Cuban International Terrorism? What!?

On Jan. 11th, the New York Times and the AP reported that Trump’s State Department lead by his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated Cuba as a U.S. deemed state sponsor of terror. The label was applied to the nation from 1959 to 2015; the time between the Socialist Revolution of the Castro Brothers, Che Guevara, and the countless members of the People’s Socialist Party, and the détente under Barack Obama. In 2015, Pres. Obama took Cuba off the list and renewed diplomatic relations with the Socialist experiment that is Cuba, and Joe Biden is expected to thaw relations even further.

The Socialist Caribbean island-state is designated by Pompeo as a terror-supporting state for three reasons:

  • Cuba has taken in several members of the Colombian National Liberation Army (ELN) and defied extradition requests from the leaders’ home country. Peace talks between the ELN and the Colombian government took place in Havana beginning in December 2015 and lead to the ELN leaders never leaving. The Colombian government wants them to pay for an ELN bombing of a police station in Bogota that took place in 2019. Cuba refuses to send them back because it would violate protocols established between the two groups during peace efforts that were broken off after the bombing.
  • Cuba is the protective home of Joanne D. Chesimard, a.k.a. Assata Shakur. Shakur is a former member of the Black Liberation Army and is still wanted for a killing of a New Jersey state trooper in the 1970’s. Two other fugitives now call Cuba home along with Shakur, and they have never been extradited back to the U.S. for over some 50 years now.
  • Cuba is a strong ally of Venezuela and Nicolas Maduro; the U.S.’s biggest Latin-American boogey man right now (probably the biggest since Fidel Castro.) Despite crippling sanctions on this oil-rich nation of South America, the U.S. government, and most of the media, blame socialist reforms implemented during the time of Pres. Hugo Chavez as the source of every Venezuelan ill. It’s never the sanctions, always the radical left ideology.

The State Department says Cuba has, “…provided support for acts of international terror.” Therefore they join only three other countries on the list: Iran, Syria, and North Korea. (Cuba’s a little out of place, don’t ya think?)

According to a Reuters report, Cuba has already got a cash-strapped economy that shrank 11% in 2020 due to the pandemic, tougher U.S. sanctions, and domestic inefficiencies, according to Economy Minister Alejandro Gil. And the NYT reports, Cuba has began having shortages of both medicine and food, as the article describes,

“…Cubans have been forced to stand in line for hours in the hope of getting their hands on the meager stocks that exist.”

If you go back into the past posts of STL. you will see my obvious sympathy for the nation of Cuba. There are terrible, terrible lies that are spread about Socialist Cuba all over regarding accusations of large executions, brutal forced labor camps, and any and everything Che Guevara related (If you can stomach it, check out this short YouTube clip of Joe Rogan stating on his popular podcast that Guevara was a “mass murderer.”) And most of these lies come from former rich Cubans who were not interested in showing any humanity towards the country’s poor after the Revolution. They all packed their bags, headed north for Florida, and they still cry for their exploitative businesses, like their sugarcane plantations where the peasants did all the work, living in ignorance and filth. This is why Trump won Florida in 2020. “Little Havanna” knew that both Trump’s and Pompeo’s massive egos cannot handle this little island shaking it’s fist at the monolithic United States.

My point, finally, is that it is ridiculous for Cuba to be designated as state sponsor of terror. And second, these sanctions only hurt the people there. The long lines, lack of food, and absence of electricity and cooking fuel in Cuba (and in Venezuela) are a result of sanctions. And now there are new one’s levied by our ruler on his last days in office.

Tell me, have sanctions worked in North Korea, Iran, Iraq under Saddam, Venezuela, or Cuba? No, they have not. They have just hurt the people.

