[News] Fidel on Obama

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue May 27 10:41:23 EDT 2008




It would be dishonest of me to remain silent 
after hearing the speech Obama delivered on the 
afternoon of May 23 at the Cuban American 
National Foundation created by Ronald Reagan. I 
listened to his speech, as I did McCain’s and 
Bush’s. I feel no resentment towards him, for he 
is not responsible for the crimes perpetrated 
against Cuba and humanity. Were I to defend him, 
I would do his adversaries an enormous favor. I 
have therefore no reservations about criticizing 
him and about expressing my points of view on his words frankly.

What were Obama’s statements?

“Throughout my entire life, there has been 
injustice and repression in Cuba. Never, in my 
lifetime, have the people of Cuba known freedom. 
Never, in the lives of two generations of Cubans, 
have the people of Cuba known democracy. (
) This 
is the terrible and tragic status quo that we 
have known for half a century – of elections that 
are anything but free or fair (
) I won't stand 
for this injustice, you won't stand for this injustice, and together we will
stand up for freedom in Cuba,” he told 
annexationists, adding: “It's time to let Cuban 
American money make their families less dependent 
upon the Castro regime. (
) I will maintain the embargo.”

The content of these declarations by this strong 
candidate to the U.S. presidency spares me the 
work of having to explain the reason for this reflection.

José Hernandez, one of the Cuban American 
National Foundation directives who Obama praises 
in his speech, was none other than the owner of 
the 50-calibre automatic rifle, equipped with 
telescopic and infrared sights, which was 
confiscated, by chance, along with other deadly 
weapons while being transported by sea to 
Venezuela, where the Foundation had planned to 
assassinate the writer of these lines at an 
international meeting held in Margarita, in the 
Venezuelan state of Nueva Esparta.

Pepe Hernández’ group wanted to renegotiate a 
former pact with Clinton, betrayed by Mas 
Canosa’s clan, who secured Bush’s electoral 
victory in 2000 through fraud, because the latter 
had promised to assassinate Castro, something 
they all happily embraced. These are the kinds of 
political tricks inherent to the United States’ 
decadent and contradictory system.

Presidential candidate Obama’s speech may be 
formulated as follows: hunger for the nation, 
remittances as charitable hand-outs and visits to 
Cuba as propaganda for consumerism and the 
unsustainable way of life behind it.

How does he plan to address the extremely serious 
problem of the food crisis? The world’s grains 
must be distributed among human beings, pets and 
fish, which become smaller every year and more 
scarce in the seas that have been over-exploited 
by the large trawlers which no international 
organization could get in the way of. Producing 
meat from gas and oil is no easy feat. Even Obama 
overestimates technology’s potential in the fight 
against climate change, though he is more 
conscious of the risks and the limited margin of 
time than Bush. He could seek the advice of Gore, 
who is also a democrat and is no longer a 
candidate, as he is aware of the accelerated pace 
at which global warming is advancing. His close 
political rival Bill Clinton, who is not running 
for the presidency, an expert on 
extra-territorial laws like the Helms-Burton and 
Torricelli Acts, can advice him on an issue like 
the blockade, which he promised to lift and never did.

What did he say in his speech in Miami, this man 
who is doubtless, from the social and human 
points of view, the most progressive candidate to 
the U.S. presidency? “For two hundred years,” he 
said, “the United States has made it clear that 
we won't stand for foreign intervention in our 
hemisphere. But every day, all across the 
Americas, there is a different kind of struggle 
--not against foreign armies, but against the 
deadly threat of hunger and thirst, disease and 
despair. That is not a future that we have to 
accept --not for the child in Port au Prince or 
the family in the highlands of Peru. We can do 
better. We must do better. (
) We cannot ignore 
suffering to our south, nor stand for the 
globalization of the empty stomach.” A 
magnificent description of imperialist 
globalization: the globalization of empty 
stomachs! We ought to thank him for it. But, 200 
years ago, Bolivar fought for Latin American 
unity and, more than 100 years ago, Martí gave 
his life in the struggle against the annexation 
of Cuba by the United States. What is the 
difference between what Monroe proclaimed and 
what Obama proclaims and resuscitates in his speech two centuries later?

“I will reinstate a Special Envoy for the 
Americas in my White House who will work with my 
full support. But we'll also expand the Foreign 
Service, and open more consulates in the 
neglected regions of the Americas. We'll expand 
the Peace Corps, and ask more young Americans to 
go abroad to deepen the trust and the ties among 
our people,” he said near the end, adding: 
“Together, we can choose the future over the 
past.” A beautiful phrase, for it attests to the 
idea, or at least the fear, that history makes 
figures what they are and not all the way around.

Today, the United States have nothing of the 
spirit behind the Philadelphia declaration of 
principles formulated by the 13 colonies that 
rebelled against English colonialism. Today, they 
are a gigantic empire undreamed of by the 
country’s founders at the time. Nothing, however, 
was to change for the natives and the slaves. The 
former were exterminated as the nation expanded; 
the latter continued to be auctioned at the 
marketplace ­men, women and children­for nearly a 
century, despite the fact that “all men are born 
free and equal”, as the Declaration of 
Independence affirms. The world’s objective 
conditions favored the development of that system.

