by Manuel E. Yepe
April 5, 2013 (TSR) – The triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 was the first case of a sustained act of disobedience to U.S. imperialism that managed to successfully resist retaliation, revealing the cause of the aggressiveness, intensity and persistence of the United States’ policy against this small Caribbean country, lacking any other possible explanation or reasonable theory.
Cuba has been able to resist innumerable aggressions by the U.S. government: mercenary invasions like the Bay of Pigs, terrorist acts against commercial flights, cargo ships, hospitals, schools, hotels and other civilian facilities; more than 600 attempts on the life of Fidel Castro and other revolutionary leaders, as well as the longest economic, financial and trade blockade ever imposed on a nation in history. All of this along with a sustained disinformation campaign in the U.S. and world corporate media.
The victory of Cubans over the Batista dictatorship by means of a popular armed struggle inspired patriots in many countries on the continent to take the same road to the liberation of their countries from foreign domination.
However, under the direction of the United States, and with the assistance of military advisors from the superpower, Latin American dictatorships ruthlessly repressed actions inspired by the Cuban victory. Tens of thousands of suspected young revolutionaries were – without trial – tortured, murdered or disappeared in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Operation Condor, the most outrageous operation of Latin American dictatorships in those years, was designed and promoted by the CIA in its role of global covert organization practicing state terrorism against Latin American popular movements. It was an intelligence plan coordinated with the security services of the military regimes in Argentine, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia, but its criminal effects were felt in all countries of the region.
Paradoxically, the repressive role of the armed forces to protect oligarchic interests gave origin to many dignified actions within military barracks. Officers and soldiers promoted revolutionary and patriotic ideas among their ranks to counter the shameful prevailing situation.
There then came a time when these military dictatorships at the beck and call of the empire, having lost prestige in the management of government, gave way to processes of so-called “representative democracy” with the presumption that the traditional oligarchic parties could recover their control and, in conjunction with their subordination to Washington, continue the implementation of the neoliberal globalization scheme initiated on the continent through the dictatorships.
The street fighting and electoral struggles that followed the retreat of the military provided the framework for the people to impose their numbers over the fortunes of the oligarchies.
The disobedience to Washington’s dictates that Cuba has practiced without interruption since 1959, as a reaffirmation of its independence, was stimulated by the successes of the Bolivarian Revolution which in turn laid the basis for a proliferation that today includes most Latin American and Caribbean nations.
With sufficient motivation to confront imperialism, and the Cuban Revolution steadfastly showing the feasibility of breaking down the fatalistic mechanism of geopolitical subordination to the United States, the young Commandante Hugo Chávez, inspired in Venezuela by the liberationist and integrationist ideals of Bolívar – after a failed military uprising – adopted the political strategy demanded by the circumstances and, with a government platform of advanced social content, won three consecutive presidential elections.
The coming to power in the early years of the 21st century of several popular leaders, committed to the self-determination of their countries and regional integration as a fundamental resource to make this viable, marked the emergence of several integrationist projects that culminated in the creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean (CELAC) as a new hemispheric organization excluding the United States and Canada, as an alternative to the U.S. dominated Organization of American States (OAS).
This has been the high point of a process that could be called “the Hemispheric Revolution of Disobedience”.
To come this far, several methods of struggle were necessary, but the final goal remains to achieve a truly democratic and independent Latin America, with its own regional identity and full social justice.
Manuel E. Yepe is a Cuban journalist specializing in international politics.
First published in Cuba News.