Monthly review | Preface and introduction

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Manolo from Los Santos is Co-Executive Director of the People’s Forum and a researcher at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He co-edited, more recently, Viviremos: Venezuela versus Hybrid War (Left Word, 2020). Vijay Prashad is the executive director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is the author of Washington Bullets: A History of the CIA, Coups, Assassinations (Monthly review press, 2020).

They are guest editors of this special issue, The Cuban revolution today: experiments under the influence of challenges.

On November 1, 2018, John Bolton, National Security Advisor to US President Donald Trump, released a line with grim implications: tyranny troika. The US government, Bolton said, would focus its attention on overthrowing the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Bolton announced that the government had tightened its blockade against Cuba with more sanctions, including the implementation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, allowing US citizens to prosecute any person or business who benefited from confiscated property since. the Cuban Revolution of 1959. Travel and money transfers to Cuba were restricted and several Cuban companies, including its national airline, faced new sanctions. At the end of this cycle, the Trump administration imposed 243 new sanctions on Cuba.

The anticipation that Joe Biden would cancel Trump’s sanctions quickly dissipated when his press secretary Jen Psaki said on March 9, 2021, that “a policy change in Cuba is not currently one of President Biden’s top priorities. “. The previous month, Senator Marco Rubio and Luis Almagro (Secretary General of the Organization of American States) launched a social media campaign titled “Crisis in Cuba: Repression, Hunger and Coronavirus”. It should be noted that at the time, there was not a single case of COVID-19 on the island. The American campaign to overthrow the Cuban Revolution has gathered pace.

On two occasions in 2021, first on July 11 and then on November 15, the US government and politicians joined right-wing Cuban exiles (mainly in Florida) in encouraging protests inside Cuba. US-funded organizations have launched a social media campaign, a bay of tweets, designed to spark uprisings among people who have suffered the social impact of the US blockade and the pandemic. of COVID-19. On July 11, in the Cuban city of San Antonio de los Baños, protests took place. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel heard the news and drove around 40 kilometers from Havana to talk to the malcontents and see what could be done. Across Cuba, tens of thousands of patriots took to the streets with their national flags and flags of the July 26 Movement which formed the nucleus of revolutionaries in 1959. In this crowd was Johana Tablada who works in the Cuban Ministry of Affairs. foreigners. “We are human beings who live, work, suffer and fight for a better Cuba,” she told us. “We’re not robots or troll farms or anything like that.”

The social media campaign, called J11, was spearheaded by Florida-based businesses and websites, many of which are funded by the U.S. government through its National Endowment for Democracy and the Open Society Foundations (including Cubanos por el Mundo , Cubita NOW, CubaNet, El Estornudo, Periodismo de Barrio, Tremenda Nota, El Toque and YucaByte). At the heart of this campaign is the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, a coalition of anti-Communist groups calling for an American invasion of Cuba. Its leader, Mauricio Claver-Carone, is the former head of Cuba Democracy Advocates, Trump’s main adviser on Cuba, and now president of the Inter-American Development Bank (based in Washington DC). The hashtag #SOSCuba has been mobilized and amplified on various platforms by troll farms, trying to generate consensus on a large-scale uprising against the Cuban revolution.

Having failed on July 11, 2021, those same forces tried again in November. First, a group called Archipielago announced that it would organize protests on November 20, a statement amplified by the US government and its agencies. When it became known that Cuba was planning to open its borders on November 15, the demonstration was then announced for that date. Officials in the Biden administration have threatened Cuba with more debilitating sanctions if the government prevents the uprising. Archipiélago’s social networks have shown that he is both in favor of regime change and the use of violence to achieve his ends. (Previous violent actions took place on April 30, 2020, when an assault rifle was fired at the Cuban embassy in Washington, and on July 27, 2021, when two individuals threw a Molotov cocktail at the embassy. from Cuba to Paris.) US politicians such as Senator Rubio, Senator Rick Scott, Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar and Congressman Carlos Giménez have stepped up pressure against Cuba, calling for more sanctions.

