Tag Archive: cuba

I don’t really need to explain my opposition to the illegal Cuban blockade to most readers here I am sure.  There are a great many reasons over a great period of time that go to expose the USA government’s double standards and hypocrisy,  some are more baffling than others but none more so perhaps in terms of petulance at the very least than the embargo preventing Cuba from being able to play in its first international cricket tournament.  

The basic situation is that since the tournament is funded by an American businessman, Allen Stanford (a Texan billionaire) he must seek approval from the US government in order to obtain “permission” to enter into a commercial arrangement with Cuba.  This permission was denied by the US government on Tuesday. Leaving aside the fact that the US government must still be smarting from its humiliating baseball defeats to the Cubans and consequently have probably been looking for an opportunity to get their own back for ages, one is struck by the ludicrous futility of such an action.  It is hardly likely to keep Raúl Castro awake at nights the fact that his flanneled boys will not be able to take the field against the other Caribbean island nations in Antigua in January.  In fact the only ones it is likely to effect is the Cubans who might be in the squad to play and the growth of the sport in Cuban schools.  It is of course possible that the US government think that cricket, rather than being a sport, is some elaborate oil agreement…  In truth this is likely to be a way for the US to derail Cuban attempts to be more allied and affiliated with other Caribbean nations, Cuba became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council in 2002.  

Such a move would further entrench the Cuban move away from a more US-centric and dominated way of life something that the emigrées in Miami are likely to feel most strongly about. Initially cricket development was slow in Cuba (there was a history of games in the early 20th century brought by workers in the sugar industry but it had largely died out in recent times up to the early 1990’s) partially because with it not being an Olympic sport there was not the chance to play and humiliate the US as had been done with baseball, however support came from covert Alberto Juantorena, the former double gold-medallist at 400m and 800m, and now Leona Ford, a Babajan, is now President of the Commission of Rescue and Development of Cricket in Cuba, and now enjoys the support of the state sports ministry. There are now around 500 players including those in Havana and this easily outnumbers Bermuda who recently participated in the ICC World Cup. Cricket is being taught in 13 of Cuba’s 15 provinces and more than 20 teams took part in a national under-15 tournament in 2006, former Indian One-day all rounder Robin Singh, himself Caribbean-born, travelled to Cuba in 2007 forming a coaching team to train young players.

Cuban regime critics have noted that there is prize money at stake in the Stanford 20/20 competition as if this somehow exonerates the US government’s ridiculous decision. However they of course make no mention that in October this year the UN voted for the 16th successive year to recommend that the US stops its blockade of Cuba. The vote was 184 to 4 against with one abstention. The 4 votes were the US, Israel, Palau and the Marshal Islands with the abstention being Micronesia. Interestingly Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands all obtained independence from US-administered UN protectorates and have since signed a Compact of Free Association. In 2003, the Compacts between the RMI and FSM were renewed for 20 years (Palau’s does not expire until 2009) and this provided US$3.5 billion in funding for both nations. This is a useful gauge to tell us exactly what the purchasable value of a UN vote is. [The combined population of these 3 territories is 191,305, add this to the estimated 303,018,000 in the US and 7,184,000 in Israel to get 310,393,305. Naturally this would not compare favourably with the population of all the countries against the blockade which stands at 6,360,832,695 but I’m no expert in democracy, and neither, clearly is the US government!] (If you’re interested the $3.5billion equates to a subsidy of $20,532 per person in the 2 territories but one must conceivably offset the fact that the area in the Marshall Islands was where the US tested its largest atomic weaponry.)

According to the Daily Telegraph (which must find itself in something of a quandry here!) Cuban cricketers are, like most converts from baseball, exceptional fielders and catchers, but have a tendency to bend the arm when bowling, drop their bats when running and cannot quite get the hang of the extra-cover drive! As a long-standing advocat and practitioner of the extra-cover drive I find that once again my support is for the Cubans in their endeavours against the evil Yanqui.

Song Of The Day ~ Pink Floyd – High Hopes


I read Danne the Infidel’s entry on Communism and it got me to thinking that there are perhaps a great deal of people who if they scratch the surface have never sought to deconstruct the morass of all the propaganist bollocks we have been fed from the height of the Cold War onwards about Communism and what are described as “Communist countries.” Even to the point of Communism now benefitting from people using Kazaa to download mp3s. Thank you guys, I don’t know exactly what you’re doing for the cause but if it helps Communism then cheers anyway! I am genuinely no expert on Communism nor the 3 countries below per sé, but being fairly political, not to mention priding myself on being something of a difficult bastard I do try where possible to get know some stuff from outside the box of what is the usual peddled party line. I was always rather fascinated with East Germany and Russia from the mid 80s onwards and took whatever opportunity to study as such. Much of what I have found has done nothing more complicated than the expounding of some rather obvious myths. I hope it may be of use and perhaps if I’m lucky spark further debate.

