THE REAL ROLE OF WAYNE SMITH AND THE “FRIENDS OF CUBA”
By Jon Hillson
[The following article from NY Transfer was originally circulated as part of ongoing discussions of developments by the National Network on Cuba, as well as Cuba solidarity lists in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Jon Hillson is a coordinator of the Los Angeles Coalition in Solidarity with Cuba, a United Airlines worker and member of the International Association of Machinists. These are his personal opinions. The article was written before the capitulation of “progressives”-various social democrats, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Cornell West, and others-to the anti-Cuba campaign. The “arguments” advanced by Wayne Smith to promote his condemnations of Cuba helped paved the way for such repudiations, which he continues to advance. (* See note from webmaster at end.)]
LOS ANGELES, April 16 (NY Transfer)--In a mounting campaign driven by increasingly strident White House denunciations, the U.S. big business media is howling for Cuba’s hide in response to Havana’s swift arrest, prosecution, and conviction of 75 citizens who openly violated the nation’s laws and statutes by collaborating with the U.S. Interests Section to affect the “transition to democracy,” Washington’s code for regime change in Cuba.
These tirades also condemn the execution, after trials and two appeals, of three organizers of an armed hijacking of a public ferry. The trio had threatened passenger hostages a knife point before being captured, along with eight accomplices, who received lesser sentences. The trial of four hijackers captured before they could seize a domestic airplane on April is pending.
On April 15, Secretary of State Colin Powell termed Havana’s human rights record “horrible” and “getting worse.” This anticipates a U.S.-backed condemnation of Cuba at the current Geneva meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
The arrests and trials of so-called dissidents came as a result of the refusal of U.S. Interests Section Chief James Cason, and other employees of the U.S. government, to cease and desist hosting meetings of, and making payments to, the so-called dissidents, along with an increase in armed hijackings of Cuban aircraft and boats. The charges and trials conformed to Cuban legislation in place for years, and answered intensified U.S. provocations of Cuba evolved in lock step with Washington’s march towards war.
More than a few who claim to favor normalized relations between Washington and Havana have rebuked Cuba for its actions, while others who state they defend Cuba have been silent. In some case, the latter have offered as “analysis” remarks of the former, proof of the political crisis Cuba’s defiant act of self-defense has provoked in them.
A media-favored voice of the “friends of Cuba” is Wayne Smith, currently a Senior Fellow at the Center of International Policy. Smith was a Third Secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Havana from 1958-61--the last days of the Batista dictatorship until Washington broke diplomatic relations prior to its invasion at the Bay of Pigs. He returned to preside over the U.S. Interests Section from its 1979 inception to 1982. With this background, he is fully aware of counterrevolutionary activities undertaken by U.S. agents in Cuba.
Smith rushed to his pen to condemn Cuba in the letter page of the New York Times. “The arrests are an overreaction by the Cuban government and exactly what the Bush administration hoped to provoke,” he wrote on March
31. “One hopes the Cubans will see their mistake and begin releasing those arrested.”
Not surprisingly, Smith has never raised such a demand for the Cuban Five, the Cuban revolutionaries framed and imprisoned on espionage conspiracy and double murder charges in a Clinton-era prosecution for the crime of
infiltrating ultra-rightist organizations in south Florida to monitor terrorist operations--170 of which they prevented—reporting them to Havana. These organizations also support the “dissidents.”
Smith is on record in favor of the incarceration of the Cuban Five, whose outrageous treatment in U.S. prisons has also been a warning to Cuba. Indeed, Washington threw the Cuban patriots into solitary confinement for a month—without explanation—in late February as its provocations in Cuba peaked. On this gross violation of human rights, Smith was also silent.
The Cuban “overreaction” in the arrest of the “dissidents,” Smith states, came in response to “the blundering tactics of the Bush administration” and its main man in Havana, Interests Section Chief James Cason.
Smith did not care to wait for Cuba’s explanation of the charges, trial procedures, or political-security context of the arrests.
The truth is that for the last six months in particular, the U.S. Interests Section and its agents have been engaged in stepped-up, direct intervention in Cuba’s internal affairs, asserting its role as central organizer, conduit for funding, and director of counterrevolutionary activities. These are financed by multi-million dollar grants approved by congress through the National Endowment for Democracy—long a cover for CIA initiatives—the U.S. Agency for International Development (at least $20 million), and “private” organizations, including ultra-rightist operations in Miami historically connected to paramilitary and terrorist organizations.
