Cuba Won't Dialogue with Dissidents Funded by the US Government


According to State Department sources, there is an operation underway against the Cuban Revolution executed by Orlando Gutierrez Boronat, an ultra-right-winger linked to the U.S. intelligence services and who has just recently travelled to Ukraine. The objective here is to complicate the G77+China summit to be held in Havana to be held in Havana on September 15-16, and to sabotage the presence of President Díaz-Canel in New York for the 78th United Nations Assembly starting September 19.

Boronat is a terrorist of Cuban origin, although he has lived in the United States since 1971, who presides over an organization called Cuban Democratic Directorate ” from which they not only promote the blockade against Cuba but have directly called for a U.S. military intervention against Cuba.

This organization is the largest recipient of U.S. government funding of all those that receive funds to subvert the Cuban constitutional order. In fact, Boronat has publicly declared himself an admirer of Salvadoran Major Roberto d’Aubuisson, creator of the death squads in El Salvador, and mastermind of the assassination of Archbishop Monsignor Romero.

Boronat is also an articulator of the international right wing. His relations with the Bolsonaro clan are well known and in November 2022 he was at the Conservative Action Political Conference (CPAC) where he launched harsh attacks against President López Obrador for his policy of support to Cuba

Boronat recently created the “Hemispheric Front for Freedom”, an international ultra-right wing front that opposes the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, that he himself coordinates and just made a visit a few days ago to Ukraine to present the Luis Boitel award (August 29) to “137 Cuban political prisoners and to the Ukrainian people for the defense of their sovereignty in the face of Russian aggression”.

But Boronat’s visit to Kiev, beyond the anti-Russian and anti-Cuban revolution propaganda, had more important objectives:

First, to generate fake news around an alleged intervention of Cuban military alongside Russian military in the special intervention being carried out in Ukraine.

Secondly, and given the presence of far-right European politicians at the award ceremony, to sabotage the “Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and Cuba”. In other words, to reinforce the blockade against the Caribbean island and its revolution.

And thirdly and perhaps most importantly, to sabotage the visit of the Cuban governmental delegation to the 78th United Nations Assembly to be held in New York, where President Díaz-Canel may be present to give a speech to the international community.

 Chart showing the grants received by Cuban Democratic Directorate,
CDD by year and amount

But, in addition, Boronat has asked Zelensky’s government to help them use their contacts with the Ukrainian community in the United States to join them in the demonstrations they intend to call in New York against the Cuban delegation. Let us not forget that although Cuba abstained in the United Nations vote against the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, denouncing the Western double standards and the attempt to surround Russia with NATO bases, it maintains a history of solidarity since the accident at the Ukrainian nuclear power plant (then part of the Soviet Union) in Chernobyl, where 24,000 children, mostly Ukrainian, were treated in Cuba for radiation sickness.

So far in 2023, the terrorist Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat has travelled to Peru, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Sweden, Lithuania and Poland, together with other members of the so-called “Hemispheric Front for Freedom”. All of this based on recommendations and the personal supervision of Senator Marco Rubio, a member of the select intelligence committee of the U.S. Senate that financed the trip.

Katu Arkonada is a Basque researcher and political scientist

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – English

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The Blockade against Cuba 

A summary of over 60 years of resistance and international solidarity 

The Cuban fight against COVID-19

The Federation of Cuban Women at 63

There are many ways to refer to Cuban women. There were mambizas, clandestines, guerrillas. Today you find them federated, since August 23, 1960. Our founding date of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) led by Vilma Espin.

Our union allowed that housewife to shake the dust of her aspirations, to be strengthened in the example of Vilma and the nascent Revolution, to conquer our challenges as women.

The passage of time treasures 63 years of conquest and female empowerment. Changing concepts, patriarchal patterns and achieving gender equity in this society has become the challenge of the organization.

Statistics abound to validate our union of women. We are more than 4 million federated women. More than 42% of the people working in the state sector and 34% in the private sector are women.  Almost 50% of the scientific personnel are Cuban women, while 13% are landowners. More and more of them occupy managerial positions and today we have the second most feminized parliament in the world.

However, there are issues that do not block out the sun.  Geographical fatalism is real, it stabs many talented professionals who give flowers to the “green areas” of the country, but the countryside needs roses.

It is also true that there are those who do not take care of feminine tenderness. Who lacerate her body and despoil the soul with offensive words.

Even women assume the challenges that, from generation to generation, fall on women. What is the difference, Cuban women are capable of fighting to achieve their goals. Today, a Cuban woman literally does what she wants, because she has the opportunity.

A federated woman can study whatever she wants, find job offers that fit her profile and even compete for a job with a man.  What counts here today is the determination, the decision to fight, to persist, the ingenious way to manage in this labyrinth that is life without burning your rice.

It is having the ability to concentrate enough not to make mistakes in the accounting of the company while you think about what your baby and husband are doing at home, because today there was no “care”.

