17-07-2021: Here we go again. Following in the footsteps of numerous “colour revolutions”, destabilisations and outright subversion in multiple countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, now it is Cuba’s turn. As always, regime change operations such as these can ultimately be traced back to one source – US imperialism and their allies. The “#SOSCUBA” demonstrations throughout the island 144 kilometres south of Florida last week had an openly anti-socialist and anti-government character, regardless of a number of economic difficulties Cuba is currently facing. Some placards read “Down with Communism!” and “Down with the Dictator!”, revealing once and for all their counter-revolutionary political character. Workers internationally need to be aware that the US Empire is continually fostering and fomenting regime change within Cuba, via the funding of ultra-reactionary dissidents on the island, and through similar operations in the USA itself.
US funded sabotage
US coup-installed President Joe Biden wasted no time in throwing his support behind the ultra-right wing protests in Cuba. He indicated that Cubans had taken to the streets to protest food shortages and high prices amid the (so-called) “pandemic”. He waffled that the Cuban people are “demanding their freedom from an authoritarian regime”. The rhetoric about protesting food shortages and high prices is simply a cover from both Biden and his proxies for deep-seated anti-socialism. The US state itself spares little expense in putting in fuelling any legitimate discontent towards regime change, ever since Cuba’s socialist revolution in 1959. In the weeks before the July 11 protests, the US State Department asked for $30 million for “democracy promotion” in Cuba, i.e., regime change operations. This is on top of a current tally of $10 million to “identify and promote the next generation of Civil Society leaders” – in other words the current protest leaders themselves.
On July 6, US congressional bill H.R. 4373 was passed, which allots $9.7 million for the US Agency for Global Media. This arm runs the notorious Voice of America media outlet, which broadcasts anti-socialist propaganda daily around the world. It also runs Radio y Television Marti, which beams anti-Cuban government media directly into the island from Miami in Florida. There is some evidence that anti-Cuban messaging was being co-ordinated even before the protests in Cuba, aided and abetted by Twitter. The Big Tech titan, which has censored thousands of accounts over the past 18 months during the fear pandemic, also has a history of shutting down Cuban government and Cuban media accounts. In other words, the July 11 protests in Cuba were planned with the help of the Empire.
The cost of the blockade
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the CIA arm which works full-time on regime change operations, admits that it provided “critical support to advance democracy” in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela during 2020. Needless to say, the NED never “advances democracy”, however that may be defined, but constantly works to overthrow any nation which attempts any inkling of independence from Washington. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez argued in favour of a US military intervention in Cuba, and even suggested it should consider bombing as a part of such efforts. Although sounding ludicrous, it is only political realities that prevents Washington from carrying this out. That is, if it was true that the Cuban government was a dictatorial regime that the overwhelming majority deeply resented, a US military intervention may not cause an outcry. Of course, however, pro-US dissidents in Cuba are certainly there – but are only a small minority.
Indeed, since the anti-government protests, there have been a series of pro-government and pro-revolution demonstrations in response. In fact, footage of some of the largest pro-government rallies in Cuba was falsely used by the Western corporate media to promote an anti-government agenda. The Guardian, Fox News, Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Times and Voice of America were all caught in this act of blatant dishonesty. Some of the rallies featured the red and black flag of the July 26 Movement (J26M), the organisation which Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and others formed in the course of the Cuban revolution, and parts of which later became the governing Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). Obviously, thousands of supporters of J26M would be pro-revolution, not pro-imperialism!
There is no doubt that Cuba is dealing with formidable economic difficulties, which cause shortages of some supplies and utilities like electricity. Where electricity needs to be “rationed”, the hospitals and other vital services are prioritised. However, overwhelmingly the main cause of the economic travails is the economic blockade imposed on Cuba by the US government ever since 1962. In 2002, the Cuban government estimated it loses $685 million annually due to the embargo. A 2008 estimate claimed that the blockade had cost Cuba $93 billion in lost revenue. These losses are not just one way. It is estimated that US businesses forego $2 billion in trade annually that could be made if travel and commerce with Cuba was allowed by the US government. Washington makes a calculation that some economic losses are subordinate to the overall political goal of demonising socialism in Cuba.
Socialism on one island
The Republic of Cuba, however, remains a bureaucratically deformed workers’ state which is politically led by a conservative and nationalist caste. This means the PCC assiduously applies the mistaken Stalinist policies of “socialism in one country” and “peaceful coexistence with imperialism” – even at the same time as bravely defending their outstanding achievements. Instead of reaching out to workers of Latin America, the Caribbean and internationally, the PCC leadership restricts much of its internationalism to sharply limited diplomacy with the capitalist and imperialist states of the West. Instead of at least politically aiming for international socialism, the PCC and their backers effectively attempt to construct “socialism on one island” – a bare impossibility. Socialism, at the very least, is about the world’s resources for the world’s people, which can only begin to come about with the working-class holding state power in the major industrialised nations and regions of the planet.
