Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Cuba and the U.S. Che Guevara

The questions below were submitted, in writing, to Comandante Guevara by Leo Huberman during the week of the invasion; the answers were received the end of June.—The Editors

(1) Have relations with the U.S. gone “over the brink” or is it still possible to work out a modus vivendi?

This question has two answers: one, which we might term “philosophical,” and the other, “political.” The philosophical answer is that the aggressive state of North American monopoly capitalism and the accelerated transition toward fascism make any kind of agreement impossible; and relations will necessarily remain tense or even worse until the final destruction of imperialism. The other, political answer, asserts that these relations are not our fault, and that, as we have many times demonstrated, the most recent time being after the defeat of the Giron Beach landing, we are ready for any kind of agreement on terms of equality with the Government of the United States.

(2) The U.S. holds Cuba responsible for the rupture in relations while Cuba blames the U.S. What part of the blame, in your opinion, can be correctly attributed to your country? In short, what mistakes have you made in your dealings with the U.S.?

Very few, we believe; perhaps some in matters of form. But we hold the firm conviction that we have acted for our part in accord with the right, and that we have responded to the interests of the people in each of our acts. The trouble is that our interests, that is, those of the people, and the interests of the North American monopolies are at variance.

(3) Assuming that the U.S. means to smash the Cuban Revolution, what are the chances of its getting help from the O.A.S. group?

Everything depends on what is meant by “smash.” If this means the violent destruction of the revolutionary regime with the help—likewise direct—of the O.A.S., I believe there is very little possibility, because history cannot be ignored. The countries of America understand the value of active solidarity among friendly countries, and they would not risk a reversal of such magnitude.

(4) Does Cuba align itself in international affairs with the neutralist or Soviet bloc

Cuba will align herself with justice; or, to be less absolute, with what she takes for justice. We do not practice politics by blocs, so that we cannot side with the neutralist bloc, nor, for the same reason, do we belong to the socialist bloc. But wherever there is a question of defending a just cause, there we will cast our votes—even on the side of the United States if that country should ever assume the role of defending just causes.

(5) What is Cuba's chief domestic problem?

It is difficult to assess problems with such precision. I can mention several: the “guerrillerismo” which still exists in the government; the lack of comprehension on the part of some sectors of the people of the necessity for sacrifice; the lack of some raw materials for industries and some non-durable consumer goods, resulting in certain scarcities; the uncertainty as to when the next imperialist attack will take place; the upsets in production caused by mobilization. These are some of the problems which trouble us at times, but, far from distressing us, they serve to accustom us to the struggle.

(6) How do you explain the growing number of Cuban counter-revolutionaries and the defection of so many former revolutionaries?:

Revolutions function by waves. When Mr. Huberman asked this question, perhaps it was accurate, but today there are fewer counter-revolutionaries than before Giron Beach. The counter-revolutionary attack increased slowly until it reached its climax on Giron Beach; then it was defeated and fell drastically to zero. Now that it is again attempting to raise its head and inflict new harm, our intention is to eliminate the counter-revolutionaries.

The defections of more or less prominent figures are due to the fact that the socialist revolution left the opportunists, the ambitious, and the fearful far behind and now advances toward a new regime free of this class of vermin.

(7) Can the countries of Latin America solve their problems while maintaining the capitalist system, or must they take the path of socialism as Cuba has done?

It seems elementary to us that the way of the socialist revolution must be chosen, the exploitation of man by man must be abolished, economic planning must be undertaken, and all means of assisting the public welfare must be placed at the service of the community.

(8) Are civil liberties, Western style, permanently finished while your government is in power?

This would depend on what civil rights were referred to—the civil right, for example, of the white to make the Negro sit in the rear of a bus; the right of the white to keep the Negro off a beach or bar him from a certain zone; the right of the Ku Klux Klan to assassinate any Negro who looks at a white woman; the right of a Faubus, in a word, or perhaps the right of a Trujillo, or Somoza, or Stroessner, or Duvalier. In any case, it would be necessary to define the term more precisely, to see if it also includes the right to welcome punitive expeditions sent by a country to the north.

(9) What kind of political system do you envisage for Cuba after the present emergency period of reorganization and reconstruction is over?