Smith, ever faithful to his former employer, told Anita Snow of Associated Press, who interviewed him from her Havana office in an April 13 dispatch, that Washington’s payments are counter-productive to its aims. Such “funding gives exactly the wrong impression,” Smith stated. “First, not much of it gets to people in need. Secondly, it just gives ammunition to the Cuban government to say these people are paid agents of the United States—which of course they are not.” No, they just receive hard cash for services rendered...
The dirty work contracted by U.S. dollars is supported by over 1,200 hours of radio broadcasts directed to Cuba by the misnamed Radio Marti. Its “news and commentary” urges defiance of the 1994 migration accords signed by Washington and Havana and promotes the formation of a fifth column in Cuba for the highly-touted “transition to democracy.”
Several of the convicted dissidents were paid correspondents for Radio Martí and CubaNet, the Miami-based ultra-rightist media outlet funded by the NED. Cuban security agents who penetrated the counterrevolutionary groups in Cuba provided evidence and eye-witness accounts of the illegal activities of the “dissidents” during the 29 trials, attended by more than 3,000 people, which concluded April 7. Having surfaced, these patriots are now being hailed as heroes at community meetings across the island.
At the same time, Washington has yearly betrayed its treaty commitment to accept a “minimum” of 20,000 Cuban immigrants. It allowed only 505 applicants to enter the United States legally in the most recently concluded six-month cycle. Coupled with the intensification of the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba and its world-wide secondary boycott of the island—overwhelmingly condemned last year by the United Nations, where Washington counted the support of Israel, which trades with and invests in Cuba, and the Marshall Islands—U.S. policy aims to create a pent-up demand for departures and foment life-risking forms of exit, including piracy and hijackings.
On April 28, a U.S. seized Cuban DC-3, hijacked earlier in the month, will be auctioned to the highest bidder to satisfy a court award to a Miami ultrarightist, thus compounding the terrorist act with what can only be termed state-sponsored piracy.
Those interested in the Cuban position can access Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque’s essential explanation—a three-hour, April 9 Havana news conference—the text of which is available in English, Spanish, and French at: www.laribilla.cu.
Cuba has suffered over 3,300 deaths as a result of U.S. organized invasions, sabotage, and terrorism since the triumph of the revolution, including the Bay of Pigs invasion, the 1960-65 CIA-sponsored “contra war” in the Escambray Mountains, and other “actions.” Convicted terrorists walk freely in Miami and boast of their exploits. Cuban officials estimate the costs endured by Cuba as a result of Washington’s economic war at over $70 billion.
Such relentless assaults have been blessed by 10 U.S. presidents, irrespective of their designation as “liberal” or “conservative.” Economic and political sanctions imposed during the Clinton administration dwarfed those authorized by the previous Reagan and Bush regimes.
In an article circulated on the internet on April 9 entitled “Why the Crackdown in Cuba?” Wayne Smith again condemns Cuba for its “deplorable” action. This article has been passed on by groups and individuals who defend Cuba, with the delusional caveat that Smith’s “analysis” contains a modicum of criticism of the “Bush administration”—as if Washington’s hostility to the socialist regime is not bipartisan, or that the murderous terrorism promoted by the liberal Kennedy regime should be relegated to past “excesses.”
Cuba, the former Interests Section Chief states, simply falls into the U.S. trap, acting on cue from the White House, and again condemns Havana’s “deplorable crackdown on dissidents.” Smith restated this position in an opinion piece for the Baltimore Sun on April 15. This assertion fails to recognize that for 44 years Cuba has resisted U.S. efforts to undermine and overthrow its revolutionary government and has learned over those decades the nature of its mortal enemy, how it operates, and how to defend the country against such assaults.
Such actions include the application of strict laws, an institutionalized judicial and penal process, and, above all, an alert, vigilant, and mobilized population that knows, as Pérez Roque stated April 9, sovereignty’s “price and we are not willing to relinquish it.”
Smith portrays himself-and his former boss, ex-President James Carter—as partisans of a “broad effort to improve relations between our two countries,” by meeting “with dissidents,” among them organizers of the “Varela Project,” which calls for overturning central gains of the socialist revolution. Supporters of this counterrevolutionary initiative claim to have gotten 10,000 signatures on a petition of support. This, they and Carter falsely claimed, entitled them to place the measure on a national ballot. No such “right” exists in the Cuban constitution.
