No Illusions in Cuba about the Democrats
The world’s eyes and ears are often focused on signals from Washington but few countries leaders and general population pay more attention to the White House than Cubans.
The reasons are many. At the end of the nineteenth century, Cuban national hero Jose Marti warned of the emerging US expansion beyond its borders and specifically its interest in controlling Cuba. History proved him all too right.
The US successfully thwarted Cuba’s real independence after the bloody war of liberation against the island’s Spanish colonizers. When what is called in Havana the “pseudo” republic was declared in 1902, Cuba changed hands from Spain to the US. This took place at the same time when Puerto Rico and the Philippines were forced under the wing of the eagle.
When history took a 180-degree turn in 1959, with the coming of the Cuban revolution, the truly sovereign nation immediately had a powerful unrelenting enemy to the north.
Forty-five years later little has changed. The US, by way of ten different administrations, has used all but one of its cards to try and turn back the clock. Hundreds of assassination attempts on the Cuban president and other top officials, sabotage, biological warfare, and a financial, commercial and economical blockade have resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and countless billions of dollars in damages and has kept the country from reaching its true potential.
Cuba is currently facing another round of stepped-up sanctions, imposed by the Bush administration to try and get it to cry uncle to Sam. The measures are designed to stifle contacts between the Cuban and US people, punish Cuban families with members on both sides of the Florida Straights, damage the local economy and greatly increases funding to promote subversion on the island.
Last Sunday, the president of the Cuban parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, was interviewed on nationwide TV on his observations about Michael Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, currently showing in local cinemas and having aired three times on national TV.
Like Moore, the Cuban leadership has no illusions about the Democrats. Of the ten US presidents that have maintained a hostile policy on the island, four were Democrats.
While saying he will relax travel restrictions and some business contacts, candidate Kerry has already stated he will maintain the blockade and continue efforts to overthrow the Cuban government and its socialist system.
Nonetheless, popular Cuban thought is similar to Moore’s contention that Bush has got to go. He’s just too dangerous for everyone.
While Moore clearly states he wouldn’t vote for Kerry and his film hits the Demos hard for their complicity with Bush’s war on terrorism (Iraq, Afghanistan, the US people) he does say he hopes his film will help dethrone the president. It is in fact the first time that a documentary could play such a role.
However, while highly praising its contribution towards influencing the course of events, Alarcon, a longtime expert on US-Cuban affairs, told the national TV audience that it is uncertain whether Fahrenheit 9/11 can make the difference to cast the die away from Bush.
He noted that despite the film’s impact, when movie goers leave the theaters the 24-hour a day barrage they receive from a complacent mainstream media and its rallying around the president may be too much.
Just under three months before the elections the outcome is still unclear, a technical dead heat in the polls. Bush is still remarkably strong despite breaching the trust put in him by the US people on the reasons for going to war, his handling of 9/11, his anti-environment policy and his unabashed favoring of the country’s wealthiest.
Nonetheless, while very few people in Cuba favor a continuing of the Bush family dynasty they have no illusions on what a victory by the Kerry-Edwards ticket might mean for US-Cuba relations.