Obama’s biggest mistake: to ask the Cuban people to forget their history

  • Written by Edmundo Garcia
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Featured Obama’s biggest mistake: to ask the Cuban people to forget their history

The world was expecting the highly touted speech by President Obama at the Havana’s Grand Theater Alicia Alonso. Contrary to what the extreme right —more resentful and jealous than ever before— was spreading, the US president spoke freely. His words had huge impact and several interpretations were triggered afterwards; included that of the opposition.

The Cuban authorities were respectful and the official delegation present at the Grand Theater, headed by President Raul Castro, stood on their own feet every time the guest ended an idea and greeted him moderately, with a round of applause and good taste.

Those who read the written press and the comments in Cuban mass media could check some general responses to some elusive points in Obama’s speech, whose ambiguity might have led to believe there was certain interference in Cuba’s internal affairs. We already know Cuban people are rigidly jealous with its sovereignty. Even the creators of “Zunzuneo” admitted that Cuban citizens made political jokes, but they got angry if a foreigner criticized their country. Make no mistake: Cuba is profound and demanding.

After leaving Havana on March 22, president Obama headed to Argentina where he repeated some of his most recent phrases about the future: a new time, change, and the popular yes we can. But he did not mention the current context of Argentina, where an “old liberal” government is laying off teachers, librarians, or TV and theater workers while enjoying the favors of the international capital and antinational agro-exporters.

As if he, all of a sudden, would have forgotten some of the things he said in Cuba, as if he could not remember that during his stay in Havana, the US Secretary of State John Kerry held talks with the parties committed with the peace process in Colombia. And now president Obama gives his word to back right winger Mauricio Macri so he can become an influential leader in the continent. Obama wants Macri to further such an “impressive” policy. Some reporters have warned that some people have been seen carrying signs that read “Viva Macri” (Long Live Macri!) in actions against Nicolas Maduro and Evo Morales.

I recall these events so you have an idea about the confusing environment existing in the international press on the Obama’s visit to Cuba and Argentina. The Cuban press published Fidel Castro’s informative article on Monday March 28 entitled “Brother Obama” and it set things right. I labeled Fidel’s article as informative due to his historical, political, and moral stature. Indeed, Fidel addresses Obama’s speech in Havana straightforwardly; he did not try to please any specific sector. Fidel, as usual, with a crystal clear writing, reveals what it is hidden and comments from a historical perspective and a future view.

And Fidel starts right there: history. There is no solid future if you do not build on experience. And there is no history if you do not tell the truth. Fidel’s vision is quite different from that of Obama about forgetting the past in order to build the future. In fact, Fidel pointed out Obama that he forgot to mention the exploitation and extermination of native people, in both Cuba and the United States, by the so-called “conquerors”.

Argentine’s progressive movements also called Obama for respect for the historical truth. Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize, and other leaders asked Obama to talk about the role of US in supporting military dictatorships, especially in Latin America and Argentina. Obama answered with some of those excuses he usually makes. He does know now that neither Cuba, Argentina nor Latin America are willing to forget their past in order to build up a relationship with the US. The US cannot accomplish such a thing even though Macri bans Telesur in Argentina, or he may want to find a way out from the integration organism created in the region.

The Granma newspaper publishes today an article entitled “Article from Fidel with great impact on the world” where some of the repercussions of the article “Brother Obama” are reviewed. It had to be that way, Fidel has spent many years dealing with American politicians face to face. He knows pretty well the culture, geography, and social psychology of the US.

There is a passage in Fidel’s article that can be assessed as a lecture to those who like studying and debating. Fidel quoted first a phrase of Obama’s speech: “It is time, now, to forget the past, leave the past behind”.

And then Fidel, who is a debate expert, writes a paragraph that is a masterpiece: “I suppose all of us were at risk of a heart attack upon hearing these words from the President of the United States. After a ruthless blockade that has lasted almost 60 years, and what about those who have died in the mercenary attacks on Cuban ships and ports, an airliner full of passengers blown up in midair, mercenary invasions, multiple acts of violence and coercion?

None should entertain the slightest illusion this noble and unselfish country will abandon its glory and rights, or the spiritual wealth that Cuba has earned with the development of education, science, and culture.

I also warn that we are capable of producing the food and material riches we need with the efforts and intelligence of our people. We do not need the empire to give us anything”.

If there was any doubt of Obama’s double-standard speech, an hour later Obama said goodbye to the Cuban people and its authorities, the State Department announced a 800,000 USD program to form leaders to change the very same government Obama is proposing to work together to reach a better future for both countries.

History can be so surprising. Obama has erased the false and mercenary opposition by asking Cubans to forget their history.

Cubasi Translation Staff

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