The Party for Socialism and Liberation joins with the Cuban people and people throughout the world in expressing our jubilation over the release of the last three remaining members of the Cuban Five.
The Cuban Five have been imprisoned for 16 years. They are revolutionaries who remained steadfast in U.S. prisons. At great sacrifice, they exposed and derailed operations of CIA-trained counterrevolutionary terrorists operating from within the territory of the United States.
Their arrest 16 years ago was one more expression of the nonstop war carried out by U.S. imperialism against the Cuban Revolution. Today they are free because of their own personal strength, the support they received from their families and the Cuban people, and from the truly worldwide movement that has engaged in activities on all continents demanding that they be set free.
At the same time that they were released, the Obama administration issued a far-reaching announcement that it intended to normalize relations with Cuba. It used executive authority to ease some onerous restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba. It announced with Cuba its intention to establish formal diplomatic relations, including the establishment of embassies in Washington, D.C., and Havana.
Left in place, subject to congressional action, is the economic blockade of Cuba. Having endured more than a half-century of blockade and facing almost constant threats from imperialism, the Cuban government considers today’s announcement to be a positive step.
We in the PSL, who have campaigned relentlessly to free the Cuban Five; to indict and/or extradite Luis Posada-Carriles and other CIA-backed terrorists and end the blockade of Cuba, congratulate the Cuban Revolution for forcing the U.S. government to alter its decades-long strategy.
The Cuban Revolution has survived in spite of all odds because of the profound leadership offered by Fidel and Raul Castro and the Cuban Communist Party. Having lost its main allies and trading partners following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Socialist Bloc countries, Cuba’s revolutionary leadership demonstrated absolute determination in adhering to its socialist principles while introducing tactical flexibility and innovations allowing the revolution to survive.
Moreover, during these past two difficult decades, Cuba’s steadfastness has been the anchor for a Latin-America wide shift in politics. The revolutionary alliance of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and and other countries known as ALBA was a consequence not only of the determination of the movements inside those countries, but also based on the experience and solidarity provided by the Cuban Revolution.
In today’s historic shift, the U.S. government has, for the first time, announced its intention to establish formal diplomatic relations with a revolutionary government that it sought to drown in blood or subvert through a combination of economic war and terrorism. It is above all else a testament to the growing isolation of U.S. imperialism in Latin America and the growing significance of Cuba’s role in the continent-wide shift to the left.
While we welcome this development, while all revolutionaries in Cuba and throughout Latin America, and indeed throughout the world, should welcome this latest development, it would be naïve to believe that it represents a true recognition by the Empire of Cuba’s right to determine its own destiny and to sustain its revolutionary and socialist path.
In fact, the Obama administration represents one current or trend within the imperialist establishment that seeks to undermine Cuba and subvert the revolutionary process, and ultimately to carry out the destruction of socialism but by means other than the failed policies of the past half century.
Cuba, of course, with a revolutionary leadership that has weathered so many storms and been required to navigate in a tense and troubled world environment, has no illusions about the intentions of imperialism. In fact, there is no other leadership in the world more capable of dealing with the forces of imperialism than the Cuban government and the Communist Party of Cuba.
The White House fact sheet introduced today is filled with language suggesting that the opening to Cuba is designed both to undermine the Cuban government and, perhaps equally or even more importantly, to overcome imperialism’s growing isolation in the context of Latin America:
“It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. At times, longstanding U.S. policy towards Cuba has isolated the United States from regional and international partners, constrained our ability to influence outcomes throughout the Western Hemisphere, and impaired the use of the full range of tools available to the United States to promote positive change in Cuba. Though this policy has been rooted in the best of intentions, it has had little effect—today, as in 1961, Cuba is governed by the Castros and the Communist party.
“We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. It does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse. We know from hard-learned experience that it is better to encourage and support reform than to impose policies that will render a country a failed state. With our actions today, we are calling on Cuba to unleash the potential of 11 million Cubans by ending unnecessary restrictions on their political, social, and economic activities. In that spirit, we should not allow U.S. sanctions to add to the burden of Cuban citizens we seek to help.
“Today, we are renewing our leadership in the Americas. …”
The last line, “Today, we are renewing our leadership in the Americas,” is a full recognition by the Obama White House that imperialism’s efforts to strangle, subvert and crush Cuba have not only failed, but have led to increasing isolation for the Empire. From their point of view, this is a tactical realignment to continue carrying out the war not only against Cuba, but against Bolivia, Venezuela and the other venues of revolutionary struggle. In fact, the U.S. government has, at the same time, imposed new sanctions against the Venezuelan government and is looking for any and all opportunities to destabilize and subvert all other leftist governments in Latin America.
This is well-known not only to Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Brazil and other countries, but to people throughout Latin America. It does not diminish one bit that the change announced by the U.S. government today should be considered a victory for the Cuban Revolution and for all the revolutionary peoples of the Americas.
Until 1959, Cuba was a highly profitable neo-colony of the U.S. The real aim of every administration since 1959—whether Democrat or Republican—has been to return Cuba to that super-exploited status.
Our job here in the United States, in the belly of the beast, is to deepen and widen the solidarity movement with Cuba, with Venezuela and with the struggling people of Latin America. Like them, we must deepen the struggle to end the blockade of Cuba and to expose every maneuver and machination of imperialism.
What Latin American revolutionary process needs from people in North America are not lectures or policy suggestions, but real life in-the-streets solidarity demonstrating that the people of North America and the people of South America share a common enemy.
We salute the Cuban Five and their families. We pay tribute to the Cuban and revolutionary forces whose determination to remain independent of imperialism and build socialism is a source of inspiration to people throughout the planet.