The following months showed that the July 11 demonstrations inaugurated a new political scenario in Cuba. The objective factors that triggered the popular discontent expressed in the streets – high prices, dollarization, shortages, health crisis, little or no perspective for the precarious youth, etc. – are still present, since Miguel Díaz-Canel and the top brass of the Cuban regime have done nothing to solve those scourges.

 

By IWL-FI International Secretariat – November 10, 2021

 

The main response of the government is a systematic repression that is materialized in the more than 1,200 people arrested since July 11, nearly 600 prisoners and 120 accused of sedition to date[1]. The sentences -many of them handed down in summary trials, without the presence of defense lawyers or other elementary legal guarantees- reach 25 years in prison and up to four years of hard labor. All this in the midst of an intense smear campaign and intimidation against any hint of opposition.

Stalinism and the bulk of the international left, far from taking a stand in favor of the interests and democratic freedoms of the Cuban people, justifies the regime’s repression by repeating the fallacy that the protests were (and are) nothing more than an “imperialist conspiracy” to overthrow the supposed socialist character of the State on the island.

This, as we have explained, is a double lie. First, because the July 11 protests had a popular and democratic character without a clear convener; it was a social outpouring without a leadership. It was an ” Enough”, a product of the desperation of broad popular sectors in the face of material and sanitary shortages and an outcry against the Asphyxia imposed by the Castro regime. That was the meaning of  “Down with the dictatorship” that resounded from one end of the Caribbean country to the other. To suppose that the thousands of demonstrators who, at great risk, took to the streets in different cities were “agents of imperialism” is a stretch of the imagination.

Secondly, no political action in Cuba is or could be against the “socialist character” of the State, for the simple reason that such a thing no longer exists decades ago, since the Castro bureaucracy itself restored capitalism to maintain its privileges.

The march called for next Monday, November 15, and the preparatory and solidarity actions with it, to which we have declared our support and adherence, are a continuation of the progressive process that began in July. The protest called by the Archipelago group and dozens of activists who participated in the 11J, essentially demands the release of political prisoners and, in general terms, the guarantee of basic democratic rights in the country, such as freedom of expression, assembly, organization. This is not a spontaneous political action, like that of 11J, but its main demands are progressive, above all because it questions a capitalist dictatorship that stands as the main obstacle to the development of the democratic organization and mobilization of the working masses in Cuba.

It is evident that the Cuban bourgeoisie exiled in Miami and U.S. imperialism dispute in many ways the process underway. Their political pretension is to usurp the process, to hijack the movement in order to direct it towards their interfering interests. But Washington does not interfere to “restore capitalism”, as Castroism says and its satellites repeat, but to control a market economy already in force, but dominated by the political and military leadership of the Cuban regime, which in turn is only a minor partner of a handful of European and Canadian imperialist companies. U.S. interference, therefore, is part of the inter-bourgeois dispute for hegemony in the country’s businesses. The IWL-FI categorically rejects any political declaration, sanctions or other interventionist measures of the U.S. and any other imperialist power in Cuba. We say to the vanguard and to the honest Cuban fighters, that nothing good can come from the imperialist scourge and its lackeys; on the contrary, they can only bring even more hunger, misery and repression, as their actions all over the planet show.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a motion of “solidarity” with the Cuban people, questioning the repression and imprisonment of political prisoners. The U.S. Embassy in Havana, for its part, has repeatedly urged through its social networks that the Cuban regime “respect the fundamental freedoms of the Cuban people and release all detained peaceful demonstrators”[2]. It also urges “to allow peaceful demonstrations on November 15″[3]. The imperialists pose as “democratic” in order to gain the confidence of the youth and the people on the island. But, once again, beware, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The movement should not place any confidence in U.S. imperialism, which with such statements does nothing more than demonstrate cynicism without limits. Washington is not in a position to dictate democratic or moral standards to anyone. Historically, it has promoted and financed all kinds of atrocities against the human rights and democratic freedoms of the peoples. It promoted wars of conquest, set up and deposed governments by means of coups d’état, supported bloody military dictatorships in Latin America. And it continues to support dictatorships in the State of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, among other countries.

If the US government cared about political prisoners, it would free the prisoners in Guantanamo prison, a center of all kinds of torture and humiliation, in addition to being an affront to Cuban sovereignty. If the U.S. government cared about the fate of the Cuban people, it would end the inhumane and immoral trade embargo that has been in place for more than 60 years.

It is essential to maintain a strict political independence from U.S. imperialism and its direct agents, such as the so-called “National Transitional Council”, which also appeals to democratic discourse to cover up its profoundly reactionary economic program: the return of the properties confiscated after 1959 to the Cuban bourgeoisie residing in Miami, which yearns to once again become the hegemonic faction of the ruling class. Neither do the “observers” or “missions” of the UN, an institution dominated by the imperialist powers and accomplice, by action or omission, of dictatorships and genocides throughout its history, deserve confidence.

However, the support expressed by the US government and the CNT, as well as their attempts to usurp and give a reactionary direction to the process, does not change the progressive character of the 15N march, which should be defined by its political guideline, by its objective sense, not by the rhetoric of its organizers and participants. The 15N has the potential to deepen the crisis of the Castro dictatorship, and they know it. It is no coincidence that the regime has been so ruthless with the 11J prisoners and with the 15N organizers.

With this in mind, the policy of imperialism poses two crucial tasks inside and outside Cuba.

On the one hand, Archipelago and the main promoters of the march have the obligation to safeguard the strictest political independence in relation to imperialism, its agents and, in that sense, to promote the self-organization and free democratic participation of broad discontented sectors within the working class.

On the other hand, the international left must reflect and break with the influence of Castroism. It must go from being a supporter -explicit or nuanced- of the Cuban dictatorship to defending an active solidarity with the protests and the process of struggle of the people. That is the only way to dispute the course of that process with the sinister intentions of imperialism and its agents. Maintaining the current policy of the majority of the left means continuing to hand over the banner of the democratic struggle to imperialism on a silver platter, divorcing itself more and more from the interests of the people and, therefore, facilitating the plans of Washington and Miami. The left must make a 180-degree turn and change its political position. If it fails to do so, it will be paving the way for a heavy defeat. There is still time.

A few days before the 15N, the IWL-FI reiterates its support to the march, commits its forces to promote and broaden this support, calls for solidarity demonstrations all over the world with the struggle of the Cuban people and renews its commitment to the popular struggle against the bourgeois dictatorship of the Communist Party of Cuba. We struggle to give this anti-dictatorial struggle a socialist and anti-imperialist character. In that sense, it is necessary to maintain the mobilization until the fall of the Cuban regime at the hands of the independent action of the working class and the people, as a starting point for a new socialist revolution on the island.