The reality of Cuban women is united like an umbilical cord to the economic-social situation we live in, although each one in different contexts, with wounds and scars of their legacy, the federated women know how to face the day to day.

Cuban women dance with determination to the rhythm imposed by the new times, because the context, the diversity, the situations, the aspirations, make women unfold passionately, seeking to be at the height, rooted to their origins, to history.

Although there are still inequality gaps, on the shoulders of Cuban women also falls the weight of the successes that this island treasures as a country. The greatest challenge for a federated woman is to face herself; to face denial, tiredness, surrender and the daily reproduction of life.

Source: Cuba en Resumen

The U.S. government, an accomplice of terrorists, accuses Cuba of terrorism

The political intolerance of an empire that has witnessed a Revolution taking place under its nose has hardened to the extent that - after 62 years of Cuba's heroic resistance - the most fallacious and absurd arguments are deployed to justify the hostility, including accusations linking Cuba to terrorism, a scourge that the island has in fact suffered at the hands of self-confessed terrorists to whom the U.S. government has provided financing, logistics and immunity. Is it really necessary to recount the criminal U.S. record against Cuba? Apparently another repetition is needed, although its promoters in the immoral north are well aware of the history.


One of the first terrorist attacks against the nascent Revolution occurred on October 21, 1959. On that day, a traitor pilot exiled in Miami, Pedro Luis Díaz Lanz, who had been an officer in the Cuban Air Force, flying a twin-engine B-25, bombed several Havana neighborhoods, causing 45 injuries and the death of two persons.

Diaz Lanz himself would later confirm his responsibility for the attack. With full impunity and protection from U.S. authorities, he departed from Pompano Beach, Florida, where no one created any obstacle to his plans.

US Terrorist Luis Posada Carriles
Thus began the terrorist war against Cuba, sponsored by the U.S. government and conceived as state policy, fully documented and denounced by Cuba in international forums.

A wide variety of political, military, economic, biological, diplomatic, psychological, propaganda, espionage and sabotage methods have been utilized in the attacks. Armed gangs have also been organized and logistically supported, while desertion has been encouraged and plots hatched to  assassinate leaders of the Revolution.

Numerous declassified secret documents provide evidence of these crimes, along with the millions of dollars approved annually for this purpose, an amount which is published in the media as just another line item in the government budget, behind the backs of taxpayers, who are largely unaware of the allocation’s final destination.

In this regard, the Cuban people’s demand for compensation from the United States government for damages states in its first Findings, "Hostile and aggressive actions carried out by the United States government against Cuba, since the triumph of the Revolution to date, have caused enormous material and human damage to the people, and incalculable suffering to the country’s citizens, hardships due to shortages of medicines, food and other items essential to life."

The document reports that the loss of human lives has reached 3,478 and 2,099 individuals have been permanently disabled as a result of bodily injury.

One of the bloodiest attacks perpetrated by the CIA was the explosion of the  La Coubre, in the port of Havana, as legitimately purchased weapons and ammunition were being unloaded, March 4, 1960.

More than a hundred Cubans died in the sabotage, including longshoremen, port workers and members of the Rebel Army. While the lives of six French crew members were lost.

It should also be recalled that when Comadante en jefe Fidel Castro attended the Ibero-American Summit on the Venezuelan island of Margarita, the military wing of the counterrevolutionary organization Cuban American National Foundation attempted to assassinate him.

Several of its members were arrested and, found on board the yacht La Esperanza, registered in the name of Francisco "Pepe" Hernández, later president of the Foundation, was a 50 caliber rifle of his, capable of perforating armored vehicles. In December 1999, they were all acquitted.

Another terrorist attack that deeply touched the Cuban people was the
mid-flight bombing of a
Cubana Airlines plane over Barbados
, in which 73 persons perished, including passengers and crew. The intellectual authors of this terrorist attack were Orlando Bosch Avila and Luis Posada Carriles. (Both later died as free men in the city of Miami.)

They were detained in Venezuela, until the Foundation financed Bosch's freedom and facilitated the escape of Posada Carriles, who cynically acknowledged responsibility for the sabotage, while calmly walking the streets of Miami.

Referring to the sabotage, Fidel stated: "Surely U.S. citizens will understand the attack better if they compare the population of Cuba 25 years ago with that of the United States on September 11, 2001. The death of 73 persons on a Cuban plane downed in-flight is equivalent, given the United States’ population, to the mid-air destruction of seven U.S. airliners with more than 300 passengers each, on the same day, at the same time, by a terrorist conspiracy."

In 1997, several bombs exploded in Havana hotels, and Cuba denounced the fact that the culprits were residents in the United States. The State Department responded that it would investigate if Cuba provided information.

The FBI was forwarded a fat, secret dossier from Cuban authorities, in which the name of
Luis Posada Carriles appeared as the instigator of the attacks. But nothing was done to arrest the criminals. Instead, the information provided by the island’s government was used to pursue, arrest and prosecute Cubans in the U.S. conducting surveillance to protect their people from these terrorist groups

Three years later, in November of 2000, on the occasion of the People's Summit at the University of Panama, which was held simultaneously with the 17th Summit of the Americas, Cuban State Security agencies uncovered a terrorist plot to assassinate Fidel.

