Letter from Havana

The Communist Party of Ireland has anti-imperialism in its DNA and has consistently supported the Cuban people in their struggle against US aggression. This year, despite decades of US imperialist economic blockade, the people of Cuba overwhelmingly endorsed a new constitution, which reaffirms that “Cuba is a Socialist State” and will “advance to creating a Communist society.”

This seemed to trigger the Trump government to tighten the economic blockade even further. Cruise ship companies with American connections have been stopped from docking in Cuba; remittances from Cubans in the United States to their families in Cuba have been strictly limited; American airlines are forbidden to land at Cuban airports other than Havana; American tourists are blocked by US regulations; sanctions are imposed on members of the Cuban government; and, most recently, there has been an attempt by the US government to persuade, blackmail and intimidate American tanker-owners not to deliver to Cuba.

Much of this has been led by the extreme right-wing Marco Rubio, member of the Republican Party, who seems to have the ear of Trump when it comes to Cuban policy.

Yet again this year the UN General Assembly condemned the US economic blockade of Cuba, with only the United States, Israel and Brazil voting for the blockade, while the Cuban people continue to suffer the restrictions it brings.

We need to clearly recognise that Cuba is at the centre of the US imperialist drive to reassert US hegemony throughout Latin America. The US government has openly stated its intention of overthrowing the governments of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. It supported the Brazilian government’s persecution of the progressive leaders Dilma and Lula, the racist and fascist coup in Bolivia, and the austerity measures and repression by the right-wing governments of Ecuador and Chile. It will resist any attempts by Uruguay and Argentina to introduce progressive policies that hinder US interests.

Here, many Cubans believe that in Bolivia President Evo Morales made a serious strategic error by resigning and going into exile “to avoid bloodshed.” It had the opposite result, leaving his supporters leaderless and bearing the brunt of the racist, fascist violence unleashed by the right-wing coup. The same US-backed right-wing tactics were attempted in Venezuela and Nicaragua, but the leadership of those countries stayed firm and faced them down. You can never negotiate with US-backed fascist violence.

In this context, solidarity support for Cuba in Ireland remains essential. The new Cuba Support Group in Belfast is thriving and doing effective work. Its leadership is elected by the members and accountable to them annually. That is the model that we need throughout Ireland.

Despite the direct US imperialist threat, Cuban society remains calm and determined. The newly elected National Assembly and President Díaz-Canel will continue to resist any attempt to overthrow the socialist system of Cuba. As the popular phrase here says, “Aquí, no se rinde nadie!” Here, no-one surrenders anything!