HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » US Hostility Toward the I...

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:42 AM

US Hostility Toward the Island was Never Really About the Cold War: America’s Cuba

December 22, 2014

US Hostility Toward the Island was Never Really About the Cold War

America’s Cuba

by CHRIS LEWIS


President Barack Obama announced on December 17th that the United States would begin normalizing relations with the island, as both governments agreed to a prisoner swap: Cuba released imprisoned USAID contractor Alan Gross and a US intelligence operative, while the United States released three Cuban intelligence agents arrested in the 1990s while spying on militant Cuban exile groups. The countries will begin talks with the goal of opening embassies, Obama will ease travel and financial restrictions for American citizens, and Cuba will release a group of detainees that the US has designated political prisoners. The US trade embargo remains in place, and requires Congressional action to repeal.

“U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba, Erasing a Last Trace of Cold War Hostility,” the New York Times proclaimed. The notion that the US embargo is a Cold War relic that has outlived its usefulness has long been a common assertion among American critics of Cuba policy. Democratic Senators, the editor of The Nation, progressive NGOs, and even Forbes columnists and the Cato Institute have framed the conflict in these terms.

US-Cuban relations have undoubtedly been shaped by the Cold War, but the narrative of Cold War conflict between the two countries is a historically dubious rendering, obfuscating a long record of US intervention in Cuba and the rest of Latin America.

The Cuban revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power in January 1959 was led by a group of liberal-minded young nationalists, united by their opposition to military dictator Fulgencio Batista. They displayed few socialist tendencies and no open hostility toward the United States. Far from demonizing the revolutionaries, the United States immediately recognized the new government when it took power.

The amity didn’t last long. In May 1959, Fidel Castro unveiled the revolution’s land reform program, which called for breaking up holdings larger than 1,000 acres and distributing them to small farmers. It also specified that only Cubans would be allowed to own land, and promised compensation for confiscated lands. In an era of worldwide land reform this was hardly radical, but US officials perceived the move as a threat to the vast property owned by American companies in Cuba. According to historian Richard Gott, a June 1959 meeting of the National Security Council concluded that Castro couldn’t be allowed to stay in power. By October, the CIA had drafted a program that “authorized us to support elements in Cuba opposed to the Castro government, while making Castro’s downfall seem to be the result of his own mistakes.” The Eisenhower administration began plotting with Cuban exiles in Florida.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/22/americas-cuba/

4 replies, 1355 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply US Hostility Toward the Island was Never Really About the Cold War: America’s Cuba (Original post)
Judi Lynn Dec 2014 OP
djean111 Dec 2014 #1
Bagsgroove Dec 2014 #2
bemildred Dec 2014 #3
flamingdem Dec 2014 #4

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 09:50 AM

1. I wish this was a surprise. n/t

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 10:13 AM

2. It was about Florida, not the Cold War

During and after the American Revolution a great many Tory sympathizers fled to Canada. Imagine that, 1) Canada was a world superpower of the day and, 2) those American-Canadian exiles became an extraordinarily powerful political lobby in a way that could swing national elections in Canada. Now imagine that the price the American Tory exiles wanted in order to throw their support to particular Canadian politicians was that Canada try to overthrow of the new American government, or at least to "destabilize" the weaker United States with a crippling embargo.

Over the last half century the Cuban exile community has had the money and power to tip the balance in elections in Florida. And Florida elections are about a lot more than Florida politics. Florida is a crucial swing state with 29 electoral votes. Have you noticed that in the final weeks before any recent presidential election both candidates seem to be on a constant shuttle flight between Ohio and Florida? Every politician in America who hopes to become president has felt the need to crank up the anti-Castro rhetoric in order to win Florida.

Obama's move was not only the right thing to do, it was a political recognition that the influence of that first-generation of angry Cuban exiles in Florida is not as powerful as it used to be.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 10:14 AM

3. Quite right. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Dec 22, 2014, 12:09 PM

4. All we have to do is remember The Maine to see that it's been a long record

of intervention!

Great points made here.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread