Defend Cuba!

Bill Clinton signed into law on March 10 the Cuba Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act, better known as the Helms-Burton Law. This is ‘solidarity’ as interpreted by US imperialism though.

This Act has the openly stated aim of bringing down the Castro regime in Cuba and installing a pro-US puppet government - so much for the ‘sanctity’ of the due process of international law. Furthermore, it seeks to install a capitalist economy on the island and return all lands and properties nationalised since 1959 to their former owners - or should I say ‘rightful’ owners?

In order to achieve this aim the Act contains measures which seek to extend the US trade blockade of Cuba to other countries, international institutions and aid agencies - a most peculiar definition of the ‘free market’, it has to be said.

The Helms-Burton Law has outraged many of America’s partners, and capitalist opinion in general. Hardly surprising, as it makes it illegal for any US citizen to trade or aid trade with Cuba through loans or financial advice; cuts US aid to any state of the former Soviet Union which trades with Cuba by the amount equal to the value of that trade; and instructs the US not to trade with any company which utilises Cuban sugar, syrups or molasses in its products. Centrally, any present US citizen who claims to have had property confiscated by Castro will be able to sue for compensation against foreign companies which use that property.

If fully implemented, it would create a situation where the US secret service agencies would be spying on its so-called allies - just to make sure they were not trading with Cuba on the quiet.

Clinton obviously believes there are votes in such a move, as countries like Britain are not pleased by this intolerable infringement upon their economic ‘sovereignty’. The rightwing Tory MP, Sir Nicholas Bonsor, has remarked that “many parts of the Helms-Burton Act are objectionable” and that the UK government would do “whatever it can to protect legitimate British trading interests”.

Obviously this makes a mockery of international law, free trade and democracy itself. But so what? US imperialism is top dog and there is no Soviet Union to upset its plans - so get out of the way, buddy.

The ‘post-Castro’ Cuba which US imperialism has in mind would be a return to ‘pre-Castro’ Cuba. Not the good old days of 1959, that is, but more like 1902, when the Platt Amendment enabled the US to immediately dispatch the marines whenever its client regime was in trouble.

All communists and revolutionaries should be alarmed by the increasingly bellicose behaviour of US imperialism towards Cuba. Whatever our disagreements with Fidel Castro and the Cuban Communist Party, any imperialist-imposed ‘democratic’ regime in Cuba would represent a massive setback for the world working class and all those fighting for genuine democracy.

Eddie Ford