Cuba

sovereign state situated on an island in the Caribbean Sea

Cuba, also known as the Republic of Cuba, is a country that consists of the island of Cuba (the largest of the Greater Antilles), the Isle of Youth and adjacent small islands. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean at the confluence of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Cuba is south of the eastern United States and the Bahamas, west of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Haiti and east of Mexico. The Cayman Islands and Jamaica are to the south.

Cuba has a long history and tradition of international solidarity with other countries in the health sector that dates back to the 1960s, when we started sending healthcare workers to help other countries. From then on, more than 400,000 Cuban doctors and health professionals have provided services in 164 countries. We have helped strengthen local healthcare systems, provided services in remote areas and trained doctors. ~Josefina Vidal Ferreiro
This country … abounds in that Cuba is a heaven in the spiritual sense of the word, and we prefer to die in heaven than serve in hell. ~ Fidel Castro
For many, Cuba was something of an appendix of the United States. Even for many citizens of this country, Cuba was a colony of the United States. ~ Fidel Castro
They want Cuba to abandon what Cuba is, to abandon its principles, and to submit Cuba again to the desires of the U.S. But that won’t happen....
These people are saying we control Venezuela? No... It’s very frustrating that once again they have chosen hostility instead of co-operation ~Josefina Vidal Ferreiro


QuotesEdit

  • Cuba treats Venezuela as a colony -- shipping food, medicine, diesel, and gasoline from Venezuela to Cuba even as the Venezuelan people suffer shortages of all of them. Cuban security personnel surround Maduro. Cuban intelligence officers are embedded in the military.
  • If an apple, severed by the tempest from its native tree, cannot choose but fall to the ground, Cuba, forcibly disjoined from its unnatural connexion with Spain, and incapable of self-support, can only gravitate towards the North American Union.
    • John Quincy Adams, Letter to Hugh Nelson (28 April 1823) included in Message from the President of the United States in Reference to the Island of Cuba (1852); paraphrased by several other American political commentators
  • In a society where there is no freedom of the press, it is difficult for victims to be noticed. Just take the example from yesterday: I had given a telephone interview to CNN. Then, suddenly, CNN was shut down for a couple of minutes. It was the first time I experienced that my television went totally dead. I realized: Oh my God, it’s because of me. This is crazy! Which nation would do that? Maybe Cuba, North Korea, China. But what do they want, what are they so afraid of?
    • Ai Weiwei, BBC. "Ai Weiwei 'Does Not Feel Powerful'." at bbc.co.uk. October 13, 2011.
  • I have been to Cuba many times. I have spoken many times with Fidel Castro and got to know Commander Ernesto Guevara well enough. I know Cuba's leaders and their struggle. It has been difficult to overcome the blockade. But the reality in Cuba is very different from that in Chile. Cuba came from a dictatorship, and I arrived at the presidency after being senator for 25 years.
  • If I could just — if we could just be like Cuba. Let me give you the last piece of evidence that there is a revolution going on, and it is coming. It is — there is a revolution, and they think they can get away with it quietly. They think they — and they — they — you know what? At this point, gang, I'm not sure, they may be able to because they are so far ahead of us. They know what they're dealing against; most of America does not yet. Most of America doesn't have a clue as to what's going on. There is a coup going on. There is a stealing of America, and the way it is done, it has been done through the — the guise of an election, but they lied to us the entire time. Some of us knew! Some of us we're shouting out, you were: "this guy's a Marxist!" "No, no, no, no, no, no." And they're gonna say, "we did it democratically," and they are going to grab power every way they can. And God help us in an emergency.
    • Glenn Beck, The Glenn Beck Program, Premiere Radio Networks, 31 August 2009
  • That is not the dream. That is a perversion of the dream. We are the people of the civil rights movement. We are the ones that must stand for civil and equal rights. Equal rights. Justice. Equal justice. Not special justice, not social justice, but equal justice. We are the inheritors and the protectors of the civil rights movement. They are perverting it. They're perverting it, and they're doing it intentionally. And they're selling us a line of global nonsense. There's equal stuff in Venezuela. There's equal stuff in Cuba. It's a lie. It's a lie. Only God can equalize. Only God, and I got news for you, gang, he's about to. And we are gonna be first on the receiving end.
    • Glenn Beck, The Glenn Beck Program, Premiere Radio Networks, 24 May 2010
  • Did you know that of the nearly 1200 health professional Cubans involved in fighting COVID-19 around the world, more than half are women? Join the campaign to award them the Nobel Prize. https://cubanobel.org #CubaNobel
  • Fidel Castro said that instead of investing so much in the development of increasingly sophisticated weapons, those with the resources should promote medical research and put science at the service of humanity, creating instruments of health and life, not death. #cubanobel
  • Did you know that of the nearly 1200 health professional Cubans involved in fighting COVID-19 around the world, more than half are women? Join the campaign to award them the Nobel Prize. https://cubanobel.org #CubaNobel
  • Cuban doctors arrive in Martinique to fight coronavirus. "The only thing that motivates us is to save lives, that's the most important thing in the eyes of a Cuban doctor.” That’s why they could get the Nobel Prize. (27 June 2020)
  • Maybe Sen. @marcorubio should stop sabotaging Cuba’s international health brigades fighting Covid around the world, and instead invite them to help stop the spread in his own state of Florida!
  • We reaffirm our support for the people of Western Sahara under the leadership of the Polisario Front in their struggle for independence and self determination. We call upon the people of Korea to continue the just struggle for the reunification of their homeland. We express our firm support for Heng Samrin government and the heroic people of Kampuchea - a Government which we recognised on the 20th of August last. We support the struggles of the government and people of Belize for independence with full territorial integrity. We also wish to express our strongest solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico in their struggle for independence. We fully support the ongoing and determined struggle of the government and people of Cuba in their fight to gain control over Guantanamo Bay. Our profound solidarity also goes to the government and people of Panama in their just struggle to recover the Panama Canal. We support fully the struggles of all the people of the Caribbean who are fighting for an end to colonialism.
    • Maurice Bishop, Free Press and the Role of the Media", (10-12 November 1979)
  • We can say that the United States runs the world like the Taliban ran Afghanistan. Cuba is dealt with like a woman caught outside not wearing her burkha. Horrific sanctions are imposed on Iraq in the manner of banning music, dancing, and kite-flying in Kabul. Jean-Bertrand Aristide is banished from Haiti like the religious police whipping a man whose beard is not the right length.
  • When I was a little girl, my parents would say Puerto Rico can't be free because we would be poor like Cuba and poor like Haiti. Out of the fear of becoming poor we didn't dare to become free. Then a hurricane comes, devastates everything, and maybe we are as poor as Cuba and Haiti, but we are not free.
  • In 2013, an agreement between the Workers Party government and the Cuban dictatorship brought to Brazil 10 thousand physicians with no professional registration. They were prevented from bringing their spouses and children, had 75% of their wages confiscated by the regime and were denied basic freedoms, such as that of coming and going. True slave work, believe it... With the support of human rights agencies from both Brazil and the UN! Even before I took over, almost 90% of these physicians left Brazil due to unilateral action by the Cuban regime. Those that stayed on will undergo medical qualification in order to able to practice their profession. This is how our country stopped supporting the Cuban dictatorship, no longer sending Havana 300 million dollars every year. History shows that as early as the 1960s, Cuban agents were sent to several countries to help establish dictatorships.
    • Jair Bolsonaro, Speech at the at the 74th UN General Assembly, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil. United Nations PaperSmart (24 September 2019).
  • The Cubans are not in Africa out of love.
    • P. W. Botha, As Minister of Defence, 22 January 1978, Beeld
  • There will be more foreign policy challenges like Kuwait in the next 4 years, terrorists and aggressors to stand up to, dangerous weapons to be controlled and destroyed. Freedom's fight is not finished. I look forward to being the first President to visit a free, democratic Cuba. Who will lead the world in the face of these challenges? Not my opponent. In his acceptance speech he devoted just 65 seconds to telling us about the world.
  • No, we stand here today to declare loud and clear to the entire world: Cuba must not only be independent, Cuba must be free. One hundred years ago Cuba declared her independence. And nearly 50 years ago, nearly a half-century ago, Cuba's independence and the hopes for democracy were hijacked by a brutal dictator who cares everything for his own power and nada for the Cuban people. In an era where markets have brought prosperity and empowerment, this leader clings to a bankrupt ideology that has brought Cuba's workers and farmers and families nothing -- nothing -- but isolation and misery.  I was amazed to read in this modern era, the Cuban regime banned the sale of computers to the public. What does that tell you? In an era where every other nation in our hemisphere has chosen the path to democracy -- every nation in our hemisphere has chosen the path to democracy -- this leader instead chooses to jail, to torture and exile Cuban people for speaking their minds. But the amazing thing is, through all the pains, through all the pains, the Cuban people's aspirations for freedom are undiminished. We see this today in Havana, where more than 11,000 brave citizens have petitioned their government for a referendum on basic freedoms. If that referendum is allowed, it can be a prelude to real change in Cuba.
  • I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
  • What is that policy? That now that we had got the men we had been fighting against down, we should punish them as severely as possible, devastate their country, burn their homes, break up their very instruments of agriculture... It is that we should sweep – as the Spaniards did in Cuba; and how we denounced the Spaniards! – the women and children into camps...in some of which the death-rate has risen so high as 430 in the thousand. I do not say for a moment, because I do not think for a moment, that this is the deliberate and intentional policy of His Majesty's Government...at all events, it is the thing which is being done at this moment in the name and by the authority of this most humane and Christian nation. Yesterday I asked the leader of the House of Commons when the information would be afforded, of which we are so sadly in want. My request was refused. Mr. Balfour treated us with a short disquisition on the nature of war. A phrase often used is that "war is war", but when one comes to ask about it one is told that no war is going on, that it is not war. When is a war not a war? When it is carried on by methods of barbarism in South Africa.
