In his speech to the Cuban people in Havana, President Barack Obama declared, “I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas. … I’ve urged the people of the Americas to leave behind the ideological battles of the past.” But Obama made clear that his desire to end the decades-long US economic blockade of the island is not a response to the sheer inhumanity of the policy, it is simply an acknowledgement that it has failed to bring down Cuba’s socialist system and return the country to capitalism.
"During his trip, Obama frequently referred to human rights in Cuba and in his speech to the Cuban people declared, “I believe citizens should be free to speak their mind without fear, to organize, and to criticize their government, and to protest peacefully, and that the rule of law should not include arbitrary detentions of people who exercise those rights.”
It would have been terrific if… just AS Obama stated these things, an overhead film projector presented large pictures of Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and others in their “locked down” states for speaking freely.
Then footage of this scene would be juxtaposed with images of police thugs cracking down on Occupy Wall St:
“The US media highlighted the fact that the Ladies in White protesters were rounded up by police during a demonstration on the day Obama arrived in Havana. These arrests have been repeatedly pointed to by the media and pundits as a graphic example of how Cuba violates the human rights of peaceful political protesters.”
Alas, the hypocrisy!!!
The Emperor has no clothes!
Thank you, Garry Leech for this excellent analysis. Many economists believe the U.S. has overplayed its hands in the trafficking of derivatives and other UNFUNDED financial chimeras. Could that explain the need for a new market in which to infuse all those paper dollars?
I worry that Cuba might be forced to allow in the likes of Monsanto.
Having endured the embargo these long years, Cuba learned how to be self-sufficient in ways that other nations can only dream of. Soon, as the combination of climate chaos and global instability in financial markets escalates, this learned capacity for surviving on less may well make the difference between survival (and adaptability) and extinction.
If card-carrying CIA thugs actually wrote and submitted resumes, one can imagine how one might read:
“Successful background in a range of entrepreneurial ventures that has included: funding Al Qaida, funding ISIS, and funding the Ladies in White.”
Not enough Americans EVER get to hear this argument, no less take in its self-evident wisdom:
“The dominant human rights model under capitalism prioritizes individual rights—particularly the right to private property in order to establish corporations—to the degree that they cannot be significantly infringed upon in order to ensure that the collective—social and economic—rights of everyone in society are protected. This is why there is no right to food, housing or healthcare for citizens of the United States where, according to a 2009 Harvard University study, 45,000 people die annually due to a lack of access to the latter. But when a country such as Cuba defends the collective rights of all of its citizens with regard to access to food, housing, education and healthcare against the threats posed by those who seek to prioritize individual rights in a manner that violates the country’s socialist constitution, the Cuban government is portrayed as a major violator of human rights.”
There are so many fine aspects to this article and its analysis. This one MUST be repeated:
“US policy in Latin America—and throughout the world—has not been motivated by the promotion of democracy and human rights; it is intended to serve US corporate interests and to promote capitalism. This is why the most brutal right-wing dictatorships in Latin America during recent decades have been supported by the United States. And this is why left-leaning democratically-elected governments are ousted by Washington. It is only the most naïve and ignorant Americans—and the most naïve and ignorant US journalists—who take Washington’s rhetoric about democracy and human rights at face value. After all, if US foreign policy were motivated by democracy promotion and the defense of human rights, then how do we explain Washington’s support for undemocratic and repressive regimes such as the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia?”
It would be nice if the borders were open for people to cross, but closed to American capitalism. I fear for that small island and their way of life.
This One of the better articles detailing US hypocrisy and that countries governments true motivations when it’s leaders blather on about human rights that I have read in a long while
Thank you for this excellent article Mr. Leech.
I do not harbor much hope for the elimination of the embargo, return of Guantanamo, and acceptance of Cuba’s path toward socialist economic given the comments by all remaining Democrat/Republican Presidential candidates, with the exception of Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton criticized the Cuban revolution itself, mockingly deriding Bernie Sanders comment that the Cuban revolution was a revolution of values. “The Donald” has made vacuous comments about the Fidel and Raul Castro, Ted Cruz has spewed hate regarding the Castros and the Cuban government, and Kasich has criticized the Cuban government for human rights violations.
In the context of the Democrat/Republican’s leading in the polls, President Obama’s comments seem much more progressive.
President Obama is very skilled at crafting and delivering speeches. Nevertheless, I was struck when he claimed to ‘understand the history’ of US/Cuban relations and then went on to imply that the US was ready for and waiting for the Cuban government to take steps to improve relations. This ignores the entire history of US efforts to overthrow the Cuban government. It also ignores the fact that the US embargo remains and the US continues to illegally occupy Guantanamo.
I was also struck by President Obama’s characterization of US economics as ‘open market’. This flies in the face of the plutocrat friendly economic and legal systems present in the US.
President Obama also criticized lack of freedoms in Cuba. I agree. However, President Obama went on to describe how freedom to demonstrate brought about political advances in the US. This ignores the reality that the US government has consistently targeted progressive activists and that the US government has implemented its own laws prohibiting ‘free speech’. No doubt such prohibitions of ‘free speech’ will be strictly enforced at the Democrat and Republican national conventions.