How U.S. Interference in Cuba Creates a False Picture of its Society, by Manolo De Los Santos and Vijay Prashad + The U.S. Has An Unhealthy Obsession With Cuba by Rosa Miriam Elizalde

Cuba

Image by Taymaz Valley via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

by Manolo De Los Santos and Vijay Prashad
Struggle ★ La Lucha
October 27, 2021

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) appears to be obsessed with Cuba. Every few days he takes to social media or makes remarks to the press about his desire to overthrow the Cuban Revolution. In recent months, Rubio has played a key role in drumming up support for anti-government protests in Cuba. On September 23, 2021, for instance, Rubio tweeted, “The brave people of Cuba lost their fear of protesting against the dictatorship that represses them. Holguín raises its voice against tyranny.” Rubio included an article about the Cuban town of Holguín in his tweet, where “a group of Cuban citizens” are planning to hold a “march against violence” on November 20. This article appeared in Diario de Cuba, a news site based in Miami, Florida, which received substantial funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) from 2016 to 2019, an independent nonprofit that is largely funded by “the U.S. Congress.”

A quick study of the Diario de Cuba website reveals that it regularly publishes news relating to Marco Rubio’s views against the Cuban government. According to the Diario de Cuba article shared by Rubio on the November 20 march, the initiative has been promoted by a group called Archipiélago that proposes to carry out such peaceful demonstrations throughout Cuba. Rubio has extended his support for the march and on September 29 tweeted about a request by the citizens of Guantánamo seeking similar permission to hold a march on November 20. In his tweet, he shared an article from the news site CiberCuba, which is operated from Florida and Spain. There are several other news sites reporting on Cuba that are funded by the United States government and by foundations like the Open Society and NED, including ADN Cuba, Cubanos por el Mundo, Cubita NOW, CubaNet, El Estornudo, Periodismo de Barrio, Tremenda Nota, El Toque, and YucaByte.

A wide range of these U.S. government-funded websites and politicians such as Rubio have been leading the propaganda to support more protests in Cuba. On October 5, the U.S. administration of President Joe Biden also provided support to this agenda. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Brian Nichols tweeted, “The fight for a free press and free expression continues in Cuba.” Meanwhile, during an event hosted by Georgetown Americas Institute, Juan Gonzalez, the senior director for the Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council, criticized the Cuban government for arresting artists and protesters. “[W]hen you put artists in jail for singing and for demanding freedom, there’s something wrong with you,” he said.

November 15

On October 9, the U.S. Embassy in Havana issued a statement that criticized the Cuban government’s decision “to hold military exercises throughout the country on November 18 and 19, ending on November 20 with National Defense Day,” calling it “a blatant attempt to intimidate Cubans.” The Cuban government holds this regular exercise to prepare its 11 million citizens for multiple scenarios that range from a possible U.S. invasion to natural disasters. Normally military personnel, the civil defense forces, and members of the general population participate.

To counter this announcement, Archipiélago announced on its Facebook page that the march would now be moved to November 15 (from November 20), the day Cuban authorities are expected to open its border to tourism. Meanwhile, several U.S. government officials and U.S. elected officials gave their support to what is now being called the 15N March.

The first wave of support came from the U.S. elected officials—most of them children of Cuban exiles—who have publicly committed themselves to overthrowing the Cuban Revolution. On October 10, Florida Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar gave her support for the 15N March. The Biden administration, she told the host of a news program on a Miami television channel, must provide Cuban protesters with clandestine internet access. Two days later, on October 12, Senator Rubio criticized the Cuban government for censoring news about the march, while on October 15 Florida Congressman Carlos Giménez, the child of Cuban parents who were landowners before 1959, also tweeted in support of the march. Giménez included an article from the Hill in his tweet that referred to 15N as a “civil liberties protest.” Florida’s other senator, Rick Scott, joined Rubio in tweeting that the U.S. government “can’t sit on the sidelines during this fight for freedom in Cuba.” Scott has introduced a bill in the Senate to increase economic sanctions on Cuba. Meanwhile, the Cuban government denied permission to Archipiélago to hold the march on November 15.

