The Third Way or Political Centrism in Cuba

For some time now has been brewing, essentially in the digital media, the idea of a “political centrism” in today's Cuba as part of the United States strategies to subvert the Cuban socialist pattern, despite the huge failures and slandering of the so-called “Cuban counterrevolution”. (i) A piece of news revealed by Wikileaks in 2010, showed as Jonathan Farrar, Head of the Interests Section of Washington in Havana back then, informed to the Department of State on April 15, 2009 how that "opposition" was really disconnected from the Cuban reality, it didn't have any influence power over the youths, and was more concerned about the money than in taking its platforms to wider sectors of society. (ii)

The political centrism in its origin is a concept of geometric root: the equidistant point to all ends. Supposedly it would be a political position placed between the left and right, between socialism and capitalism, a third way that "brings together the best ideas" in the ends that give it life and where moderation rises against any type of radicalism. Lenin qualified this posture of “treacherous utopism as a result of the bourgeois reformism". No doubt those denominated third ways, or centrisms have never been a revolutionary option, but strategies to establish, save, remake, modernize or restore capitalism.

When moderation is reconsidered in front of the Cuban revolutionary radicalism – this means going to the roots, nothing related to extremism which is another thing - (iii), I can’t help but finding certain analogies between that centrism that today is attempted to articulate in Cuba, with the nineteenth century autonomism.

The autonomism as a political trend was born in the first half of the XIX century, but it becomes a political party starting since 1878, as one of the fruits of the revolution of 1868. (iv) It was a trend that shared historical time with independentism, traditionalism, and annexionism. It was the trend par excellence of moderation, of evolution, enemy of the radical Cuban independentists. They also took a position "equidistant", between the traditionalism - the defense of the status quo - and the independence, but in defining moments, they joined traditionalism to brake and attack the revolution, which they considered the worst of all evils. Famous personalities of autonomism turned to annexionist ideas after the North American intervention-occupation in Cuba. Its main leaders were recognized for their intellectual skills, they were great speakers, but with an elite thinking, essentially bourgeois, therefore they could never rallied Cuban masses behind them. The Cuban people back then what needed the least was laboratory ideas. It was for this reason that when the struggle for independence restarted in 1895, the autonomist party was completely out of place in new national reality. The autonomism defended a moderate nationalism that excluded the masses. Their main goals was not severing the bond with "the Spanish mother land", but in modernizing its governance in the Island, no wonder the Cuban patriotic vanguard, lead by José Martí, fought against their ideas so hard. On January 31st, 1893 in one of his extraordinary speeches, Martí said: "… it was the particular case that those claiming the political dogma of evolution were simply retrogrades who kept for a people formed in the revolution the solutions imagined before it… ". (v)

However, the idea of supporting in Cuba a third force - moderate, centered or third way – gain strength in the U.S. foreign policy in the late 50’s, with the goal of preventing the 26 de Julio Movement come into power, something that became an obsession for the Eisenhower administration by yearend 1958. This tendency should be equidistant between Batista and Fidel Castro and its development was stimulated in both the political and the military fields. The CIA local station in Havana was the first to handle this idea and later the main executor. Officer David Atlee Philips confirms so in his autobiographical book The Night Watch, when he highlights that James Noel – head of the CIA station in Havana - had informed him in one of his few frequent meetings, on his recommendation to the U.S. government of discreetly sponsoring the action of a third political force in Cuba, "a group between Castro in the left and Batista in the right (…) ". (vi)

In February 1958, William Morgan a North American secret service agent had joined the II National Front of Escambray lead by Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo. His mission was to become the second in command of that guerrilla, something he achieved in no time as well as his rank as Commander. Morgan would not be the only agent the United States infiltrated in that area with the intention of stimulate a third guerilla force that could oppose at some point the forces from Sierra Maestra lead by Fidel Castro. (vii) The United States was also involved in other complots where different names of personalities who could join a political option that snatched off the hands of Fidel Castro the revolutionary victory, among them: the colonel Ramón Barquín, Justo Carrillo, head of the Montecristi Group, and Manuel Antonio, Tony, de Varona. Still on December 23, 1958 at a meeting of the National Security Council, Eisenhower expressed his hope in the growth, strength and influences of a "third force". (viii)