    • Henry Campbell-Bannerman, speech in the Holborn Restaurant (14 June 1901), quoted in John Wilson, C.B.: A Life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1973), p. 349
  • We'd be Cuba if there were no Fox News.
    • Ben Carson, As quoted in "Carson: 'We'd be Cuba if there were no Fox News'", CNN (November 6, 2015)
  • After a long and agonizing struggle, Cuba achieved its independence a century ago, and a complex relationship soon developed between our two countries. The great powers in Europe and Asia viewed "imperialism" as the natural order of the time and they expected the United States to colonize Cuba as the Europeans had done in Africa. The United States chose instead to help Cuba become independent, but not completely. The Platt Amendment gave my country the right to intervene in Cuba's internal affairs until President Franklin Roosevelt had the wisdom to repeal this claim in May 1934. The dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown more than 43 years ago, and a few years later the Cuban revolution aligned with the Soviet Union in the Cold War. Since then, our nations have followed different philosophical and political paths. The hard truth is that neither the United States nor Cuba has managed to define a positive and beneficial relationship. Will this new century find our neighboring people living in harmony and friendship? I have come here in search of an answer to that question.
  • Warfare is a means and not an end. Warfare is a tool of revolutionaries. The important thing is the revolution. The important thing is the revolutionary cause, revolutionary ideas, revolutionary objectives, revolutionary sentiments, revolutionary virtues!
  • This country … abounds in that Cuba is a heaven in the spiritual sense of the word, and we prefer to die in heaven than serve in hell.
  • There are profound differences between our countries that will not go away. We hold different concepts on many subjects, such as political systems, democracy, the exercise of human rights, social justice, international relations, and world peace and stability. We defend human rights. In our view, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are indivisible, interdependent, and universal. We find it inconceivable that a government does not defend and ensure the right to healthcare, education, social security, food provision, development, equal pay, and the rights of children. We oppose political manipulation and double standards in the approach to human rights.
    • Raúl Castro, On Cuban and U.S. relations in an address at a joint press conference with U.S. President Barack Obama in Havana, Cuba (22 March 2016)
  • Despite assassination attempts and international isolation - especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union - Castro has clung on to power and remains the world's longest surviving head of state. Meanwhile his people will risk almost anything to flee, and the country continues to decay. In 2003 seventy-five dissidents were imprisoned for up to eight years for daring to speak out against the regime. They have concrete slabs for a bed, eat food that would 'make a pig vomit,' and use lavatories that 'regurgitate their fetid contents around the clock.' On the other hand, Cuba has an efficient and generous welfare state and health system.
    • Nigel Cawthorne, Tyrants: History's 100 Most Evil Despots & Dictators, New York : Barnes & Noble, (2006) ISBN 0760775672, p. 90
  • All I gotta say about Elian is, thank God he's Cuban. 'Cause if he had been Haitian, you'd have never heard about his ass. If Elian Gonzalez was Elian Mumoombo from Haiti, they'd have pushed that little rubber tube back into the water. "Sorry, fella. All full."
  • But Cuba doesn’t have a dictatorship — it’s a revolutionary democracy.
    • Hugo Chávez during his television/radio show ¡Aló Presidente! on August 21, 2005. [12]
  • If we're leaving our fate to sociopathic buffoons, we're finished... you don't see that when the U.S. imposes sanctions, murders, devastating sanctions, that's the only country that can do that, but everyone has to follow... Now Cuba has been suffering from it from the moment where it gained independence, but it's astonishing that they survived but they stayed resilient and one of the most ironic elements of today's virus crisis, is that Cuba is helping Europe. I mean this is so shocking, that you don't know how to describe it. That Germany can't help Greece, but Cuba can help the European countries. If you stop to think about what that means, all words fail, just as when you see thousands of people dying in the Mediterranean, fleeing from a region that has been devastated... and being sent to the deaths in the Mediterranean, you don't know what words to use... The Crisis, the civilizational crisis of the West at this point is devastating... it does bring up childhood memories of listening to Hitler raving on the radio to raucous crowds... it makes you wonder if this species is even viable.
  • The Cuban superpower was once again ready to help with doctors and equipment. Meanwhile, its U.S. neighbor was cutting back health aid to Yemen, where it had helped create the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and was using the opportunity of the devastating health crisis to tighten its cruel sanctions to ensure maximal suffering among its chosen enemies. Cuba is the most longstanding victim, back to the days of Kennedy's terrorist wars and economic strangulation, but miraculously has survived.
