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Julie Webb-Pullman: Díaz of Your Lies

Díaz of Your Lies


by Julie Webb-Pullman, in Havana

Maybe there is power in prayer after all – Fidel still lives! In recent days the Catholic Church held services praying for his recuperation, and the Cathedral of Santísima Trinidad in Havana was the scene of a huge gathering of all the Christian churches in Cuba, where priests and preachers from Evangelical to Presbyterian expressed their solidarity with President Castro and the Cuban socialist project, praying for his continued recovery - Fidel’s proclamation the prominent centrepiece on the pulpit. A week after the temporary handover of Fidel’s responsibilities to a team of six, there is daily improvement in his condition while outpourings of best wishes for his recovery and of solidarity with Cuba cascade from around the world. Meanwhile, the Miami mob are creeping back under their rocks with deserved hangovers of disappointment and embarrassment – but with a few notable exceptions.

José Meirelles Passos, Special Correspondent for Brazilian Daily El Globo, reported last Saturday in an article titled ‘Ready to Attack Fidel Castro’s Island’ that Alpha-66, a Cuban mafia organisation god-fathered by the CIA in 1962 and enjoying forty years of tolerance by US authorities, was this week offering military training to all Cubans in the Miami community, in preparation for a military intervention in Cuba.

Sometime poet Ernesto Díaz, Secretary-General of Alpha-66 since October 2004, claimed to already have ten thousand men in their weekend militia (interestingly, most of them have never even been to Cuba), and told Meirelles they are currently renovating their training camp to make room for more recruits. He said their fundamental mission is to stimulate a climate of general civil disobedience in Cuba on the one hand, and “...to continue to prepare for a decisive combat: military intervention.” They hope to provoke an uprising in the Cuban Armed Forces, believing that although Fidel Castro’s ill-health signals the beginning of the end, it is nevertheless ‘...still necessary to do something’ and that ‘The military, after all, are suffering the same economic privations as other Cubans.”

Being a man of letters, it is not too much to expect Ernesto Díaz to be able to understand a few fundamental concepts of international law, and human rights. Article 2 of the Vienna Declaration states very clearly:
All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status, and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development....In accordance with the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, this shall not be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and thus possessed of a Government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction of any kind.

The resounding endorsement of the 1976 Constitution by the vast majority of Cubans, which clearly and unequivocally stated the socialist nature of the Republic of Cuba and the economic, social and cultural development to be pursued under the protection of this Constitution, is ample evidence of the legitimacy of the Cuban state, and its government, thus its right to sovereignty and self-determination.

If that doesn’t make it clear enough, Article 8 might help:
Democracy is based on the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.

There is no mention of multi-party systems, all that democracy requires is universal suffrage, regular free and fair elections, and secret ballots – all of which Cuba has. There is no mention of a compulsory free market economy, rampant consumerism, or the pursuit of individual, as distinct from collective, wellbeing. These are choices that the people make, and the Cuban people have every right to choose a different system from Mr Díaz, and to have that choice respected.

Mr Díaz’ claims that Alpha-66 is not a terrorist organisation ring hollow in the face of his exhortations to incite civil disobedience in, and the military invasion of, the sovereign nation of Cuba. Article 17 of the Vienna Declaration also suggests otherwise:
The acts, methods and practices of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations ... are activities aimed at the destruction of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy, threatening territorial integrity, security of States and destabilizing legitimately constituted Governments.

Mr Díaz, maybe, just maybe the majority of Cubans do not WANT your brand of ‘freedom’, let alone the methods you propose to use to deliver it. Whilst the Cuban Revolution of necessity required force to overthrow Batista, the path Cuba has followed since has been one of peaceful change, and Cubans view with abhorrence, disgust, and fear the sorts of activities you are inciting, not least because of the suffering such terrorist attacks have brought to so many Cuban families over the last 46 years, but also because it is an insult to the respectful way in which Cubans prefer to conduct their dealings with others, including their own government and institutions.

Do not forget the Cuban revolution is not static, but an evolutionary process. Isaac Saney has called it a ‘Revolution in Motion’ and consideration of it in these terms underscores the absurdity of claims of a totalitarian dictatorship, removes any justification for the type of interventions you incite, and emphasises why Cuba’s rights to sovereignty and self-determination demand observation and respect.

Contrary to the misinformation of detractors, since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on 01 January 1959, there have been major constitutional reforms, and continuing social, economic and cultural evolution. For example, in the political realm, following years of careful consideration, development and discussion, on 24 February 1976 the Socialist Constitution of the Republic of Cuba was proclaimed, and endorsed by almost 100% of the Cuban electorate. This Constitution lays the foundations for civil and political life in Cuba, according to the ideals of the Cuban people. Like other constitutions, it also determines the form and process for change and reform. Cuba does not need foreign terrorists, whether individuals or governments, to show it how to conduct or reform its political, civil, economic, social and cultural life – the Cuban people are perfectly capable of determining these for themselves, as they have already demonstrated so well.

The respect Cubans have for their civil and political institutions results from their proven capacity to deliver the desired results – an equitable and just society in which all share equally both the benefits and difficulties, and have equal opportunity to realise their potential. The irony of Mr Díaz appealing to the Cuban Armed Forces to rise up against the Cuban Government because they suffer equally the economic privations of the rest of Cuban society apparently escapes him – possibly because these privations are caused in no small part by the illegal and immoral economic blockade of Cuba by Mr Díaz’ freely-chosen adopted home, where inequality rules.

As material conditions and needs evolve in Cuba, the people are consulted as to what measures should be taken to face the problems confronting them, and the people find the solutions, such as during the Special Period following the fall of the socialist bloc. A classic example of the power of the Cuban people and their meaningful participation in political decisions comes from this period, when in the early 1990’s the Finance Ministry wanted to introduce universal income tax to generate funds – a proposal which was roundly and soundly rejected by the Cuban people through the consensus decision-making process of their elected representatives in parliament. A totalitarian dictatorship would have imposed such taxes without qualms, a majority government in any western democracy would have done the same; the Cuban Government did not – because it listens to all of its people, because it IS its people. (As a matter of interest, an equitable tax policy was eventually arrived at, and income tax levied only on those with dollar incomes, or who were self-employed.)

The Cuban people know from the last 47 years of experience that they can influence their country’s policies, and they continue to do so. There are many reform projects currently underway in many sectors of Cuban political, social and economic life, and these can be expected to follow the prescribed processes through consensus decision-making until their eventual acceptance and implementation – if Cuba’s sovereignty is respected. Cubans know that they may sometimes make mistakes, and have done so. It is their right to do so. They have sometimes sought expert assistance from, or mutual co-operation with, other countries – as is their right. If Cubans consider that it is ‘...still necessary to do something’, as Mr Díaz claims, then they are perfectly capable of requesting assistance from whoever they choose, to obtain the results they desire.

Given the US war on terrorism, and Mr Díaz’ public and internationally disseminated intention to commit terrorism against Cuba (because make no mistake, that is what it is), how come he and his ten thousand henchmen remain free? Where is George W Bush and his war on terrorism now? The eyes of the world are all on Cuba, Mr Díaz shot his mouth off to the international press, and no amount of dissembling can get George W out of this one.

We expect arrests, President Bush, and we expect them now. You know where to find the culprits – this Sunday, swamp on the outskirts of Miami, training camp – you can’t miss it, they’ve been there every Sunday for the last forty years. Like sands in the hourglass, so are the Díaz of your lies....

ENDS

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