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Fidel Is Right: Don’t Trust The US – OpEd

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Amidst weeks of mainstream media-gossip about Fidel the world again heard the voice: ‘I do not trust the policy of the United States, nor have I exchanged one word with them …’

The revolutionary leader expressed his observation in a letter he wrote to the student federation at the University of Havana. The letter, “For my Federation of University Students classmates”, appeared in Granma, newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba. The letter was also read out on state television in Cuba.

Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro said in the letter: ‘I do not trust the policy of the United States, nor have I exchanged one word with them, though this does not in any way signify a rejection of a peaceful solution to conflicts or threats of war.’

Fidel’s cautious approach is evident in the statement. As a reader of Lenin, which he mentions in the letter, Fidel is fully aware of the Empire and its policies, and at the same time, he doesn’t reject non-hostile approaches to conflicts.

He mentions Lenin as a genius of revolutionary action. Lenin has views on peace, negotiations, and imperialist war. Fidel doesn’t miss the contradictions within war and peace and within the present global reality as he writes:

‘Observe carefully the realities of this well-known, globalized and very poorly shared planet Earth, on which we know every vital resource is distributed in accordance with historical factors: some with much less than they need, others with so much they don’t know what to do with it. Now amidst great threats and dangers of war, chaos reigns in the distribution of financial resources and social production.’

Fidel stands for peace as he writes: ‘Defending peace is the duty of all. Any negotiated, peaceful solution to the problems between the United States and peoples, or any people of Latin America, which does not imply force or the use of force, must be addressed in accordance with international principles and norms.’

But the Empire doesn’t go by widely accepted international principles and norms. Fidel’s letter mentions an example from Africa:

Ronald Reagan authorized the delivery of nuclear weapons to the racist South Africa to attack Cuban and Angolan forces defending Angola against the racist troops attempting to occupy the country. “In such a situation, there was no possibility whatsoever for a peaceful solution.” The racist army was trying to liquidate Angola, bleed the country.

The world is full of similar examples. Media reports including reports by The New York Times and The Washington Post, and declassified government documents have exposed the Empire’s “peace” enterprises: patronizing killers with the target of interference, war, subjugation and plunder. The enterprise has ravaged countries, devastated lands, ruined peoples’ lives. None of these, the patronization of killers and anti-democratic forces, the ravages “bestowed”, the deaths “awarded”, has brought peace and democracy in any land. Following are a few examples.

We don’t like this guy

In 2002, Venezuela’s revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez was pushed out of power in a 47-hours coup by a ring of military officers and business leaders. ‘Senior members of the Bush administration met several times in recent months [before the coup] with leaders of a coalition that ousted the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, for two days last weekend, and agreed with them that he should be removed from office, administration officials said today [April 15, 2002].’ (NYT, April 16, 2002, “Bush officials met with Venezuelans who ousted leader”) The daily cited US officials, and one of whom said: ‘We were sending informal, subtle signals that we don’t like this guy’ [Chavez]. Another official, the White House spokesman, ‘suggested that the administration was pleased that Mr. Chavez was gone.’

The coup was not a single effort against Chavez. Eva Golinger, the author of the famous ‘The Chavez Code’, writes: ‘Chavez’s international influence turned him into the number one enemy of Washington. The threats against Chavez were constant, attempts against his life never ceased. There was a systematic aggression against his government from the most powerful interests in the world, together with their agents in Venezuela.’ (“A tribute – Chavez: A giant under the moon”)

She raises another serious question: ‘We may never know if his death was provoked or not, although enough evidence exists to investigate’. (ibid.) Questions concerning the death of Hugo Chavez have also been raised from other responsible quarters including the chairman of the Venezuelan legislative assembly.

Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela, has recently accused publicly: The US is behind an attempted coup in Venezuela. He has alleged the US vice-president Joe Biden was behind the entire destablizing plot. Maduro said: ‘The northern imperial power has entered a dangerous phase of desperation, going to talk to the continent’s governments to announce the overthrow of my government. And I accuse Vice-president Joe Biden of this.’

This is the first time a direct accusation of this gravity was made publicly. However, there was denial from the other side. On an earlier occasion, Maduro specified a number of US agencies for allegedly plotting against Venezuela.