To maintain “socialism on one island”, the nationalist caste leading Cuba cooperates with and helps prop-up capitalist imperialism internationally. “Marxism” is tossed out of the window in favour of diplomatic recognition by the very world powers which plot their overthrow. The most graphic illustration of this practice is the PCC’s capitulation to the Covid fear pandemic, which in practice is the most severe assault on the global working class in history. The PCC act as if the same imperialists which seek to destroy everything they have achieved since 1959 are somehow at the same time highly concerned about the health and welfare of the poorest people on the planet. Through acting as stagehands for the Covid pantomime, the PCC have betrayed their own workers and have simultaneously boosted imperialist political control over the working class throughout the globe.
So eager was the PCC to assist imperialism it enacted measures which harmed Cuba’s economy. They imposed lockdowns and facemasks on March 20, 2020, and on March 24, they closed their borders to tourism – one of the lifebloods of the economy. Lockdowns, facemasks and border shutdowns have not one shred of scientific or medical legitimacy – but the PCC prodded Cuba’s famed medicos to play along with the Covid charade. The nonsensical Covid restrictions forced Cuba’s economy to retract by 11% in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In a country which struggles economically at the best of times, this was a body blow.
The Cuban government has displayed a form of selfless internationalism in the past with regard to its international deployments of doctors and health professionals. Many Third World nations have benefited from this largesse, and workers internationally have correctly applauded this practice. However, the dispatching of the Henry Reeve Brigade to 50 nations to deal with “Covid” – a mild flu if it exists at all – can only be condemned. Similarly, Cuba’s development of Covid vaccines is another stab in the back to workers struggling against the tyranny and oppression of lockdowns worldwide.
By adopting the Covid language, methods and practice of imperialism itself, the nationalist caste leading Cuba have bolstered the political stocks of the US Empire even as it wages a life and death struggle against the workers of the world. It has contributed to some confusion amongst some workers who claim to be anti-imperialist and carry out some level of Cuba solidarity. If the Cuban government is on board with Covid – they wrongly figure – then Covid must be a deadly plague. The opposite is the case, as Covid is merely the ideological cover utilised by imperialism to camouflage its descent into a new and historically more dangerous form of fascism. That the PCC have assisted in this disastrous step towards the “New Normal” speaks volumes as to the depth of its betrayal.
In a similar vein, the nationalist castes at the head of other deformed workers’ states have played a similarly treacherous role. The political leaderships of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have all joined with the Western governments in a vast deception of their own working class, as well as the workers of the world. The Communist Party of China (CPC) arguably led the way, being the first government to impose Covid lockdowns – albeit only in one city, and only for a period of around two months. The DPRK’s government immediately shutdown its borders in response to Covid, and this has led to significant economic difficulties. The DPRK’s main and important trading partner is the PRC, but during the lockdowns, trade with the PRC plummeted by 80%. The SRV faired better in an economic sense, and still managed to post an impressive 5.64% GDP growth figure recently, despite its partial imposed lockdowns.
Hands Off Cuba!
It is of vital importance that workers internationally demand the lifting of the blockade and embargo on Cuba, and an end to US state meddling through the funding and fostering of anti-socialist sabotage. At the same time, Cuba today is a living refutation of the twin Stalinist policies of “socialism in one country” and “peaceful coexistence”. Even if a workers’ state scrupulously respects the boundaries of the Empire outside it, imperialism will never return an ounce of respect. Imperialism is the expansionist policy of finance capital, and capital must expand beyond national boundaries as soon as it has saturated the home market. Or, it reaches a saturation point when it has so impoverished the majority of its working class at home that it must embark on diabolical adventures to intervene and/or overthrow other countries which are not totally open to its exploitation. In Cuba, this is the basic reason for the 60-year blockade, the ban on US travel, the fomenting of anti-socialist dissent, and so on.
While a victorious socialist revolution in an isolated state will need to defend its borders and come to diplomatic agreements with imperialist states in the absence of being joined by other workers’ revolutions internationally, “socialism in one country” is fictitious. Even the PRC, with a vast economic base, can only take steps towards world socialism. The defence of the Cuban revolution “at home” requires the political expansion of the working-class struggle against capitalism internationally. This requires a genuinely Leninist political outlook, which seeks – where possible – to co-ordinate an international workers struggle against capital’s global rule.
Russian revolutionary leader L Trotsky did not live to see the 1959 Cuban Revolution. Yet his formula of proletarian political revolution (ultimately initiated by Lenin against his own Soviet State from 1921) for deformed workers’ states remains critical. Such a series of acts will defend the Cuban socialistic state, while shedding the legacy of an increasingly narrow “socialism on one island”. While demanding imperialist “Hands Off Cuba”, only working-class internationalism can end the interference of Empire.
 Morgan Artyukhina on Twitter: “Last week, US State Dept asked for almost $30 million toward regime change ops in Cuba, including upgrades to propaganda outlet Radio y Television Marti & promoting “free enterprise and private business organizations” & “people-to-people educational and cultural activities.” 🤔 https://t.co/U0tFULtzc6” / Twitter (16-07-2021)
 Cuba’s successful response to COVID-19 | Green Left (16-07-2021)