Soon after, on October 16, the U.S. State Department published a statement that condemned the Cuban government’s decision to “deny permission for peaceful protests.” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price tweeted on October 16 about the U.S. support for “peaceful assembly” by the Cuban people, which was retweeted by the U.S. Embassy in Havana on the same day. On October 17, Nichols also tweeted about the Cuban denial for the 15N protest. This was retweeted by the U.S. Embassy in Havana and by Bradley Freden, interim U.S. permanent representative to the Organization of American States.

On October 20, Nichols shared a Human Rights Watch report on the July protests in Cuba to once more criticize the government for preventing peaceful marches. Two days later, on October 22, Gonzalez warned that the U.S. would have to take action if Cuba does not allow the 15N protest to take place.

The atmosphere is charged. The U.S. government and right-wing Cubans who are in the U.S. Congress have tried to define the terrain for events in mid-November in Cuba. They will ramp up pressure to overthrow the government.

Arrange an accident

In April 2021, the National Security Archive declassified the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency top-secret documents about Cuba. These documents showed that in July 1960, the U.S. government planned to assassinate Raúl Castro by paying a Cubana Airlines pilot to crash his plane. High-level CIA officials who were part of the agency at the time (former CIA Deputy Director of Plans Tracy Barnes, former CIA head of the Western Hemisphere Division J.C. King and a former CIA officer in Cuba William J. Murray) worked with the Cuban pilot (José Raul Martínez) to ensure a “fatal accident” that would lead to the death of Raúl Castro. The pilot, however, never found the “opportunity” to carry out such an accident.

The attempt on Raúl Castro’s life is one of many projects by the U.S. government to overthrow the Cuban Revolution, including 638 attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro and the invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961.

Reading the CIA documents from 1960 onward, most of which are available in the CIA reading room, shows how cliched—and yet dangerous—the attempts to overthrow the Cuban Revolution by the U.S. government have been. The buildup to 15N bears all the marks of this history, one ghoulish plot both cooked up in and executed by Washington and Miami.


Manolo De Los Santos is a researcher and a political activist. For 10 years, he worked in the organization of solidarity and education programs to challenge the United States’ regime of illegal sanctions and blockades. Based out of Cuba for many years, Manolo has worked toward building international networks of people’s movements and organizations. In 2018, he became the founding director of the People’s Forum in New York City, a movement incubator for working-class communities to build unity across historic lines of division at home and abroad. He also collaborates as a researcher with Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and is a Globetrotter/Peoples Dispatch fellow. He is a co-editor of Comrade of the Revolution, available from 1804 Books and LeftWord Books.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter. He is the chief editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is a senior non-resident fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He has written more than 20 books, including The Darker Nations, The Poorer Nations, and Washington Bullets, with an introduction by Evo Morales Ayma. He is a co-editor of Comrade of the Revolution, available from 1804 Books and LeftWord Books.

This article was produced by Globetrotter.

Struggle ★ La Lucha: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The U.S. Has An Unhealthy Obsession With Cuba

by Rosa Miriam Elizalde
Struggle ★ La Lucha
November 1, 2021

The piggy bank was rattled again. In September 2021, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) gave $6,669,000 in grants for projects aimed at “regime change” in Cuba, a euphemism to avoid saying “direct intervention by a foreign power.” The United States’ current Democratic administration has especially favored the International Republican Institute (IRI) with a bipartisan generosity that Donald Trump never had. Other groups in Miami, Washington and Madrid that have also received generous amounts have been among those calling for an invasion of the island. These groups paint an apocalyptic panorama in Havana to secure greater funding next year.