  • While taking the "best of early Chinese and Cuban socialism" -- which one assumes would exclude the forced abortions, imprisonment for homosexuals and forced labor
    • Ann Coulter, Kwanzaa: A Holiday From the FBI", Real Clear Politics, 30 December 2005
  • We are seeing on the island of Cuba people fighting against a communist dictatorship. A free Cuba is a noble cause. It is a cause that many people have dedicated their lives to. We have to stand with the people of Cuba against the communist dictatorship, and one of the most effective things we can do as a country is getting internet back on the island, but we need the Biden Administration to step up to make this happen. The one thing that communist regimes fear the most is the truth, and if we are able to help Cubans communicate with one another and with the outside world, that truth is going to matter. That truth will be decisive. Mr. President, now is the time to stand up and be counted with the people of Cuba who are seeking an end to a brutal 62 year reign of communist oppression
  • Resolved, That the Democratic party are in favor of the acquisition of the island of Cuba, on such terms as shall be honorable to ourselves and just to Spain, at the earliest practicable moment.
  • Smallpox is believed to have arrived in the Americas in 1520 on a Spanish ship sailing from Cuba, carried by an infected African slave. As soon as the party landed in Mexico, the infection began its deadly voyage through the continent. Even before the arrival of Pizarro, smallpox had already devastated the Inca Empire, killing the Emperor Huayna Capac and unleashing a bitter civil war that distracted and weakened his successor, Atahuallpa. In the era of global conquest which followed, European colonizers were assisted around the world by the germs which they carried. A 1713 smallpox epidemic in the Cape of Good Hope decimated the South African Khoi San people, rendering them incapable of resisting the process of colonization. European germs also wreaked devastation on the aboriginal communities of Australia and New Zealand.
    • Jared Diamond, "Guns Germs and Steel" (1997) in "The Story Of... Smallpox – and other Deadly Eurasian Germs" Guns Germs and Steel Variables. Smallpox, PBS.
  • I'm liberal up to a degree, I think everybody should be free, but if you think I'll let Barry Goldwater move in next door and marry my daughter, you must think I'm crazy. I wouldn't let him do it for all the farms in Cuba.
  • There are days which occur in this climate, at almost any season of the year, wherein the world reaches its perfection; when the air, the heavenly bodies and the earth, make a harmony, as if nature would indulge her offspring; when, in these bleak upper sides of the planet, nothing is to desire that we have heard of the happiest latitudes, and we bask in the shining hours of Florida and Cuba; when everything that has life gives sign of satisfaction, and the cattle that lie on the ground seem to have great and tranquil thoughts.
  • As soon as the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in Cuba, our country mobilised all its resources to contain the spread of the virus.... Cuba has a long history and tradition of international solidarity with other countries in the health sector that dates back to the 1960s, when we started sending healthcare workers to help other countries... In response to the current pandemic, Cuba has dispatched 28 contingents of the Henry Reeve Brigade to help 26 countries... in addition to the more than 28,000 Cuban doctors, nurses and health professionals who were already overseas before the pandemic.
    The United States government has been trying to discredit Cuba's international assistance, including using pressure and threats against countries to force them to cancel these medical cooperation agreements. They have even tried to pressure governments to reject Cuba's help during the coronavirus pandemic. They claim the Cuban government is exploiting these doctors because in the case of countries that can afford to provide monetary compensation, a portion of it is kept by the Cuban government.... However, working overseas is completely voluntary, and the portion the Cuban government keeps goes to pay for Cuba's universal health system. It goes to purchasing medical supplies, equipment and medication for Cuba's 11 million people, including for the families of the doctors who are providing their services abroad. This is how we are able to provide free, high-quality healthcare for the Cuban people.
  • Instead of exacerbating conflict during a pandemic, our countries need to work together to find solutions... unfortunately, the Trump administration is wasting this opportunity by dismantling the limited progress made by Cuba and the US during the Obama administration... President Trump strengthened the 60-year US blockade against my country, implementing 90 economic measures against Cuba between January 2019 and March 2020 alone. These measures have targeted the main sectors of the Cuban economy, including our financial transactions, tourism industry, energy sector, foreign investments - which are key for the development of the Cuban economy - and the medical cooperation programmes with other countries... These unilateral coercive measures are unprecedented in their level of aggression and scope... In April, the Alibaba Foundation of China tried to donate masks, rapid diagnostic kits and ventilators to Cuba, but the airline contracted by Alibaba to transport those items to Cuba refused to take the goods because they were afraid the US would sanction them... A ship... decided not to unload because... of fear it would be sanctioned by the US government.... It is so important that people of goodwill around the world continue to raise the demand to end the blockade of Cuba and to forcefully assert that these are times for solidarity and cooperation, not sanctions and blockades.
