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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Cuba dans le rêve colonial américain

by Françoise Escarpit

Cuba - America’s Colonial Dream

Translated Tuesday 13 December 2005, by JPC

Geopolitics. Several historians and political pundits discuss the roots of the expansionist interests of American political leaders vis-à-vis their island neighbour.

"Washington contre Cuba. Un demi-siècle de terrorisme".
( Washington vs. Cuba. A half-century of terrorism.)
Publication coordinated by Salim Lamrani, Éditions Le temps des cerises (Cherry-blossom time), 2005, 232 pages, 15 Euros.

Fifteen publications by great authors aimed at better understanding the U.S. government policy toward Cuba. Everything to fight a « Bad Revolution », as put by William Blum, one of the founders of the Washington Free Press, who takes us on a tour of the paper’s archives and back issues from the early 1960’s.

American interest in Cuba did not just begin in 1959, but dates from the early 19th century, when the U.S. used the Monroe Doctrine as the touch-stone of their foreign policy in the Americas. Professor Howard Zinn recalls what former President, Thomas Jefferson, wrote to his successor, James Munroe: "I humbly confess that I have always considered Cuba to be the most interesting addition that can be made to our system of states. The level of control that this island would give us over the entire Gulf of Mexico from the tip of Florida westward ... would be the final crowning of our political well-being". Zinn reviews the wars of independence that Cuba waged against Spain and the manner in which the U.S. profitted from them. He also recalled the many interventions by the U.S. marines between 1900 and 1933 in Cuba (4), Nicaragua (2), Panama (6), Guatemala (1), and Honduras (7).

This interest in Cuba is confirmed by Noam Chomsky, who states, "From the early years of the American Revolution, the founding fathers had their eyes fixed on Cuba and made no attempt to hide their interest". The well-known linguist and political commentator goes on to dissect the U.S. policy of aggression against Havana, which is, in many ways, unique. The Bay of Pigs, the embargo, and the scurrilous laws that have only served to aggravate the situation, the role of the CIA and that of the Cuban exile organizations, the wish to bring Cuba to its knees by ensuring that "the mandate of Fidel Castro end in domestic failure, rather than martyrdom".

In writing about the situation in Miami, haven of terrorists, home of the National Federation of Cuban-Americans (FNCA), and a base for international terrorism, Ignacio Ramonet and Salim Lamrani are helping us to understand better the deep hatred and the political strength of the anti-Castro groups, which in 1998 led to the conviction in Miami of five Cubans, arrested in the U.S. while on a fact-finding mission. Leonard Weinglass relates their story, but the true explanation is supplied by Wayne S. Smith, a manager in the U.S. Interests Section in Havana from 1977 to 1999. He personally experienced how impossible it is to win a case tried in Miami. It is hard to make one’s case in a venue where "one is dealing not with the law but with political emotions". Smith has maintained from the beginning that a fair trial for the five men is impossible in a district where 49.7% of the population believes that a military intervention in Cuba is justifiable, compared with the rest of the country, where the figure is 8.1%.

This is a book that combats dis-information, and one to be read especially at a time when, in its decision of August 9, the Atlanta Court of Appeal set aside the sentences given to the five men and sent the case back to the local District Court, recommending a new trial outside Miami. However, the five men still remain in prison (www.freeforfive.org).

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