Public funding for the anti-Castro industry in the United States seems inexhaustible. In the last year, at least 54 organizations have benefited from the State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and USAID programs for Cuba. In the last 20 years, this agency has given Creative Associates International, a CIA front, more than $1.8 billion for espionage, propaganda and the recruitment of agents of “change” including on the island. One of its best-known projects, the so-called “Cuban Twitter” or ZunZuneo, resulted in a superb failure that unveiled a plot of corruption and flagrant violations of U.S. law. ZunZuneo cost the USAID director his job, but Creative Associates International continues to operate, only now undercover.

The American researcher Tracey Eaton, who for years has followed the route of these funds, commented in a recent interview that many of the financing programs for “regime change” in Cuba are so stealthy that we will probably never know who all the recipients are or what the total amount is, and judging by the known millions, the subsidy must reach an even greater figure. According to letters from the State Department and USAID that Eaton has received, “democracy-building” strategies are considered “trade secrets” and are exempt from disclosure under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

The United States goes berserk at the alleged hint of Russian, Chinese or Islamic intrusion into local politics and online platforms. However, it does not hesitate for a minute to rudely intervene in Cuba, as exposed by the digital daily MintPress News, which documented how private Facebook groups instigated the July 11 riots in several Cuban cities. “The involvement of foreign nationals in the domestic affairs of Cuba is on a level that can scarcely be conceived of in the United States,” says the publication, adding: “the people who sparked the July 11 protests in Cuba are planning similar actions for October and November.”

The United States is a military superpower whose plans for political subversion are a shame and a scandal, and there is no indication that Washington will now achieve what it has failed to do in 60 years. In fact, the U.S. government’s obsession with Cuba is two centuries old, as Louis A. Pérez, a historian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has shown in a brilliant essay entitled “Cuba as an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.”

“The subject of Cuba has rarely been a topic of reasoned disquisition. It defies facile explanation, and certainly cannot be understood solely—or even principally—within the logic of the policy calculus that otherwise serves to inform U.S. foreign relations, mostly because it is not logical,” writes the historian.

What does make sense is the permanence in time of Cuban “intransigence.” Ernesto Che Guevara used to repeat in his speeches in the first years of the 1959 revolution that “Cuba will not be another Guatemala.” In other words, its independence from the U.S. empire could not be boycotted with media bombings first, induced mobilizations and military attacks later.

The custom of overthrowing independent alternatives is so long and the arrogance by an overwhelming military and media force is so blind that the U.S. government has not been able to foresee its continuous defeats nor has it overcome the trauma of having a rebellious island “almost within sight of our shores,” as John Quincy Adams put it, and to top it all, without the slightest interest in being “the state that we lack between the entrance to the Gulf and the exit of the vast Mississippi Valley.”

The great truth of all this, as Louis A. Pérez wisely comments, is that Cubans have learned from history, but Washington has not.


Rosa Miriam Elizalde is a Cuban journalist and founder of the site Cubadebate. She is vice president of both the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC) and the Latin American Federation of Journalists (FELAP). She has written and co-written several books including Jineteros en la Habana and Our Chavez. She has received the Juan Gualberto Gómez National Prize for Journalism on multiple occasions for her outstanding work. She is currently a weekly columnist for La Jornada of Mexico City.

This article was produced by Globetrotter.

Struggle ★ La Lucha: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

From the archives:

Abby Martin: CIA Stories: The Cuban Who Conned the CIA

Imperialists Unleash Desperate Warfare Against Latin America, by Rainer Shea

Destabilizing Cuba: Sanctions, Pandemic Hardship and Social Media Onslaught, by Finian Cunningham

Imperialist Aggressions Against The Cuban Revolution, by Yanis Iqbal + Caleb Maupin: US Hands off Cuba!

How the U.S. is Able to Dictate to the Rest of the World, by Pete Dolack

To The Capitalist Ruling Class, Communism Will Always Be Evil by Rainer Shea

638 Ways To Kill Castro (video)

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