US economic war on Cuba continues, even after war in Afghanistan ends

US economic war on Cuba continues, even after war in Afghanistan ends

[Music] after afghanistan will cuba c of u.s imperialism too hello my name is radhika desai and i’m here for the real news network the us’s so-called empire has met with humiliating defeat in afghanistan the u.s military is scrambling to get out of kabul before the advancing taliban whom the u.s had fought for over 20 years at the cost of trillions of dollars thousands of lives in the thousands of u.s lives and at least 10 times as many afghan lives on the other side of the world meanwhile the us has been waging economic war on cuba for over 60 years the trump administration titled the screws with 243 additional sanctions despite campaigning on a return to obama-style leasing of tensions with cuba president biden has not only maintained the trump-era sanctions he has added more at the united nations the united united states and israel were the only countries supporting american actions against 184 other countries including most latin american and european countries not even the united kingdom supported the us in what looks very much like a color revolution aiming at regime change the biden administration and the american corporate media have tried to exploit recent discontent and protest among cubans that discontent and those protests are undoubtedly rooted in the genuine difficulties experienced by cuban in the midst of the kovit 19 pandemic continued u.s sanctions which include embargoes on medical equipment and the related collapse of tourism one of the mainstays of the cuban economy what went on in these protests really what are the prospects that the bible administration will succeed in exploiting cuba’s current troubles to advance u.s economic interests and suffocate the legacy of the cuban revolution once and for all what are the prospects that it will fail no one expected the sheer speed of the collapse of the of the us house of cards in afghanistan how solid is the american u.s strategy on cuba how will the rest of latin america and the rest of the world determine the outcome with me to discuss all this is arnold august arnold is a montreal-based author and journalist he has written three books on cuba the first democracy in cuba and the 1997-98 elections uh the second was a cuba in its neighbors democracy in motion which was described by one commentator as a tour de force from an expert who clearly knows his field well and the third book u.s cuba relations was described by another commentator by saying that any open-minded discussion about asymmetrical cuba u.s relations should start with this highly readable and informative book arnold’s journalism has won awards and appears in english spanish and french in north america south america europe and the middle east welcome to the real news network arnold thank you for having me here radica anna let’s begin with the protests that started on july the 11th what triggered them well i think before we get into what triggered them allow me to say that we cannot speak of the july 11 protests in the past because in a way that whole scenario is still going on as we speak today for example some the most important cuban associations such as a cuban union of a journalist a cuban union of writers various institutions of the ministry of culture has just organized three international panels on july 11th so you can imagine you know english french spanish various languages so you can imagine this thing is still going on in addition the cuban media is also dealing with different aspects of july 11. so it’s still going on in this sense even though of course in the streets everything is calm now when we talk about what triggered it uh i would say that it’s normally the said that it started san antonio de los banos but it really started in matanzas that allow me to explain but tanzas is a small city close to the well-known resort varadero now the cuban government in order to try desperately and we can’t blame them to find more sources of foreign exchange open up tourism for a short period of time to russia unfortunately russia was also a source of covert 19 so these russian tourists came to varadero and helped inadvertently spread cover 19 from the resort town to the cities around the resort towns such as cardenas and other cities now at the same time there was another unfortunate incident and that is we all know that cuba developed soberano ii their own very efficient vaccine against cova-19 however they were missing some important ingredients to complete the production of that as a result of blockade you have the covet coming in from russia and you had at the same time this uh inability to complete the the testing for uh bella ii now from there we have to go to san antonio de los banos that was just that’s just west of havana that’s really where it really started it’s famous for that now it didn’t start with sos cube as such it started with a facebook group that had as its main demand the issue of trying to stop the power outages that were happening in that town as well as all across cuba power outages take place because of the sanctions against venezuelan oil entering into cuba which is used for the electoral electrical grid in in cuba now you have sos cuba which uh also took uh important spot but their position was really openly without any doubt antagonistic towards the cuban government towards the revolution and calling for it so there are two quite different types of protests going on it seems yeah i i see like in the second one i mentioned uh with regards to power it was less blatantly antagonistic while the sos cuba was was openly but the bottom line is radica that because of all these situations many people in addition to these agitators or whatever many people from the grassroots actually join that demonstration so we cannot just uh say oh that you know that it was just for you know forward and controlled or whatever nor can it be exaggerated as the mainstream media has done say oh