Danne cites the examples of China, Cuba and Venezuela as his 3 countries to observe and how there is the paradox of China being tolerated by some whilst others are lambasted for purportedly having the same ideological system. The fact is of course that they do not have the same ideological system at all.

Of course China is not really a Commmunist country by any definition but it is a country with huge economic potential because of the bigest internal market in the world, much of which has remained largely untapped by Western companies until very recently. As a result of this latent economic energy China is not only a very lucrative market for the West but also one that they are very scared of. After all if they don’t get in early enough not only will they miss out on the chance to make huge sums of money but they may also find themselves marginalised by stronger forces from within China itself. The US has not made China its most favoured trading nation because it wishes to help the Chinese people but like all the US policies because it is good for the US.

Take Google as an example, a company founded on the ethos of “Don’t do evil,” a company that has stood up for the anonimity of its users in the face of the US government, the same company that has cow-towed to the Chinese government when it came a-calling to campaign for the continuation of the Great Firewall of China and the consequent censorship of non-expedient material.

Cuba is a very different example, Cuba does not have vast economic wealth, but it is a constant thorn in the Americans side because it is right on their doorstep and doesn’t tow the line. A country and a Presidente who has resisted attempts to oust him for many decades is an embarrassment for the US, like the small kid that’s too fast for the bully to catch up with. Cuba is also an example of how outside of the global capitalist system and burdened by repressive illegal sanctions imposed by the US and despite grinding poverty it is possible to create a world-class health system for all citizens. After all America the richest country in the world doesn’t have that. However Cuba is not a Communist country nor Castro a Communist leader. One must bear in mind that the revolution which removed the pro-US dictator Fulgencio Batista was led principally by an alliance of Communists such as Ché Guevarra and included groups such as Castro and his supporters rather than being made up solely from them. In fact the US approach is summed up by Robert Lovett, member of the Eisenhower’s Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities who said in response to a debate which had drawn no clear conclusion as to whether Castro was a Communist, “Well it really doesn’t matter, does it? He acts like one.” The US is scared by Cuba because their system has survived so long and whilst flawed is certainly no more flawed than the US’ system itself. Castro’s seizure of power in fact owes a great deal to the US because it was the wholesale exploitation of Cuban resources, especially sugar, by US businesses that made the overthrow of Batista both possible and popular. Castro in fact visited the US after coming to power but the Whitehouse refused to meet or acknowledge him. The Soviet Union on the other hand was considerably more cordial and Castro was given a warm reception. Small wonder that in such a climate Fidel chooses to favour co-operation with the latter rather than the former.

It is not only an economic blockade that the US has imposed illegally on Cuba, the news blackout has been perhaps more effective certainly from a pan-global perspective. Let us think back to the Cuban Missile Crisis, an illuminative example when you consider that the common misconception is that US actions and diplomacy averted the degeneration of US-Soviet relations into a third world war. In fact the truth is less palatable to the US administration concerned and subsequent incumbants, far better to continue the propaganda machine and make Kennedy out to be the hero. The reason, we are generally given in the West, was that in response to Soviet aggression and the placement of nuclear warheads in Cuba the Kennedy administration managed to persuade Nikita Krushchev to back down. This convenient interpretation of events neglects to mention the US act of massive military stationing on the Russian backdoor across the Eastern frontier of West Germany not to mention missiles in US airbases in Italy and Turkey aimed at Russian targets. Only with the Soviet missiles stationed in Cuba in 1962 would the balance in fact be redressed and US cities brought into the potential firing line of any nuclear strike. Kennedy is cited as having made the Soviets turn back their ships and this is deemed to be a climb-down by the Soviets due to Kennedy’s strong actions. There are many events at the time which do not support this version of history such as the fact that far from the complete averting of military operations Kennedy allowed USAF planes to fly low over Cuba to see if a response could be provoked, it was Castro’s decision to consult with Krushchev and Krushchev’s decision to insist that no retalitory action was to be taken that proved to be crucial in avoiding any escalation of the conflict. From the US perspective Krushchev did abandon the plans for the nuclear base on Cuba but it is mentioned far less that in return Krushchev negociated the withdrawl of US nuclear weapns from Turkey.

Chavez and Venezuela is another different example because Chavez does not rule entirely by dictat, he has, for the Americans at least, the rather irritating habit of winning elections, they hate that, it is tantamount to them being played at their own game. Venezuela is double trouble for the US for the following reasons: Firstly oil, the black gold rears it head again and we all know what the US will do for that end, Iraq is testament to that. The second is that the US is very sceptical of the Central and South America region because it has proven to be something of a bete-noir for decades and persistently elects left-wing anti-US interventionist governments which the US then has to get rid of. Chavez is the latest in a long line of illustrious Latin American leaders that have stood against the US and its interests in favour of the people they have been elected to represent. Chavez is against the Washington consensus and openly states he is anti-imperialist. Those slippery Hispanics, how dare they take this democracy game so bloody literally!