Diplomat Carlos Rafael Zamora, a witness to the events, recalled: "The Cuban side gave the Panamanian side a list of terrorists, their aliases and the types of passports they used to enter the country. All the individuals who participated in planning of the attack were identified. I witnessed the conversations held with Panamanian authorities, in which we expressed the Cuban delegation's concern regarding the presence of these terrorists and the threat they posed to the security of the Comandante en jefe and the delegation."

Upon arrival in Panama, Fidel denounced the terrorists' plans in a press conference and provided information that would allow for their arrest. Posada Carriles, using the alias of Franco Rodriguez Mena, was staying in room 310 at the Coral Suites Hotel in Panama City. He was detained there. Cuban agents neutralized the assassination attempt by four terrorists in the University’s principal auditorium, where they had hidden nine kilograms of C-4 explosive. Some 2,000 people would gather there to hear Fidel. It would have been a real massacre.

The government of President Mireya Moscoso, under national and international pressure, was obliged to prosecute the four implicated, but they were given purely symbolic sentences. Messages from the Foundation in Miami poured in calling for their release. Thus on August 26, 2004, just one day before Moscoso’s term as President came to an end, she pardoned them.

A terrorist attack that deeply touched the Cuban people was the mid-flight bombing of a Cubana Airlines plane over Barbados, in which 73 persons perished. Photo: Jorge Oller

Posada Carriles took many secrets to the grave. But it is no secret at all that he was a life-long terrorist assassin in the service of the CIA.

One of the most outrageous elements of the Trump's administration’s foreign policy was to add Cuba, once again, to the spurious unilateral State Department list of the countries they consider "state sponsors of terrorism."

The immorality of the U.S. government is so great that the absurd accusation about Cuban support of terrorism has been passed from “one hand to another” as a political inheritance, fully aware of the dimensions of this colossal infamy, as befits the imperialists’ arrogance, to be recycled by the Biden administration and serve as a justification for more sanctions that will not take Cuba by surprise. They reflect the empire’s unchanged interest in forcing this heroic country to surrender.

The U.S. government has yet to acknowledge the terrorist nature of an assault rifle attack on the cuabn embasy in Washington, April 30, 2020. Photo: @Embacubaeeuu

It apparently does not matter that the failed attempt has been underway for more than six decades. What a fiasco.

Elections 2023


     On March 26, 2023, 6,164,876 Cubans citizens went to the 23,468 voting places to cast their vote for or against 470 candidates for deputies to the National Assembly of People’s Power, which is the highest political authority in the nation, possessing the constitutional authority to elect and recall the President of the Republic and the cabinet ministers recommended to it by the President.  Some 75.92% of the registered voters cast their ballots.  Of the ballots cast, 90.28% were declared valid, with 6.22% left blank and 3.50% declared invalid for having written something on the ballot.  These results are a victory over the international campaign calling upon Cubans to boycott the elections. 

     The results were announced on March 27 by Alina Balseiro Gutiérrez, President of the Electoral National Council.  She pointed out that the participation rate was higher than the November 27 elections for the delegates of the 169 municipal assemblies of the nation, in which 68.56% of the voters cast ballots; and higher than the referendum on the on the Family Code, which had a participation rate of 74.12%.  (See “Cuba approves new family code,” October 4, 2022; “Cuba elects delegates to people’s assemblies,” December 2, 2022).


Alina Balseiro Gutiérrez, President of the Electoral National Council, announces the results

     The Associated Press stresses that the 75.9% voter turnout is far lower than the 94.2% turnout of 2013.  However, AP does not mention that in 2013 the country was in the midst of formulating a new social and economic model, in which there was some disagreement, such that there was much at stake in the voting for deputies to the National Assembly.  Now, however, the context is completely different.  As a consequence of the intensification of the blockade by the Trump and Biden administrations and the collapse of tourism due to the pandemic, the country is in a serious economic crisis, characterized by inflation, periodic electricity blackouts, shortages of goods, and long lines.  The government has put forth and is implementing a well-conceived plan for addressing the economic problems, and no alternative plan has been put forth or is feasible.  Thus, the direction of the Cuban national project in the face of the economic problems, which have been primarily caused by international developments, is established and clear.  Accordingly, the fact is that the conditions of Cuban daily life in the next few years will be shaped more by international events than by which particular leaders are elected to serve as deputies on the National Assembly.

     Therefore, for Cuban citizens at the present time, the primary reason for voting is to affirm the direction taken by the government, and the 75.9% voter turnout is one of the highest in the world.  The fact that voter turnout would be high in the midst of an economic crisis is one indication among many that the government of Cuba enjoys a high level of legitimation among the Cuban people.

     The elections for deputies to the National Assembly is actually the second round of elections of this five-year election cycle.  In this round, each ballot lists the names of generally two to six candidates that had been nominated by the elected delegates of the particular municipal assembly.  The voters could mark a single X for all, or they could select from those candidates for whom they wish to vote.  Balseiro Gutiérrez reported that 72.10% of the valid ballots marked the X for all, and 27.90% selected candidates from the list.  All of the candidates nominated by the 168 municipal assemblies were elected to the National Assembly, having received more than half of the votes cast.


     For much of the electoral campaign, the Cuban government and the media were calling upon the people to vote.  However, in the days prior to election day, the leaders put forth the notion that to vote for all the candidates on your ballot is the revolutionary thing to do.  The fact that 28% of the voters ignored this call reflects a plurality that has emerged within the revolutionary project.  In recent years, with the emergence of the new social and economic model, there has emerged some disagreement concerning such questions as the degree of expansion of private enterprises in the economy and what the specific economic measures ought to be.  Subsequently, there has been debate of the family code, with the question of gay marriage especially being a source of disagreement.  Even though a constitutional and legal consensus has been attained with respect to these economic and cultural questions, it is safe to say that some of the candidates were associated with one side or another in these debates, and some voters were inclined to not support the candidates with whom they had disagreements concerning what the voter considered to be an important question.  Although reflecting a pluralism within the revolution, the 28% were expressing support for the revolutionary project by voting and by supporting other candidates on the ballot.  The disagreements concern particular laws and courses of action, expressing themselves in a context of support for the revolutionary project.

     The newly elected National Assembly convenes on April 19, with 63% of the deputies reelected from the previous legislature.  Some 55% of the 470 deputies are women, and 45% are blacks and mulattoes.  The average age of the deputies is 46 years, with 20% being less than 35 years of age.  Some 95% are college graduates.  All sectors of the society are represented, including production, service, the press, education, health, science, culture, sport, students, religion, the military, and owners of small-scale private enterprises.

     Balseiro Gutiérrez pointed out that the elections were carried out with total tranquility and normalcy, without incidents of any kind.   She stressed that they were carried out under public scrutiny, with mass media present.

President Díaz-Canel and seven other Santa Clara candidates on the campaign trail

Are there elections in Cuba?

    I first traveled to Cuba in 1993, participating in an academic interchange with the Latin American Faculty for the Social Sciences (FLACSO) of the University of Havana, organized by the Marxist Section of the American Sociological Association, of which I was a somewhat active member, although a little unorthodox in my Marxist thinking.  During said interchange, I was absolutely shocked to learn that there are elections in Cuba.  Upon hearing what I thought was reference to elections, I haltingly asked, “Do you mean to say that there are elections in Cuba?” And when it was explained that indeed there are, and when it was further noted that the Communist Party of Cuba does not participate in the elections, I even more haltingly asked, “Then what does the Communist Party do?”

     I immediately had questions about these elections.  Who is eligible to vote?  Who is eligible to run for office?  Must one be a member of the Party to hold office?  What authority or power do those elected have?  It took me a couple of years to track down the answers to these questions, satisfying myself that I had empirically reliable confirmation of the answers to which I had arrived.  I thus arrived to the conclusion that Cuba has a political process that any reasonable person would call democratic, with structures different from, and in key respects superior to, those of representative democracy.  Sometime around 1998 I published an article in a couple of places on the Internet, entitled “The myth of Cuban dictatorship.”

click here
The discovery of the myth led me to raise questions concerning how it was possible that a lie could be so widely disseminated.  Carefully observing discourses coming out of Miami, I arrived to understand the structure of the widely disseminated lie.  It involves, first, the identification of facts that in and of themselves are true, but isolated from other facts that constitute their context, they by themselves provide a false understanding.  Secondly, the constant repetition of the true but taken by themselves misleading facts.

       In the case of the myth of the Cuban dictatorship, the two constantly repeated facts were, first, that Fidel had been the head of state for many years, and secondly, Cuba does not hold elections involving two or more competing political parties.  Taken by themselves, these two facts imply a political process that is authoritarian or totalitarian and undemocratic.  But when they are presented with a whole host of other relevant facts with respect to the Cuban political process, a completely different picture emerges.

       Let us look at the more complete picture.  Cuban territory is divided into 12,427 voting districts.  In anticipation of elections for 169 municipal assemblies in the nation, which are held every five years, three or four neighborhood nomination assemblies are held in each voting district.  At said assemblies, any citizen can put forth the name of a person for election as a delegate to the municipal assembly.  Any citizen present has the right to speak of the strengths and limitations of the persons who names are put forward.  The suggested names are then put to a vote through a show of hands.  The electoral commission of the voting district is informed of the results of the nomination assemblies, and on the basis of the results, the electoral commission formally declares the candidates for delegate from the district to the municipal assembly.  By law, there must be at least two and no more than six candidates; generally, there are two or three.

