The U.S. media campaign, and the organization of disruptions on July 11 by paid political operatives in Cuba, were intended to take advantage of dissatisfactions among the people, and to stir emotions in opposition to the government. The plan not only failed, it backfired. The emotions that it fueled were those of the revolutionaries. Emotions of disgust toward the people who engaged in what was widely considered as despicable conduct, like looting stores and attacking persons. Cubans are accustomed to seeing videos of such conduct in other nations, but many were shocked to see such comportment in Cuba. And as a result, the great majority felt anger and even contempt for persons who were conducting themselves in such a manner, and doing so in the paid service of a foreign power that has for decades announced its intention to derail the sovereign road that the nation has taken. And the events stoked emotions of pride in their revolution and its principled and dignified quest for true independence and sovereignty, moving various Cuban institutions and organizations to organize public acts in defense of the Cuban revolution.
The expressions of support for the revolution reached a culmination on Saturday, July 17, when early morning political/cultural events were organized in the principal plazas of the fourteen provincial capitals of the nation, in which the people expressed their support for the revolution and against intervention. In general, the events were presided by provincial leaders of the Communist Party, the government, and the mass organizations. It was not a situation of conflict, even less of civil war. The revolutionaries occupied the plazas with enthusiasm, but with tranquility, for the counterrevolutionaries were nowhere to be seen.
In Holguín, the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba in the province, Ernesto Santiesteban Velázquez, declared “We revolutionaries are disposed to converse with confused compatriots and with those that desire to express themselves with the intention of improving our society, but we will not do so with those who intend to surrender the country in accordance with a plan designed and financed by foreign interests.” He also stated that no one should doubt the disposition of the revolutionary forces to defend every inch of the national territory, and to defend the social gains of the revolution, gains attained in spite of the obstacles created by the economic blockade.
In Sancti Spíritus, Deivy Pérez Martín, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba in the province, noted that Cuba had earned the admiration of the entire world for the exemplary manner in which it has responded to the Covid pandemic, but “now President Biden hypocritically speaks of helping Cuba with vaccines, when the government of that country has blocked the delivery of medical supplies to the island in the middle of an epidemic.” The Biden administration, he declared, is following the recommendations of the infamous memorandum circulating in the Eisenhower administration 61 years ago, which advocated creating human misery so that the people will turn against the government.
In Granma, Reynaldo Fernández Rivero, First Secretary of the Union of Communist Youth in the province, pointed out that while a minority without popular backing participated in the disturbances of July 11, more than 30,000 youths in the province were daily engaged in tasks related to the containment of Covid-19, the production of food, and programs of development. The First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba in the province, Federico Hernández Hernández, maintained that in the face of the media campaign that seeks to promote a supposed “humanitarian intervention,” Cuban revolutionaries will remain united, loyal to the leadership of the country. In addition, various artists of the province lifted up their voices in defense of the nation, peace, unity, and citizen tranquility.
In Havana, nearly 100,000 people arrived to the Anti-Imperialist Plaza, armed with the conviction that revolutionaries have the duty to defend their revolution. Accompanied by Raúl Castro and various members of the Party and the government, Cuban President Díaz-Canel, who also is First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba, addressed the political-cultural event. He declared, “Long live Cuba free, free of the foreign interference and the hate that they have tried to stimulate, those who have spent sixty years squeezing the neck of the nation in order to break it, and who now want to present themselves as our saviors.”
The Cuban president declared that the social networks are overflowing with lies and hate, disrupting the tranquility of Cuban families. The owners of those social networks, he declared, have not exercised even a minimal amount of ethical control concerning what is widely disseminated on their powerful platforms.
Díaz-Canel further stated:
In the past week, there has been developed an intense political-communicational labor by a great platform of media poisoning, financed by the government of the United States and the political machinery of Florida. Its objective was to encourage disturbances and instability in the country, taking advantage of the difficult conditions brought about by the pandemic, the intensified blockade, and the more that 240 measures of the Trump administration. It carried out in these days acts of unconventional war, sending instructions of calls for social outbreaks, violence, aggression against police, vandalism, and sabotage. They utilized for this purpose systems of artificial intelligence and cyber troops, and they had the benefit also of the complicity of a powerful transnational that permitted them to violate with impunity its own regulations, ignoring the legitimate denunciations of users and of some press media and media agencies.