Last year, however, over eight million Cubans, in secret vote during a national plebiscite, affirmed that the social, economic, and political gains the Varela Project would eliminate, are “irrevocable.” In the United States, the Varela Project garners headlines, while the plebiscite goes virtually unmentioned. Carter, true to form, condemned the “Cuban crackdown” after offering his Nobel peace laurels to Washington’s aggression in Iraq, a crackdown of a certain type that he could not resist embracing.
Smith cites the absence of punishment for Varela Project figurehead Oswaldo Paya—recipient of calculated celebrity status—as proof that “things might [have been] slowly be moving toward somewhat greater tolerance of dissent on the island.”
Smith’s entire framework of assessing developments in Cuba is the supposed space offered “dissent” and “the dissidents” in Cuba. In fact, the Varela measure is entirely made in the USA, since its starting point is the alleged repression of democracy by the “Castro dictatorship.”
Anyone who visits Cuba knows that debate, discussion, and disagreement with all sorts of policies are widespread. But such ideas exist within the popular framework of defense of national sovereignty, the living revolution that made it possible, and the organized vigilance that defends it.
Democratic rights and civil liberties do not transcend reality. They are not absolutes in the abstract, nor can they be invoked to justify criminal activity. They are completely concrete. When a “Cuban dissident” in the employ of the National Endowment for Democracy, for instance-is organized by the U.S. Interests Section to aid Washington’s efforts to intervene in Cuba and to further its aim of dividing Cuban society to better conquer it—dons the mantel of “freedom of expression,” no one should be fooled by such rhetoric. This is not a civics debate, but a matter of struggle.
Indeed, with Abraham Lincoln as commander-in-chief, the Republican Civil War administration rightly utilized severe measures suppressing a variety of constitutional rights against northern allies and agents of the Confederate slavocracy. These measures, despite Democratic Party opposition raised under the banner of defending “civil liberties,” furthered the Union’s revolutionary democratic aims of smashing efforts to forge a separate nation, based on slavery in secessionist states. To be sure, the
Republican Party today is connected by name only to the party headed by Lincoln, whose revolutionary wing advocated far more sweeping changes during the war and afterwards.
An axis of U.S. policy in Cuba is to manufacture, organize, and fund such “dissent” for foreign consumption as a key ideological component of its unending “cold war” against Cuba. Smith and others are the soft cops who promote that war, while calling for a less heavy-handed U.S. intervention in Cuba to accomplish its aims. Illusions that such elements would deliver some kind of relief were always without objective foundation. Now, they are terminal.
After the April 11 execution of three ringleaders of the armed hijacking of the Cuban passenger ferry, Smith denounced Cuba again. He could not contain himself in an interview with the New York Times. “This is excessive in the extreme and raises the question as to whether or not this is altogether rational,” he stated. “It just goes too far. There is no rational, sensible explanation.”
Cong. Charles Rangel (D-NY), another fainthearted “friend” of Cuba, repudiated the death sentences. “This about ends that discussion,” he told the Times, referring to efforts he led to partially ease U.S. sanctions against Cuba. “I don’t know how far [the Cubans] are going to go, but they know how to support their enemies and get rid of their friends.”
Thus freed from his “friendship” with Havana, Rangel has more time to pursue his mission to restore the imperialist military draft, a demagogic “peace” proposal he made last year. Rangel cynically claimed that universal conscription would give congressional representatives pause to support war since their children would be drafted. His proposal won the backing of liberal John Conyers (D-MI). For its own reasons, the Pentagon rejected the proposal. But conscription will resurface later as the war drive, and its military occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, require fresh forces.
Rangel, along with Cong. José Serrano (D-NY), and Cong. Bernard Sanders—the “independent socialist” from Vermont—were among the 414 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who recently voted to condemn Cuba for its response to U.S. provocations. Exactly zero members of that august chamber opposed this resolution, presented by Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ilena Ros-Lehtinen, Republicans from south Florida. Additionally, the 50-member bipartisan Cuba Working Group voted unanimously to rebuke Havana.
Such forces, a Cuban colleague recently told me, “want Cuba without socialism.” This is the real basis of unity—apart from narrowing tactical differences on how to achieve such a goal—between Cuba’s so-called friends, the ultra-right, and U.S. ruling circles which now combine to vilify Cuba.
After citing Interests Section Chief Cason’s call for a “transition to a participatory form of government” in Cuba, Smith stated on April 9, “Now, we would all like to see a more open society in Cuba”—just who is this we?--“But it is not up to the United States to promote it or bring it about. In fact, it is not up to the United States to decide what form of government Cuba should have. Cuba is, after all, a sovereign country.”