  • The most significant thing of... Fidel's words before the largest body of the UN was ...his attack against the brutal philosophy of war. The denunciation of many actions by the U.S. government against the Cuban Revolution and the use of force through the growing arms race were the central arguments of the speech that provoked repeated ovations and applauses. Fidel criticized how war was used to monopolize underdeveloped countries and steal their resources, and attacked U.S. policy toward Cuba and other nations in Latin America, Asia and Africa. "From the beginning of human history, wars have arisen, fundamentally, for one reason: some people's desire to deprive others of their riches. Let the philosophy of plunder disappear, and the philosophy of war will have disappeared,' he said. He also showed how the arms race has always been a big business for monopolies, which like the crows 'feed on the corpses brought by wars." The hostility of the U.S. authorities towards the Cuban delegation was sustained until the last moment, when they confiscated the aircraft in which Fidel had to return to Havana, and Nikita Khrushchev offered a plane. In January 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower's administration cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba and in April of the same year, shortly after assuming as President, John F. Kennedy ordered to invade the Bay of Pigs. The attempt failed and it turned out to be for Cuba the victory of Playa Giron.
  • Fidel Castro died this day 2016. He liberated Cuba played a decisive role in destroying Apartheid in South Africa Sought to liberate Latin America from fascism. He stood with the fighters in Vietnam and Congo. He turned Cuba from a casino and bordello into an icon to all. RIP.
  • My father had served with great honor and courage in the Second World War. He fought for a country that was not only great, but good. It had its flaws and had some imperfections. It was the original sin of slavery which you know which we hadn't completed extirpated because we still had racial injustice in the 50s and 60s and 70s. We had only recently abolished, formally abolished segregation. So I was aware that uh, America had its flaws and defects in its history. But I also believed in the country and believed in its principles. That's the way I was brought up and so I was shocked when I found people who were just openly, vociferously anti-American, condemning not only America's sins but America itself, condemning its principles and pointing in some cases to communist regimes like Cuba as being superior.
  • This is the first time the roads of life have brought me to Cuba. All the greater, therefore, is the impression I have of everything. I have seen and heard here, my impressions of the people of Havana--openhearted and friendly; my impressions of various aspects of your life--industrial, political, social. In the Soviet Union we know why the Cuban people rose to make their Revolution, what enabled them to repulse the armed intervention, survive the economic blockade, cope with the persistent and exhausting pressure of their imperialist neighbor. The island of freedom was able to stand its ground thanks to its proud and courageous people, determined to fight for their independence, for their right to live as they see fit. They were able to do so because the Revolution brought to the country's helm a party committed to achieving lofty humanist ideals, ideals of socialism, of serving the people. And, finally, they were able to do this because history had placed at their head one of the outstanding revolutionaries of the 20th century, the legendary Comrade Fidel Castro. This year, the communists and all the working people of Cuba, and with them their friends throughout the world, celebrated the 30th anniversary of the day when festively attired Havana welcomed the young heroes who had descended from the mountains and brought their people the freedom they had yearned for.
  • To me, as glaring as the evidence of this in the pictures themselves was the revelation that it was established practice for prisoners to be moved around during ICRC visits so that they would not be available for visits. That, no one can claim, was the act of individuals. That was policy set from above with the direct intention to violate US values it was to be upholding. It was the kind of policy we see — and criticize in places like China and Cuba.
    • Al Gore, Address at New York University (25 May 2004)
  • Greece is a sort of American vassal; the Netherlands is the country of American bases that grow like tulip bulbs; Cuba is the main sugar plantation of the American monopolies; Turkey is prepared to kowtow before any United States proconsul and Canada is the boring second fiddle in the American symphony.
  • The victory of the Cuban Revolution will be a tangible demonstration before all the Americas that peoples are capable of rising up, that they can rise up by themselves right under the very fangs of the monster.
  • It is with regret that I have again to announce a continuance of the disturbed condition of the island of Cuba. No advance toward the pacification of the discontented part of the population has been made. While the insurrection has gained no advantages and exhibits no more of the elements of power or of the prospects of ultimate success than were exhibited a year ago, Spain, on the other hand, has not succeeded in its repression, and the parties stand apparently in the same relative attitude which they have occupied for a long time past. This contest has lasted now for more than four years. Were its scene at a distance from our neighborhood, we might be indifferent to its result, although humanity could not be unmoved by many of its incidents wherever they might occur. It is, however, at our door. I can not doubt that the continued maintenance of slavery in Cuba is among the strongest inducements to the continuance of this strife. A terrible wrong is the natural cause of a terrible evil.
  • The existence of African slavery in Cuba is a principal cause of the lamentable condition of the island.
  • The next international crisis could very well come from places in which human rights are widely disregarded. Perhaps it will be North Korea or Iran or Cuba. We don’t know where the next revolt against basic violations of humanity will come. But we know from history that they will come. And when they do, the Security Council will be called upon to react. We are much better off acting on the front end, standing for human rights before the absence of human rights forces us to react.
  • In Cuba, the government continues to arrest and detain critics and human rights advocates. The government strictly controls the media and severely restricts the Cuban people’s access to the internet. Political prisoners by the thousands continue to sit in Cuban jails. Yet Cuba has never been condemned by the Human Rights Council. It, too, is a member country. In fact, Cuba uses its membership in the Council as proof that it is a supporter of human rights, instead of a violator that it is. The Cuban deputy foreign minister called Cuba’s 2016 re-election to the Human Rights Council (quote), “irrefutable evidence of Cuba’s historic prestige 'in the promotion and protection of all human rights for [all] Cubans.'”2 This is a reversal of the truth that would make George Orwell blush.