And on a lighter note, check out this comedy sketch about Cuba’s designation as a terror-supporter at the State Dept. from Breakthrough News:

Smashing Capitalism, Not Fancy Measures

In the “Broken Capitalism” series being published over at The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/01/broken-capitalism-economy-americans-fix?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other, Heather Boushey argues that the way academics measure economic growth is outdated and doesn’t show the full picture of the wealth gap between the 1% and the rest of us. Here’s her argument:

GDP used to be a good indicator of national income. If GDP rose 2%, most gained 2% across the board. But due to the current economic separation between the 1% and the 99%, simple GDP is no longer a valid measuring tool. Boushey gives us this example:

Take 2014. While aggregate national income grew by 2.3%, after taxes and government transfer programs such as supplemental nutrition assistance, incomes for those in the bottom 90% grew by less than the average – 1.5% – while those in the top 1% saw their income grow by twice the average – about 5%.

She then argues for a new disaggregate measure made up of national income and product accounts with data from surveys and administrative sources to clear the picture. This would not only produce more representative ratios between the rich and poor, but also between race, gender, and age

That’s a great idea, but it does not get to the question of what is to be done.

Boushey offers that better published numbers will make the masses more aware of the economic canyon between those of the top SES and the rest of us:

Better, fairer growth measures are a vital step towards better, fairer growth. A clearer picture of the disconnect between overall growth and worker welfare will force a deeper examination of what’s gone wrong with the capitalist engine

Boushey goes on to argue that these new measures will give more power to the people enabling unions to rise. But that is not what I take issue with here.

I am arguing that better tools for showing the income gap between rich and poor will not fuel the smashing of capitalism. The proletariat is not concerned with new academic information to show how poor they are. What they are concerned with is putting food on the table. This is why “Peace, Land, Bread” was so effective in 1917. Lenin and the Bolsheviks didn’t lay out Marx’s material dialectic to the masses as a way to spark them to action. Not in the slightest. They got down to the brass tacks of what ailed the Russian workers and peasants at the time: the end of participation in WWI, land redistribution, and food for their families.

I am not arguing against Boushey’s proposal of how to better measure the income gap among in American society. Her methods show who is making all the money (the 1%) while the vast majority (the 99%) receive so little. Great! I love it! But don’t fool your bourgeois self into thinking that fancy numbers will serve as a catalyst for real social change, Ms. Boushey. The masses could never understand this measurement with more than a 100 years of educational development and the destruction of media power.

A “clearer picture” of the math of inequality is definitely valuable among the academy. But to the masses, it means very little. They do not understand nor are concerned with such matters. They know they are working harder to make less as they fall further and further behind. This how you fix broken capitalism. Peace, land, bread, not disaggregate GDP measures.

NYT: Many Top Corps Paying 0% Taxes Driving Some to Far Left Organization

We want what the people want:

Mr. Robertson, the carpet cleaner, has his own idea: nationalizing the companies. “I think forcing them to pay higher alone is inefficient,” he said, “and taxation alone is inefficient.”

www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/us/politics/democrats-taxes-2020.html

Proposed Tax On Million Dollar Living Spaces Serving As Second Home

“For properties valued between $5 million and $6 million, a 0.5 percent surcharge would be added on the value over $5 million. Fees and a higher surcharge would apply to homes that sold for more than $6 million, topping out at a $370,000 fee and a 4 percent surcharge for homes valued at more than $25 million.”

This would be huge in NYC where so many high end living spaces remain empty for they are just investments.

Would be great for a subway system revamp, and any leftover for remedying the housing crisis there.

www.nytimes.com/2019/03/11/nyregion/mta-subways-pied-a-terre-tax.html

NYT: “The Making of a U.K. Millennial Socialist”

Stand with our British sisters, brothers, and comrades!!!

nyti.ms/2GEXexS

Expert on Venezuela Stand-off says Attempted Aid Delivery: “It was a farce, and it failed.”

