How US interference in Cuba creates a false image

US Senator Marco Rubio of the Florida Republican Party appears to be obsessed with Cuba. Every few days he resorts to social networks or comments to the press about his desire to overthrow the Cuban Revolution.

Recently, Rubio played a key role in rallying support for anti-government protests in Cuba. On September 23 of this year, for example, the senator made a tweet stating that “The brave Cuban people have lost their fear of protesting against the dictator who oppresses them. Holgín raises his voice against tyranny”.

Rubio included in his tweet a link to an article about the Cuban city of Holguín, where “a group of Cuban citizens” is planning to hold a “march against violence” on 20 November.

The article cited is from Diario de Cuba, a Miami, Florida-based news website that received substantial funding from the National Endowment for Democracy between 2016 and 2019. The NED is a non-profit organization which is subsidized by the “United States Congress”.

A brief look at the Diario de Cuba website reveals that the vehicle regularly publishes news related to Senator Marco Rubio’s views against the Cuban government.

According to an article in the Diario de Cuba shared by Rubio about the November 20 march, the initiative has been promoted by a group called Archipiélago that proposes to carry out these peaceful protests in different parts of Cuba.

Rubio declared his support for the march and, on September 29, tweeted on the request of residents of Guantanamo for similar permission to perform the rally on 20 November.

In his post on the social network, the senator shared an article from the news site CiberCuba, operated from Florida and Spain. There are several other sites of this type that report on the Central American country and receive funds from the US government and foundations such as the Open Society, NED, ADN CUBA, Cubanos por el Mundo, Cubita NOW, CubaNet, El Estornudo, Periodismo de Barrio , Tremenda Nota, El Toque and YucaByte.

A wide range of these US government-funded websites and politicians like Rubio have spearheaded propaganda in support of more protests on the island. On October 5, the administration of US President Joe Biden also provided support for this agenda.

US Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Brian Nichols, tweeted that “The struggle for press freedom and freedom of expression continues in Cuba”.

Meanwhile, during an event hosted by the Gergetown Americas Institute, Juan Gonzalez, senior director for the Western Hemisphere of the National Security Council, criticized the Cuban government for arresting artists and protesters. “When you put artists in jail for singing and demanding freedom, there’s something wrong with you,” Gonzalez said.

On October 9, the US ambassador in Havana released release which criticized the Cuban government’s decision to “carry out military exercises throughout the country on November 18th and 19th, ending on November 20th with National Defense Day”.

The ambassador also called the decision “a flagrant attempt to intimidate the Cubans.”

The Cuban government frequently conducts military exercises to prepare its 11 million citizens for the most diverse scenarios, from a possible US invasion to a natural disaster. The military, civilian defense forces and members of the general population usually participate.

To counter this announcement, Archipiélago announced on its official Facebook page that the march would be moved from November 20th to November 15th, the date on which Cuban authorities will open its border to tourism.

Meanwhile, a number of government officials – elected and unelected – have given their support to what is now being called the 15N March.

The first wave of support came from elected US politicians – most of them children of Cuban exiles – who publicly pledged to overthrow the Cuban Revolution. On October 10, Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar declared her support for March 15N.

To the host of a news program on a Miami TV channel, she said that the Biden government must provide Cuban protesters with clandestine access to the Internet.

Two days later, on October 12, Senator Rubio criticized the island government for censoring news of the march. On November 15 it was the turn of Florida State Congressman Carlos Giménez, son of Cubans who owned land before 1959, tweet in favor of the march. Giménez shared on Twitter an article from The Hill website that referred to the 15N March as a “protest for civil liberties”.

Another senator from Florida, Rick Scott, joined Rubio, also via Twitter, where he wrote that the US government “cannot sit on the sidelines during this struggle for freedom in Cuba”. Scott presented the Senate with a bill to increase economic sanctions on Cuba.

Meanwhile, the Cuban government denied the Archipiélago group permission to carry out the march on 15 November.

Shortly thereafter, on October 16, the US State Department issued a statement condemning the Cuban government’s decision to “deny permission for peaceful protests.”

US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price tweeted on US support for the “peaceful assembly” of the Cuban people, message retweeted by the US Embassy in Havana on the same day.

On October 17th, Nichols too tweeted about the Cuban denial of the 15N protest. The message was retweeted by the US Embassy in Havana and by Bradley Freden, US interim permanent representative to the Organization of American States (OAS).

On October 20, Nichols shared Human Rights Watch report on the Cuban protests in July, to once again criticize the island’s government for blocking the peaceful marches. Two days later, Gonzalez warned that the United States would have to act if Cuba does not allow the 15N protests to take place.

The atmosphere is charged. The US government and right-wing Cubans in the US Congress tried to set the stage for the mid-November events in Cuba. They will increase the pressure to overthrow the government.

In April of this year, the US National Security Archive declassified the most secret Central Intelligence Agency documents that spoke about Cuba.

The documents revealed that in July 1960, the US government planned to assassinate Raúl Castro: they paid a Cubana Airlines pilot to crash the plane when Raúl was on it.

High-ranking CIA officials who were part of the agency at the time of the assassination plots against Raúl Castro (former CIA Deputy Director of Plans, Tracy Barnes; former Western Hemisphere Division chief, JC King; and the former -CIA officer in Cuba, William J. Murray) worked with the Cuban pilot (José Raul Martinez) to secure a “fatal accident” against Fidel Castro’s brother.

However, the pilot never found an “opportunity” to carry out the accident.

The aforementioned attempt on Raúl Castro’s life is one of the many projects of the US government to overthrow the Cuban Revolution. They include 638 attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro and the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

A perusal of CIA documents from the 1960s onwards (most are available in the agency’s reading room) shows how clichéd and yet dangerous the US attempts to overthrow the Cuban Revolution have been. The climb to March 15N bears all the marks of this story, a macabre plot both planned and executed by Washington and Miami.

*Manolo De Los Santos is a researcher and political activist. For 10 years, he worked on organizing educational and solidarity programs to challenge the US illegal regime of sanctions and blockades. Living outside Cuba for many years, Manolo has been working to build an international network of popular movements and organizations. In 2018, he became the founding director of Peope’s Forum in New York, an incubating movement for working communities to build unity across historic divisions at home and abroad. Los Santos also collaborates as a researcher at Tricontinental: Instituto de Pesquisa Social. He is a fellow of the Globetrotter/Peoples Dispatch. He is co-editor of Comrade of the Revolution, available through 1804 Books and LeftWord Books.

**Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a writer and chief correspondent for Globetrotter, editor-in-chief of LeftWord Books, and director of Tricontinental: Social Research Institute. He is a non-resident senior researcher at the Chongyang Institute of Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. He has written more than 20 books, including The Darker Nations, The Poorer Nations and Washington Bullets, with an introduction by Evo Morales Ayma. Prashad is also co-editor of Comrade of the Revolution, available through 1804 Books and LeftWord Books.

***This article was produced by Globetrotter.

Edition: Thales Schmidt

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