The Republic of Cuba and the United States of America have started to talk again, after more then 55 years of none-diplomatic relations between the two nations. Cuba became a Marxist-Leninist ( Stalinist ) state in 1959, after guerrilla fighters of the 26th of July Movement defeated the corrupt government of Batista. Fidel Castro became prime minister and created a single party state based on marxism-leninism ( stalinism ). Although revolutionary socialists welcomed the removal of the corrupt dictator, we criticized the dictatorial Castro regime. The American capitalist class was not amused after they lost their casino’s and wealth in Cuba. So the US government created a small army of anticommunists to overthrow Castro. This failed and Fidel would ruled the island until 2008. His brother Raul has been president of Cuba for almost seven years and has introduced many capitalist elements!
Although Cuba and the USA are now talking again as equal nations, the trade embargo is still in place. This embargo was installed by the Eisenhower administration in 1960. Cuba had embraced revolutionary ideals and nationalized most foreign owned means of production. However Fidel Castro would reject any claims that his revolution was socialist. For two years he told the western media that he was not a communist. But Eisenhower did not trust him and the embargo was put in place to destabilize the new revolutionary government. When this failed, the administration of John F. Kennedy started to train 1500 anticommunist Cubans to overthrow Castro. On 17 April 1961, the Bay of Pigs invasion started. Many hoped for a popular anticommunist uprising. But Washington has underestimated the popularity of the Cuban Revolution. By 19 April, the 1500 anticommunists were defeated and Fidel Castro became more popular then ever!
In 1982, America placed Cuba on the list of nations who support terrorism. A very hypocrite move since Ronald Reagan was actively supporting right-wing terrorist groups in Colombia, Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan and corrupt dictators in Asia. Cuba supported national liberation movements like the FARC, the ANC, FRELIMO and the MLPA. Fidel Castro even used the national airliner to ship troops into southern Angola, to aid the revolutionary government of the MLPA in their fight against the anticommunists supported by the USA. Thanks to Cuban aid and military support, the national liberation army of Namibia was able to defeat the racist South Africans and established the Republic of Namibia in 1990!
Nelson Mandela said this after his release from prison:
“The Cuban people hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Africa. The Cuban internationalists have made a contribution to African independence, freedom and justice unparalleled for its principled and selfless character – We in Africa are used to being victims of countries wanting to carve up our territory or subvert our sovereignty. It is unparalleled in African history to have another people rise to the defence of one of us – The defeat of the apartheid army was an inspiration to the struggling people in South Africa! Without the defeat of Cuito Cuanavale our organizations would not have been unbanned! The defeat of the racist army at Cuito Cuanavale has made it possible for me to be here today! Cuito Cuanavale was a milestone in the history of the struggle for southern African liberation!”
American imperialism was not happy with Castro’s involvement in Africa. They claim that the trade embargo would remain in place as long as the Communist Party of Cuba remains the absolute ruler. There are a few problems with this claim. Because in 1994, the Vietnamese trade embargo was lifted by the Clinton administration. Vietnam is a single party state too, with only one major difference. By the 1990’s, Vietnam had opened itself to western business interests. Cuba remained dogmatic loyal to the planned economy and rejected the pragmatism of the Asian stalinists. American imperialism was happy with the pro-capitalist course of the Asian ruling communist parties. This is why there are no American trade embargo’s in Asia any more!
But the Republic of Cuba has defied imperialism and capitalism. It has not made peace with the establishment of the world and up to 2008, remained fully loyal to the Stalinist model of total state control over the economy and the life of all workers. Raúl Castro changed this after he replaced Fidel, as president of the Republic of Cuba. As the younger brother, Raúl always stood in the shadows. Now he rules the Communist Party of Cuba and the island. Under the younger Castro, Cuba started with more market reforms which now allows people to sell their houses and cars. Also they can own small businesses and employ people. Revolutionary socialists fear however that more capitalist measures will be taken once the trade embargo is lifted. Cuba’s ruling caste is supportive of more capitalism as it would increase their wealth. As bureaucrats who run the economy and the state, they are the first to profit from the new market system!
Our alternatives to more market based politics are socialist ones. Cuba must abandon the top-down planned economy and replace it with a democratic down-up planned system. In such a decentralized economy, workers councils would plan and produce. But in order for such a system to work, you need workers participation and self-management. Cuba would also need to end the monopoly of the communist party over politics. Yet the ruling caste would never allow this unless there is massive class struggle of workers and peasants against the party bureaucrats. Workers need to get organized and struggle against the old men of the bureaucracy. At the same time a workers party must be build in order to defend the gains of the Cuban Revolution. Because a capitalist restoration would not improve the lives of the Cuban proletariat!