“None of this is new,” Díaz-Canel declared. Their constant goal has been to erase from the map the bad example of Cuba, which strives to maintain its sovereignty and independence, while so many other nations submit to their orders.
At the time, Díez-Canel recognized the need for critical reflection on methods and work, seeking to overcome bureaucratic delays, obstacles to production, and the insensitivity of some. He called for greater attention to the most vulnerable sectors and neighborhoods, in order to eliminate the root causes of the violence that occurred on July 11.
Let us place our hearts, he concluded, to our common revolutionary work, defending our sovereignty, our nation, and our socialism.
After the political-cultural event, the weekend passed with total calm and tranquility, although at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, I could hear a drunk in the street shouting “Viva Cuba! Viva Fidel!”, in complete violation of the Covid-related curfew.
On Sunday, July 18, the Confederation of Workers of Cuba, the Federation of Cuban Women, and the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution issued declarations that strongly condemned the violence and vandalism of July 11 and that expressed support for the Party, the government, and the revolution. These mass organizations represent the great majority of the Cuban people.
In 1961, the people of Cuba responded to the call of Fidel to defend their socialist revolution against a U.S.-backed invasion, defeating the invading forces at the Bay of Pigs in seventy-two hours. In the early 1990s, the people endured extreme hardships, far more serious than the difficulties today, rather than surrender their sovereignty. On July 11, they again responded to the call of the revolutionary leadership to defend their sovereignty and their nation.
The Cuban people have their imperfections, above all, a tendency to indiscipline. They are, after all, human. But it can be said of them that they are a revolutionary people, taught to be revolutionary by Fidel. A people who in recent days have written a new page of heroism, in the words of Díaz-Canel, in the continuing struggle of humanity in defense of itself and in opposition to the amoral and destructive power of imperialism.
As for Díaz-Canel, he has this past week earned credentials as one of the exceptional leaders that the long Third World revolution of national liberation has produced, with an exceptional energy rooted in a boundless commitment to his people, and with the political intelligence to know what needs to be done in a determined situation, illustrated by his conduct on July 11, when he called upon the people to take to the streets to defend their revolution, quickly bringing the disruption to an end.
The battle of July 11 is won. But the war, an unconventional war against Cuba and the other vanguard nations of Latin America, continues. (See my July 16 report on the battle of July 11, “The US unconventional war against Cuba”).
The future of Cuba is tied to the future of the world, and much depends on the capacity of vaccines currently in production and distribution, in Cuba and in the world, to attain herd immunity in the face of the stronger Covid variants Beta and Delta. If they cannot, new or modified vaccines would have to be produced, which would mean delays in recovery.
If the pandemic in Cuba and the world were to be over by the beginning of 2022, Cuban tourism, central to its economy, would return. In addition, Cuba possibly may emerge from the pandemic with considerable prestige for its management of the health emergency, and in a position to sell its vaccines to other nations and international organizations, significantly expanding the income generated by its scientifically-advanced pharmaceutical industry. Moreover, its new economic plan, now in the process of being implemented, is intelligently designed, with careful attention to overcoming obstacles to productivity, and it may generate advances in the economy. However, the realization of this hopeful scenario depends on ultimate Cuban success in the battle against Covid-19.
As the failure of the July 11 imperialist offensive becomes more universally recognized, the United States may be under increasing pressure to end the blockade, especially the extraterritorial restrictions on Cuban commercial and financial transactions with companies and banks of third nations, which violate the sovereignty of said nations; and the restrictions on pharmaceutical products and medical equipment and supplies, which offend the most elementary human sensibilities. These dimensions of the blockade have been the most damaging to Cuba during the past year, and they can be eliminated by presidential executive order.
The structures of today’s world-system, which generate extreme inequalities, have been constructed on a colonial foundation. The long Third World revolution of national liberation has sought to right that wrong. Should not the governments of the North, rather than attacking vanguard Third World governments and movements, accompany them in their just aspirations; and seek to defend the interests and needs of their own nations and peoples in the context of a more just and politically-stable world?
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