    • Nikki Haley, Human Rights Address at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, 6 June 2017
  • My take on Cuba is partly memory-bound, partly melancholic. I read this interesting thing about the word "nostalgia," which is often used about my writing: that it comes from a term ship doctors used to describe a disease when sailors had been out to sea for a few years and were getting homesick. I've always had that, in terms of writing, this thing that is physical,that makes you homesick. For me it is a home that I never really knew and have always seen partly through literature and the great Cuban writers. My writing about Cuba [is] more like an act of creation. Whatever my Cuba is about, it's my own version. I'm not a cultural anthropologist.
    • Oscar Hijuelos, On how he writes about Cuban themes in “Mambo in Double Time: The Beat Goes On” in AARP Magazine (Summer 2010)
  • Although there was much to criticize in American domestic and foreign policy, what struck me was the one-sidedness, unfairness, and systematic use of the double standard in the attacks against the United States and South Vietnam. … He called upon the United States "to denazify itself," but not North Vietnam or China. What practices in the United States, compared to the barbarous practices of Cuba or of China or of North Vietnam, warrant such a characterization? In those countries how long would one survive who whispered the kind of criticisms Chomsky was perfectly free to broadcast in the United States and be rewarded for it?
    • Sidney Hook, Out of Step: An Unquiet Life in the 20th Century, Harper & Row, New York, NY, 1987
  • Douglas was a radical expansionist. Both parts of the Democratic Party in 1860 called for the annexation of Cuba. And there were 100,000 slaves in Cuba, and Cuba was the place that slaves were still being brought from Africa and then resold in the United States. So under a Douglas presidency, we would have taken over the rest of Mexico and Central America whenever we had the resources and the appetite to take to do so.
  • Fidel Castro essentially forced these guys to leave Cuba. It wasn't really even a choice. It was either stay at home, be handed a broom and told 'have a nice life' or they could leave Cuba and continue playing baseball.
    • Joe Kehoskie, On Cuban baseball defectors, from the PBS documentary Stealing Home (18 June 2001)
  • Uri Friedman: Why did the South African government, in the mid-1970s, decide to embark on a nuclear-weapons program? F. W. de Klerk: The main motivation was the expansionist policies of the USSR in southern Africa. They were supporting all the [African] liberation movements—they were supplying weapons and training—and it was part of their vision to gain direct or indirect control over most of the countries in southern Africa. They financed the deployment of many thousands of Cuban troops, especially to Angola, and this was interpreted as a threat first by Prime Minister John Vorster, and following upon him P.W. Botha. [W]as never intended, I think, to be used. It was a deterrent. Because of apartheid South Africa was becoming more and more isolated in the eyes of the rest of the world. There wouldn’t be, in the case of Russian aggression or invasion, assistance from the international community. It was felt that, if we have nuclear weapons, and if we then would disclose in a crisis that we have [them], it would change the political scenario and the USA and other countries might step in and assist South Africa.
    • F. W. de Klerk, As quoted in "Why One President Gave Up His Country's Nukes" (9 September 2017), by Uri Friedman, The Atlantic
  • In Latin America, Communist agents seeking to exploit that region's peaceful revolution of hope have established a base on Cuba, only 90 miles from our shores. Our objection with Cuba is not over the people's drive for a better life. Our objection is to their domination by foreign and domestic tyrannies. Cuban social and economic reform should be encouraged. Questions of economic and trade policy can always be negotiated. But Communist domination in this Hemisphere can never be negotiated. We are pledged to work with our sister republics to free the Americas of all such foreign domination and all tyranny, working toward the goal of a free hemisphere of free governments, extending from Cape Horn to the Arctic Circle.
  • You'd have done her. You'd have been just like JFK, you'd have been there in the Oval Office, Marilyn across the desk, your dick up her ass, lookin' out at the Washington Monument going, "you know, it doesn't get much better than this, doesn't it? President of the United States, dick in Marilyn Monroe, my finger on the fucking button telling the fucking Russians to get their missiles out of Cuba in twelve hours. IT DOESN'T GET BETTER THAN THIS!
  • When socialist Cuba houses the homeless, feeds the hungry, cures cancer, and educates the entire population, that's "authoritarian", but when the capitalist US allows millions to suffer or die simply because they're poor, that's "freedom"? Freedom for who?
  • But the advocates of slavery have affirmed a strange doctrine in regard to the Constitution. They think that because I swore to support the Constitution, I swore to support the practice of slaveholding. Sir, slaveholding in Virginia is no more under the control or guarantee of the Constitution than slavery in Cuba, or Brazil, or any other part of the world is under the control or guarantee of the Constitution. Not one principle.
