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   Vol. 70/No. 32           August 28, 2006  
What’s behind U.S. calls
for ‘transition’ in Cuba?
Cubans defend revolution,
say no return to capitalist past
(feature article/As I See It column)
Cuban president Fidel Castro released a statement July 31 announcing his hospitalization for major surgery and the delegation of his responsibilities to other leaders. Since then working people in the United States and elsewhere have been subjected to a barrage of lies about the Cuban Revolution. Articles in the big-business media predict, once again, the collapse of the revolutionary government.

U.S. president George Bush issued a statement August 3 calling for “a transitional government in Cuba committed to democracy.” White House officials have trumpeted an $80 million plan offering “humanitarian aid” to Cubans in a “transition” from socialism back to capitalism—if the revolutionary government is first overthrown by forces the U.S. rulers deem “democratic.” These plans call for grabbing the land, homes, and basic industry from Cuban working people and returning them to the former capitalist owners.

If the wealthy U.S. rulers, however, believe the majority of the Cuban people are waiting for the chance to go back to the pre-1959 days, they are engaged in wishful thinking. If Washington ever tries to move in on Cuba, it will be met by millions of Cubans, mobilized and armed, who will defend their gains as they have done for 47 years, outlasting 10 U.S. administrations.

As Fidel Castro said at a rally on July 26, Cuba “does not need any Yankee transition plan to teach our people to read and write or to vaccinate them and provide health care.” The revolution itself was the “transition” Cubans fought and died for, he noted.

A leadership transition in Cuba has been under way for years. It involves several generations of cadres working together to advance the campaigns of the revolution. At the heart of this process today is the Battle of Ideas. This is a far-reaching effort to expand access by working people to culture and education, to involve youth and workers in resolving social problems, and to mobilize tens of thousands of volunteers in solidarity missions around the world.

These political initiatives have helped confront the pressures of world capitalism that bear down on Cuba. They are helping to win new generations to the socialist revolution. They have reinforced the conviction of millions that socialism, based on working-class cooperation and solidarity, is a superior alternative to capitalism and its dog-eat-dog, “look out for Number One” values.

Why are the U.S. rulers so intent on crushing the Cuban Revolution? It’s not because exiled Cuban-American businessmen dictate U.S. foreign policy. The interests of bigger forces, of the capitalist class as a whole, are involved.

Cuba’s socialist revolution is a political threat to the ruling U.S. billionaire families, who correctly fear that Cuba is an example for the oppressed and exploited worldwide.

In 1959 Cuban workers and farmers made a revolution, led by the Rebel Army and July 26 Movement headed by Fidel Castro, Raúl Castro, and others. They established a workers and peasants government and overthrew capitalist rule. That government mobilized millions to abolish illiteracy, carry out a land reform, and reorganize the economy on the basis of social needs, not profit for a few. Cuba has gone further than any other country in uprooting racist discrimination and advancing the status of women. Working people are actively involved in shaping the fundamental economic, social, and political decisions.

Cubans have offered selfless solidarity around the world. Tens of thousands of volunteer doctors, teachers, and technicians serve today from Venezuela and Bolivia to Equatorial Guinea.

The Cuban people have stood up to repeated U.S.-organized attempts to overthrow their revolution, from the 1961 mercenary invasion at the Bay of Pigs to the October 1962 “missile crisis” and Washington’s decades-long economic war.

Why do all the imperialist rulers hate Fidel Castro and Raúl Castro?

A few years ago, former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell put it this way. In China, Russia, and Vietnam “you can see leaders who the world is changing,” he said. But Castro “hasn’t changed his views in any way,” he complained. In other words, Cuba’s central leadership cannot be intimidated or bought off. It has a consistent record of defending the interests of the majority.

That’s why Washington has looked in vain for divisions in the leadership of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Communist Party of Cuba.

Fidel and Raúl Castro have continued to be part of this leadership for a simple reason: they have been at the center of every major leadership initiative that has benefited working people. Raúl Castro, for example, has led the Revolutionary Armed Forces in defending Cuba from imperialist assault, promoting internationalist solidarity, and mobilizing workers and farmers to combat bureaucracy and corruption.

That is why the 1996 Helms-Burton law, which tightened the U.S. embargo against Cuba, stipulated that Washington will only recognize a new government that “does not include Fidel Castro and Raúl Castro.”

In an earlier bout of wishful thinking, capitalist pundits predicted the end of the Cuban Revolution after the crumbling of the Stalinist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe at the beginning of the 1990s. Cuba has successfully resisted and survived, and will continue to do so after Fidel Castro, because of the socialist revolution and its leadership.

If a transition is needed, it’s not in Cuba. It’s working people in the United States and other capitalist countries who need a “transition”—the kind the Cuban people have made. The problem we face is capitalism, a system of exploitation breeding increasingly intolerable conditions for billions of people. Capitalism offers us a world where 2 billion people lack access to electricity, a world of imperialist wars like the U.S.-led occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. At home, the ruling capitalists offer us an increasingly brutal assault on the living standards and rights of workers and farmers.

For working people and youth, such as the millions who have mobilized in U.S. streets to demand the legalization of undocumented immigrants, the Cuban Revolution offers a living example. It shows that workers and farmers can organize into a powerful force, defeat the ruling rich, and take destiny into our own hands. That is why Cuba is such a “dangerous” example.
Related articles:
U.S. appeals court upholds convictions of five framed Cuban revolutionaries
Free the Cuban Five!  
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