      The two or three candidates do not make campaign promises, and they do not conduct campaigns.  Their names with a brief biography are posted side-by-side in prominent public places in the district.  They are nominated and elected on the basis of their achievements in their professions or fields of employment or study, or because of their contributions to the local community and/or the nation.  If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, a runoff election is held.

      Once constituted, the 169 municipal assemblies elect candidates for deputies of the National Assembly of People’s Power.  They are assisted in this task through recommendations made by candidacy commissions formed by representatives of the mass organizations: the Workers’ Federation of Cuba, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (a nationwide organization of neighborhood organizations), the Federation of Cuban Women, the National Association of Small Agriculturalists, the University Student Federation, and the Federation of Secondary School Students.

The process in complex, but not mysterious.  Each of the mass organizations at their municipal, provincial, and national levels of organization designate their representatives to municipal, provincial, and national candidacy commissions.  The integrated candidacy commissions, functioning at the three distinct levels of organization, receive from the mass organizations at their corresponding organizational level proposals for deputies to the National Assembly.  The candidacy commissions evaluate these proposals, and send their recommendations to the National Candidacy Commission, which verifies the eligibility of the candidates and the willingness of the nominated persons to serve.  The National Candidacy Commission sends the verified list of proposed candidates from the municipalities to each of the municipal candidacy commissions, which in turn submits them to the delegates of the municipal assembly, who have just been elected in the recent municipal elections.  The names of the proposed candidates are sent to the recently elected delegates prior to the date of their first session in assembly, and the members of the municipal candidacy commission consult individually with the delegates with respect to the proposed candidates.  At the first session of the municipal assembly, the delegates vote for or against each proposed candidate with a show of hands, with a majority needed for approval.  In this way, each municipal assembly nominates the candidates for deputy of the National Assembly from the municipality.

     Once the candidates for deputy to the National Assembly are approved by the municipal assemblies, the candidates begin tours of neighborhoods and centers of work and study, in which there are direct interchanges with the people, with respect to projections and expectations.  The people are given ample space to speak, and in general their comments fall into three categories: expressions of appreciation of the high quality of the candidates; descriptions of daily problems, large and small, in the place of work or in the local community, seeking to increase awareness of the candidates; and expressions of appreciation of the electoral process and the socialist political-economic construction of the nation.

      During the moths of March and April, the brief biographies of the candidates were regularly covered on Cuban national television, gradually presenting the candidates from the different municipalities across the nation.  And the high-quality interchanges between the candidates and the people were extensively covered on Cuban television.  As a result, the high-quality of the candidates became evident.  This may have been a factor in the increase in voter participation in the elections for deputies the National Assembly, an increase from the voter participation rate in the election of delegates in November to the 169 municipal assemblies of the nation.

The Voters Speak

   Yanet Solórzano Hamilton, a primary school teacher in the province of Las Tunas and elected deputy for the municipality of Puerto Padre, declared that the touring days by the candidates has been beautiful.  “Each place has received us with respect, with admiration, with clarity concerning the challenges that we confront today.  The support of the people for our political system, the unity of the people for the Revolution is, without doubt, a sign that nothing or no one will be able to take away our achievements and our dreams.”

     As noted above, the National Assembly of People’s Power is the highest authority in the nation.  It elects the President of the Republic, and it confirms the cabinet of ministers presented by the elected President.  It elects the highest members of the judicial branch.  It enacts legislation.  It has the power to amend the Constitution.

     The delegates and deputies of people’s power are not professional politicians.  The assemblies meet periodically during the year; they are not permanently in session, although various legislative commissions are in continuous session.  The deputies and delegates keep their regular employment, except when they have extensive work on legislative committees, in which case they take a leave of absence from their post.  They do not earn additional income through their service as delegates and/or deputies.

Newly elected deputy Yanet Solórzano Hamilton
with her students
The above-described political process is the structure of people’s people.  Alongside people’s power, there are mass organizations of workers, neighborhoods, women, agriculturalists, and students, whose role in the political process was noted above.  The mass organizations were at one time very active, providing structures for the expression of opinions in the context of face-to-face interaction.  They are less active than they once were, and to some extent they have been displaced by social media.  This is unfortunate, because nothing is better than participatory democracy characterized by open and free person-to-person exchange of ideas.  But the mass organizations still function; a great majority of the people are members, and in certain celebratory moments or in the face of a crisis of some kind, they are highly active.   

     The Communist Party of Cuba has been left to the side by the Cuban political process, and deliberately so, because it is a vanguard political party.  It is composed only of members that are considered leaders, who are selected by the Party itself.  The Party’s role is to educate and guide the people, to cultivate among the people the consciousness necessary for the continued construction of a socialist society in accordance with the particular conditions of the nation.  Its authority is moral, not legal.

click here
 It is not necessary to be a member of the Communist Party of Cuba to be nominated or elected.  Most elected delegates and deputies of the municipal and national assemblies are members of the Party, but many are not.  The Party continues to have high prestige in Cuba, which is the reason it is able to shape the policies of the nation without having formal legal and constitutional authority to do so.  The unity of purpose of the Party and the government was established by Fidel and Raúl and it continues today with Miguel Díaz-Canel, who has been elected by the National Assembly as President of the Republic and elected by the Party as its First Secretary.  This unity of purpose between the Party and the government depends upon the support of the people, in as much as the deputies elected by the elected delegates of the people constitute the highest authority.

