On October 12, Cuban media reported that the Councils of Administration of various provinces had responded to requests to hold demonstrations on November 20. The communique indicated that the proposed march is not legitimate, inasmuch as the public statements of the promoters have expressed the intention of promoting a change of the political system in Cuba. In addition, the promoters have ties to subversive organizations or agencies financed by the government of the United States. The communique cities Article 45 of the Constitution, which states that “the rights or persons are limited by the rights of others, collective security, general wellbeing, and respect for the public order, the Constitution, and the laws.” It concluded that the announced march “constitutes a provocation as part of the strategy of ‘regime change’ for Cuba, attempted in other countries.”
An October 13 editorial by Granma, the daily newspaper of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, declared that dignity, resistance, and unity are the most powerful forces in the face of the despicable and dishonorable annexionist action that serves the historic enemy of the Cuban nation in its plan to divide and conquer. It takes the term “annexionist” from the nineteenth century Cuban current of thought, known as annexionism, which proposed the annexation of Cuba by the United States.
The editorial notes that those who seek the fall of socialism in Cuba, having failed in their efforts on July 11, now are promoting diverse actions to destabilize the country, in order to provoke an incident that would culminate in a social breakout that would bring about long-desired military intervention. It is part of the unconventional war against Cuba.
Cuban analysis of the new provocation
The editorial cites extensively the report to the 8th Congress of the Party in April 2021 made by General of the Army Raúl Castro, who at that time was First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party. The report shows a solid understanding of counterrevolutionary intentions and activities, no doubt informed by Cuban intelligence services. Raúl declared:
The program of subversions and ideological and cultural influence, which has the intention of discrediting the socialist model of development, has been reinforced. . . . The subversive component of U.S. policy toward Cuba focuses on breaking national unity. Priority is given to actions directed to youth, women, academics, the artistic and intellectual sector, journalists, athletes, religious persons, and persons of sexual diversity . . . as well as issues of interest to specific groups tied to the protection of animals and the environment. . . .
The financing of actions of aggression has not ceased, with the use of radio and television stations in the United States. At the same time, monetary backing has increased for the development of platforms for the generation of ideological content that call openly for the overthrow of the Revolution, which have launched calls for demonstrations in public places and have incited the carrying out of sabotage and terrorist acts, including the assassination of agents of public order and representatives of revolutionary power. . . .
The government of the United States created the Internet Workgroup for Cuba, with the intention of converting the social media into channels of subversion, creating networks out of state control, and realizing cybernetic attacks against critical [Cuban] infrastructure. . . .
The lie, the manipulation, and the propagation of false news know no limit, through which are divulged to the four corners of the earth a virtual image of Cuba as a moribund society without a future, at the point of collapse.
The editorial notes that those involved in the counterrevolutionary effort are sectors of the traditional counterrevolution plus new persons that have been educated in leadership courses financed by North American foundations or the federal government of the United States. Their proposals lack a social base in Cuba; they are duly instructed, financed, and supported from outside the country. They form annexionist groups in Cuba, providing them with money and hope.
These annexionist groups, the editorial continues, now seek to provoke new disturbances, to generate chaos, and to destabilize the country. In recent weeks, they have made public their intention to carry out demonstrations in November, supposedly peaceful, which would be simultaneously carried out in various cities of the country. However, their declared purposes and organizational structure indicate a provocation organized as part of the strategy of “regime change” for Cuba, which has been tried in other countries.
The editorial notes that one of the promoters has been formed in courses sponsored by the rightist Argentinian foundation CADAL, U.S. universities, and think tanks like the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace (which previously was directed by the current director of the CIA, William J. Burns). Among the themes of this indoctrination has been preparing leaders for confrontation with governments, the dynamics of mass mobilization, and the role of the Armed Forces in a “democratic transition.”
The editorial further reveals that among the counterrevolutionary groups that have been called to participate in the November demonstration is the so-called Council for the Democratic Transition in Cuba, which openly receives financing from the National Endowment for Democracy, a U.S. government agency notorious for its long-standing role in supporting oppositionist groups in regime-change strategies in a number of countries.
As soon as the November march was announced by the organizers, the editorial reports, it received public support from U.S. legislators, political operatives, and media of communication known for their support of actions against the Cuban Revolution. “Tweets, declarations, Resistance Assemblies, and other frenetic actions filled those days in Miami, as if the demonstrations were being developed in that city. Regime change, overthrow the government, and military intervention again became the narrative of South Florida.” Among the fervent supporters of the provocation are the Cuban-American National Foundations and the Brigade 2506, which have for years been participants in regime change actions, often supporting terrorist actions.
The U.S. embassy in Havana, including its chargé d’affaires, also have been providing logistical and material support as well as advice to the annexionist groups. Such comportment, the editorial notes, is in violation of the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations.
The organizers are seeking to use the Cuban Constitution to legitimate the provocation. They cite Article 56, which recognizes the right of demonstration. However, the editorial maintains, the annexionists ignore the fact that the same article asserts that demonstrators must excise respect for public order. Moreover, Article 45 asserts that all rights “are limited by the rights of others, collective security, general wellbeing, respect for public order, the Constitution, and the laws.” Said Constitution, which was approved in referendum scarcely three years ago by 86.85% of the voters, affirms that “the socialist system that backs this Constitution is irrevocable.”
