From 2 to 3 April, a 24-hour virtual media marathon took place to show solidarity with the Cuban people and to demand the immediate lifting of the US blockade against Cuba, an aggression that began in 1962.
Hundreds of media, communicators and analysts with an internationalist vocation from different continents took part in the day organised by the Europe for Cuba collective.
Below we transcribe the intervention of Pressenza columnist Javier Tolcachier at the event.
Perhaps you are wondering if it is possible to apply a non-violent approach to an act of manifest brutality such as the application of a 60-year blockade on a neighbouring population. Or how is it possible to comment, from a humanist look, on the flagrant violation of human rights represented by the siege of an independent state, the attempt to starve, impoverish, sicken, create social discontent from a supremacist vision of the world, believing themselves to be lords and masters of the destinies of others.
Because this has been, in short, the heart of US policy against the Cuban people afterwards, not only against the Cuban people, and not only after the revolution led by Fidel Castro.
Well, let me surprise you and tell you that one of the main themes of non-violent journalism is precisely to unmask and denounce violence, especially when it tries to clothe itself in false garb, dressing up its atrocities in words such as “democracy” or “human rights”.
The blockade that began in 1962 – after the failed attempt to reconquer Cuba by arms through a mercenary raid on Playa Girón in April 1961 – is part of the anti-communist policy emanating from the State Department under the command of John Foster Dulles – shareholder of the United Fruit Company, the transnational whose exploitation ended the Revolution – who also provoked the overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, together with his brother Allan, who headed the CIA for three consecutive presidencies.
But it is necessary to go further back to understand the infamy of colonialism and neo-colonialism that the Cuban Revolution challenged and was able to defeat.
Cuba’s history since the beginning of the Spanish conquest – back in 1492, when Columbus landed on the island and christened it “Juana” – is linked to its almost exclusive status as a sugar “factory”. Sugar cane cultivation, on the other hand, was based on large landownership and slave exploitation. This was true not only in Spanish-speaking Cuba, but also in all the overseas French, British, Portuguese and, of course, US South. All black people in the Caribbean and North America carry in the colour of their skin the memory of their African ancestors, who were hunted in Africa and then sold in slave markets to the prosperous and “cultured” planters.
This enormous human suffering fed the accumulation of capital that today is in the hands of the powerful of the global North, without yet the restorative justice that would allow for the equivalent wellbeing of the peoples of the South, the first condition for advancing processes of greater humanity on a global scale.
Since 1898, the imperialist flag has changed colour but not its uses and abuses. From the first direct American domination (1889-92) came the Guantánamo base (today a high-security prison in the style of the old enclaves located on islands that are difficult to access) and a constitutional regulation called the Platt Amendment, which was the core of the thinking that the nascent Yankee empire reserved for the pearl of the Caribbean. This amendment, anchored in the 1901 constitution, established that the US, in addition to being able to use military or coal stations (an important fuel at the time), had the right to intervene directly if it considered that Cuba’s autonomous government was harming its interests. A very dubious right that it made use of on several subsequent occasions.
However, the pretense of US geopolitical strategy, centred on the imperialist axis it inherited from its British mother country, has been changing and multiplying its tactical objectives.
The manipulation of information through radio and television stations aimed at subverting the new revolutionary order, the progressive tightening of the blockade by extending it to any company that dares to trade with Cuba through the Helms-Burton law, the attacks on Fidel Castro, the false hope that the death of the US would come at the end of the war, and the false hope that the US would be able to take over Cuba, the false hope that his biological death would put an end to the momentum of the Revolution, the attempts to seduce and support opposition NGOs and political and cultural groups, have been some of the manoeuvres in the arsenal obsessively aimed at sweeping away the beacon of rebellion and self-determination that Cuba has represented since 1959.
Throughout that time, despite its own difficulties, the Cuban people have stood in solidarity with emancipatory causes, supporting with their heroic determination, but also with their experience and knowledge, many peoples who fought against colonialist and neo-colonialist oppression and domination.
In the same period, the USA was the perfect counterpart of this, waging wars, undermining to this day the attempts of self-determination, trying to subordinate the planet to its violent, capitalist and alienating vision. Of which there are plenty of examples.
This brings us to our central point: since Cuba is a vivid example of haughtiness, sovereignty and resistance, what the United States intended and intends with the blockade is to prevent it from acting as a demonstration effect, as a valid alternative to a decadent model of society that hungers, impoverishes, sickens, discriminates and excludes its own citizens.
The problem and the way out
The main geopolitical idea of the blockade is to prevent the free development of the Cuban people and to show the supposed consequences of opposing the imperial will. Anachronistic tactics akin to displaying the decapitated heads of dissidents in the public square or encircling fortified cities to make it difficult for their people to get supplies.
Preventing the emergence of alternative models, the realisation of new utopias, the achievement of goals of social justice and political sovereignty are strategies that are absolutely at odds with any idea of democracy or human rights and are tantamount, in moral terms, to denying human beings and the social collective the possibility of choosing and creating their own course. That is to say, to deny the fundamental principle of what is human, which is its intentionality, thereby generating the basic condition of all violence.
So, the problem is not Cuba, or Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, or any other nation that does not bow to the lust for imperial power. The problem is the United States and its geopolitical orientation. The problem is not the country, nor its citizenry – equally oppressed by the system – but its military-industrial complex, its globalist financial complex, its digital corporations.
The problem is justifying the unhealthy pretence of domination with the hoaxes of a hegemonic manifest destiny, allegedly connected to biblical mandates. The problem is the vocation to flood the planet with products for cultural domination. The problem is the capitalist system. The problem, in short, is the promotion of the belief in money and possession as central values of existence.
How will we get out of the problem? It is obvious to everyone today that it will not be through violence, especially since this militaristic zeal has led humanity today to the danger of extinction through the use of nuclear weapons.
We will get out of the problem when we accept that the external evolution of social justice must be accompanied by the intention of internal evolution as a species, adopting new values of cooperation, unity and solidarity. We will be out of trouble when we move towards a Universal Human Nation, of all and for all.