January 7. 2014 (Nationnews.com) – This January marks the 55th anniversary of Cuba’s Fidel Castro-led revolution – one of the world’s most famous revolutions – the others being those of Russia, China and Mexico.
Two years after the Cuban revolt, the United States, seizing advantage of the prevailing “Cold War” superpower rivalry with the then Soviet Union, launched a virulent anti-communist campaign to end, by overt and covert means, the Cuban revolutionary process.
What the late President John Kennedy’s adventurous “Bay of Pigs” military invasion had failed to achieve – toppling of the government in Havana and killing, if necessary, Dr Castro – iron-clad legislation, later framed by right-wing ideological hawks and approved by the US Congress, was designed to make a reality.
Commonly recalled as the “Helms-Burton Bill”, the legislation anchors the most punitive of measures in blockading any commercial trade, investment, economic assistance or whatever could frustrate and bring Cuba’s revolution to its knees and cry pardon to “Uncle Sam”.
It didn’t happen, but to this day, some 55 years after the failed Bay of Pigs, and successive futile assassination attempts on Castro – now in retirement – Cuba has survived, with tremendous sacrifices by its courageous people, the United States’ horrific trade and economic embargo to throttle its governance system to death.
Efforts to enhance dialogue between Washington and Havana have occurred under changing regimes in Washington. However, the bitter reality is that Cuba remains ostracized by the United States which routinely treats with contempt recurring near-unanimously approved United Nations resolutions for an end to the inhumane economic blockade.
Well, in his address to Cuba’s National Assembly last Saturday, President Raul Castro made quite a significant call directed to the Barack Obama administration.
“While in recent times,” he said, “we have been able to carry out some exchanges on issues of mutual benefit between Cuba and the United States, we believe that we can solve other issues of interest and establish a civilized relationship between the two countries, in line with the wishes of our people (in Cuba), the vast majority of US citizens, and the Cuban émigrés . . . . If we really want to advance in our bilateral relations, we will have to learn to mutually respect our differences and get used to coexisting peaceably with them . . . .”
Well, we must wait to learn what positive response, if any, may come from the eloquent President Obama, who offered a very surprising handshake with President Castro at the recent memorial service in South Africa for international freedom fighter and human rights icon, Nelson Mandela.