    • Owen Lovejoy, Speech to the United States House of Representatives (5 April 1860), As quoted in His Brother's Blood: Speeches and Writings, 1838–64 (2004), edited by William Frederick Moore and Jane Ann Moore, p. 199
  • One of the things that we can learn [from] the Cubans is that they are highly politically conscientized. ...they understand what constitute progress and what constitute the enemy. And they have come to appreciate that they are in the situation they are because of the choice they have made, of not wanting to follow what the big brother America says they must do. And they know that if it was not [for the] illegal embargo imposed on them, they were actually going to be a much much more better country. Look at them, they have succeeded, the better education, better healthcare, the illiteracy levels are extreme low, under difficult circumstances. [The] quality of education, the quality of primary healthcare [of some country's without embargoes] is nothing compared to a country [Cuba] which is suffering from a serious economic embargo. So we can learn from the Cubans through their determination, through their appreciation that they are a unique nation, and have chosen their path, and they will lead by their conviction. [Interviewer Bryce-Pease asks Malema about Cuba's socialist-democratic model, lack of human rights, lack of freedom of association or freedom of speech among the opposition, and whether South Africa should take those as lessons.] Malema: ...if they think that their model works for them I am not the one to impose on them what should be the type of political systems in Cuba. They are the ones who can chose which direction they want to take. [Bryce-Pease: Do you see a model like Cuba existing in South Africa?] Malema: When we can do actually much better, our democratic system is intact, it is working [...] but there are a lot of things to learn from Cuba [for instance] inculcating the history of the revolution in our education system, so that everybody else is conscientized... Of course there will be some few elements who are not happy. ... [Castro] is bound to commit mistakes but generally we are more than happy with the type of work he has done for the Cubans and for the Africans as well, having contributed to the decolonization of Africa and the defeat of apartheid in southern Africa...
    • Julius Malema in Cuba for Castro's funeral, SABC News (5 December 2016)
  • From its earliest days, the Cuban Revolution has also been a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people. We admire the sacrifices of the Cuban people in maintaining their independence and sovereignty in the face of the vicious imperialist-orchestrated campaign to destroy the impressive gain made in the Cuban Revolution. We too want to control our own destiny. We are determined that the people of South Africa will make their future, and that they will continue to exercise their full democratic rights after liberation from apartheid. We do not want the popular participation to sit at the moment when apartheid goes. We want to have the moment of liberation open the way to ever-deepening democracy. We admire the achievements of the Cuban Revolution in the sphere of social welfare. We note that the transformation from a country of imposed backwardness to universal literacy. We acknowledge your advances in the fields of health, education and science.
  • Kennedy would have ordered nuclear retaliation on Cuba — and perhaps the Soviet Union — if nuclear weapons had been fired at United States forces.
    • Robert McNamara, U.S. secretary of defense under President John F. Kennedy, according to The New York Times; On the Brink of Nuclear War, Awake! magazine, May 22, 1992.
  • Kennedy was trying to keep us out of war. I was trying to help him keep us out of war. And General Curtis LeMay, whom I served under as a matter of fact in World War II, was saying "Let's go in, let's totally destroy Cuba."
  • The global rise of fascism will change a landscape already on shaky ground. Trump’s National Security adviser, John Bolton , has already set the agenda and put in the neofascist crosshair Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, which he called the “troika of tyranny.” Naturally, Bolton counts on the new fascist regional helpers of US imperialism, Colombia and Brazil, to enforce a revived full-blown Monroe Doctrine.
    • Gilbert Mercier, The Global Rise of Fascism: Capitalism End Game? Global Research, (12 January 2019)
  • Some see our struggle as a symbol of the trend toward suicide among Blacks. Scholars and academics, in particular, have been quick to make this accusation. They fail to perceive differences. Jumping off a bridge is not the same as moving to wipe out the overwhelming force of an oppressive army. When scholars call our actions suicidal, they should be logically consistent and describe all historical revolutionary movements in the same way. Thus the American colonialists, the French of the late eighteenth century, the Russians of 1917, the Jews of Warsaw, the Cubans, the NLF, the North Vietnamese—any people who struggle against a brutal and powerful force—are suicidal.
  • Diplomatically, let us look at what the problem is. Diplomatically, our next President must be firm-firm on principle-but he must never be belligerent. He must never engage in a war of words which might heat up thc international climate to the igniting point of nuclear catastrophe. But, while he must never answer insults in kind, he must leave no doubt at any time that, whether it is in Berlin or in Cuba or anywhere else in the world, America will not tolerate being pushed around by anybody any place.
  • Today, Cuba is still governed by the Castros and the Communist Party that came to power half a century ago. Neither the American, nor Cuban people are well served... It was a Cuban, Carlos Finlay, who discovered that mosquitoes carry yellow fever; his work helped Walter Reed fight it. Cuba has sent hundreds of health care workers to Africa to fight Ebola... I'm under no illusion about the continued barriers to freedom that remain for ordinary Cubans.
