Orlando Tamayo, Ideological Battering Rams & Defending Revolution
Along with the post Cuba, Dissent, U.S. Sponsors & the Ladies in White, this piece from People of Color Organize! helps to paint a picture of the role U.S.-based counterinsurgents against the Cuban Revolution
The case of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, many contend, is being manipulated by the global corporate media to mobilize anti-Cuban sentiments and reshape the debate around human rights.
There have been many responses to the continuing destabilization campaign against Cuba. A good question for organizers: how should activists respond to counter campaigns that may address an important issue, but whose ideological underpinnings are aimed at supporting imperial ambitions?
The Mexican chapter of the Network in Defense of Humanity, an organization of intellectuals, academics, social activists, critical thinkers and artists, united with the European parliamentarians about political prisoners. “Like them, we call for the immediate and unconditional freedom of all political prisoners, in all the countries of the world, including those of the European Union,” the network offered.
The statement says of European politicking:
[that] “… the European institutions to give unconditional support and encouragement for the initiation of a peaceful political transition toward a plural democracy in Cuba” is not only an act of interference, but it also presumes a sole model of democracy which certainly shows itself to be more and more insufficient and questionable. We reject that proposal because of our commitment to the principles of non-intervention and self-determination of the peoples—principles defended by the UN as well.
The search for and deepening of democracy presumes, among other things, to transcend the formal and invent new forms that are authentically representative, and that are not necessarily restricted to multiple parties. As is well known, often the decisions over the great problems of the world are made unilaterally by small interest groups with great power, over and above the regime of parties.
[T]o justify the interference into the internal political affairs of the Cuban people by manipulating the case of Orlando Zapata through the media—a common delinquent who by no means was a political prisoner—coincides with the counter-insurgency policies that are being applied in Latin America to hold back or distort the emancipatory processes of transformation that are in motion. This is in addition to the criminal blockade that the Cuban people have been subjected to, for the simple fact of not accepting impositions and for defending the right to decide its destiny with dignity and independence.
…We share the concern shown by the parliamentarians about respect for human rights in Cuba, but we extend that concern to the whole world. In the same way that you are concerned about the case of the delinquent who died (in 40 years there has been no previous occurrence), we invite you to demand the end of the occupation of Gaza and the aggression against the Palestinian people, which has caused not one, but thousands of deaths; an end to the intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan that has sown death and terror in towns and cities; of the bombardments of those places with the argument that it is defending democracy; an end to the double occupancy of Haiti; the closing of the prison in Guantánamo and the return of that territory to Cuba, to whom it belongs; and the return of the Malvinas Islands to Argentina. And certainly, we call for an end to the blockade, which violates the human rights of the Cuban people and which puts in doubt the moral authority of those who demand humane treatment for a delinquent when it is denied for an entire people.
The Mexican chapter of the Network in Defense of Humanity initiated a website to counter the anti-Cuba campaign and gather signatures to support Cuba.
In a statement, Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power wrote, “Behind that condemnation lies profound cynicism. How many children’s lives have been lost in poor nations because of the decision by rich countries represented in the European Parliament not to meet their commitments to development aid? All of them knew it was a mass death sentence, but they opted to preserve the levels of waste and the continuation of consumerism to suicide in the long term.
“We Cubans are also offended by that attempt to teach us a lesson at a time when immigrants and the unemployed are being repressed in Europe , but while here, in neighborhood meetings, people are proposing their candidates for municipal elections, freely and without intermediaries.
“Such a discriminatory and selective condemnation can only be explained by the failure of a policy incapable of bringing a heroic people to their knees. Neither the Helms Burton Act, nor the European common position, which emerged in the same year in the same circumstances and with the same purpose, both of them damaging to our national sovereignty and dignity, have the most minimal future, because we Cubans reject imposition, intolerance and pressure as a norm within international relations.”
Finally, the Secretariat of the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists added, “Never in the history of the Revolution has a prisoner been tortured. Not one single person has disappeared. There has not been one single extrajudicial execution. We have founded our own form of democracy, imperfect, yes, but far more participatory and legitimate than the one they want to impose on us. Those who have orchestrated this campaign do not have the moral authority to teach us lessons in human rights.”
Whether one agrees with the correctness of revolutionary Cuba’s struggle, how outside forces use internal issues, not as correctives but as ideological battering rams by governments clashing with those in power, is important to observe.