Pompeo's Challenge to Biden and to the Cuba Solidarity Movement

Pompeo’s Challenge to Biden and to the Cuba Solidarity Movement: Cuba, Washington, and “Terrorism” 

by Ike Nahem 

War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. 

George Orwell, 1984 

With skillful manipulating of the press, they’re able to make the victim look like the criminal, and the criminal look like the victim. 

Malcolm X 

Pompeo Blows Off the World One Last Time 

In the final days of the disgraced, isolated, hateful Donald Trump regime in the White House, his lackeys in the US State Department, under the direction of the reactionary buffoon Michael Pompeo, decided to place revolutionary and socialist Cuba back on its surreal, arbitrary, and blatantly hypocritical list of “state-sponsors of terrorism.”  

The move is an obvious attempt to obviate — or at least create formal obstacles and pretexts to delay — any potential Executive Orders by the incoming Joseph Biden Administration to alleviate or reverse some or all of the accumulated Trump White House anti-Cuba Executive Orders over the last four years. These measures have deepened the criminal US blockade against Cuba and have led to great economic disruption and human hardship on the island. Which is of course the purpose! 

Furthermore, these measures have aimed to asphyxiate the Cuban Revolution, government, and state in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic precisely at a time when Cuba’s amazing advances in fighting and containing the pandemic at home — and the inspiring and effective example of its medical internationalism and solidarity worldwide cannot be buried or effectively slandered. On the contrary, Cuba’s example is universally respected and loved worldwide. And Pompeo knows it! And so does Joe Biden and his foreign policy team. 

Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up? 

There is no need to spend much time in this statement pointing out the vulgar, cynical, and shameless hypocrisy of US government representatives in their pathetic bleating about “terrorism” or “human rights” in general. This is especially the case regarding revolutionary Cuba – a recipient for decades of direct or indirect US-sponsored terrorism! 

This is easily documented, even from US official files and Congressional Reports, and is universally known and hated worldwide, and by many millions in the United States. US bipartisan “covert” policies since the 1959 triumph of the Cuban Revolution have included assassinations, bombings, economic sabotage, and even biological warfare. We can add to that Washington’s unequaled historic record of creating and backing, funding, arming, and sustaining every blood-soaked military, quasi-fascist dictatorship-government in the Americas committed to eliminating democratic rights and space and grinding working people into the dirt – in order to prevent the emulation of the powerful example of Cuba’s socialist revolution or any progressive, systemic social change across the Americas. And today, in light of the pandemic disaster, the political pressure and conditions for such desperately needed progressive and revolutionary change is again mounting. And Cuba remains the bulwark and beacon of such change in the interests of working people and new generations. 

There Are No George Floyds or Breonna Taylors or Quasi-Fascist Mobs Storming the US Capitol in Cuba! 

This shameful hypocrisy is further underscored when we look at the January 6, 2021 events at the US Capitol! As the late and great US documentary filmmaker put it: “Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up?” 

Washington has no moral standing or credibility to attack Cuba! Imperialist gangsters who live in glass houses should not throw stones! Clean up your own house! Clean up your racist policing and criminal injustice system! Clean up your murderous, appalling misleadership in the COVID-19 pandemic! 

While Pompeo’s contemptible edict is clearly done out of a cornered political weakness — and with barely a grain of sand of popular support in the United States, across the Americas, and internationally — it can, in the bureaucratic labyrinth and dark holes of US anti-Cuba policymaking, become an excuse and pretext for Biden and his team to put off any affirmative action.  

Nevertheless, among the hottest of the hot potatoes the departing Trump gangster regime has dumped on the lap of Biden and his team are the ongoing political consequences of the Trump-led multiple debacles in Latin America as a whole — and against Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba in particular. It is a particular political albatross for them as they take office amid mounting medical, economic, and political-institutional crises. 

Organize and Mobilize in 2021  

In just four months on May 21, 2021 the United Nations General Assembly will again — with increasing anger and contempt in this post-pandemic world political reality — vote overwhelmingly against US anti-Cuba policy. Then a few months later, in August 2021, there is scheduled to be a “Summit of the Americas” — traditionally under the auspices of the wholly discredited DC-based Organization of American States — where the isolation of hated US anti-Cuba measures will again be on display. Both of these scheduled events will be the target of US, Canada, and internationally coordinated anti-blockade protests organized by the International US-Cuba Normalization Conference Coalition. 

Let us remember that it was precisely the humiliating isolation of US anti-Cuba policy in the UN and in the OAS “Summits” year-after-year during his first term, that led Barack Obama, with the advice of his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to implement the historic retreat and shift of US anti-Cuba policy in 2014-15. Nevertheless, the legal foundation of the US blockade remained intact and is enforced to this day. 

Biden and his team indicated during the 2020 election campaign the perspective of returning to the policies implemented under the Second Barack Obama-Biden Administration. These policies — also through Executive Orders— restored formal diplomatic relations and eased significantly restrictions on travel and people-to-people exchanges, and other measures. This could have led to the actual normalization of US-Cuba relations, that is, the legal overturning of the entirety of US economic, commercial, financial, and travel anti-Cuba sanctions and their extraterritoriality. But as we know Trump and Pompeo moved in the opposite direction through their Executive Orders. 

The Two Preconditions for Obama’s 2014-2015 Shift 

Once the second Obama-Biden Administration had decided that the shift and new course was in the interests of larger US policy aims in Latin America and the world, then two preconditions for implementing the US policy retreat were immediately posed. 

First and foremost, was the release of the remaining “Cuban Five” patriotic revolutionaries in US prisons — after a bogus frame-up and conviction in a rigged Miami kangaroo court — for their heroic fight against US backed terrorism and subversion against Cuba. Without this, the Cuban government and people would not proceed. And this was done on December 17, 2014. 

Second, and this was an internal US federal government obstacle, the Obama Administration had to remove Cuba from the State Department “terrorism” list. This required a certain formal process and footwork within the federal bureaucratic labyrinth in order to set aside such arbitrary US “terrorism” nonsense and phony hypocritical virtue-signaling when events required a pragmatic shift. This was completed in May 2015 with Cuba’s removal from the list, and formal diplomatic relations were restored in July 2015. 

Let’s Unite Worldwide to Defeat the Blockade in 2021! 

This should be the starting point for Cuba solidarity activists and fighters around the world as we step up our worldwide united front to smash the US blockade in 2021. This means stepping up the US and international pressure on the incoming Biden-Harris Administration and US Congress to accept and carry out the legal codification and definitive end of the criminal blockade.  

We will do this on many fronts – in the streets in May and August, in passing more and more anti-Blockade Resolutions in City Councils, State Houses, Labor Council, Religious Bodies, and so on. We will also do this by fighting through the SavingLives Campaign (www.savinglivescampaign.org) for US-Cuba-Canada Medical Cooperation led by the US National Network on Cuba, the Canadian Network on Cuba, and La Table Concertation de Solidarite Quebec-Cuba.  

Malcolm X's quote

By Ike Nahem

Ike Nahem is a longtime socialist, anti-imperialist, and Cuba solidarity activist. Ike is a retired Amtrak Locomotive Engineer, and proud member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, a Division of the Teamsters Union, and Railroad Workers United. He is a founder and leader of the New York-New Jersey Cuba Si Coalition, and the International US-Cuba Normalization Conference Coalition. Ike is the author of numerous widely circulated essays including To the Memory of Malcolm X; Fifty Years After His Assassination; The Life of Fidel Castro: A Marxist Appreciation; and Political Legacies of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ike can be reached at ikenahem@gmail.com

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