The creation of a "third forces" it was not only promoted by the United States, but also by some domestic politicians. "The Third Force – highlights Jorge Ibarra Guitart - was a movement of private civic institutions that representing the feeling of important sectors of the bourgeoisie and the small bourgeoisie promoted peace measures and reconciliation with the régime. The instigator, behind the curtains was José Miró Cardona who from the Friends of the Republic Society had already planned the tactics of mobilizing bourgeois institutions to force the régime to reach an agreement. This was the time to try such tactics, because there were circumstances that favored it: the bourgeoisie, when noticing that with every passing day more revolutionary organizations gain ground was worried by the eminent threat that represented for their political and economic interests, the development of a civil war with a popular participation". (ix)

As it was impossible for the United States to prevent the victory of the Cuban Revolution and the coming into power of 26 de Julio forces, in the early months of 1959, Washington’s main objective was to support and encourage personalities who within the revolutionary government were considerate "moderate", of center, as opposed to those who were qualified as "extremist", to avoid that the Revolution did not have a deep social reach. (x)

When Fernando Martínez Heredia, highlights that today in Cuba there is a right nationalism with ambitions of center that has "a cultural accumulation to which refer (xi), he is mentioning the long history of that nationalism that has as antecedent the political attitudes of autonomism; which in the years of Bourgeois Neocolonial Republic admitted and defended the dominance. The U.S. government has used it many times with the purpose of braking, avoiding or achieving situations after the revolution that kept safe the structures of capitalist dominance in Cuba, under better permission.

Today we see that right nationalism that is stimulated by those who oppose us, under the deceiving cloth of centrism. It pursues the sole objective that the desperate attempt of restoring capitalism in Cuba. Once again, it will be failed attempt, because the main obstacle this trend has encountered is that its ideas have never sunk into the people. That people which throughout history has embraced the independent, patriotic, national-revolutionary and anti-imperialist tradition; never that of autonomism, annexionism or right nationalism.

NOTES

  

(i) See text of Esteban Morales: The Cuban counterrevolution has never existed, in: Esteban Morales and Elier Ramírez, Approaches to the conflict United States - Cuba, Political Publisher, Havana, 2015, pp.363-367. Morales wonders in this work if this counterrevolution can be considered Cuban, as it practically committed suicide after being born assuming an agenda imposed by the U.S. government.

(ii) See: : http://razonesdecuba.cubadebate.cu/cablegates-wikileaks/los-estados-unidos-y-el-papel-de-la-oposicion-en-cuba/

(iii) Speech on September 3, 1979 in the opening session of the NOAL Summit with venue in Havana, Fidel expressed: "What can be refuted to Cuba? That it’s a socialist country? Yes, we are a socialist country (APPLAUSES), but we don’t seek to impose our ideas and our system on anyone neither inside nor outside the Movement. We don't have anything to be ashamed of for being socialist! That we made a radical revolution in Cuba? Yes, we are revolutionary radicals, but we don't seek to impose anybody, and much less to the No Aligned Movement, our radicalism". See: : http://www.cuba.cu/gobierno/discursos/1979/esp/f030979e.html

(iv) See Elier Ramírez Cañedo and Carlos Joane Rosario Grasso, The autonomism in the crucial hours of the Cuban Nation, Social Sciences Editorial house, Havana, 2008.

(v) José Martí, Speech in Hardman Hall, New York, October of 1889, 10 in: Speeches, Social Sciences Editorial House, Havana, 1974, p.195.

(vi) Cited by Andrés Zaldívar Diéguez and Pedro Etcheverry Vázquez, in: A fascinating history. The Trujillista conspiracy, Captain San Luis Editorial, Havana, 2009, p.50

(vii) Ibidem, pp.41-42.

(viii) Francisca López Civeira, The Government of Eisenhower before the Cuban Revolution: A new scenario, in: http://www.radiolaprimerisima.com/articulos/2527

(ix) Cited by Andrés Zaldívar Diéguez and Pedro Etcheverry Vázquez in: Ob.Cit, p.51.

