[News] On Cuba’s Historic Connections to Palestinian Liberation

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Sat Jul 24 13:19:12 EDT 2021

Cuba’s Historic Connections to Palestinian Liberation
July 24, 2021
A file photo of Cubans at a protest condemning Israeli military attacks on
the Gaza Strip, in Havana. (Photo: Javier Galeano)

*By Benay Blend <https://www.palestinechronicle.com/writers/benay-blend>*

“People be ‘nuancing’ and ‘both-siding,’ then a government is overthrown
and a country falls into devastation and they are nowhere to be found.”
That quote
from Hood Communist <https://hoodcommunist.org/>sums up the history of
imperialism and colonialism in the Global South.

In the case of Palestine, “both-side-ism” has a long and inglorious
history. As Ramzy Baroud observes <https://www.arabnews.com/node/1859636>,
the notion of a “conflict” with two equally responsible sides has never
been applicable to the Occupation, a situation in which there is
“unilateral” aggression on the part of the Occupier met with justifiable
resistance from the other side.

Reiterating this point, Palestinian-American activist/commentator Steven
Salaita lists <https://www.facebook.com/steven.salaita> “things that are
complicated”: “planning a family reunion,” “assembling an Ikea futon,”
among other ventures, but noticeably absent is “’solving’ the
Palestine-Israel ‘conflict.’ A solution is only complicated,” Salaita adds,

“insofar as the many people (inside the colony and across the world) who
benefit from Palestinian dispossession exhibit a violent unwillingness to
alter the status quo. But the actual conditions for peace–return, equality,
movement, dignity, restitution (in short, justice)–are exquisitely
straightforward and haven’t changed in 72 years.”

Returning to the quote, Palestine is very much alive, a tribute to the *sumoud
*(resilience) of its people. Nevertheless, its existence is often lost in
the maze of Western media’s campaign to misrepresent facts by either
skewing information or downright false reporting.

As Ajamu Baraka notes

“The propagandists of death never sleep. Even as their system is being
exposed as the generator of global warming (climate change), nuclear
madness, cultural degeneration, and strange, violent societies and people,
the ideological dirty workers are busy diverting attention away from the
failures of their system to the internal contradictions found within the
few examples of societies struggling to remake themselves in ways that
center the needs and aspirations of the people.”

On July 14, 2021, for example, the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS)
that the Israeli army had detained dozens of students from Birzeit
University who had visited the Shalabi family to support them after the
army had demolished their home. According to the PPS, this targeting of
Palestinian students, particularly from Birzeit, stemmed from an effort to
intimidate them into stepping down from leadership roles in what the young
people feel is a just and rightful cause.

Compare that report, from the Palestine Chronicle blog
to an AP headline
of the same event: “Israel arrests dozens of Hamas-linked students in West
Bank.” In the body of the article there was an admission that the Israeli
military had “no evidence to back up the claims,” but for those who read no
farther, the headline was framed without questioning the validity of its

On the other side of the world, Cuba’s history as an island fiercely
defending its 1956 revolution has much in common with Palestine, a people
who struggle against the same powers that would like to see both nations

On a positive note, there is a flip side to the Unites States’ agenda. From
ongoing U.S. efforts to overturn the Cuban Revolution to Zionists’ desire
to freeze out
Ben and Jerry’s decision to pull its sales from Illegal Israeli
settlements, there is a direct correlation between level of oppression by
the U.S. government and solidarity among the people it affects.

As in any transnational study, there are certain differences. Cuba has not
been directly colonized by the United States, but it has been the target of
US sanctions. Just as Gaza has suffered from the Israeli blockade, also
supported by the US government, so Cuba experiences shortages in every
sector due to American sanctions.

Despite campaign promises to the contrary, Joe Biden has done nothing to
help this situation. On July 11, 2021, groups of counter-revolutionaries
staged demonstrations in major Cuban cities. As Francisco Dominquez reports
along with sanctions there have been US-backed plans for destabilization.
USAID <https://www.usaid.gov/> and the National Endowment for Democracy
<https://www.ned.org/> (NED <https://www.ned.org/>) have been funding at
least 54 groups opposed to the Cuban Revolution.

“We are doubtlessly witnessing part of this today,” he writes, “with the
co-ordinated violent street demonstration combined with a U.S.-led social
media offensive.” Like the Palestine-Israel “conflict,” it is all very
“nuanced” in the media.

“All kinds of slick word salad maneuvers,” writes
<https://www.facebook.com/mawusi.nture> Mawusi Ture, “to try to give u.s.
imperialism and other reactionary forces in Miami and other parts of Latin
America a pass of some sort; ish about “nuance” and “layers,” she
continues, “and other ish to diminish the importance of ending the u.s.
embargo against Cuba.”

As sister to Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), who very early recognized the
international potential of the Black radical struggle by linking it to
Palestine and Cuba, Mawusi Ture carries on her brother’s legacy.

In “A Cosmovisión of Solidarity: Anticolonial Worldmaking in Havana,
Palestine, and the Politics of Possibility,” Sorcha Thomson traces
the evolution of Cuba’s historic ties with Palestine’s anti-colonial
struggle. “For the Palestinians,” she writes, Havana was “a place where
connections were built, connections that would support the ascent of the
movement on the global stage, and outlast the high era of
tricontinentalism, in an enduring model of reciprocal solidarity between
anti-imperial struggles.”

As Cuba celebrates the 68th anniversary of its revolution on July 26, 2021,
and the Palestinian solidarity movement gains increasing recognition around
the world, these ties are all the more important. Grounded as they are, as
Thomson writes
in the “collective practice of transformative solidarity,” their history
offers “a shared belief in the possibility of alternative futures.”

*– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University
of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey,
Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’
in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed
this article to The Palestine Chronicle.*
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