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Monday, February 14, 2011


The Power of the "Cuban Lobby"

It's conventional wisdom that U.S. policy towards Israel and Cuba are the result of powerful pro-Israel (e.g., AIPAC) and anti-Cuba (e.g., CANF) groups. And there's certainly no doubt that those groups do have significant influence. But at bottom, the reason they're able to have such influence is that the cause they're lobbying for falls right in line with the needs and desires of the U.S. ruling class. That is to say, the tail isn't wagging the dog, but rather the tail is simply an integral part of the dog and, just like many dogs, the body and the tail actually "wag" together.

Is this simply an assertion? Well, it is an assertion, but to back it up I offer this article, which is the first thorough analysis I've seen of the Wikileaks cables pertaining to Cuba. And why is this relevant to the question raised in the first paragraph? Because when you read through those cables, what you'll see is a U.S. government quite literally obsessed with doing everything it can, all over the world, to undermine the Cuban Revolution in every way possible. The U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan sponsoring a "solidarity with the Cuban people" day (by which they mean the Cubans who they fantasize want to overthrow the Cuban government, not the actual Cuban people). The U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine lecturing a Ukrainian government representative because she dared to defend Cuba's human rights record. The Ambassador in Lithuania successfully pressuring the government there not to recognize Cuba. A questionnaire (!) send to the U.S. Ambassador in Estonia (and presumably to many other countries) asking such questions as "Did the host country offer or deliver humanitarian or other assistance to the Cuban people in the wake of the major damage caused by Hurricanes Gustav (August 30) and Ike (September 8)?"

Each one of these items, taken individually, is seemingly trivial. But taken together, and extrapolating to the hundreds of similar cables to and from other U.S. Embassies around the world which WikiLeaks didn't get hold of, and the U.S. determination to do everything they possibly can to overthrow the Cuban revolution becomes crystal clear.

Now why is this important? Because without WikiLeaks, none of this would be known to us or to the "Cuban Lobby." Think about that lobby. If the U.S. government maintains the blockade of Cuba, and continues to say bad things publicly about Cuba, and add in a few "extras" like continue to shield Luis Posada Carriles from extradition to Venezuela to stand trial for the mass murder of 73 people in the bombing of a Cubana Airliner, surely that would be enough to make the Cuban lobby "happy." It's highly unlikely that the Cuban lobby even knew about a public event like the one in Uzbekistan mentioned above, much less private U.S. pressure on Lithuania not to recognize Cuba or all the other things mentioned in the documents. After all, if Lithuania were to establish relations with Cuba, it would be a pretty hard case to make that that was Bush's (or Obama's or whoever's) "fault" that that happened.

The lesson to draw is clear. The policy of the U.S. government towards Cuba is the policy of the U.S. government, and the class (the "ruling class") and interests (corporate) that it represents. The interests of the "Cuban lobby" may coincide with those policies, but it is not what is really driving those policies. What is driving those policies is the same thing that led the U.S. and 16 other imperialist countries to invade Russia in 1918 in an attempt to overthrow the Russian Revolution. The same thing that led the U.S. to arm, finance, and organize the Contras in their attempt to overthrow the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua. The same thing that is behind the U.S. demonization (and more) of Venezuela and Bolivia. And on and on. It's the fear (and, ultimately, the knowledge) that a fully successful socialist revolution, one allowed to develop "normally" without invasions, blockades, threats of war, and so on, would prove an irresistible example for the people of the world, including the people of the United States. It's their own interests the corporations and the ruling rich are protecting, not the interests of a handful of right-wing Cubans in Miami.

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