(x) Abundant information on this regard can be found on the work of Luis M.Buch and Reinaldo Suárez, Cuban Revolutionary Government. First Steps, Social Sciences Editorial house, Havana, 2004.

(xi) See Cubadebate, March 17, 2016: http://www.cubadebate.cu/noticias/2016/03/17/obama-no-pierda-la-oportunidad-de-hacer-algo-historico-podcast-video-y-fotos/#.WSmPPDfB-sx

Ileana-Washington: Sad Spokesman of “Dissidents”

The republican congress member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen looked upset last Wednesday because of the legislators who visited Cuba and ignored her “dissidents.”

Thus informed Nora Gámez Torres, New Herald journalist who reports from Miami on the Caribbean nation.

What’s the source of her annoyance? They held meetings with Cuban parliamentarians, but not with the “dissidents.”

The latter have been hurt dearly after the cut of government budget in favor of those groups.

Even the messages from the official representation of Washington in Havana, acknowledge the lack of character they exhibit.

This week, Gámez Torres notified, speaking before the House of Representatives, Ileana challenged those who visited Cuba “frequently”, to go on parades with the so-called Ladies in White.

Who are those famed ladies?

As it has been broadly demonstrated, a group of women who, for money, parade the streets of Havana.

Will they have the courage to accompany them? Ileana insisted, or they just want a quick trip to make Cuba attractive?”

According to Gámez Torres, the comment of the Floridian legislator is a concealed critic to senators Patrick Leahy, Tom Udall, and Michael Bennet, as well as the representative Jim McGovern, who were welcomed in Havana by high-ranking officials.

Meanwhile, she added, Cuba forbade the entrance to its territory to the secretary-general of OAS, Luis Almagro.

Why? Because of the scandalous political adulation towards the United States.

Now Washington had ordered him to grant an award made in U.S.A. in the Cuban capital, a poor pantomime that was rejected.

In this scenario Mrs. Lehtinen denounced the supposed increase of repression in Cuba.

According to the legislator, the victims were, first of all, women and to endorse her version she quoted as source the Freedom House, a NGO that, almost openly handles the CIA.

The tiny congress member for Miami also encouraged Trump to “fulfill his duty” and revise the politics toward Cuba.

A couple of months ago White House spokesmen warned that such process was under close examination.

When recently the multimillionaire president spoke before the two chambers of the Capitol, he didn't mention the matter.

Ileana considers that the president’s statements as well as those of his collaborators hint that the administration is readying “to assume a harder stance” towards its Caribbean neighbor.

Although, experts add, so far the possible changes remain unclear.

That is, it’s a very complex question that takes time, patience, and wisdom.

Meanwhile, Cuba remains calm, without underestimating, not for a minute, the extremely complex circumstances that surround it.

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Turkey Uses Incirlik Air Base to Put Pressure on Washington

Turkey could deny the use of Incirlik Air Base to the United States if Kurdish militias in northern Syria participate in the offensive against Raqqa in the hands of the Islamic State (IS), according to Yeni Safak.

The leak is not official, but Ankara usually uses this large-scale Islamist newspaper to probe and prepare states of opinion, and on this issue it has repeatedly expressed its refusal for the Democratic Union and People's Protection Units (YPG), considered by Turkey terrorist organizations, to participate in the military campaign.

Washington senior officials showed the Turkish government days ago their intention to have Kurdish units in the operation against Raqqa, so today's announcement would be a form of pressure using an air base of strategic importance for the United States in the region.

Incirlik Air Base, near the border with Syria, is used by the international coalition against the IS and it has troops and combat aircraft from 13 NATO countries, in addition to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

However, Ankara also previously denounced the lack of air support by its NATO allies in the cross-border offensive called the Euphrates Shield, directed against the IS in northern Syria and started on 24 August 2016.

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Cuban Business Delegation Holds Meetings in Washington

The Cuban business delegation visiting the USA has continued to hold working meetings here, being the latest with executives of the US Chamber of Commerce (USCC), port authorities and Members of Congress.