Mark Weisbrot, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, who advocates a negotiated end to the political crisis (said),

”The ‘humanitarian aid’ this weekend was a public relations stunt, since the aid was just tiny fraction of the food and medicine that they are depriving Venezuelans of with the sanctions….As the Trump administration admitted, it was an attempt to get the Venezuelan military to disobey Maduro. It was a farce, and it failed.”

https://apnews.com/fda32cb8f5b944a989f6c2443c5c8084

Maduro Critic Even Argues A U.S. Coup Attempt is Occurring in Venezuela

A great Democracy Now! interview with a Caracas professor who, though being a Maduro critic, explains how U.S. aid is an attempt to incite the Venezuelan publics support for a Guaido/U.S. coup.

Also explains how U.S. sanctions are true cause for Venezuelan economic crisis.

Plus, for good measure, they have snippets of Trump spewing lies at one of his rallies calling Maduro a “Cuban Puppet.”

www.democracynow.org/2019/2/22/this_is_not_humanitarian_aid_a

Americans Should be Envious: “Why Infants May Be More Likely to Die in America Than Cuba”

nyti.ms/2HieZUR

A great op-Ed by Nick Kristoff at the NYT explaining how, though lacking in first rate medical technology, the infant mortality rates are actually lower in Cuba. We could take away many good practices from the Socialist, island nation so close to our shores.

Slaves for Fashion “Prison-Made Brand Carcel Reimagines Fashion From The Inside Out”

Brand CEO Veronica D’Souza on creating a ‘different ecosystem’ in fashion and the launch of a new Thai silk collection made in a maximum-security prison
— Read on www.forbes.com/sites/maryjanewiltsher/2019/01/28/prison-made-brand-carcel-reimagines-fashion-from-the-inside-out/amp/

What are so-called “fair wages”? Is there any choice not to produce clothing for the rich?

Prison work is slavery. It is not dignifying.

Communism: Learning from the Past and Present

As I have put forth in my previous posts, a socialist government is the best political system to be realized today in the interests of the 99%. But if we are going to move towards having the power taken back from the rich and given to its rightful owners, the workers, we must avoid making the mistakes made by Communist countries today and in the past.

One of the most dangerous actions taken by the radical leftist governments of the past is that they tried to realize unrealistic goals too soon. E.g., China had its “Great Leap Forward,” the Soviets under Stalin always put forth these “5 Year Plans” that hurt the Russian people at the hands of Stalin’s vain attempts at greatness, and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia killed over a million of their countrymen partially due to economic reforms. And these often just occurred to catch up with capitalist countries in the areas of industry, science, military, and infrastructurevtoo fast. Foolish.

The are two reasons why this is true, namely:

  1. Revolutionaries have no idea how to run a country. This often leads to unspeakable hardships and suffering for the reasons mentioned above in the pursuit of grand ideals.
  2. The three countries outlined above, i.e., Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and the Khmer Rouge’s Cambodia, were ruled under brutal dictators, or very small groups of leaders, who ran authoritarian governments. They involved purges, gulags, and mass murders of so-called “enemies of the people.” And these things are still taking place in North Korea under the rule of the Kim family and their latest criminal, thug leader, Kim Jong Un.

But in terms of the socialist experiment in Cuba, we could learn a lot of positive things from them. The U.S. capitalist media would have you believe that the Castros are no different than Stalin or Un, but what they don’t report are the great strides towards equality taking place in the small island country. E.g., they have redistributed land to the peasants through land reform. Once the Cuban peasants were slaves to rich plantation owners, but as a result of the revolution, the land owned by the corporations and plantation owners has now been divided amongst the people who work the land. And that is just one example of the successful reforms. They have also gotten away from just being a sugar-dominated economy and even become a powerhouse in the research and development of new medicines that are often purchased, yes, by the U.S. government.

Yet this has succeeded by not having some grand goal of building a developing country into a society where they are immediately just as technologically advanced as  the U.S. These are examples of how ideas and policies could be learned from a socialist society to be translated instilled in a more equal America.

So in conclusion, the brutality of Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge is due to harsh authoritarian governments, not an attempted realization of a fully socialist society. These dictatorships had vain rulers trying to advance mostly Third-World countries into global players too fast. Yet we can look to somewhere like Cuba for positive ideas to enact here in the U.S. in pursuit of a more egalitarian society.