It is intensifying the economic war, the internal subversion, the anti-Cuba propaganda and the pressures on the rest of the world designed to pave the way for a direct military intervention that would destroy the Revolution, end our independence and sovereignty and realize the old annexionist fantasy of seizing control of Cuba.
Yesterday, Washington enforced new, harsh measures against the Cuban people and against Cubans living in the United States. Their promoters refer to these steps as part of a plan to bring about "a rapid end" to the revolutionary government.
The new measures involve toughening the already unfair and discriminatory restrictions imposed on those Cubans, the only national group to which the U.S. government dictates the kind of relations its members can have with their families and country of origin, in flagrant violation of that country’s Constitution. They no longer even have the right to visit Cuba once a year. Now they cannot do so more than once every three years and must apply for a specific authorization for the purpose, which will be for a maximum stay of 14 days. The limit on how much they can spend here has been severely reduced, the same as the amounts they can send to their relatives. Such visits and remittances are now strictly restricted to what the Bush administration calls "immediate family", arbitrarily excluding aunts and uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces, among other relatives. What legal precedent can the American authorities cite for such an intrusion into people's private lives? Where are the "family values" which the current president and his friends tout so much? Is Mr. Bush still describing himself as a "compassionate conservative"?
The people who elaborated these measures and those tasked with enforcing them have warned that there will be no exceptions, that they will be applied retroactively and rigorously and that heavy fines and severe prison sentences await those who breach the blockade. A kind of apartheid has been created for Cubans living in the United States.
Yesterday also saw cancellation of aljost every license that, although subject to onerous restrictions, permitted some Americans to visit Cuba. They have even eliminated the issuing of licenses in cases where the visitor would be spending no money here at all. The latter shows that the policy goes beyond tightening the blockade and damaging Cuba's economy. It also aims at preventing millions of Americans from having direct contact with Cuban reality, a right recognized for three consecutive years by a substantial majority in the US Congress. What are Mr. Bush and the ultra-reactionary mafia that dictated this irrational policy afraid of?
There is one aspect of the US plan that is especially cynical. On the one hand, it places drastic restrictions on remittances from Cuban residents in the United States to their relatives in Cuba while, on the other, it allows and instigates anyone to provide money and material support to the traitorous grouplets operating here under Washington's orders. While depriving US citizens of their right to visit Cuba, the administration spends large amounts of federal funds on arranging journeys from third-party countries by people whose declared intent is to supply these mercenaries. The budget for funding and directing other actions to undermine Cuban society over the next two years is 59 million dollars. This sum includes 18 million for radio and television broadcasts from a C-130 military airplane, an irresponsible and illegal provocation that not only breaks the law but also infringes the international rules on aviation and telecommunications.
There is also the threat of increasingly arbitrary application of those sections of the Helms-Burton law specifically designed to penalize businessmen from third-party nations. In the celebrated "understanding" it signed with the European Union, Washington undertook to consider eliminating the relevant aspects of the Law, but never took any action. Adding insult to injury, Bush is now making these provisions even tougher.
Disingenuously camouflaged as "aid to a free Cuba", the infamous volume of 450-plus pages full of hatred, lies and tiresome rhetoric, goes into minute detail on the measures Washington would impose if it succeeded in getting possession of Cuba. The Cuban society would be entirely subjugated to the United States, which would dominate all its activities without exception. A complete account of this recipe for unbridled interventionism would be endless, but some aspects of the plan offer an idea of the degree of servitude and exploitation planned for Cubans:
• One of the first tasks of the so-called "transitional government" would be to restore their properties to the former exploiters, including houses and lands sought by the annexionist mafia that supported Batista in the past. The process would be quick and directed by Washington, which would set up a special mechanism to that end. This infamous document also specifically decrees the eviction of those living in reclaimed dwellings or unable to pay high rents, a return to the practice of arbitrarily evicting small farmers, as well as the dismantling of the farming cooperatives and restoration of the former latifundia. What was already foreseen in the Helms Burton act is now expressed in a more blatant form.
• All sectors of the economy would be privatized, while a permanent US government Committee for Economic Reconstruction, to be set up right away, would control the economy.
• The subsidies and price controls affecting goods and services supplied to the public would be abolished.
• The social security and welfare system would be dismantled and commitments to pay benefits and pensions would be repudiated.
• Healthcare and education services would be privatized.
This would be a return to capitalism in its jost brutal form, under the yoke of a foreign power.
The consequences for the Cuban people would be so terrible that even the report itself warns that "it would not be easy" to bring about "the transition", which would meet considerable rejection on the part of Cuban society. For this reason it identifies as an "immediate priority" the assembling of repressive forces that would be organized, trained, equipped and advised by Washington.
As proof of their true intentions to intervene and subject Cuba to an annexionist regime, the US president would immediately appoint an official tasked with coordinating all the various aggressive measures aimed at overthrowing the Revolution. This person would subsequently lead the 'government of intervention', like Valeriano Weyler and Leonard Wood rolled into one: a truly genocidal strategy.
They will certainly not be able to bring such evil plans to fruition.
They would first have to invade Cuba, occupy the country militarily and then crush our people’s resistance: that will never happen. We are ready and willing to fight to the last man and woman to prevent it. If they attack us here, they will find a united, educated people, with a glorious history of heroism, struggle and sacrifice for freedom, that will never give up its independence or its ideals of justice and solidarity, that will never renounce the fine, noble and profoundly humane society it has succeeded in building despite the empire's acts of aggression. If they attack us, they will sustain here their greatest and jost humiliating defeat.
We shall confront these measures and any others our enemies may devise. We shall stand our ground and fight. Firmly united behind Fidel, Raúl and our Party and under its wise and consistent leadership, we shall advance ever onwards to victory.
National Assembly of People's Power of the Republic of Cuba.
Havana, July 1st, 2004
"Year of the 45th Anniversary of the Triumph of the Revolution"