But when Cuba acts to defend its sovereignty against a multi-faceted series of direct interventions embodied in the violation of Cuban law by political elements directed and financed by the U.S. government in furtherance of U.S. policy goals in Cuba—that, says Smith, is “tragic,” “deplorable,” and without “rational, sensible explanation.”
Cuba’s recognition of Washington’s mounting international campaign against its enemies—and Cuba is high on that list, and has been since 1959--was, to Smith, a “mindset” that led to “overreaction,” the exact intent of the crafty Bush administration. Cuba’s act of self-defense is a “blot that will not easily be erased...The Bush administration meanwhile will certainly continue the pressures, and the provocations, so as to prevent any such amelioration,” Smith laments. What should Cuba do? Fold its arms? Pay no attention to U.S. violations of its treaty accord on migration? Enable the U.S. government to continue funding, organizing, leading, and promoting so-called dissidents in violation of Cuban law? Remain passive in the face of terrorist hijackings and the U.S. seizure of pirated Cuban property?
“In the dark days that lie ahead,” Smith states, “people of good will in the United States who want to see a more normal relationship between our two countries, and to see a more open society in Cuba”—note how the onus is always on Cuba—“should hold to demonstrable truth that the best way to bring about both is through the reduction of tensions, the beginning of meaningful dialogue, and increased contacts.”
Just who has “increased” these tensions?
Who maintains the tightest sanctions regime in the world in and against Cuba?
Who occupies Guantánamo, creating a virtual concentration camp with 660 prisoners held without charges, in conditions so horrific that Washington was forced in March to open a mental ward for 80 inmates, among them some of the 19 who have attempted suicide 23 times?
Who staged the 2001 show trial in Miami of five Cuban patriots for espionage conspiracy and double murder charges, convicted them, sentenced them for 19 years to double life imprisonment for the “crime” of stopping acts of terrorism organized against Cuba on U.S. soil, in contravention of U.S. law? Who threw them into solitary confinement for a month, without explanation, denied them legal counsel and family contact?
Who has consistently flouted migration treaties, stimulating illegal voyages, air and naval piracy, and rewards those who reach U.S. soil—regardless of method—legal status?
Who denies visas to Cuban artists, musicians, writers, students, academics, trade-unionists, and athletes invited to the United States, as matter of routine? Who has blocked such meaningful contacts?
Who will introduce in Geneva a condemnation of Cuban “human rights violations” at the United Nations Human Rights Commission? Let us leave aside for a moment as this Orwellian spectacle unfolds that UN sanctions that killed a minimum of 300,000 Iraqis during the Clinton and Bush administrations, and U.S. rejection of Geneva conventions on prisoner of war treatment of the Guantánamo POWs. What transpires against Cuba in civilized Geneva is the essence of cynicism, demagogy, and imperial arrogance.
What “meaningful dialogue” has the United States ever “offered” Cuba?
True to form, the policy followed by the Bush administration has produced only a crackdown,” Smith states. “Exactly what we should not want.” He denies Cuba the right, in practice, to defend itself against the war Washington is waging on its soil with its agents, money, and pressure. Were the Cubans to follow the counsel of the Smiths, Rangels, and other “friends,” the revolution would be sunk, period.
In reality, Bush administration policy is entirely unoriginal. It represents nothing new. It follows the pattern put in place in 1959 by Dwight Eisenhower and carried out, in various ways, by every succeeding administration, each seeking to answer the question: how best to divide, cripple, and defeat, by whatever form, the Cuban revolution?
There has been no “crackdown on dissidents” in Cuba. On the contrary, the Cuban revolution has answered the latest challenge to its integrity and sovereignty with measures long in place to do just that, after having forewarned mercenaries at the service of the empire-and their organizers and paymasters, among them Interests Section Chief Cason-to cease and desist breaking Cuban law and disregarding elementary norms of diplomatic conduct. Cuba’s actions have defended the national interests, national security, democratic and human rights, and civic safety of the Cuban people.
Smith, and others of his ilk, use the language of Washington and the big business media precisely because they share the same political and ideological framework.
It is true that Washington will mount further provocations against Cuba. This is inevitable, irrespective who occupies the White House. Official U.S. hostility to the Cuban revolution is based on the actuality of rival and irreconcilable social, economic, and political systems, and the counterposed values each uphold. In the context of a world economic system—capitalism—that Fidel Castro has correctly termed “unsustainable” and “intolerable,” Washington’s bipartisan attacks on Cuba will intensify, as it prepares new wars of aggression to divide the world and counter its European imperialist competitors.
