Why do Social Democrats do what they do?

August 08, 2009

Reflections of Fidel: Seven daggers in the heart of America, from CubaDebate, Havana. Aug 6, 09




I read and re-read data and articles written by intelligent figures, known or little known, who contribute to various media and take their information from sources that are not questioned by anyone.

The peoples who inhabit the planet – everywhere – are running economic, environmental and military risks derived from the policies of the United States, but in no other part of the world are they threatened by such grave problems as those of its neighbors, the peoples located on this continent to the south of that hegemonic country.

The presence of such a powerful empire which has deployed – on every continent and in every ocean – military bases, aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, modern warships and sophisticated combat planes carrying all kinds of weapons, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers whose government demands total impunity for them, constitutes the most important headache for any government, whether it is leftist, centrist or rightist, an ally or not of the United States.

For those of us who are its neighbors, the problem is not that another language is spoken there and that it is a different nation. There are U.S. citizens of all colors and origins. They are people just like us and capable of any sentiment in one sense or another. The dramatic aspect is the system that has been developed there and imposed on everybody. Such a system is not new in terms of the use of force and methods of domination that have prevailed throughout history. The new part is the epoch in which we are living. Approaching the issue from traditional points of view is an error and does not help anybody. Reading and learning about what the defenders of the system are thinking is highly illustrative, because it signifies being aware of the nature of a system that is based on constantly appealing to egotism and people’s most primary instincts.

If a conviction of the value of conscience and its capacity for prevailing over instincts did not exist, one could not express even the hope of change in any period of the extremely brief history of humankind. Neither could one comprehend the terrible obstacles that are being raised for various political leaders in the Latin American or Ibero-American nations of the hemisphere. At the end of the day, the peoples that lived in this region of the planet from tens of thousands of years ago to the famous discovery of America, had nothing Latino, Iberian or European about them; their physical traits bore a closer resemblance to Asian peoples, from where their forebears came. Nowadays we see them in the face of the Indians of Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Chile, this last a country in which the Araucanos wrote indelible pages. In certain areas of Canada and Alaska they conserve their indigenous roots with all possible purity. But in the principal territory of the United States, many of its former inhabitants were exterminated by the white conquistadors.

As everybody knows, millions of Africans were torn away from their lands to work as slaves in this hemisphere. In certain nations like Haiti and a large part of the Caribbean islands, their descendents constitute the majority of the population. In other countries they form broad sectors. In the United States the descendents of Africans constitute tens of millions of citizens who, as a rule, are the poorest and most discriminated against.

Throughout the centuries that nation demanded privileged rights over our continent. In the time of [José] Martí it attempted to impose a single currency based on gold, a metal whose value has remained the most constant throughout history. In general, international trade was based on it. Nowadays, not even that. Since the Nixon years, world trade has been conducted with the paper bill printed by the United States: the dollar, a currency that is now worth approximately 27 times less than at the beginning of the 1970s, one of the many forms of dominating and swindling the rest of the world. However, today, other currencies are replacing the dollar in international trade and in hard currency reserves.

While on the one hand the empire’s hard currency is being devaluated, on the other its reserves of military force are growing. The latest science and technology, monopolized by the superpower, has been directed to a considerable degree to weapons development. At the present time, we are not just talking of thousands of nuclear missiles, or the modern destructive power of conventional weapons; we are talking about drone aircraft, automatically piloted. That is not just simple fantasy. Some aircraft of this type are already being used in Afghanistan and other points. Recent reports note that in the relatively near future, in 2010, long before the Antarctic cap melts, the empire plans to have available – among its 2,500 warplanes – 1,100 F-35 and F-22 combat planes, in their fifth-generation fighter and bomber versions. To have some idea of that potential, suffice it to say that the ones they have on the Soto Cano base in Honduras for training that country’s pilots are F-5’s; the aircraft supplied to the Venezuelan air forces before Chávez, to Chile and other countries were small squadrons of F-16’s.

More importantly still, the empire is planning for all U.S. combat planes, from fighters to heavy bombers and tanker aircraft, to be crewed by robots within 30 years.

That military might is not a necessity of the world; it is a necessity of the economic system that the empire is imposing on the world.

It is within anyone’s comprehension that if robots can replace combat pilots, they can also replace workers in many factories. The free trade agreements that the empire is trying to impose on the counties of this hemisphere imply that their workers will have to compete with the advanced technology and robots of the yanki industry.

Robots don’t go on strike, they are obedient and disciplined. We have seen machines that pick apples and other fruits on television. It is worth asking the question of U.S. workers as well. Where will the jobs be? What is the future that a capitalism without borders, in its advanced phase of development, is assigning to citizens?