Most of Chavez’s detractors are the external industrialists who are hardly excelling in helping Latin America’s empoverished in the many countries where they are still welcomed, the other group is the Venezuelan upper and middle classes, who again have something of a poor record when one bears in mind the parlous state of Venezuelan healthcare, education and food provision before Chavez’s election in 1998. Rather like the media blackout on Castro and the Cuban regime objective information about Chavez isn’t especially easy to find from conventional news sources and the US press in particular are vitriolic in their condemnation of the Chavez regime and quick to publicise the criticism from any of his detractors but not so ready to acknowledge that he might have some support. You can find an article here by a guy working for the BBC in Venezuela who details just how selective media coverage has been.

The moral of the story, I don’t know, all that’s red is not Communism, timeo Americanos et dona ferentes, Yanqui press is lies all lies. Take your pick really, I don’t think I need to try to impress upon people to take what they read with a strong pinch of salt no matter what source it comes from but don’t be surprised to find that so much of what you’ve heard and read may not quite be what it purported to be.

Song Of The Day ~ The Von Bondies – Tell Me What You See

I was moved to action by our old friends the septics again. I had planned to leave the Test Card up until I was able to have my pictures back which are pending the resolution of a minor ‘financial hitch’! But I couldn’t let this one lie and it’s not a surprise the Americans don’t seem to respect their own Christmas tradition of goodwill to all men but then at least they’re not hypocritical since they don’t adhere to that policy throughout the rest of the year so why bother now?!

The case is point has so many ironic undertones it could only be the Americans who were responsible because no one else would have the barefaced cheek to tough it out. I don’t know how much coverage this item has got globally but I refer to the case of the American Interests Section within the Swiss Embassy in Havana. The BBC story is here. This institution has adorned its premises with flamboyant neon flashing christmas decorations in a peacock like display reminiscent of cold war Berlin. In addition to the usual christmas-like items they have included a neon ‘75’ which is to represent 75 people that in their opinion have been wrongly incarcerated in Cuba. The spokesman claimed this was designed to be a thought-provoking gesture rather than an inflammatory one. The building is situated on one of the main streets in Havana. The spokesman also asserted that since these were diplomatic premises they were US property and they had every right to display what they wished.

Diplomacy – di·plo·ma·cy.
1. The art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties, and agreements.
2. Tact and skill in dealing with people. See Synonyms at tact.
[Dictionary definition taken from dictionary.com]

Perhaps ‘gunboat diplomacy’ would be a more appropriate term:

n : diplomacy in which the nations threaten to use force in order to obtain their objectives. [dictionary.com]

To use diplomats or diplomatic premises as agit-prop is to be honest hypocrisy of cynical proportions, whilst it is no shock that it is being done to do so added to the banner of what is almost a global holiday period beggars belief.

My friends, I could not have invented a better example of why we, the rest of the world, hate the United States of America and all it’s corporately corrupted government stands for.

No mention was made of the fact that whilst the American Government CIA American Interests Section disagrees with the judgement of the Cuban authorities regarding the trial of these 75 people, there are on the American-controlled part of the very same island some hundreds of people who have not even been afforded the dignity of a trial nor to know the charges on which they are being held, nor been able to consult with lawyers or communicate without censure with their family. Will these men, guilty at the moment of nothing more than geographical and ethnic misfortune, be allowed home for christmas? (I know they are muslims I suspect they’d still be grateful to be released as would their families. Call it a gesture of goodwill in a time of goodwill to ALL men – would you like a dictionary definition of all?!)

I can only hope that the Cuban authorities will now put neon signs with the number of detainees in Guantanamo Bay [549 as of 22/09/04 according to Globalsecurity.org, or the number detained in Abu Ghraib and other jails in Iraq, or the number of times the US has defied the UN by refusing to lift the blockade on Cuba, or the number of military and covert operations the US has conducted on another country’s sovereign soil. Perhaps they should rebut the 75 with a large flashing ‘61 the year of the Bay of Pigs scandal where the US government attempted a coup d’etat on the Cuban government.

I hope now that embassies across America will fly the flags of Cuba, Palestine, Iraq, East Timor, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador etc. etc. I feel this would be very thought-provoking and I cannot see how it might constitute anything that may inflame.

Song Of The Day – Kings Of Leon – Joe’s Head

Original Comments:

Rachel made this comment,
*First comment*
It’s about time you hopped back in the game. But why haven’t the pictures shown up again? Are you late in payment or something?