      The three components, then, of Cuban people’s democracy are: People’s Power, the delegates and deputies of people’s assemblies, elected by the people; the mass organizations of neighborhoods, workers, women, students, and agriculturalists; and the Communist Party, a vanguard political party that guides but does not decide.  

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In my view, people’s democracy has certain definitive advantages over representative democracy.  In the first place, in eliminating campaigns and campaign financing, people’s democracy eliminates the role of money and the need for politicians to balance the needs of their constituencies with the interests of their major campaign contributors.  Secondly, in eliminating a situation of competing political parties that must win elections to survive, people’s democracy removes the conflictive tendency of representative democracies, and empowers elected officials to concentrate on the seeking of consensus for the common good.  These two dimensions create the structural conditions for high-quality public discourse that is oriented to the resolution of problems that the nation and humanity confront.  The high quality of public discourse in people’s democracy, and its superiority over the discourses of politicians in representative democracies, is clear to all who have had the privilege of listening to it.    

      Many people favor direct over indirect elections.  I believe that direct elections have the intrinsic disadvantage of favoring those who are good at mobilizing support among people that they will never meet, giving rise to an industry of campaign management, which has demonstrated its capacity for manipulation of the issues.  I think it is better to elect delegates at the local level and to entrust them with the task of responsibly electing deputies at higher levels of government.

Government of, by, and for the people

     When the U.S. government and the Western media speak of the political process in Cuba, they falsely state that the authority of the National Assembly is nominal, and that the Communist Party of Cuba has actual control.  In fact, as can be seen through empirical observation, the authority of the National Assembly is real.  The Party has de facto control, because when the elected delegates and deputies of the people exercise their authority in the municipal and national people’s assemblies, they frequently vote for Party members, because of their commitment to the principles of the Party, and because of their faith in the leaders of the Party.  But in any moment in the future, if the delegates and deputies of the people’s assemblies were not to have such commitment and faith, they are fully empowered to vote for others, with different principles and leaders.  They have been constitutionality granted such authority by the Cuban Revolution, led by Fidel.  However, for such a change in direction to occur in Cuba, leaders would have to emerge from the breast of the people who are capable of formulating alternative principles and an alternative national project, attaining the support of the people for said project; it could not possibly emerge on the basis of half-baked ideas that have credibility only in the political culture of the USA.

click here
By Charles McKelvey 

Published at Network in Defense of Humanity




The State of Cuba-US Relations: An Interview With Dr José Ramón Cabañas


In January 2023, Dr José Ramón Cabañas travelled to Britain to talk about his book, US-Cuba Relations: The Inside Story of the 2014 Breakthrough. Dr Cabañas was head of Cuba’s US Interests Section on 17 December 2014, when Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama announced rapprochement and the restoration of diplomatic relations. His new book explains the background and significance of this historic moment in international relations. Helen Yaffe caught up with Cabañas in London.

Helen Yaffe: What is your view of the current state of Cuba-US relations? Can you put this in a historical perspective?

José Ramón Cabañas: Between 2015 and 2017 we created the foundations for any future negotiations between Cuba and the United States. There are accomplishments that go beyond the MOUs [Memorandums of Understanding] for instance. One clear message is that Cuba was, and is, ready to talk on several subjects any time you come to the table with respect and reciprocity.  That has been a consistent position of Cuba. What happened under Trump goes beyond Cuba-US relations, with very conservative political forces trying to erase any legacy from the previous administration, increasing political polarisation in the United States.

The Trump administration didn’t press so hard in the first two years. But from 2019 and 2020, Cuba was not treated as an independent subject, it was linked to US strategy against Venezuela. Late 2019 and 2020 they had the perfect scenario; the effects of an enhanced blockade and the Covid-19 pandemic combined. It was about waiting and seeing; a little more pressure and then that’s it.

Helen Yaffe:  Meaning the collapse of Cuba’s revolutionary government?

José Ramón Cabañas: What they didn’t get in 1962, what they didn’t get in 1992; it goes in 30-year cycles. It should have happened around 2020, but it didn’t. Biden was elected and his national security team inherited the vision of the region. The United States’ Cuba policy has been a bipartisan policy for many years. Over the years they have elaborated a state policy towards Cuba, which is basically to change the status quo, and the only debate is about how to do that; putting pressure and the military option, or by being friendly. Obama was the second option in general terms.

