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    United States "Solidarity" with the Cuban People:
    Blockade, Lies, Guantanamo Bay and Continuation of Abuse

    By Tamara Hansen
    On May 21st the United States declared a fake “Day in Solidarity with Cuba”. Officials with the US Government, and supposedly non-governmental organizations in Miami, Florida made this deceptive call claiming this day is to remind the world of political prisoners in Cuba. However, we must ask how the United States has any legitimacy to claim "solidarity" with any "political prisoners" in Cuba, when they are the ones responsible for over a million deaths in Iraq, torture in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Gharib. Progressive and human loving people in the Canada, the US and all around the world proclaimed their disgust at this two-faced manoeuvre by the US government, as an obvious attempt to take a “left” word and use it for their own right-wing agenda.

    May 21st: Day of Shame for US

    First, it must be said that May 21st is an interesting day chosen by the White House and its small group of allies to celebrate their so-called solidarity with Cuba. After the Cuban people heroically kicked the Spanish colonizers out of their country in 1898, the US ruled over Cuba officially for about 4 years. May 20th 1902 was the day the United States ‘gave’ Cuba its independence. This ‘sovereignty’, much like the ‘sovereignty’ and ‘freedom’ we see in Iraq today, it came with so many strings attached it was like getting stuck in a giant ball of yarn. Most importantly Cuba’s ‘independence’ of May 20th 1902 meant the imposition of the Platt Amendment, which gave the US government the right to militarily intervene in Cuba whenever they see fit and meant the establishment military bases like Guantanamo Bay, which is today used by the United States as a torture camp for its prisoners in the so-called ‘war on terror’.

    While George Bush was celebrating in the East Room of the White House; Canada, a country with a long standing diplomatic relationship with Cuba wanted to join in on the fun. Canada’s then Foreign Affairs Minister, Maxime Bernier claimed, "Canada engages Cuban society through our diplomatic presence which is aimed at helping to lay the groundwork for a Cuba that upholds freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law." According to a press release sent out by the Nova Scotia Cuba Association and the Canadian Network on Cuba the statement by Bernier, “is an open endorsement of the U.S. campaign of destabilization against the sovereign and legitimate government of Cuba. This act has nothing to do with genuine solidarity with the Cuban people, but all to do with Washington's goal of re-converting Cuba into a neocolony under U.S. control and tutelage.”

    When CIA redefines “Solidarity”

    On the same day there was also an article entitled “The Castros' island prison” printed in the National Post, one of Canada’s largest right wing newspapers. The article was written by none other than the US ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins. This article accuses Cuba of many different things and tries to paint the United States as a benevolent hand reaching out to the people of Cuba. Cuba’s response was clear; on May 27th the Cuban Embassy in Canada wrote a press statement exposing the hypocrisy of the United States in stealing the word ‘Solidarity’. “The Cuban people wonder what kind of solidarity President Bush is referring to. Solidarity is what the free and sovereign Cuba offers to other nations worldwide as a modest but sensitive contribution to kill ignorance and diseases.

    Solidarity is the friendly hand the Cuban people tried to extend to the victims of Katrina hurricane in New Orleans which was refused by the government responsible for the abandonment they suffered in spite of living in such a wealthy country. […] Solidarity is to share the light of literacy with other people in the remotest places of the world, reaching the homes of so many people in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and wherever requested. Is there any other kind of solidarity? It seems that for President Bush it means the hypocritical position of speaking about changes in Cuba, freedom, democracy and respect for human rights in the way they are practiced by the U.S. government in the illegally occupied Cuban territory of Guantanamo, “

    Now we can attack the US government for it hypocrisy and expose all of the acts against freedom and democracy they have committed around the world. However, that still leaves open the question, who are these so-called prisoners of conscious or political prisoners the ruling class media around the world like to hold over Fidel Castro’s head and use to point the finger at him as a dictator?

    Reporters Without Borders, or CIA Agents without Borders

    Let us take first Look at Reporters Without Boarders (RSF), a French “non-governmental organization” which has been exposed for receiving funds from the US government’s NED (National Endowment for Democracy). In order to help spread their message for “freedom of speech”.

    According to their website, “The day before the 50th anniversary of the 2 December landing in Cuba of the Castro brothers rebel yacht Granma, Reporters Without Borders publicly demonstrated its solidarity with imprisoned Cuban journalists. […] Twenty of the 27 journalists arrested and convicted during the March 2003 crackdown on dissidents are still being held, including the Reporters Without Borders correspondent, Ricardo Gonz?lez Alfonso. Most have been accused of being “mercenaries in the pay of a foreign power” and have been given sentences ranging from 14 to 27 years.”