Despite the call for a civic march for change, no one took to the streets on November 15, 2021. A few days earlier, young defenders of the Cuban revolution, wearing red scarves, gathered in the central park of La Havana and have organized concerts, poetry readings, documentary screenings, book presentations and speeches. When the young people – the Pañuelos Rojos (Red Scarves) – invited him, President Díaz-Canel joined them. They’ve beaten the hybrid attack for now.

But the blockade imposed by the United States and the Hybrid War continue. This special issue of Monthly is motivated by the intensified “maximum pressure” campaign in Washington DC.

Very early in the Cuban Revolution of 1959, it became evident that the US government would take a hostile stance against it. Despite the recognition of President Manuel Urrutia’s new government a week after the revolutionaries overthrew the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, the U.S. government began to undermine the Cuban revolution, especially after Fidel Castro was appointed prime minister in February 1959. When Castro visited the United States in April, President Dwight Eisenhower refused to see him. Things would only get worse until the United States severed its ties with Cuba in 1961 and put in place a series of CIA-led destabilization mechanisms (assassination attempts against Castro, terrorist actions on the island as part of Operation Mongoose, invasion of Bay of Pigs Cuban exiles). This was the general tenor of official US policy toward Cuba.

Two other political and social forces in the United States, however, immediately embraced the Cuban Revolution: the Black Liberation Movement and Socialist Projects.

When Castro arrived in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting in 1960, before the US government officially severed relations with Cuba, the Cuban delegation found it impossible to secure hotel rooms. in the city. Malcolm X arranged for Castro and the Cubans to stay at the Theresa Hotel in Harlem, showing the deep ties between the black liberation movement and the Cuban revolutionaries (when Castro was denied entry into the lunch d ‘Eisenhower along with Latin American leaders, he held his own rally at a coffee shop in Harlem for the employees of the Theresa Hotel, “the poor and humble of Harlem,” as he put it). During a meeting between Castro and Malcolm X, the latter told the Cuban about the revolutionary process, “we are twenty million and we still understand”.

In March 1960, Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman, the editors of Monthly– traveled to Cuba to see the revolution with their own eyes. They met the main leaders of the revolution (Castro and Che Guevara), officials of the new state and new civic bodies, and people from all walks of life. Back in New York City, Sweezy and Huberman wrote down their thoughts and published them in a special issue of their socialist magazine (July-August 1960), titled Cuba: anatomy of a revolution (published as Monthly Review Press later that year). It was one of the first books to argue that the Cuban Revolution, driven by a fierce determination to protect its sovereignty, would necessarily evolve in a socialist direction. Huberman and Sweezy returned to assess the revolution at several points. by Huberman Socialism in Cuba (1960) was well received on the island for its sympathetic critique of the Cuban process. The relation between Monthly (both magazine and press) and the Cuban Revolution continued from then to today, this current special issue being another indicator of that connection.

Monthly Review Press was the original English publisher of Che Guevara’s Memories of the Cuban Revolutionary War (1968), and the magazine published several articles by Che. After Che’s assassination in 1967, Eduardo Galeano’s beautiful reflection on him, “Magic Death for a Magic Life”, was published in Monthly in January 1968. Paul Sweezy and Paul Baran dedicated their classic book Monopoly capital (1966) at Ché. Paul Baran had visited Cuba in September and October 1960, accompanied by Sweezy and Huberman, who were there for the second time. His “Reflections on the Cuban Revolution” were published in the magazine in January 1961. Due to his strong support for the Cuban process, Baran was targeted at Stanford University (he had his first heart attack after returning from Cuba and felt the immensity of the pressure to support the revolution during the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Missile Crisis, succumbing to a heart attack in 1964).

Thank you for the opportunity to feature this special issue in the pages of Monthly, continuing a tradition established six decades ago. The magazine’s position reflects Castro’s June 1961 comments to the Biblioteca Nacional, where he said the criticism must come from in revolution, reflecting the point of view of one of America’s most important radical sociologists, C. Wright Mills. In his Listen, Yankee: The Revolution in Cuba (1960), Mills wrote that we don’t care on the Cuban revolution, but we worry with that. This volume is built with this in mind.


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