Most of Biden’s team and his bureaucrats had participated in many decisions and actions taken under Obama. But they inherited that approach; to wait for another six months, or a year. They confirmed Trump’s last-minute decision to put Cuba back onto the US list of countries that allegedly sponsor terrorism. They waited for the implosion in Cuba. They believed ‘something will happen, we don’t have to do anything’. It didn’t happen when they planned it [July 2021]; they reprogrammed for the end of 2021. It didn’t happen again. Then there were consequences. If you don’t comply with the migratory agreements and you put enormous economic and political pressure on Cuba, what do you expect? If you impose a war on Libya, or Iraq, you have immigrants as collateral damage. The same thing happened in Cuba. It’s not a war where you hear guns but the consequences are basically the same; migratory flow, as has happened in the past. There were a large number of immigrants from the island, but total numbers include Cubans from third places going to the United States as well. Cubans here in the UK, or in Spain, or Europe in general, Central America, they said: ‘opened doors…that’s it.’ So the figure is large but not all migrants were going directly from Cuba.

Migration is always an important subject for them in terms of national security, but there were other issues. In US Federal agencies, officials involved in technical subjects, not political declarations, for instance law enforcement, started to ask: what did we accomplish by doing this? For instance, last year we provided information to US authorities about 57 Cuban Americans involved in drug trafficking in the Caribbean, from Central America into the United States. Seven of them were included on Interpol’s ‘red alert’. We received no answer from US authorities. This does not impact Cuba, but we traced information that is relevant to prosecute them in the United States which is where the narcotics are going.

Finally, some clever guys said ‘we didn’t accomplish anything. We have no control over the migratory flow, and we are missing opportunities to fight criminals, to enforce legislation’. That is not to mention cooperation in the fields of medicine, health or the sciences in general, and more pragmatic fields like civil aviation. There are flights to Cuba and over Cuba to other destinations, and they need to check information with us. Not to mention climate change, oil spills in the Caribbean, hurricanes. That is a pragmatic list, most of the subjects related to the MOUs we signed, and you have a lot of experts involved. In addition, polls in the United States show that most people want a different approach to Cuba. I am not referring to the semantic debate about ‘normalisation’ – no one knows that that is. But at least communication, at least specific cooperation.

There are small signs that they recognise the need to talk on these issues. There were talks on migratory issues (in April and November 2022), US law enforcement experts recently went to Cuba (in January 2023). They are not enforcing limits on scientific and cultural exchanges; more people are travelling from universities and research centres. These are signals of a very partial reversal of Trump’s maximum pressure strategy. But the window is 12 months.

Helen Yaffe: That’s related to the US election, right? How do you assess the recent small steps taken by the Biden administration on the issue of migration in January 2023 and to what extent is it linked to the US electoral cycle?

José Ramón Cabañas: These decisions are positive but limited. We have to wait and see. In the United States you have a statement, then you have legal norms – how they are written – then you have interpretation of the norms, and finally, you may have a legal judgment. You have to go through four different steps.

The statement itself is not that meaningful, but it is something a little different from what we got before. There are more official talks. The important factor in the midst of this is the Latin American and Caribbean context and how Cuba fits there. The Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles was basically a fiasco. Despite having Latin America experts in the State Department, in National Security, or whatever, Biden felt he had to nominate a former Senator (Chris Dodd) as his liaison with regional leaders. The US needs to realign its Latin America policy to face the new scenario; a consistent position from Mexico, changes in Brazil, changes in Colombia.

Former Colombian President Iván Duque criticised Cuba’s relationship with Colombia’s ELN (National Liberation Army) and its role in the Colombian peace process. That was a key pretext for the United States putting Cuba back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism. Now the new Colombian government criticise this and demands Cuba is removed from the list, so there are no arguments to support Cuba’s inclusion. The scenario has changed dramatically. The new president of Colombia didn’t wait two weeks to state this, he said it on his very first day. It has been said by Colombia’s Minister for Foreign affairs, by Ambassadors, everyone. It’s a message that comes from the grassroots in Colombia, people in communities, people who lost relatives, trade unionists, whoever. It’s a huge message. If you want to have peace and stability, Cuba has been a factor, because it’s a place to meet and negotiate. Cuba has accompanied the peace process. Now, what do they want to accomplish in terms of Venezuela? It has a more comprehensive policy, maybe more constructive. The scenario in Latin America has changed. Let’s remember what happened immediately after the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena (2012).

Helen Yaffe: After that Obama authorised the secret talks with Cuba…

José Ramón Cabañas: Obama decided that he was ill-advised on Latin America and he changed the bureaucracy. Biden didn’t decide that, but to nominate Senator Chris Dodd as responsible for Latin America says many things.

Helen Yaffe: It is a positive sign?

José Ramón Cabañas: He is a person with a brain, with a huge responsibility. The team that you select to conduct a process is a factor. We were productive and efficient in negotiations between 2015 and January 2017 because they were able to structure a team that found background information and learned how to negotiate with Cuba. From the beginning they said, ‘we know that only through respect and reciprocity will we accomplish something’. And we said ‘Yes, that’s it.’

Helen Yaffe: The United States is alone in the world in sanctioning Cuba; but it uses its leverage over the international financial system to make the blockade of Cuba extraterritorial. Can you explain how it does that? For example, Cuba is excluded from multilateral development banks, so in a scenario like Covid-19 or an economic crisis, it doesn’t have a lender of last resort.