look all of cuba the population is it wrote in rebellion against communism against the government and all that’s also exaggerated now uh these are the uh go ahead yeah so so this is very uh so that what what we are coming what we are understanding is that there are two very different elements in the protest one is one is a genuine frustration of cuban people against various shortages and power cuts and so on and the other is this sos cuba style kind of regime change style color revolution style uh element in the protest so clearly in order to understand the two and distinguish between them we should understand exactly how are the cuban economy and social services and government sharing during the pandemic yes well just to go into that i’d like to mention one point and that is uh with regards to the participation of people grassroots that is true i was lucky enough i i saw a report by cuban tv uh a reporter went to the uh went to uh to san antonio dos banos on august 11th one month after the you know a revolt there and he asked people on the street you know and this one person said well i went to the demonstration because i i i had definite demands at the same time when i saw the violence that took place i i i got out of there this is not what i wanted he asked another person who said i went there and uh with legitimate demands and he noticed this guy said he noticed the president of cuba miguel diaz canal in the crowd there in san antonio de los banos so he approached them he approached spoke to him and put forward his demands they shook hands and he promised they would look into it so you know i think that’s important to follow up on your question that there’s it’s a very mixed bag ordinary people as well as people who are have some other motivations now with regards to the economy the cupid economy is really in a bad bad shape for example 2020 if i remember correctly the cuban economy shrunk 11 and the exchange foreign exchange that cuba was expecting in 2020 actually was only 50 percent of what they expected now this is very important if we take into account that 70 of cuban food is imported and they lose 50 of expected foreign exchange this is a major blow against the cuban economy and the very fabric of cuban society so um you know at the same time in terms of the pandemic to respond to your question cuba is fairing quite well up until a few months ago for example if you take the statistics of the number of death per million people while the united states and the united united kingdom had around 1900 deaths per 1 million people and cuba only had around three around 300 so there’s a big difference they were doing well and i think there has definitely been a spike a spike we mentioned matatus but there’s been a spike and i i’m in touch with my cuban colleagues on that i speak to them regularly almost every day and they’re saying that the spike is amongst other things as a result of the in discipline amongst the cuban population one of my close colleagues he wrote a stinging article in the cuban press everyone’s talking about the blockade kills people i said but he also said and discipline also kills and this is a problem and we don’t have time to go into it today but there’s a whole section of the cuban society what they call lumpin who are really detached from the revolution and do not have the values of the cuban revolution according to them they are contributing to the current spike that is going on at this time so clearly there are lots of problems in and as you as you i’m sure would uh uh would uh uh expect that these problems are massively uh multiplied by the sanctions by the american sanctions yes it is uh of course they are because you know the sanctions have been going on for a long time um and but at the same time i would have to say we’re talking about the the cuban government i just gave you one example locally but you have to say president miguel diaz canal has been going all over the country meeting with people mass organization different cities and all that in order to get a pulse of the situation and to find solutions to uh what what is happening there so you have a spike going up also a spike in in the cuban government’s response interests and all that so it’s a very complex situation that is still evolving absolutely now clearly it’s a complex situation it’s a very tense situation and president biden and the u.s administration is certainly seeking to exploit it so you have president biden saying things like we hear cries of freedom from the island we are holding the regime accountable what exactly has been the u.s strategy in the context of the present protest can you elaborate on that yes in order to elaborate allow me to give my point of view on the issue of biden it is often said that biden promised that he would go back to the uh the obama policy with regards to cuba that’s not quite true when asked a question one of his spokesperson said in january 2021 right after becoming president she said yes we are going to review the uh trump policy towards cuba but always taking into account our core values of democracy and human rights how convenient so you just find a problem in cuba uh democracy is being violated human rights are being violated so we’re not going to remove the sanctions and there’s a history for this as well for example uh biden was vice president uh when uh like like so biden is of course fully supporting the color revolution that movement that they’re trying to develop in cuba but there’s an anticipated there’s a precedent for this when biden was vice president he went uh to cuba with obama in march march 2016. now when obama went to cuba in march 2016 aside from the very positive meetings with the government he also met with the cuban dissidents at that time in havana and i watched i saw this very carefully i looked at the photos many of these dissidents that he met in 2016 are very active today in the sos cuba culture revolution uh movement that’s going on there but in addition and this is very important not people have to pay