In his speech, Obama portrays the Cuban 
revolution as anti-democratic and lacking in 
respect for freedom and human rights. It is the 
exact same argument which, almost without 
exception, U.S. administrations have used again 
and again to justify their crimes against our 
country. The blockade, in and of itself, is an 
act of genocide. I don’t want to see U.S. 
children inculcated with those shameful values.

An armed revolution in our country might not have 
been needed without the military interventions, 
Platt Amendment and economic colonialism visited upon Cuba.

The revolution was the result of imperial 
domination. We cannot be accused of having 
imposed it upon the country. The true changes 
could have and ought to have been brought about 
in the United States. Its own workers, more than 
a century ago, voiced the demand for an 
eight-hour work shift, which stemmed from the development of productive forces.

The first thing the leaders of the Cuban 
revolution learned from Martí was to believe in 
and act on behalf of an organization founded for 
the purposes of bringing about a revolution. We 
were always bound by previous forms of power and, 
following the institutionalization of this 
organization, we were elected by more than 90 
percent of voters, as has become customary in 
Cuba, a process which does not in the least 
resemble the ridiculous levels of electoral 
participation which, many a time, as in the case 
of the United States, stay short of 50 percent of 
the voters. No small and blockaded country like 
ours would have been able to hold its ground for 
so long on the basis of ambition, vanity, deceit 
or the abuse of power, the kind of power its 
neighbor has. To state otherwise is an insult to 
the intelligence of our heroic people.

I am not questioning Obama’s great intelligence, 
his debate skills or his work ethic. He is a 
talented orator and is ahead of his rivals in the 
electoral race. I feel sympathy for his wife and 
little girls, who accompany him and give him 
encouragement every Tuesday. It is indeed a 
touching human spectacle. Nevertheless, I am 
obliged to raise a number of delicate questions. 
I do not expect answers; I wish only to raise them for the record.
    * Is it right for the president of the United 
States to order the assassination of any one 
person in the world, whatever the pretext may be?
    * Is it ethical for the president of the 
United States to order the torture of other human beings?
    * Should state terrorism be used by a country 
as powerful as the United States as an instrument 
to bring about peace on the planet?
    * Is an Adjustment Act, applied as punishment 
on only one country, Cuba, in order to 
destabilize it, good and honorable, even when it 
costs innocent children and mothers their lives? 
If it is good, why is this right not 
automatically granted to Haitians, Dominicans, 
and other peoples of the Caribbean, and why isn’t 
the same Act applied to Mexicans and people from 
Central and South America, who die like flies 
against the Mexican border wall or in the waters 
of the Atlantic and the Pacific?
    * Can the United States do without 
immigrants, who grow vegetables, fruits, almonds 
and other delicacies for U.S. citizens? Who would 
sweep their streets, work as servants in their 
homes or do the worst and lowest-paid jobs?
    * Are crackdowns on illegal residents fair, 
even as they affect children born in the United States?
    * Are the brain-drain and the continuous 
theft of the best scientific and intellectual 
minds in poor countries moral and justifiable?
    * You state, as I pointed out at the 
beginning of this reflection, that your country 
had long ago warned European powers that it would 
not tolerate any intervention in the hemisphere, 
reiterating that this right be respected while 
demanding the right to intervene anywhere in the 
world with the aid of hundreds of military bases 
and naval, aerial and spatial forces distributed 
across the planet. I ask: is that the way in 
which the United States expresses its respect for 
freedom, democracy and human rights?
    * Is it fair to stage pre-emptive attacks on 
sixty or more dark corners of the world, as Bush 
calls them, whatever the pretext may be?
    *  Is it honorable and sound to invest 
millions and millions of dollars in the military 
industrial complex, to produce weapons that can 
destroy life on earth several times over?
Before judging our country, you should know that 
Cuba, with its education, health, sports, culture 
and sciences programs, implemented not only in 
its own territory but also in other poor 
countries around the world, and the blood that 
has been shed in acts of solidarity towards other 
peoples, in spite of the economic and financial 
blockade and the aggression of your powerful 
country, is proof that much can be done with very 
little. Not even our closest ally, the Soviet 
Union, was able to achieve what we have.

The only form of cooperation the United States 
can offer other nations consist in the sending of 
military professionals to those countries. It 
cannot offer anything else, for it lacks a 
sufficient number of people willing to sacrifice 
themselves for others and offer substantial aid 
to a country in need (though Cuba has known and 
relied on the cooperation of excellent U.S. 
doctors). They are not to blame for this, for 
society does not inculcate such values in them on a massive scale.

We have never subordinated cooperation with other 
countries to ideological requirements. We offered 
the United States our help when hurricane Katrina 
lashed the city of New Orleans. Our 
internationalist medical brigade bears the 
glorious name of Henry Reeve, a young man, born 
in the United States, who fought and died for 
Cuba’s sovereignty in our first war of independence.

Our revolution can mobilize tens of thousands of 
doctors and health technicians. It can mobilize 
an equally vast number of teachers and citizens, 
who are willing to travel to any corner of the 
world to fulfill any noble purpose, not to usurp 
people’s rights or take possession of raw materials.

The good will and determination of people 
constitute limitless resources that cannot be 
kept and would not fit in a bank’s vault. They 
cannot spring from the hypocritical politics of an empire.

Fidel Castro Ruz
May 25, 2008
10:35 p.m.

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