In the recent accusation, Maduro questioned US president Barack Obama publicly, whether the US president was ‘aware of these plans to promote violence and a coup in Venezuela’. Terming the situation as no ordinary crisis, the Venezuelan president said: ‘There are US diplomats in Venezuela contracting military officials to betray their country, looking to influence socialist political leaders, public opinion leaders and entrepreneurs to provoke a coup.’ He appealed to the people and the patriots among the officials to be on high alert ‘as a bloody coup is underway in Venezuela.’

Maduro further alerted: ‘The people must be prepared to rescue their democracy, the Constitution and their revolution’. He said it’s difficult to imagine, despite earlier promises, how to maintain diplomatic relations with the US, in light of its constant attempts to subvert the Venezuelan leadership and sink the country into a crisis.

The Empire’s interference in Venezuela is not a new case. Eva Golinger in an article, “The dirty hands of the National Endowment for Democracy in Venezuela”, provides the following facts as she mentions anti-government protests led by several individuals and organizations have close ties to the US government:

‘Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado, two of the leaders behind the violent protests, have long histories as collaborators, grantees and agents of Washington. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have channeled multi-million dollar funding to Lopez’s political parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, and Machado’s NGO Sumate and her electoral campaigns. These Washington agencies have also filtered more than $14 million to opposition groups in Venezuela between 2013 and 2014 including funding for their political campaigns in 2013 and for the anti-government protests in 2014. This continues the pattern of financing from the US government to anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela since 2001, when millions of dollars were given to organizations from so-called “civil society” to execute a coup d’état against President Chavez in April 2002. After their failure days later, USAID opened an Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) in Caracas to, together with the NED, inject more than $100 million in efforts to undermine the Chavez government and reinforce the opposition during the following eight years.

At the beginning of 2011, after being publicly exposed for its grave violations of Venezuelan law and sovereignty, the OTI closed its doors in Venezuela and USAID operations were transferred to its offices in the US. The flow of money to anti-government groups didn’t stop, despite the enactment by Venezuela’s National Assembly of the Law of Political Sovereignty and National Self-Determination at the end of 2010, which outright prohibits foreign funding of political groups in the country. US agencies and the Venezuelan groups that receive their money continue to violate the law with impunity. In the Obama Administration’s Foreign Operations Budgets, between $5-6 million have been included to fund opposition groups in Venezuela through USAID since 2012.

The NED, a “foundation” created by [US] Congress in 1983 to essentially do the CIA’s work overtly, has been one of the principal financiers of destabilization in Venezuela throughout the Chavez administration and now against President Maduro. According to NED’s 2013 annual report, the agency channeled more than $2.3 million to Venezuelan opposition groups and projects. Within that figure, $1,787,300 went directly to anti-government groups within Venezuela, while another $590,000 was distributed to regional organizations that work with and fund the Venezuelan opposition. More than $300,000 was directed towards efforts to develop a new generation of youth leaders to oppose Maduro’s government politically.

One of the groups funded by NED to specifically work with youth is FORMA, an organization … tied to Venezuelan banker Oscar Garcia Mendoza. Garcia Mendoza runs the Banco Venezolano de Credito, a Venezuelan bank that has served as the filter for the flow of dollars from NED and USAID to opposition groups in Venezuela.

Another significant part of NED funds in Venezuela from 2013-2014 was given to groups and initiatives that work in media and run the campaign to discredit the government of President Maduro. …Throughout the past year, an unprecedented media war has been waged against the Venezuelan government and President Maduro directly, which has intensified during the past few months of protests.

In direct violation of Venezuelan law, NED also funded the opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Table (MUD), via the US International Republican Institute (IRI), with $100,000 to “share lessons learned with [anti-government groups] in Nicaragua, Argentina and Bolivia…and allow for the adaption of the Venezuelan experience in these countries”.

Regarding this initiative, the NED 2013 annual report specifically states its aim: “To develop the ability of political and civil society actors from Nicaragua, Argentina and Bolivia …”

IRI has helped to build right-wing opposition parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, and has worked with anti-government coalition in Venezuela since before the 2002.