attention to this i believe that when obama was in havana in 2016 he very openly played the race card here i am the united states every anyone could become a president including a black person or all that so that race car will be coming up again now uh more recently um for example when um uh now supporting the um color revolution in cuba you have um some people for example uh among in the left uh so-called some from the left for example who are saying uh to be specifically the nakhla in the united states which is a um a well-known so-called left outlet now in these uh uh attacks against cuba the cuban revolution they they oh they had an article which said outside this is hard to believe coming from the united states saying cuba is a racist society in order playing the race card uh again against uh cuba which is a you know a pretty uh dangerous thing to do but this is uh what what they’re doing and that specific outlet now the things have gone like when you talk about the left and uh left i mean my view is i don’t know what you think about because you’ve been studying this for a long time i think that the problem with some of the left that go this way is they’re infested with social democracy and social democracy is basically a theory that okay we are in favor of a so-called socialism domestically but we support uh uh u.s imperialism and like what lenin said you know uh social imperialism now this comes up in quite an important way for example when john mccain passed away it was very interesting you had all that narrative uh uh trying to uh turn john mccain into a hero so right away you had bernie sanders aoc obama michelle about the all issued identical statements uh saying that obama was great so in other words this social democratic veneer of social democracy whether it’s in canada or the united states it just falls off when there is an important issue comes to the fore and the mainstream media keeps on hacking the way at it and that is what is happening now with regards to cuba like you may ask why now is the uh less some in the left in canada and the united states why are they uh taking aim at cuba because that the mainstream media is going against cuba and social democracy does not have the ideological basis to resist this type of offensive so they just blend into it including using the race card with regards to cuba um no i i think you’re you’re absolutely right and and so what the left has been doing for for a considerable time through most of the i would say not all the left many sections of the left throughout the period since the end of the cold war is that it has simply been joining um essentially the the imperialist powers in condemning this or that uh regime that is supposedly dictatorial and so on and trampling on human rights without at all taking into account the fact that what is being done in the name of democracy and human rights is in fact to uh uh try to open up these economies for the ex to the exploitation of western corporate capital and and and so on and so forth so i think that this is this is something clearly very important and you’re also right to relate to social imperialism because throughout history in a certain sense imperialism has always had a certain discourse about how wonderful it is whether it is the discourse of the civilizing mission and the white man’s burden in the past or today the promotion of democracy and human rights so so clearly yeah some some on the left so what exactly are these leftists actually saying about what’s going on in cuba right now well i mentioned this one in the in the united states necklace it’s a basic same narrative as the as a mainstream narrative and the key word here is uh as cuba is being suppressed political suppression in cuba that that is their buzzword okay now so no one accuses me of being anti-american allow me to give an example from canada and unfortunately canadian dimension which is known to be a left uh wing outlet until recently carried a very a very uh stinging article about the about uh cuba once again using the key word crackdown that’s your thing political crackdown and going so far as to say are you ready for this that the president of cuba miguel diaz canal is this canal is the same as a current president of chile when chile talks about uh people who are revolting against this is how far that’s how far they go they’re you know they go all the way in order to give credibility to the mainstream media narrative with regard in this case with regards to cuba so you know at the same time there are a lot of uh very healthy and brave forces of the left in canada united states and other countries who who are resisting the mainstream uh media narrative with regards to cuba absolutely now arnold it’s very clear to uh many of us uh that what capitalism has to offer has never been enough for particularly the third world countries particularly in latin america and so we have seen time and again popular revolts emerging and we saw for example in the early 20th century the rise of the pink tide and now it seems with events that what what is now unfolding in bolivia in venezuela in peru in chile and so on that perhaps we are looking at the return of a new pink tie so can you perhaps put what’s happening in cuba in that wider context of the new pink type i believe that cuba now along with venezuela what has to say is really burying the brunt of the u.s attempt to smash that pink tide what what biden is doing against cuba he is saying to the rest of latin america whether it’s peru bolivia uh nicaragua venezuela and in the future who knows in brazil if look what if you date a stam stand up against the united states interests in that region look what we’re doing to cuba we are going to do the same thing to you so it is in the interest of all latin american countries uh progressive and even those who are not progressive to oppose the united states in its attempt to smash cuba who has been really the symbol since 1959 uh standing up to uh u.s aggression and and they use various um ways to try to undermine the