    In July 2007 an article was published in Le Monde Diplomatique about RSF called, “When a respectable foundation takes money from the CIA”. The article outlines why the US government created the NED, which was to undermine and subvert their opponents, and asks why RSF is getting involved in this. The article says that the most consistent and aggressive campaign of the NED has been against Cuba. The journalist, Hernando Calvo Ospina, estimates that over the past 20 years the NED will have invested $20Million for a “transition to democracy” in Cuba. This does not count the approximately $65Million paid by USAID since 1996. In a response article, the vice President of the French section of RSF defended the United States government’s financing through the NED saying that it was only 34 500 euros of RSF’s 4Million euro budget. But doesn’t the fact that an organization that claims to be fighting for freedom of speech would take ANY money from an organization called the « National Endowment for Democracy » show that this organization has an important bias? Something not mentioned in either article is the private funding RSF recieves (which it acknowledges on its website) from « Center for a Free Cuba ». Interestingly it seems that the Centre for a Free Cuba is also funded by USAID and the NED. So indirectly RSF is recieving more money from the US government than it will let on.

    According to Cuban news agency, ACN in May 2008, “The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) withdrew its sponsorship from the French group Reporters Sans Frontičres (RSF) for lack of ethics, on the occasion of “Internet Freedom Day” March 12. Diplomatic sources from UNESCO told Prensa Latina that the agency made the decision due to the repeated demonstration of a lack of ethics on the part of RSF in its goal of disqualifying a certain number of countries. […] the group has once again shown itself to be sensationalist in its eagerness to set itself up as a court of inquisition against developing nations, according to the sources.”

    What About “Political Prisoners” in Cuba

    There have been many investigations done exposing how these so-called political prisoners or prisoners of conscious are really funded mercenaries and agents for the US government. Their job is to create unrest in Cuba in order to help the United States implement its plan for Cuba. When we look at the amazing amounts of money ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ building is costing US taxpayers it seems very shameful. Especially when there are so many people homeless in the streets across America, while so many across the US cannot get a post-secondary education, and while hundreds of thousands are fighting to cover the cost of their basic healthcare needs.

    On top of this, why is it the business of the US government to decide what the Cuban people want? Shouldn’t they worry about the mess they are creating within their own country first? The Cuba Solidarity Day as well as the funding from USAID and the NED towards creating an opposition against the Cuba revolution is crucial for the United Stated government. Why? This is best explained by the Cuban Embassy in Canada who wrote in their press statement, “The Cuban people chose their own destiny 50 years ago; it is the decision to continue our own path without the interference of any foreign power. The Cuban Revolution is a true and transparent process where Solidarity is a permanent commitment, but in a quite different way from the one President Bush is pretending to offer. “

    US Shameful History of Aggression Against Cuban People

    The United States government still burns on the inside with a deep humiliation and rage that the Cuban people inflicted against them after the victory of the Cuban revolution. Whether it is the nationalisation of US-owned property within Cuba, Cuba’s victory against the US at the Bay of Pigs, or the fact that this small island has stood tall and proud against the millions of dollars flowing in from the US in an attempt to destroy their revolution. Also, above all this is the fear that Cuba’s anti-imperialist, pro-education, pro-healthcare, pro-solidarity and, in essence, pro-humanity outlook will spread. From Venezuela, to Bolivia, to Ecuador and beyond the winds of change can be felt – and they are beating down on the US government.

    This year’s first US-sponsored “Day in Solidarity with Cuba” is not a sign of the United States strengthening its grip against Cuba. It is a sign of desperation. The winds of change in Latin America make it clear that the United States is no longer number one dominant force , today is the day of oppressed people, especially the people of Latin America and we must stand together and defend the important gains that have been accomplished over the almost 50 years of the Cuban revolution.

    Political Prisoners in the US

    As a final comment we cannot forget the real political prisoners who deserve world-wide attention right now. Gerardo, Ramon, Antonio, Fernando and Rene, also known as the Cuban 5, as well as hundreds of other political prisoners being held in US jails, either in the borders of the US or held in secret prisons around the world including US Guantanemo prison in Cuba’s soil. We need to come out and protest this deceptive move by the US government that is only trying to restore its hegemony over Cuba and look to those who are truly fighting for a better world for all of humanity.

    "Free the 5 Cuban Heroes political prisoners held in US jails!"
    “Free all political Prisoner held in the US jails!”

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