Detailed in a report published by the Spanish institute FRIDE in 2010, international agencies that fund the Venezuelan opposition violate currency control laws in order to get their dollars to the recipients. Also confirmed in the FRIDE report was the fact that the majority of international agencies, with the exception of the European Commission, are bringing in foreign money and changing it in the black market, in clear violation of Venezuelan law. In some cases, the FRIDE analysis reports, the agencies open bank accounts abroad for the Venezuelan groups or they bring them the money in hard cash. The US embassy in Caracas could also use the diplomatic pouch to bring large quantities of unaccounted dollars and euros into the country that are later handed over illegally to anti-government groups in Venezuela.

All these things are being done in the name of democracy. And it’s not only the Venezuela case.

Hip-hop in Cuba

An investigation by the Associated Press found that USAID attempted to infiltrate the Cuban hip-hop movement as part of a covert project to destabilize the country. The AP report, “US co-opted Cuba’s hip-hop scene to spark change”, was available on December 11, 2014.

The AP investigation found documents that indicate that USAID hired a group of rappers to organize a youth movement opposed to the Cuban government. The plan was implemented covertly for more than two years.

Its aim was using Cuban musicians to organize a network to agitate against the system. To undermine the Cuban government, it involved millions of dollars. A bank in Lichtenstein was also there with the purpose to hide the money trail to Cuba, where thousands of dollars went to fund a TV program.

The Huffington Post website published a chronology of USAID covert operations in Cuba. It showed in detail the activities of Rajko Bozic, a Serbian presenting himself as a musical promoter. Rajko arrived in Cuba with instructions to involve Cuban rappers including the Aldeanos duo in the covert hip hop program.

The covert operation net was wide. In Panama, the publication describes a company, the Salida Company, that was organized in March 2009. It was organized as a front for Washington-based Creative Associates International (CAI). In August 2009, the CAI hosted a meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica, to discuss using the Concert for Peace organized by Colombian musician Juanes in Havana to boost Los Aldeanos and their destabilizing discourse.

In December 2009, Alan Gross, the USAID contractor, was arrested in Havana for having illegally imported satellite phones and computing equipment to Cuba without the appropriate permits.

The USAID hip-hop covert operation was conducted along with two other operations sponsored by the US agency, which were also exposed by AP. These were the Zunzuneo or the Cuban twitter project, and a plan to send young Latin Americans to Cuba to build dissatisfaction among the Cuban youth and promote criticism of the government.

These facts led Raul Castro to warn the US against meddling in Cuba’s affairs. These facts also led Josefina Vidal, Cuba’s top official for US affairs, to say in early-February: ‘The way those (US) diplomats act should change in terms of stimulating, organizing, training, supplying and financing elements within our country that act against the interests of … the government of the Cuban people.’

Vidal said the Americans were meddling in internal affairs of Cuba. ‘Matters of the internal affairs in Cuba are not negotiable”, she said. “Nor are we going to negotiate matters of an internal nature regarding Cuban sovereignty in exchange for lifting the embargo. Beyond that, everything else is a process of negotiation.’

Cuba’s pain is old. In 1898, the US forced Cuba to accept Platt Amendment that allowed the Empire to intervene in Cuba and establish the base at Guantanamo.

The Empire’s war against countries aspiring to live with dignity is widespread. The war is conducted not only with subversion and coups. It goes to the economic front also.

Shadow oil war

In mid-December 2014, Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, said in an interview: The US is behind the current drop in oil prices as it is aiming to undermine the economies of large petroleum producers like Russia and Venezuela.

Morales further said: ‘Of course, now that America can’t overthrow a president by a violent military coup, it starts to view the option of economic sanctions. I am sure that the oil prices plunge was provoked by the US to undermine the Russian and Venezuelan economies.’

According to the Bolivian president, America is acting like other large empires did for centuries as they ‘disseminated strife and hatred inside and outside, wishing to establish political control over other nations and to plunder them economically.’

And the shadow oil war is now pushing Libya to the brink of bankruptcy. Shall the oil interests in Libya gain with this reality even if the interests of the Libyan people are ignored?

The cases are not only South America-centered. A conviction in the US exposes the Empire’s activities around the globe.

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