Noam Chomsky on Cuba

Cuba has become a symbol of courageous resistance to attack. Since 1959 Cuba has been under attack from the hemispheric superpower. It has been invaded, subjected to more terror than maybe the rest of the world combined–certainly any other country that I can think of–and it’s under an economic stranglehold that has been ruled completely illegal by every relevant international body, It has been at the receiving end of terrorism, repression and denunciation, but it survives.

If you look back at the declassified record and the problems that Cuba was posing and therefore had to be overthrown, one intelligence analyst said that “the very existence of the Castro regime is successful defiance of US policies that go back a hundred and fifty years”. He’s not talking about the Russians. He is talking about the Monroe Doctrine, which says we are the masters of the hemisphere. It goes on to say that this really dangerous as it offers a model that others might want to follow. That’s what is called “communist aggression”. You have a model that somebody wants to follow. So you have to destroy the virus.

Kissinger, for example, during the other 9/11–the one that happened in 1973–was concerned that Allende, with his democratic victory and social programs would spread contagion not only in Latin America, but even in Italy where the United States at the very same time was carrying out large scale subversive operations to try to undermine Italian democracy and even supported fascist parties in Italy.

Yes, Cuba is the symbol of successful defiance that accounts for the venomous hostility. The very existence of the regime, independent of what it does, by not subordinating itself to power is just an unacceptable defiance for the rest of the world. It’s a symbol of what can be done without using harsh conditions. It’s once again a case of those under the most severe conditions are doing things that others can’t do.

So, for example, let’s take Cuba’s role in the liberation of Africa. It’s an astonishing achievement that has almost been totally suppressed. Now you can read about it in scholarship, but the contribution that Cuba made to the self-liberation of Africa is fantastic. And that was against the entire concentrated power of the world. All the imperialist powers were trying to block it. It finally worked and Cuba’s contribution was unique. That’s another reason why Cuba is hated. Just the plain fact that black soldiers from Cuba were able to beat back a South African invasion of Angola sent shock waves throughout the continent. The black movements were inspired by it. The white South Africans were psychologically crushed by the fact that South African forces could be defeated by a black army. The United States were infuriated. If you look at the next couple of years, the terrorist attacks on Cuba got much worse.

But yes, it’s a symbol of successful defiance. One can have arguments about what society is like and what it does, but that’s for Cubans to decide. But for the world its symbolic significance is not slight.

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