Some comments by Joe Grogan*
Just before Christmas, 2014, the world was startled and surprised to learn that Cuba and the United States had agreed to establish again formal relations which the U.S.A. had broken off in the early 1960s.
What are the implications for such a situation? As a Canadian who has long supported the right of Cuba to build its nation as it sees fit, this news brought me a mixed reaction. On the one hand, I can see how the Cuban people can benefit from such an arrangement because eventually there will be increased possibilities for American investments, jobs and revenues to/for Cuba. Furthermore, there will be the possibility of less harassment from the United States a reality since the early days of the Cuban revolution and the armed struggle against the dictatorship of Batista who in reality was just a willing puppet for American interests-those of the multinational American corporations and the American Government itself. On the other hand, there are concerns many supporters of Cuba have about the re-Americanization of Cuba, back to the sad reality of the 1950s. There is no doubt that there will be pressures to please the Empire next door, particularly as there are opportunists in Cuba just like here, those who love the almighty dollar. In addition, some of us dreamers who believe another world is possible, one with less corruption and less mean-spirited behaviour, we do not want Cuban culture and history to be swamped by heavy influences from its huge neighbour.
I have concluded that the new relationship is in fact, a victory for Cuba and the Cuban people because in spite of many difficulties caused by the United States, the Americans have finally had to conclude that their attacks and efforts to isolate Cuba have instead only served to strengthen the resolve of the Cuban leadership and Cuban people to preserve the Cuban revolution, warts and all. Besides, Cuba has become a beacon well-respected around the world for its efforts to resist and combat imperialism.
In solidarity with the peoples of Africa and Latin America, Cuba has demonstrated by its actions what real solidarity is and how in addition it has supported the struggles of peoples in Venezuela, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Panama and indeed countries of the Caribbean, such as Haiti (earthquake relief efforts), Jamaica, Dominica, and others. In fact, this solidarity with other nations and peoples, especially in the Western Hemisphere has produced a situation where it is the United States that now is isolated, not Cuba. Its previous policies towards Cuba have been shown to be a failure for all to see.
There will be struggles ahead for Cuba. What kind of relationship will finally emerge will be based on what happens with the military base the United States still holds at Guantanamo and how quickly the U.S. will remove the Embargo against Cuba, in effect since the early 1960s. That Embargo was designed to weaken the Cuban revolution by attacking it through economic sanctions which have hurt the Cuban people most of all. Such an irrational and unjust war against Cuba has caused the United States to lose its international reputation as a peace-loving, generous nation. There is a well-educated, dedicated and courageous cadre of Cubans who will continue the legacy of the Cuban revolution. They will continue to emphasize the lessons of Che, Celia Sanchez, Cienfuegos, Fidel, Raul, Jose Marti and all others who fought for Cuba.
Joe Grogan is a retired professor from Humber College and long time activist in the solidarity movement in support of Cuba.