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comment added :: 16th December 2004, 01:52 GMT+01
Mark Ellott made this comment,
Sometimes the sheer barefaced effrontery beggars belief.
Visit me @ http://longrider.blog-city.com

comment added :: 16th December 2004, 09:10 GMT+01
Danny the Infidel made this comment,
On Cuba and USA; Yes USA are in general some scumbags in the way they act and have acted in Latin American, and they are right out stupid in there treatment of the Cuban revolution. USA also have people incarcerated, against all civil and laws and the laws of war.
However, two wrongs don’t equals a right.
How vesselsy, intolerant, dictatorial and plain stupid USA have been against Cube, Castro is still a undemocratic, dictatorial traitor of the Socialist revolution.
I think he did the right thing way back when he booted out Batista, but why, WHY during all this years have he not talked or even hinted anything about the most important socialist reform of them all? the introduction of democracy.
I know the excuse of course, ‘Cuba are under the threat of occupation of the number-one enemy, the imperialists in USA, so maybe later my friends’, and it may even be true, or at least it was, but he could still have made democratic reforms long ago. Or does he not trust the Cuban people to make the right and obvious choice. To me it is a bit like in Orwells ‘Animal Farm’, where the liberator take on the face of the oppressors the just evicted from power.
As I see it Castro start making democratic reform, or USA will eventually come out as both moral and defacto winners of this cold war.

For the thing with the neon sign, what did you expect. People in the American foreign department seam to have grown up watching Rambo and Gilligans Island. They are subtle as elephants in a porcelain store. You are talking about a nation that ones had a president saying “My fellow Americans, I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” on National TV. I suspect that the neon sign backfired?

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[Redbaron responds – Well dealing with the incarceration first I have far less information regarding the cases in Cuba to be able to assess the compentency of the Cuban judiciary.

On Castro he isn’t really a traitor to the revolution in so far as he never was a communist -that is merely propaganda from the US to get people to hate him. As regards democracy no Cuba is hardly the cradle for it, can you name me a country that is?

The USA will never will the moral high ground because as the large bullish aggressive country they do not have the moral high ground to take. They have shown all over the world that they are not concerned with the will of the people where this conflicts with the will of the US govt.

The neon sign only surprises me in the gall of the office responsible for being so tunnel-visioned in their single-mindedness. It made for a good blog entry as an example to our septic friends across the water as to why the rest of the world has such animosity toward the US administration.]

comment added :: 16th December 2004, 19:46 GMT+01
Diogenes made this comment,
I don’t see how you can say Castro is not Communist, this is just US propaganda, when he has openly proclaimed he is since establishing ties with the USSR after the Revolution. (Of course you can debate the definitions of communism and democracy, but that’s not the point – it’s not an American invention.)
The US ambassador seems to be ignoring the fact that in return for diplomatic immunity he is not supposed to get involved in the country’s politics. Of course the whole thing’s a stunt and any reaction by Castro is grist to the propaganda mill.

Visit me @ http://diogenes.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – On your 2nd point I agree entirely but on the first I do not. Castro has never claimed to be a communist per se. He was the leader of a popular revolution most of which was based on a communist ideal but he himself is not. The US propaganda has been the attempt to tar him with the communist brush because throughout the Cold War this was the ‘enemy’ and to make out there was a communist state right in their own back yard gave them the pretext to attempt invasions, coups and covert CIA ops. I see Castro in some ways more as Lenin said of a move to communism which is that you need something in between to make the transition.]

comment added :: 19th December 2004, 04:24 GMT+01
Pimme made this comment,
Any form of leadership today is tainted by favoritism, bad judgement, and general stupidity. The “do as we say, but not as we do” thing is also rampant.
Sounds like the embassy wanted to stir things up!

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comment added :: 20th December 2004, 02:07 GMT+01
Diogenes made this comment,
Well, Castro’s party is called the Communist Party of Cuba (though he only adopted this after the Revolution). See http://www.pcc.cu if you don’t believe me.
Visit me @ http://diogenes.blog-city.com

[Redbaron responds – Yes it is but then so was Stalin and Brezhnev’s party in Russia and in East Germany it was the Socialist Unity party this doesn’t mean that the policies they carried out lived up to that billing tho’. Castro is a shrewd operator and many of us respect him for it. It maybe that to preserve Cuba in the current climate his way is right, that’s a different debate, and he is to be supported against the US without question but Communist he is not.]

comment added :: 22nd December 2004, 05:16 GMT+01
Diogenes made this comment,
OK, as I said in my first post, there are 2 separate issues. The 1st is what is Communism – this you can debate. For that matter, I don’t think America has lived up to the ideals of its revolution. The 2nd issue, which I was responding to, is your claim that it is (false) ‘US propaganda’ that Castro is a Communist. No, it is Castro propaganda! And in the context of the Cold War, yes, Cuba was allied with the USSR, so US propaganda was correct to say this. This is no way justifies their attacks on Cuba.
comment added :: 22nd December 2004, 23:13 GMT+01