The Cuban Embassy in Washington reported that the USCC held a roundtable that was presided over by the Vice President of its Americas division, Jodi Hanson Bond. She had visited Havana in mid-January with the Chamber's Chairman, Thomas j. Donohue, who met President Raul Castro and Finance and Prices Minister Lina Pedraza.

The business delegation also met on Tuesday with Kurt Nagle, Chairman of the American Port Authorities Association, a body that represents 140 ports and 240 maritime providers from Canada, USA, Latin America and the Caribbean. Cuban Ambassador, Jose Ramón Cabañas, wrote in the Embassy's Twitter account that the visitors were welcome at the US Congress where they held a meeting with the Cuba Working Group.

Before those meetings, the Cuban business people spent two days in Virginia where they met the state secretaries of Commerce, Todd Haymore, and Agriculture and Silviculture, Basil Gooden.

There, they also held a meeting with the state Port Authority and attended the presentation of the Virginia chapter of the Engage Cuba coalition that works for lifting the economic, trade and financial blockade that persists after more than 50 years.

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Washington Post Lies to Justify Intervention in Venezuela

The noted Brazilian political scientist and theologian Frei Betto recently said that “the Yankees will do everything so that our continent will go back to being their backyard.”

President Nicolas Maduro, alongside thousands of Venezuelans, participates in an event to commemorate the popular uprising against a 2002 coup, Caracas, Venezuela, April 13, 2016.

Despite the rhetoric about democratic values that emanates from Washington, the U.S. government has always been willing to use any means necessary to impose their will on Latin America. This has often translated into foreign intervention.

But the U.S. public has grown weary of their government's imperialist adventures, which as of late have ended in utter disaster. Washington elites know they must first fool the public into believing that intervention is a necessity.

To accomplish this they turn to private media outlets and their editorial boards, who help drum up support for U.S. intervention in foreign countries.

Enter the latest example: a recent editorial by the Washington Post entitled: “Venezuela is in desperate need of a political intervention.”

This from the same paper that was once vilified by U.S. conservatives for its supposed leftist tilt.

The use of the word intervention is deliberate, the Post knows that the Bolivarian Revolution – started by Hugo Chavez and continued by his successor Nicolas Maduro – still commands enormous support. The Venezuelan people will not simply hand the state back over to the very same politicians that abused the working class for decades.

An intervention done in the name of the Organization of American States, as the editorial calls for, is still imperialist. And it's not just Venezuelans who know it but the whole region, which has seen the OAS used time and again to legitimize the imperialist fancies of the U.S. in the region.

The Post also knows that deceiving their audience sometimes requires outright lies.

Like the New York Times editorial on Venezuela that proceeded the Post's, the editorial team claims that lack of cooperation between the Maduro government and the opposition-controlled National Assembly is entirely the fault of Maduro.

The Post claimed that he “pursued scorched-earth warfare with the National Assembly,” while the Times claimed that it opposition only reluctantly settled on ousting the democratically-elected Maduro from power.

Lies. All of it.

From the moment they were declared the winners of the parliamentary election, the opposition said their goal was ousting Maduro from power.

There was never an opportunity for cooperation between the Venezuelan government and the opposition and the blame for that lies with the opposition. On the day the new parliament was sworn in, Henry Ramos Allup, a leading figure in the opposition, literally ran his finger across his throat to indicate his feelings about the government and its supporters.

Does that sound like a politician interested in dialogue? Hardly unsurprising that the Post would chose to leave that detail out.

But lying through omission isn't enough for the Post editorial board. They fancy themselves legal experts, able to pass judgment on Venezuela's division of powers and the decisions of its Supreme Court.

The Post took issue with the court's decision to rule a highly controversial “amnesty” bill as unconstitutional. This bill doesn't promote amnesty for so-called political prisoners, it affords impunity for people directly responsible for the deaths of dozens.

        

The objective of the opposition's impunity bill was the release of politicians involved in efforts to oust Maduro by force, politicians like Leopoldo Lopez who was found guilty of inciting the violent protests that led to the deaths of 43 people.

Of course the truth doesn't fit their narrative, so the Post brazenly claims that state security forces were largely responsible for the deaths during the 2014 protests. The truth is the vast majority of those killed were either innocent bystanders, government supporters, or state security officials.