In the light of this and other realities, the governments of the countries of UNASUR, MERCOSUR, the Rio Group and others cannot avoid analyzing the extremely just Venezuelan question: what is the meaning of the military and naval bases that the United States wants to establish around Venezuela and in the heart of South America? I recall that a number of years ago, when relations between Colombia and Venezuela, two nations twinned by geography and history, became dangerously tense, Cuba quietly promoted important steps toward peace between those two countries. We Cubans will never encourage war between sister countries. Historical experience, the manifest destiny proclaimed and implemented by the United States, and the weakness of the charges against Venezuela of supplying weapons to the FARC, associated with negotiations aimed at Colombia conceding seven points of its territory for the aerial and naval use of the armed forces of the United States, unavoidably oblige Venezuela to invest in arms resources that could be utilized in the economy, the social programs and cooperation with other countries in the region with less development and resources. Venezuela is not arming itself against the sister nation of Colombia, it is arming itself against the empire, which tried to destroy the Revolution and is now attempting to install its sophisticated weaponry in the vicinity of the Venezuelan border.

It would be a grave error to think that the threat is only against Venezuela; it is directed at all the countries of the south of the continent. None of them can avoid the issue and a number of them have stated that.

The present and future generations will judge their leaders in the light of the conduct that they adopt at this moment. It is not just about the United States, but the United States and the system. What is it offering? What it is seeking?
It is offering the FTAA; in other words, the anticipated ruin of all of our countries, the free movement of goods and capital, but not the free movement of people. They are currently experiencing the fear of that opulent consumer society being inundated with poor Latinos, Indians, people of African or mixed descent or whites without employment in their own countries. They are returning all those who commit offenses or are surplus to requirements. They are killing them on many occasions before they enter, or returning them like herds when they no longer need them; 12 million Latin American or Caribbean immigrants are illegal in the United States. A new economy has arisen in our countries, particularly in the smallest and poorest: that of remittances. When there is a crisis, it hits immigrants and their families the hardest. Parents and children are cruelly separated, sometimes for ever. If immigrants are of military age, they are given the possibility of joining the army to fight thousands of kilometers away, "in the name of freedom and democracy." On their return, if they don’t die, they are granted the right to become U.S. citizens. As they are well-trained, they are offered the possibility of being contracted not as official soldiers, but as the civilian soldiers of the private companies that provide their services in the imperial wars of conquest.
There are other extremely grave dangers. News is constantly coming in of immigrants from Mexico and other countries of our region dying trying to cross the current border of Mexico and the United States. The quota of victims every year is exceeding in bounds the total number of those who lost their lives during the close to 28 years of existence of the famous Berlin Wall.

What is even more incredible is that news of a war that is currently costing thousands of lives per year is barely circulating in the world. To date in 2009, more Mexicans have died than U.S. soldiers who died in Bush’s war on Iraq throughout his entire administration.

The war in Mexico has been unleashed because of the largest market for drugs in the world: the United States. But within its territory there is no war between the police and the armed forces of the United States and the drug traffickers. The war has been exported to Mexico and Central America, but in particular to Mexico, closer to U.S. territory. The footage of piled-up corpses broadcast on television and news arriving of persons murdered right in the operating rooms where doctors were trying to save their lives are horrifying. None of those images come from U.S. territory.
That wave of violence and bloodshed is spreading to a greater or lesser degree throughout the countries of South America. Where does the money come from without the infinite spring that emerges from the U.S. market? In its turn, consumption is also tending to expand to the other countries of the region, giving rise to more victims and more direct or indirect damage than AIDS, malaria and other diseases put together.

Imperial plans of domination are preceded by enormous sums assigned to the tasks of lying and misinforming public opinion. For that, they have the total complicity of the oligarchy, the bourgeoisie, the intellectual right and the mass media.
They are experts in divulging the errors and contradictions of politicians.
Humanity’s fate cannot be left in the hands of robots converted into persons or persons converted into robots.

In 2010, the U.S. government is to spend $2.2 billion via the State Department and USAID to promote its politics, 12% more than the sum received by the Bush government in the last year of his mandate. Of that total, close to $450 million is allocated for demonstrating that the dictatorship imposed on the world signifies democracy and respect for human rights.

They constantly appeal to the instincts and egotism of human beings; they scorn the value of education and awareness. The resistance demonstrated by the Cuban people over 50 years is evident. Resisting is the weapon that can never be renounced by the peoples; the Puerto Ricans succeeded in halting the military maneuvers on Vieques by placing themselves on the firing range.

The homeland of Bolívar is currently the country that most concerns them, given its historic role in the independence struggles of the peoples of America. Cubans providing services there as health specialists, educators, teachers of physical education and sports and computer studies, agriculture technicians and those working in other areas, must give their all in fulfilling their internationalist duties, in order to demonstrate that the peoples can resist and be the bearers of the most sacred principles of human society. If not, the empire will destroy civilization and the species itself.

Fidel Castro Ruz
August 5, 2009
11:16 a.m.

Translated by Granma International

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