uh the cuban uh revolution for example just recently i think a week ago the cuban government decided to adopt a special decree to limit the use of fake news coming from other countries and in cuba against the cuban revolution of course there was a big outrage by the righteous west oh there youtube is suppressing freedom of speech but the other countries already have the same laws similar laws as does cuba for example germany united kingdom european union france and other countries very similar laws but there’s no outrage against this when it’s being done in the european countries now uh for cuba uh cuba has a every reason to be very very wary about fake news allow me to give you one important example from history in 1898 the cubic independent fighters were about to defeat spanish colonialism in cuba right now the united states came on the scene what happened the uss maine a battleship uh surprisingly exploded in the havana harbor killing over 200 sailors and the united states and the yellow journalism as it was called at that time ah that’s spain that did that we are going into cuba to oppose spain and help cuba to liberate itself talk about fake news united states came there they uh took over the struggle from cuba and turned cuba rather than being a colony of spain a calling of the united states which continued until 1959. now this is very interesting arnold could you say a little bit more about how this new decree 35 is actually similar to what the laws that already exist in various european countries because this is not something that other people have talked about very much well the basic thing is the the every country has a right to control the uh airwaves or internet within its own boundaries and one of the main features of course is fake news i mean this is uh what took place in 1898 and this is also what’s taking place now in cuba what they call the sos sos yes yes of course it was a whole fake news like you know uh the you know i gave the example of the uss maine well twitter is the uss maine of 2021 2021 i mean this is a good analogy so you know you know no one should lecture cuba about fake news and uh i think that even if other countries don’t have it cuba has more right than anyone else to have this type of uh uh block against a foreign interference through the airways since 1959 after the revolution the united states has tried through marty television martial all kinds of different instruments to try to infiltrate uh cuba and just recently joe biden the nice guy he said oh we’re gonna give internet to cuba well over 50 percent of cubans already have access to internet so when they want to introduce internet to cuba they meet another type of interference and cuba and cuba has every right to defend itself with this new decrease absolutely now um clearly uh what’s going on in what we’re looking at is a society that is already under great deal of pressure thanks to the sanctions thanks to kobe thanks to the collapse of tourism etc now cuba is going to need a lot of international help uh cuba needs a lot of international help so exactly what are we seeing in pools of solidarity with cuba in latin america and more widely in particular i’m thinking you know do you think that um for example the fact that latin american countries did not support the united states has been an important thing and also what sort of help can cuba expect from elsewhere particularly other powers such as uh say venezuela or uh of course more importantly china russia etc can you say a little bit both about the latin american context and the wider world contact this is a very important reticle let you know as we you know head towards the end of this interview on a positive point cuba is under a massive pressure at the same time countries such as russia has has and is helping cuba enormously by sending huge plane loads of food and medication to cuba so is of course china even small vietnam uh iran and venezuela was having its own problems also just sent material to cuba so these are several examples i think that’s one of the good points coming out of the pandemic even though we don’t like to speak of the pandemic as a positive thing is this new multi-polar world coming about right in front of our eyes with important players such as china and iran and other countries who are helping cuba at this time very concretely in order to resist american pressure and help is also coming from the grassroots and the united states where you had this very important movement there in the united states let cuba live in which he actually put an announcement in the new york times against the blockade and canada we’re doing this type of thing as well so there’s a lot of things going for cuba at the same time we have to make sure that uh we keep this up and uh and i think that the important thing is we have to be careful in my view that those who are coming from the you know the you know what i call the centrists they’re against the extremes of miguel diaz canal and against the extreme of those who promote violence uh in cuba they really are are uh in between the two but they they give credibility to the main overall narrative now that there’s a political crackdown in cuba which is not the case exactly no that’s a very important note to end on so clearly uh arnold your messages and our message is that really sensible people progressive people leftist people socialist people should try to understand what’s really going on in cuba try to help cuba create a better socialism and probably the first step towards that is to in fact remove the sanctions not to join with the american government in condemning the cuban government but to oppose american canadian and other countries policies towards israel towards cuba so that’s a wonderful thank you very much arnold for a wonderful interview we must have you back as events unfold in cuba and elsewhere thanks very much thank you very much you
rn

US economic war on Cuba continues, even after war in Afghanistan ends

rn

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *