, the Tojos, the Kruschevs, the Maos, and on a smaller scale imperialists like the Husseins and the Milosevics, has changed the world for the better as never before.

      Reply
      • July 21, 2010 at 12:33 pm
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        Henry,
        The United States is not about doing good in the world.
        Pick up a copy of "Killing Hope" by (ex-CIA) William Blum or just go to the "Killing Hope" and read the introduction to the book and a few chapters. With well over 50 interventions into countries to overthrow or affect election outcomes since WWII the U.S. is hardly about doing good.
        Read Chomsky and Herman's "Manufacturing Consent" .
        A study I recently completed tells me that you will not do this because of the cognitive dissonance that misinformed people like you experience within the first few chapters.

        World per capita wealth has doubled? That's nice. Half the world lives in misery on $1-2 dollars a day due in large part to the fact that the United States enforces neo-liberal capitalism on the Third World.

        You're not dealing with reality

        Reply
    • July 20, 2010 at 10:19 pm
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      1. In the US, in 1979, hundreds — thousands — of books were in print challenging every aspect of US life, history and policy. They range from MacBird, which accused LBJ of assassinating JFK, to the works of Howard Zinn and Eldridge Cleaver. If you believe that censorship, then or now, suppressed policy debate in the US, you must live very far away, indeed. And, surely, you were not around at the time.

      2. George Kennan was a policy advisor in the 40's and 50's. Those were the good old days of Soviet show trials, Soviet and Chinese policy-induced famines, and mass murder in the territories under control of international socialism. If your most persuasive case against US policy and free market economies rests upon quotations from a policy expert gone these last 60 years, you are losing the debate.

      Why not quote Soviet or Chinese theoreticians of the Kennan era? Because they were too busy murdering their own populations to publish their works? Because those societies really did practice censorship? Because their words and actions shame the cause?

      If you doubt that you have lost the debate, note that the world's leading communist powers of the Kennan era have abandoned the cause. They are increasingly capitalist, and they do not want to return to the workers' paradise that exists only in your fantasies.

      Reply
  • July 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm
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    The following is another example for US government hypocrisy in another part of the world: According to the following 1998 interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, the CIA's intervention in Afghanistan preceded the 1979 Soviet invasion. This decision of the Carter Administration in 1979 to intervene and destabilise Afghanistan is the root cause of Afghanistan's destruction as a nation.
    M.C.
    The CIA's Intervention in Afghanistan
    Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski,
    President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser

    Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998
    Posted at globalresearch.ca 15 October 2001 http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BRZ110A.htm

    […]Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?
    B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
    Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
    B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
    Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.
    B: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn't a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.
    Translated from the French by Bill Blum

    Reply
    • July 21, 2010 at 2:37 am
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      The attempt of the Carter administration to undermine the pro-Soviet government in Afghanistan was of a piece with the US and Soviet efforts to undermine one another's client states and allies. The easiest illustration might be the fact that Che, then a Cuban government agent, was killed while working for a revolution in Colombia. That is one of many hundreds of examples, including the Romanian government's involvement in the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul, the army of East German agents in West Germany, and the regular capture of spies in the US and the Soviet Union. That was the practice of the time, on both sides of the divide.

      To charge that US efforts in Afghanistan are the "root cause" of Afghanistan's current woes is silly. Just as it would be to charge that the root cause is the Soviet-inspired coup that overthrew the Afghan king shortly before the invasion.

      Your ideology is blinding you. Perhaps you should join COHA.

      Reply
      • July 21, 2010 at 12:39 pm
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        A couple of corrections;
        Che Guevara was on his own and not an agent of the Cuban government when he attempted to foment a revolution in BOLIVIA. (not Colombia)

        The attempt on the life of the Pope involved a Bulgarian. Romania was not implicated in the assassination attempt.

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        • July 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm
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          Thanks for 2/3 of those corrections. They demonstrate that I was moving too fast.

          Do they undermine the argument? Were both sides, and their clients, allies and servants, attempting to undermine one another? Or do my errors prove Michel-Bruning's contention?

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          • July 21, 2010 at 3:14 pm
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            I would agree that both the U.S.S.R and the U.S.A. were and are attempting to control the ideological currents in Afghanistan. The Soviets because Afghanistan was on their border and directly affected the Islamic Soviet Republics, much as they felt the need to control eastern Europe after WWII, the United States in order to undermine Soviet society as they had been for some 60 years prior.
            I do not believe Soviet and United States intentions in the world were the same.

          • July 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm
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            Was the Pope on the Soviet border? Albania? Bulgaria? Greece, whose communist guerillas were actively supported by the Soviets? France and Italy, both of whose communist parties received massive financial support from the Soviets?

            The active recruitment and training of African socialist revolutionaries, and decades of subsidizing the Cuban experiment, illustrate conclusively that the Soviets were embarked on a foreign policy more ambitious than “protecting the borders.” To describe the Soviet intentions so modestly is, I think, accusing them of under-reaching.

  • July 20, 2010 at 2:42 pm
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    These above shown concepts seem to dominate the USA until now, it puts ideas across why they are resenting Cuba its pioneering task in the matter of independence within their back yard, and why they don’t be afraid of hidden wars carried out by therefore educated terrorists such as Orlando Bosch Ávila and Luis Posada Carriles.
    That is why they are desperately fighting by their propaganda campaigns for reviling any form of socialism as “populism” or even “Stalinism” in Latin America and else where.
    That is why they are keeping “Los Cinco”, the “vermins” of their system as hostages in prisons.
    Within the Action Plan adopted by participants at the 5th International Colloquium "For the Release of the Cuban Five and Against Terrorism" there is said among others:
    “Thousands of people work in the world to lift the genocidal blockade against Cuba, for several reasons not all of them work for the release of the Cuban Five. We must gather the work of all those who are in solidarity with Cuba because demanding the release of the Five is to demand the right of Cuba to live in peace.” s. : http://www.freethefive.org/updates/Solidarity/SLA
    or in German at: http://www.miami5.de/informationen/freunde-091121

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  • July 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm
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    These above shown concepts seem to dominate the USA until now, it puts ideas across why they are resenting Cuba its pioneering task in the matter of independence within their back yard, and why they dont be afraid of hidden wars carried out by therefore educated terrorists such as Orlando Bosch Ávila and Luis Posada Carriles.
    That is why they are desperately fighting by their propaganda campaigns for reviling any form of socialism as “populism” or even “Stalinism” in Latin America and else where.
    That is why they are keeping “Los Cinco”, the “vermins” of their system as hostages in prisons.
    However, there are also exceptions. One of them seems to me Larry Birns.
    And there are US citzens whom I nearly adore since my education in systemic family therapy: Milton Erickson, Virginia Satir and others, but they didn't care for the "dirty business" of politics.

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  • July 20, 2010 at 4:29 pm
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    These above shown concepts seem to dominate the USA until now, it puts ideas across why they are resenting Cuba its pioneering task in the matter of independence within their back yard, and why they dont be afraid of hidden wars carried out by therefore educated terrorists such as Orlando Bosch Ávila and Luis Posada Carriles.

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  • July 21, 2010 at 12:09 am
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    Very interesting points and very good research by Mr Josie Michel-Brüning.
    Reason vs "Supermen" and empty slogans.

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  • July 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm
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    Oh, a very interesting discussion! By the way, I am a 66 years old German woman, still ashamed of the 12-years lasting Hitler regime in the past and not proud about our former European history when Germany having been involved in nearly all European wars and wanting to participate at the exploitation of colonies in the rest of the world.
    When I was a child and asked my parents about the Nazi time, they told me that they would not have recognized what was going on then in Germany. As it turned out later on,
    when my mother was nearly in my current age she confessed crying they did realize the concentration camps for jews, but they didn't dare to oppose.
    Well, I have just one correction, dear B. McElhone: The Soviet Union did not overturn the kingdom of Afghanistan. It was the Nadjibullah regime having been installed by democratic election and having begun with an agrarian reform and opening universities for women. However, the Mudjahedin opposed to that and were supported by the CIA with weapons and respectively trained.

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    • July 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm
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      Ms Michel-Bruning, your story is moving. However, your mother's failings under one totalitarian regime do not put you at liberty to distort historical facts in defense of another totalitarian regime. On the contrary, I think.

      The Afghan monarch, Daoud, was killed in a revolution that was carried out by Afghan communists in the late 70's ('79?). They then installed a string of presidents (4?) who employed all the usual communist devices to come to or hold power. These included coups, fraudulent elections and the intervention of Soviet forces. Nadjibullah was kept in power by the Soviets, and outlived their departure from his country only by fighting a rear-guard action and, finally, seeking UN protection. UN protection being what it inevitably is, he was murdered by the taliban.

      One need only review Afghanistan's recent cultural struggle with democratic structures — elections closely observed by disinterested representatives of various international organizations, unlike Nadjibullah's — to see that the claim of Nadjibullah's "democratic election" is not credible.

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      • July 22, 2010 at 9:06 am
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        Mr. McElhone, that is, what we are told, and what I believed in too. However, on occasion of "9/11" alternative medias said that Nadjibullah had called the Soviet Union for military help against the Mudjahedin being supported by the USA.

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        • July 22, 2010 at 9:12 am
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          It's Josie Michel-Brüning again, I forgot to say that all this reminds me at the circumstances in Guatemal during the 1950's when Arbenz Guzman had to flee the country because of the intervention of the USA. These experiences, by the way, turned Ché Guevara from a devotee of Mahatma Ghandi into a revolutionary.

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    • July 21, 2010 at 11:23 pm
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      Dear Josie, sorry, I soon realised I made a mistake. I do apologise for that
      And I thank you for your objectivity when discussing Cuban issues. Many cubans like me have painful memories as well. Can't never forget all the suffering inflicted to my family and friends by succesive American goverments agressions, sabotages and sustained harrasment in every shape or form. This dirty war has been on since I remember and I'm 58 years old. Whoever from a distance defends the blockade and agression agains my mother , brothers daughtes and nieces with the excuses of fighting "The Castro Regime" is an accomplice of a crime. Shame on those who load crimes againt my people.

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      • July 21, 2010 at 11:27 pm
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        Sorry, I meant to write "Shame on those who laud crimes againt my people"

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  • July 22, 2010 at 9:23 am
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    Dear José Luis, I can assure you of my loyality to Cuba.
    My husband and I, both grown up in Western Germany, we belong to those world wide groups trying to rehabilitate Cuba against all misinformation, since we had been in Cuba twice in 1995 and 1996.
    Additionally, we are worried because of the Cuban Five, since we read on September 14 in Miami Herald about the arrest of 10 "Cuban spies". And since 2002 we were cofounders of the German committee to free the Cuban Five joining the US National Committee and other European and worldwide Committees.

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  • July 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm
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    Dear Jose Luis, you need not apologize, moreover, I share your opinion from the distance after having been at least 10 times in Cuba.
    Since my husband and I had been in Cuba twice, in 1995 and 1996, we searched for groups in Germany supporting Cuba and we joined them. Since we read Miami Herald on September 14, 1998, when reporting about the arrest of "10 Cuban spies", we were alarmed and rather worried, of course we knew then already about the terrorist attacks against Cu by exile Cuban organisations. Since 2002 we are in correspondence with the five honorable and highly educated unjustly imprisonded men, and we became co-founders of the German committee to free the Cuban Five joining the US National Committee and all the others in Europe and world wide. From our point of view los Cinco are five Nelson Mandelas building the peak of the iceberg of the hypocrisy by the successive US governments in their relation to Cuba.

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