Precisely because Cuba uprooted that system on its national territory—and thus achieved genuine independence—placing the destiny of the nation in the hands of the working people, it provides the unique alternative to the road of misery, death, and destruction that Washington seeks to foist upon the people of the world. This fighting, defiant contrast to war, predation, and pillage, this refusal to submit to bullying, this sovereign expression of organized, revolutionary resistance is both Cuba’s original sin and the source of its survival. Its example is more important than ever in today’s world.
This is why Cuba is in the crosshairs of imperialism. It is the alternative not only in the Third World, but for working people everywhere who seek a way out of the collapse and decay of the profit system, including and especially in the United States, where a war at home will yield unpredictable resistance from millions who know that the “American dream” has become, in fact, a nightmare.
Those who deny the truth, facts, and reality of the Cuban revolution, its accomplishments, and the determination of its communist leadership and anti-imperialist working people to stand up to its enemies, and instead claim conflicts with the United States are due to personalities, individuals, policies disputes, or the influence of a dwindling ultrarightist minority in Miami only obscure what is really happening. Washington created, organized, promotes, and funds the Miami ultraright, not the reverse. The Dade County tail hardly wags the rabid, imperialist dog.
Liberal proponents of imperialist hegemony, those who, like Wayne Smith, make up the “loyal opposition” to Washington, differ “tactically” with other bourgeois elements, academic and media commentators, on how to enable the “transition to democracy” in Cuba. Those who defend Cuba’s right to self-determination—in practice, on the ground, and real in real life—have no place in this debate, favor neither side, and reject the language and arguments of both camps. This is an in-house exchange of the ruling rich and their ideologues.
The liberal “friends of Cuba” who now merge with the White House, Defense Department, State Department, and the “ultra-right” in Congress condemn Cuba when it deserves unconditional defense and real solidarity. They add their “progressive” luster to escalating rebukes, which pave the way for coming political and economic assaults on Cuba and deeper attacks on the right to travel. They are cover for anti-Cuba reaction in the United States.
Activists who defend Cuba but place even an ounce of confidence in them, or believe their shallow criticisms of the “Bush administration” are of use in winning support for Cuba’s right to self-determination-rather than exposing them for what they are—only enable further back-stabbing repudiations. The road to political marginalization is littered with such dangerously naïve “good intentions.”
The Cuban revolution, loyal to principle, will respond with massive popular opposition to coming provocations. This reality will unfold in an increasingly unstable planet, one in which anti-imperialist fighters and a new generation of rebel youth need to read, study, and learn how to apply the lessons of the Cuban revolution to effectively answer the exploding challenges of world war and economic depressions.
These conditions will create conditions for the forging of a leadership capable of defeating the empire and its agents—the only way out of current and coming devastation—in immense struggles.
It should be emphasized, as Cuban Foreign Minister Pérez Roque explained on April 9, “Although others might not defend their sovereignty, we do as it has cost us dearly. The people and government of Cuba have not lost sight for a minute that what is at stake is the future of our country as a national and the full rights of every citizen of our country. “What is at stake is the future of our country as a nation.”
What Cuba has done—and will do—to protect and defend itself earns only the ire of its “friends.” But Cuban intransigence only inspires those in the world up for the fight. Cuba is the most prepared country on earth to defend itself militarily against foreign invasion. Bellicose threats by ultra-rightists in Miami, who recently marched under the slogan “Iraq today, Cuba tomorrow,” or the boast by Washington’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic that “what is happening in Iraq is going to send a very positive signal, and it is a very good example for Cuba,” should not be permitted to obscure that fact. Already some have reached a panicky conclusion that the United States is readying a military campaign against Cuba.
In the early 1960s, such plans were indeed a reality. The CIA provided the Kennedy administration with estimates that it would suffer 18,000 casualties in the first ten days of such an encounter-a figure deemed low by Cuban leaders who later learned of these figures upon the declassification of Washington’s documents. Today, Cuba’s national defense doctrine-“the war of the entire people”-combines the resources of highly trained standing armed forces, an officer corps whose veterans have engaged in combat in military missions throughout the Third World, an unparalleled high command, a Territorial Troop Militia of more than a million members, and a population whose vast majority has undergone military training since childhood. Battle tactics of the doctrine have been enriched by decades of shared, concrete experience in varied forms of combat on many types of terrain.