José Ramón Cabañas: Beyond being excluded from those mechanisms, the issue is the clearing system based in New York. 90% of international transactions with US dollars go through that system. It is connected with the Federal Reserve, major banks, and so on. Under that system any transaction with the letters C, U, B, and A is automatically frozen, whether payments from the Cuban National Bank or a Cuban living in Spain. Beyond that you have bilateral actions against foreign banks; direct pressure put on people; a phone call to a bank in Japan to tell the CEO, ‘30% of your business is with us, 0.20% of your business is with Cuba. You must decide.’ Cuba has spent many years without being involved in the IMF or the World Bank. We are not a large economy, we can have some space. But putting pressure on creditors, having this automatic response in the clearing system, makes it difficult for us to operate. We went to euros and other currencies, but it is still difficult for us. We are 90 miles away from the United States. We are very close, and we need to use US dollars in many transactions.

Helen Yaffe: You said that this even affects Cubans outside of Cuba, but as you know it affects us all. I am affected as a UK citizen sending money to a Belgian bank account. Last summer, a new international campaign was set up with groups in Britain, Europe and Canada, to challenge the illegal imposition of unilateral US sanctions by non-US banks in violation of those countries’ laws – the 1 cent for Cuba campaign
José Ramón Cabañas: I know about this campaign. It is very important, not only in terms of the outcome, but more so in terms of informing people about this situation. During the tough period of 2021, I wrote that, ‘what the United States is doing to Cuba is described in the Genocide Convention.’ Some people felt it was too strong a statement. But they reacted without reading it. Please read what the Genocide Convention says. The US impose these limits and pressures on a country with few resources; there are documents from the US government stating that the aim is to put Cuba on its knees. They know many of these transactions are related to health services. People are literally dying, for example, when we could not obtain oxygen. For many families these measures, the blockade, is not abstract. It has a direct impact and people are dying or not recovering from diseases. People who cannot receive a prosthesis, many things. Not to mention the impact on importing food or products that affect food production in Cuba.

In the midst of that our authorities have made a tremendous effort to confront Covid-19, which has been a second blockade. We are used to the regular blockade. Trump enhanced the blockade, and then we had the pandemic. We are a country with limited resources, we don’t have oil, we don’t have gold. We have human capacity, but we don’t have natural resources. How do you face this situation?

Our critics claim that these are the consequences of the failure of the Cuban government. I say this: impose the same limits on any other country, neighbouring countries, the United States, countries in Europe. What will the outcome be? How will people react? In many places people would be killing each other to survive. In our case, we have had demonstrations, of course. We have had some people with funding from United States to go to public places, to attack banks and stores, to destroy property. But in the midst of that situation we discussed and passed a new Constitution (2019) and a new Families Code (2022), which went through 24 drafts. A huge exercise in democracy! We know democracy is not related to how many parties you have in parliament.


J26, a campaign to challenge local businesses and institutions that support the Blockade

Helen Yaffe: In November 2022, Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz Canel visited Algeria, Turkey, Russia and China. How important was that trip for Cuba in the current context you described and for strengthening counter-hegemonic forces internationally.

José Ramón Cabañas: They were important visits. We have historic links with those countries, and we had the chance to update them. There are new issues and even new wars in the world. The geopolitical map is changing dramatically, and that’s well before what is happening in Ukraine. There are new leaderships. People talk about multipolar world, we prefer to talk about multilateralism because it is not about poles, it is about equality between people and in international relationships and how we face the future. Countries are interested not just in what they can offer Cuba, but what they can receive from Cuba. Many countries are getting ready for the next pandemic. We have gathered knowledge and experience on that and we feel ready for the next one; most countries are not. They would like access to our knowledge and in some cases the discoveries, vaccines, and similar things. There are many other fields in which those countries have an interest in developing links with Cuba, from culture to sports, to science to education, many areas. They have been meaningful visits with concrete outcomes. After the presidential visit, you have experts, ministers, diplomats going, negotiating and signing documents.

Helen Yaffe: China has donated $100 million dollars to help Cuba cope with basic goods shortages and energy crisis.

José Ramón Cabañas: It’s meaningful and important, but beyond donations there are specific programs, investment, results that will multiply the effects of the visit.


This interview was originally published in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 293, April/May 2023.

Helen Yaffe is a lecturer in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow, specialising in Cuban and Latin American development. Her new book We Are Cuba! How a Revolutionary People have survived in a Post-Soviet World has just been published by Yale University Press. She is also the author of Che Guevara: The Economics of Revolution and co-author with Gavin Brown of Youth Activism and Solidarity: the Non-Stop Picket against Apartheid, Rouledge, 2017.

The State of Cuba-US Relations: An Interview With Dr José Ramón Cabañas by Helen Yaffe. Photograph Source: Михаил Ковенский – CC BY-SA 3.0