It wasn't the state that set up violent blockades, it wasn't the state that strung up barbed wire so that passing motorists would be decapitated, it was Lopez's supporters.

Venezuela is confronting a major economic crisis, that much is true, but the Post doesn't bother with an investigation as to why. No, instead it blames everything on Maduro, including the drought that is affecting Venezuela's ability to produce electricity. The same drought that is causing similar problems in neighboring Colombia. Is that too the fault of Maduro?

Seems as if the Post's editorial board is also gifted with the power of premonition, predicting that the opposition's efforts to prematurely end Maduro's mandate would be declared void.

Media outlets made the same sort of predictions ahead of the 2015 parliamentary elections, claiming that the government would not recognize the results. Of course Maduro immediately recognized the results.

The opposition is free to pursue a recall referendum against Maduro, as they did with Chavez, which they lost. All that Venezuela's electoral authority asks is that they follow the rules, something they seem unable to do.

As for an effort to pass a law to shorten Maduro's term, well even the Post's friends at the Times understands that “it would be hard to justify carrying out that change retroactively when Mr. Maduro was elected for a six-year term.”

Any foreign intervention, even one under the auspices of the OAS, would indeed result the kind of intense scenes the Post describes, but it would come as a result of millions of Venezuelans hitting the streets to reject it.

Venezuelans, and more broadly speaking Latin Americans, have lived through an era where the shackles of imperialism have been shed. They will not allow the region to become the backyard of the United States ever again.

Indiscreet Editorial of Las Americas Newspaper?

Partially financed by the Cuban-Venezuelan far right-wing of Miami, it approached the current politics of Washington towards Havana.

It did it in an editorial where it suggests that its essential purpose is to impose a régime change.

Such writing was published on Thursday entitled “Obama, Castro and the Embargo.”

It affirms that the new meeting between “ruler” Castro and president Obama, now in New York, left to many mouths opened.

On one side, it adds, Cuba demanding among other matters the end of what the editorial calls embargo.

On the other hand, Obama defending to eliminate a policy that has failed in more than 50 years.

It is worth clarifying that it did pay off thanks to those who have promoted it in Washington and Miami: its huge diplomatic isolation in that topic.

The first voting of the UN General Assembly on the “blockade to Cuba” took place in 1992 and it would repeat with that message for 20 of its yearly sessions until 2014.

In that first year, 57 countries rejected it and about twelve months ago 188 did the same, while Washington, supported by Israel, remained as main supported.

A detail worth mentioning is that never during that UN period has used the term “embargo” to substitute the most exact term “blockade”.

Now it’s speculated that after the well known gradual approach between Cuba and United States, the White House could abstain in the coming voting of the United Nations on this issue.

Las Americas newspaper point out that apparently Obama and Raúl coincide, but there’s a great difference between them on how to achieve the same objective.

Seemingly the Cuban régime conquered in the last days, but Obama insists “that only his strategy has changed to take a future of progress and human rights to the people of Cuba”, adds the editorial.

It reads that it’s a politics where the régime from Havana attempts to keep the cave in darkness or with a dim light.

At the same time, according to the article, the United States shows Cubans that the world “is full of light and opportunities.”

How to assess the meaning of those words amid the everyday tragedy of so many millions of inhabitants in the planet?

Simply, like a slap to human intelligence, a mock to the doomed of the Earth.

Just that blundered criterion strips from all seriousness everything written up to that point and what comes afterwards.

Like when they insist in the version that Washington has given plenty to Cuba without receiving something in return, mistake, firstly they would have to lift the blockade.

Then it resorts to a more aggressive approach when it outlines that in the long run “there won't be anyone capable to contain the huge influence that the most powerful nation in the world through its “soft power.”

The Editorial Staff of Las Americas finished with a sentence that strips naked all that insinuates very clearly:

“There isn’t a strong rock for soft waves.”

Hence, the forewarned war circling above Cubans bare its fangs wider enveloped in silk.

And Las Americas Newspaper, unlike others, strips it naked, untimed, and brutally.

Will any official or propagandist spokesman from Washington dare to deny it? The ball is in their turf.

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