The editorial notes that, taking into account the public activities of those who are carrying out and supporting the provocation, it is difficult to assume that the organizers have legitimate intentions, and that they would conduct themselves in accordance with the limitations established by the Constitution. Anyone with common-sense intelligence can see the game in play. And there can be no doubt that Cuba has a right to defend itself against foreign aggression.
The editorial concludes,
It is clear that neither now nor in the future can the right of demonstration be utilized to subvert the political system, to overthrow the Cuban socialist project, or to establish alliances with groups and organizations that receive foreign financing with the objective of promoting the interests of the government of the United States or other foreign powers. In our country the right to work in favor of the interests of a foreign power and to place at risk the stability of citizens does not exist. That is attaching oneself to a foreign project to take control, and it is unconstitutional, illegitimate, and immoral. That is what our laws and our history say.
The people support the government’s decision, but not the international media
Replies submitted online in the Granma website overwhelmingly supported the editorial. Meanwhile, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel posted a link to the editorial on his Twitter account.
An article in Granma on October 13 reports on interviews with various Cuban citizens who support the decision of the government to not grant permission for the march. López Castilla, a member of a milk producing cooperative, declared, “That march is the idea of those in the north, implemented here by their lackeys.” Those who have been paid to march, he declared, do not have the backing of Cuban farmers. “If that march were really of social benefit, or represented the voice of the communities, it would be permitted; but we know that it is not so, because their motives and their intentions have been identified. Therefore, we cannot be in agreement, not today, not ever.”
Workers at the National Center for the Production of Laboratory Animals considered it insulting that the promoters of the march us phrases like “regime” to refer to a country whose socialist government struggles every day for the wellbeing of its people. Miguel Ángel Esquivel Pérez, head of the Department of Vigilance and Technology, considers that “this effort is another of the imperialist attempts to subvert the political order of our country, and it forms a part of a plan of our sworn enemies, what still have not accepted the fact that we have constructed a socialist revolution under their noses.” He asserted the people of Cuba know that those who propose the march do not seek liberty; they want to take advantage of the critical situation that the world and Cuba are passing through, as a result of Covid-19 and the unjust blockade.”
The October 13 Granma article also maintained that the mainstream media of communication are cooperating in the unconventional war against Cuba, demonizing Cuba and seeking to discredit its authorities, by divulging the outlandish idea that the Cuban government has violated articles in the Cuban Constitution in denying authorization to the badly-named national civic march for change. It mentions the report by the British network BBC, which does not explain the destabilizing strategy that has been tried in other countries to overthrow governments and ruin entire people, among them ex-Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Venezuela, Bolivia, Libya, Syria, and Nicaragua. The Spanish-language network of CNN alleges that there have been threats directed against Cuban opposition activists, without mentioning the training these factions have received under the sponsorship of rightwing think tanks.
Article 21 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 16, 1966, states that restrictions on the right of peaceful assembly may be imposed when they “are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.” This language is similar to Articles 45 and 56 of the Cuban Constitution, approved by 88.85% of the voters in a popular referendum in 2019, following an extensive popular consultation.
In the context of the unconventional war waged against it by an aggressive imperialist power, Cuba has the right to invoke these qualifications on the right of peaceful assembly, in order to defend itself against foreign aggression, in the form that such aggression takes in the current historic moment.
For intellectuals and activists of the North, it is erroneous to take out of context the Cuban decision to not permit the proposed march; and to fail to take into account the fact that Cuba is in a state of war, and the proposed “peaceful assembly” itself is a strategy in that war.
Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Cuba has developed structures of people’s power, which place power in the hands of the elected delegates and deputies of the people; and which establish a central role for mass organizations of workers, farmers, women, students, and neighborhoods. (See “Political and civil rights in Cuba,” June 24, 2021). The structures of people’s power imply a role for peaceful assemblies that is fundamentally different from their role in representative democracies. Peaceful assemblies in Cuba are mostly celebrations, like the annual May 1 celebration of the international workers’ struggle. When there are protests, they are protests against imperialist policies, like the massive demonstrations demanding the release of the Cuban Five. In Cuba, the people present their demands not through peaceful assembly but in a different way, through the structures of people’s power, that is, through their delegates and in the context of their mass organizations.
The power of the demands of the people in the Cuban system can be seen in the development of a new social and economic model during the last decade, which originated in the people. The new model emerged from the constant demand of the people, not for “liberty,” but for a higher material standard of living. This demand was expressed by the people in the context of the structures of people’s power, and it was heard by the leadership. Standing outside this dynamic, the organizers of the November march have a perspective and a proposal that do not know Cuba; they have a definite “Made in the USA” stamp.
The Cuban claim, that the proposed demonstration has origins outside the country, is hardly a claim without evidence. The U.S. strategy of using the social and mainstream media to generate protests and to promote political instability and regime change has been well-documented by journalists with respect to a number of countries, including Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, in addition to Cuba. In my last commentary, I reviewed articles that reported the application of the strategy in Hong Kong (see “The Propaganda War against China,” October 12, 2021). These journalistic reports are increasingly revealing that the USA is waging unconventional war against Cuba and other countries, in pursuit of its imperialist interests.
The aggressive imperialism of the United States violates Article One of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which declares that “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” The U.S. unconventional war ignores the repeated call of the Non-Aligned Movement for all nations to respect the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states.
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