This imbues Cuban military science with substantial confidence. And this is interwoven with the collective practice of forging a new society, based on human solidarity, and real steps taken in the formation of the new men and women whom Che Guevara emphasized are the subjects of socialist construction. Cuba’s real army, as the legendary revolutionary commander Camilo Cienfuegos explained, is “the people in uniform.” As one who witnessed a national defense mobilization in Cuba on May 2, 1990-which placed three million citizens under arms at specified posts of all kinds in 24 hours—I had the privilege of learning that this concept is not simply a slogan, but a reality.
The Pentagon is well aware of Cuba’s combat defense capacities. Its own military strategy has targeted Washington’s weakest, most ill-prepared enemies, saddled by the most corrupt, impotent, reactionary, and isolated leaderships. The defeat of such forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, while intoxicating some in the ruling class with triumphalism, hardly qualifies the imperialist army as “invincible.” Washington’s hollow triumphs have, above all, been enabled by the abysmal political caliber and military deficiencies of their foes, from Manuel Noriega to Slobodan Milosevic. The equation is the exact opposite in Cuba. Such facts, however, do not lull Cuba’s civil and military preparedness, nor should they cause its partisans elsewhere to relax vigilance.
Washington’s war policies are a sign of its profound economic and political weaknesses symbolized by its impossible and reactionary utopian effort to resolve the crisis of its economic system by military means. Coming U.S. aggressions will be defeated on the battlefield by forces ready, willing, and able to contend with it—a working class and popular resistance.
This has been the central lesson of struggles against imperialism since capitalism reached the last stage of its profit system, now locked in mortal rivalries on a worldwide basis. Fascism, a word that has now become fashionable among some, signals the smashing of the working class—of the defeat of the immense majority which, lacking effective and requisite leadership fails to wrest power from its oppressors. Insofar as the term is floated today, some utilize it as an epithet—supposedly the hardest possible—to describe the brutality and scope of U.S. military aims. In fact, the role, function, and inevitability imperialist war remains the same as when Lenin elucidated them in his classic work “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism” in 1916. What has changed since then is the weakness and vulnerability of world capitalism, the qualitative expansion of its “gravediggers,” as Marx termed them, the world working class, and the elimination of capitalist property relations in whole sections of the planet.
The U.S. and British governments—the “coalition”—are imperialist democracies in action, facing off against the European capitalist rivals, in military efforts to redivide the world at their expense, first in Iraq.
Fascism won initially in Italy, then Germany, and lastly Spain because of fatal deficiencies the working people suffered at the leadership level, not because of its overwhelming superiority in the streets or battlefield.
This came at decisive moments after years of mass struggle. Study of these experiences, and their consequences, will caution those who use the word fascism so lightly today to cease doing so, while illuminating errors that need and must not be repeated. Would that a time machine could allow a brief stay in fascist Italy or Germany to demonstrate just what the U.S. rulers have not accomplished. Instead, the work of serious study must suffice.
In the United States, notwithstanding bipartisan measures which seek to shred democratic rights, resistance to war, cutbacks, attacks on civil and democratic rights, labor struggles and strikes, and protests of all sorts indicate that far from being crushed, working people—and a new generation of rebel youth—are just beginning to fight. Whether or not fascism triumphs will be decided in huge battles that will erupt out of the crisis of an imploding capitalist system. The example of the Cuban revolution as the living alternative to the horrors promised by the last empire to its subjects, as well as a way to fight, thus assumes significance far disproportionate to the population of the country. This is why Cuba is such a point of contention today.
Emulation of the Cuban revolution is the highest, and most effective form of solidarity with it. Political clarity is essential to effective education. This, in turn, can guide the most valuable and lasting methods for politically and ideologically defending Cuba in the immense battle of ideas now confronting the people of the world, including in the United States.
Here can be found a necessary and healthy starting point in dealing with both the imperialist wolf, and the wolf in sheep’s clothing arrayed against Cuba libre.
(* On May 17th, 2003 Wayne Smith attended the reception for the expelled Cuban diplomates at the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, DC. There Joan Drake, a long time Washington activist who had heard Smith on May 1st present his criticisms of Cuba, pointed out that he had failed to put the facts into the context of US Cuban history. Smith retorted angrily, "well screw you!" She pointed out this was unbecoming behavior and again he said "Screw You!" and turned away. This while he mingled with the large crowd of supporters of Cuba and enjoyed the Cuban's hospitality.)