The Daily Nexus published two gems last week. First Henry Sarria laments the arrest and sentencing of 75 Cubans for collaborating with the U.S. regime to undermine the Cuban government, (Daily Nexus, “The Silence to the South,” April 14). This recent incident prompts him to rail against the lack of openness and freedom in Cuba, his birthplace. Missing in his rant, however, is any mention that the situation in Cuba might have anything to do with how it has been treated by the superpower just miles to its north for over 40 years. As Sarria tells it, Cuba’s political situation is simply the result of an “egomaniacal” dictator presiding over a tyrannical regime that terrorizes its citizens on a daily basis.
While world opinion on Cuba is varied, once you pull your head out of America’s ass you can at least recognize that a tiny, poor country that has been the target of military, economic and political aggression by a superpower does not have the luxury to be “free and open.” Instead it is forced into a defensive position where the very security of the government has to become a top priority if it is to survive. This is true whether we are talking about a good government or a bad government, to put it in simplistic terms Sarria can understand.
Whatever may be good or bad about Castro’s Cuba, we cannot blame the Cuban government for U.S. aggression and support for terrorist groups like Alpha 66 (www.alpha66.org) and Omega 7, both of whom operate openly in Florida. Just look at the US reaction to 9/11. Legislation rolling back civil liberties and greatly expanding the government’s ability to spy on anyone it wants to was passed, and thousands of people have been rounded up and detained just because they are the wrong race and/or religion. And people here have the nerve to criticize Cuba, which has been the target of U.S. attacks for over four decades.
Also conveniently missing from Sarria’s tale is any mention of the five Cubans recently sentenced in the U.S. to between 15 years and double life for legally gathering information on U.S.-based anti-Cuban terrorist groups that the FBI strangely takes little interest in (www.freethefive.org). In fact, most of the U.S. press ignores this incident when reporting on the 75 arrested in Cuba for treason.
Joey Tartakovsky continues the parade of fools in his awkward attempt to distinguish between a liberal and radical left, (Daily Nexus, “The Left Gets Radical,” April 15). Let me make it simple for you, Joey: Left and liberal are not the same, however much the right wants us to believe the Democratic Party is a front for socialism. The left participates in global struggles for social justice, while liberals co-opt the language of social justice for electoral gain and so they can feel good while they feast. In their finest moments, some liberals have argued and fought against the excesses of empire, but as a group they wholeheartedly support the imperial project.
The left, on the other hand, has always opposed empire, whether it’s the current U.S. empire or the 19th century’s British and French empires. It is by definition radical and progressive. It is also by definition international. No one should be surprised that the “far left” is marginal in the heart of the empire. What’s more important, though, is that once you look beyond the barricades of First World borders to where most of us human beings live, you see that it is the apologists for empire who are the radicals on the margins.
So Joey, if you want to distance yourself from the “far left” and draw closer to the right, fine, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you still magically remain progressive. That kind of attempt to have it both ways is liberalism at its worst. As far as I’m concerned, the right can have you.
Tony Samara is a graduate student in the Sociology Dept.