In general terms it may be said that a political power which is attentive to the needs of the majority of the people must be in constant communication with the people and must know how to express what the people, with their many mouths, only hint at. How to achieve this is a practical task which will take us some time. In any event, the present revolutionary period must still persist for some time, and it is not possible to talk of structural reorganization while the threat of war still haunts our island.


Renegade Eye said...

I found this blog surfing.

All the best in your struggle.

Interesting reading.

meetsaswati@rediffmail.com said...

If equal pay for equal work is enforced by law for both private and public sectors, then by that way we can get rid of exploitation of men by men in the society. Why then do u think that abolistion of private enterprise and total control of means of production by government is indispensible.

Umer A. Chaudhry said...

Why abolition of private propoerty?

Because, those who posses the capital will never grant such rights to the workers. Why would someone work against his/her interest? Furthermore, even if they give equal pay, they will seize the very first moment to reverse their act. So expecting such an event to take place is expecting for a miracle to happen.

The true salvation of workers and peasants is present in the ABOLITION of PRIVATE PROPERTY.

saswati said...

those who posses the capital will never grant such rights to the workers...

Yes, its true but they will be bound to grant that right i.e. 'equal pay for equal work' if it is enforced by the constitution of the nation.
Those who will provide capital will be given interest for the capital. Those will provide land will be given the rent. The remaining part of the profit will be shared by workers according to their contribution. There will also be workers participation in the management. The employer will also have to work to get a share of the profit. And the private companies can be made bound to follow it by the constitution. That way abolistion of private companies will not be mandatory and justice can be given to all.

Umer A. Chaudhry said...

The reforms that you are proposing have a socialist touch in them. But as I said, solutions must be practicle.

The contitutional enforcement is ineffective if it not supported by the politics.

These reforms can never take place without a struggle on the part of the workers. And as I have mentioned earlier, as the struggle dampens, the capitalists will seize the moment and REVERSE. No constiution, laws, and regultions can come in the way of those who are powerful. The whole constitutional framework maybe changed.

So, the struggle must result in a final blow debasing the clever capitalists, once for and all.

Long Live the Revolution!

saswati said...

thanks for ur reply. However i hav certain doubts regarding a socialist government.
On his articles on socialism, Albert Einstein wrote that - in a socialist government since all political and economic powers r concentrated in the hands of the state, it might lead to bureaucratic tyranny as it is often seen that power corrupts people.
In the book another view of stalin, one can find that even during the time when stalin was in power some of the bureaucrats were using state property for their own benefits. Khruschev and his successors used theirs powers to introduce their anti- socialist revisionism in russia. During his reign there there many opportunist bureaucrats who used their for illegitimate personal benefits. This shows that socialism can succeed only when the people in power have socialist ideology. But one cannot guarantee this and usually it is seen that power corrupts people.

Umer A. Chaudhry said...

The problem is that when you are in power, oppertunists try to emerge from every cornor and try to show sympathy towards the cause. Measures should be taken to do away with such factors.

I would like to praise the Cuban education system at this point. In Cuba, after a certain age, every student has to undertake a work-study program. Students are asked to work in the farms of the school or university for a specified time every day. The program is aimed to reduce the bourgeiosie mentality of selfishness in the students.

Do you think that measures can be taken against these oppertunists?

saswati said...

I believe that political awareness of every citizen is a must. Then only people will be able to identify and overthrow the opportunists from power. Also potitical education should be given to every citizen regarding the benefits of socialism over capitalism. I think that some sort of decentralisation of power is also necessary. Every political decision should be taken by the Central commitee on the basis of the opinion of majority and not by individuals. Also some steps should be taken to get rid of the influence of bureaucrats from media so that people can express their opinion freely.

Umer A. Chaudhry said...

Sawasti said, "I think that some sort of decentralisation of power is also necessary. Every political decision should be taken by the Central commitee on the basis of the opinion of majority and not by individuals. Also some steps should be taken to get rid of the influence of bureaucrats from media so that people can express their opinion freely."

My reply,

You are close to be correct. The decision making method deployed by the Communist Parties around the world is known as "democratic centeralism". The decision made by center is democratic.