Cuban Internationalism and the New External Setting

Banderas en la sede de Naciones Unidas
Flags flying at the United Nations

The Government that emerged from the popular and democratic Revolution of 1959 has been characterized since its inception by its internationalist policies of solidarity, aid and cooperation with revolutionary and national liberation movements in Latin America and almost all other corners of the world.

The practice of internationalism has been a norm in the foreign activities of the government, always as a part of the “Marxist-Leninist” principles that uphold it.

It has its roots in our national history, in the participation of many foreigners in our independence battles and even in our last feat against Batista’s tyranny, and also in the participation of Cubans in the struggles for liberation of the Thirteen Colonies of the North from English colonialism. Additionally, in American ventures against Spanish colonialism, in the Spanish Civil War, and in World War II against fascism, to point out some well-known historical occurrences.

The solidarity of the Cuban government never remained in simple declarations. Well-known are many actions of direct support in the form of arms, training, funds and men to many of those movements throughout the history of the last half of the XX century.

It would suffice to recall the actions of Che in Africa and Bolivia and the involvement of Cuban troops in the Arab-Israeli, Algerian-Moroccan, and Ethiopian-Somali conflicts as well as in the southern tip of Africa.

On the other hand, important international events that encouraged the use of violence in their political efforts also took place in Cuba.

The Cuban government encouraged armed struggles in Latin America for many years as a means of liberation from imperialist oppression.

The Cuban government encouraged armed struggles in Latin America for many years as a means of liberation from imperialist oppression.

The Island’s press services, especially  Radio Habana Cuba, which broadcasts in all continents and in several languages, has constantly denounced human rights abuses at the hands of governments and reactionary forces throughout the world and has breathed life into communist parties, movements of the left, of workers, antifascists, and practically any popular cause that has developed in the world.

Cuban officials feel a sense of pride from those internationalist activities. Many of us Cubans took part in some way, directly or otherwise, in that great movement of solidarity, because internationalism has been part of our education from the State.

These policies began to revert at the fall of the Soviet Union and the “Eastern Bloc,” principal economic, political, and military supporters of the Cuban government.

In adapting to that new global order, a new foreign policy has been developed and applied throughout the last 15 years: upholding political solidarity for “anti-imperialist and revolutionary” movements without direct aid or involvement in other countries’ conflicts, instead seeking greater diplomatic recognition and the creation of favorable conditions that would diversify the Cuban State’s sources of income.

Cuban leaders reduced internationalist support to verbal solidarity and limited aid to natural disasters and health crises (the sale of medical and professional services is a business of the State, a separate subject matter) and they’ve also been effective in mediating to solve Colombia’s armed conflict.

At the same time, international activities aimed at combatting the embargo-blockade* were increased and, more recently, negotiations to reestablish and normalize diplomatic relations between the government and the United States have also taken place.

The Cuban government hopes for its new conduct of respect for international law to be equally met by the international community and, especially, by the United States in this new era of “normal” relations.

The ample and varied activities of aggression and subversion by all administrations of the United States to oust their Cuban counterpart are well-known.

From its sponsoring of the Bay of Pigs Invasion and support for opposition fighters in the Escambray Mountains, going through direct efforts against the national economy and assassination plots against Cuban leaders, to the U.S. Secret Services’ provision of logistical, economic, and political support to all kinds of armed and political movements against the Cuban government.

One should assume that in a new era of normalized relations, all those policies should cease on both sides.

This government could not accuse others of meddling in its internal affairs through the political and public efforts of other governments in favor of the Cuban people’s rights and liberties.

But, it will be necessary to keep in mind that it is not the same thing to show solidarity for the victims of unjust government policies as it is to conspire with nationals of other countries to topple governments. The right to self-determination does not restrict solidarity with the oppressed or with those whose rights are violated, only the practical and effective action that may be directed at undermining a people’s sovereign right to decide its own future, democratically and by itself.

The right to self-determination was born in the United Nations in 1960, precisely as a consequence of international solidarity with the people of Africa, who suffered beneath the boot of colonialism. Nobody could expect Cuba’s government not to voice solidarity with internationalist movements of the left, or to back them up politically as they sought to reclaim political, economic, and social independence, finally denouncing the violation of other people’s rights.

On that same note, this government could not accuse others of meddling in its internal affairs through the political and public efforts of other governments in favor of the Cuban people’s rights and liberties.

The best way to prevent such involvements would be by thoroughly respecting the political, civil, economic, and social rights of Cubans, especially the freedoms of expression, association, and election, as well as their ability to freely carry out productive and commercial activities. Applying, in short, without prejudice or discrimination, the principles set forth by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its respective agreements, which have been signed by this government.

Human rights are not of right or left, capitalists or socialists, northerners or southerners… they are human.

Whoever travels down these roads should know that they, too, have laws and they cut both ways; they are put in place to be respected and to prevent “accidents.”

The new international scenario that Cuba faces doesn’t only require from it a new focus on its international politics, but also on its internal affairs. A connection between the two should exist; there should be some correspondence.

*Translator’s note: The Cuban government calls the American embargo on Cuba a “blockade.”

Translated by Fernando Fornaris

Imprimir

  • Facebook Like:
  • Google Plus One:
  • Tweet:
  • Tumblr:
  • Compartir:

Comentarios 0