Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cuba & the U.S. (8 of 11): Cuban Foreign Relations

If you prefer, you can read the whole Cuba report as a PDF by clicking here

.Summary:  Cuba’s friends are other totalitarian dictatorships and other communist or socialist nations. Raul Castro and the Cuban Constitution both condemn the United States.

One of the delights of Facebook is being able to check what friends you have in common before accepting a new friend. Who are Cuba’s friends, now that the Soviet Union is gone?

In a speech of 12/2/2006, Raul Castro referred to his “president and brother, Hugo Chavez,” the socialist dictator of Venezuela. As mentioned above, Chavez signed an agreement with Fidel by which Venezuela provides Cuba with heavily subsidized oil in return for goods and services.

In a speech of 7/26/2007, Castro mentioned “our brothers in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, and our solid ties to China and Vietnam.” China recently invested $500 million in Cuba. In the same speech, Raul mentioned the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, whose past presidents include Tito of Yugoslavia, Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and Fidel Castro of Cuba. Other members of the Movement include North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Syria, and Sudan. (Am I the only one who thinks their logo of a globe surmounted by an olive branch looks like a grenade?)

On the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, right there beside Iran, Syria and Sudan, is Cuba. It maintains relations with several guerrilla and terrorist groups and provides refuge for some of their members.

How does Raul Castro feel about the U.S.? In a speech of 12/2/2006, he noted that “the U.S. government, in the opportunistic manner characteristic of them, have stepped up their hostility and aggressiveness against Cuba to an unprecedented high, in the hope of economically suffocating the country and overthrowing the revolution by intensifying their subversive acts.” He refers to “Washington’s multimillion-dollar campaigns of disinformation, the blackmail and brazen interference.” In a speech of 7/26/2007, he refers to “3,478 victims of terrorist acts directly organized, supported or allowed to happen by the United States authorities,” and states that “There has been not one minute of truce in the face of the politics of the United States government, aimed at destroying the Revolution.” He describes the U.S. trade embargo as a “blockade” that “constitutes a relentless war against our people.” In a speech of 1/1/2009, he refers to the “unhealthy and vindictive hatred” of the U.S., and calls it “aggressive, treacherous and dominant.” In short, his attitude has not changed over the past few years, and indeed, one would not expect it to, given that the Cuban Constitution refers explicitly to “Yankee imperialism” (Preamble).

What points is Raul Castro willing to negotiate about? Back on 12/2/2006 Raul Castro publicly stated, “We take this opportunity to once again state that we are willing to resolve at the negotiating table the longstanding dispute between the United States and Cuba, of course, provided they accept, as we have previously said, our condition as a country that will not tolerate any blemishes on its independence, and as long as said resolution is based on the principles of equality, reciprocity, non-interference and mutual respect.”

That means: “We’ll accept your money and goods, but do not make any demands in return.”

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