  • Let me give you another example. Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy. It set us back in Latin America. That's why we restored diplomatic relations, opened the door to travel and commerce, positioned ourselves to improve the lives of the Cuban people. So if you want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere, recognize that the cold war is over. Lift the embargo. The point is, American leadership in the 21st century is not a choice between ignoring the rest of the world—except when we kill terrorists—or occupying and rebuilding whatever society is unraveling. Leadership means a wise application of military power and rallying the world behind causes that are right. It means seeing our foreign assistance as a part of our national security, not something separate, not charity.
  • For decades, Cuba has tried to create client states across our region. While normal countries export goods, Cuba exports tyranny and strong-arm tactics. Even now, Cuban military and intelligence services train and support and equip Venezuela’s secret police as they silence opponents, jail and torture members of the opposition. Last week, the United States took action to sanction ships transporting Venezuelan oil to Cuba. And soon, at President Trump’s direction, the United States will announce additional action to hold Cuba accountable for its malign influence in Venezuela.
    • Mike Pence, Address to the United Nations Security Council on the Crisis in Venezuela, April 10, 2019
  • We are coming, Cuba, coming; we are bound to set you free! We are coming from the mountains, from the plains and inland sea! We are coming with the wrath of God to make the Spaniards flee! We are coming, Cuba, coming; coming now
    • Louis A. Pérez., as quoted in The War of 1898: The United States and Cuba in History and Historiography. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1998. Print.
  • In Cuba I have always understood harsh treatment of dissenting voices as stemming from a "siege situation" imposed upon it from outside. And I believe that to a certain extent that is true.
  • The freedoms which had been so hard won from colonial domination were being crushed by Soviet-inspired and funded military and political forces. Their clear intention was to deprive the people of their democratic freedoms. As history shows, this is what had happened in the Soviet Union and in Cuba, and continues to be the case in other parts of the world.
  • I’m now two weeks short of being Secretary of State for one full year. There’s two things, as I stare at the State Department to make sure that we’re ready for the 21st century. One of them is what you identified. We need the capacity to move at the speed of our adversaries. They move quickly. Whether that’s al-Qaida or ISIS or the Russians or the Cubans, they make decisions quickly. They – none of those are democracies, with all the process that’s attached to that. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world, don’t make – don’t confuse. But we have to make sure that American diplomacy can move at that speed. There’s an information component to that, there’s a technology component to that, and there’s places that we have real work to do.
    • Mike Pompeo, Why Diplomacy Matters, Secretary Michael R. Pompeo, Q&A Discussion at Texas A&M University, (15 April 2019)
  • We’ve unearthed a global criminal conspiracy that’s just mind-blowing, massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba, and likely China, and interference with our elections.
  • We know you're marking an historic anniversary on your island. Twenty-five years ago, during these early January days, you were celebrating what all of us hoped was the dawn of a new era of freedom. Most Cubans welcomed the prospects for democracy and liberty which the leaders of the Cuban revolution had promised. Such a free and democratic Cuba would have been warmly welcomed by our own people. We're neighbors in a hemisphere that has been characterized by the quest for human freedom. Government which rests upon consent of the governed is a cardinal principle that enshrines the dignity of every individual. We share many of the same ideals, especially a common longing for a world of peace and justice. We are both proud peoples, proud of what we've achieved through our own efforts. But tragically, the promises made to you have not been kept. Since 1959 you've been called upon to make one sacrifice after another. And for what? Doing without has not brought you a more abundant life. It has not brought you peace. And most important, it has not won freedom for your people—freedom to speak your opinions, to travel where and when you wish, to work in independent unions, and to openly proclaim your faith in God and to enjoy all these basic liberties without having to be afraid.
  • Closer to home, there remains a struggle for survival for free Latin American States, allies of ours. They valiantly struggle to prevent Communist takeovers fueled massively by the Soviet Union and Cuba. Our policy is simple: We are not going to betray our friends, reward the enemies of freedom, or permit fear and retreat to become American policies—especially in this hemisphere.
  • Physically, one is immediately impressed with the underdeveloped state of Havana and Cuba generally, and of the illimitable possibilities. The Spanish officials taxed thrift right out of the island; they took industry by the neck and throttled it. The Church charged a poor man so much to get married that they, for the most part, were compelled to forego that ceremony, and when they were dead they taxed their bones.
    • Frederic Remington, “Under Which King?” Collier’s Weekly, (April 8, 1899), as quoted in The Collected Writings of Frederic Remington, Peggy & Harold Samuels, Garden City, New York, Doubleday & Company (1979) p. 361
  • I know a lady, who, twice in her life has lost her country. She lost it the first time as a very young woman when, in Czarist Russia, the Bolshevik Revolution occurred and she barely escaped with her life. She came to Cuba, started again from scratch, once again built up a very successful competence, was doing very well. And this time, as an elderly woman, again, she lost her country at the time Castro took over. Now, losing one's country once would be enough for most of use, I suppose. Losing one's country twice would be enough for the toughest person in the house -- but not for this very indomitable lady. She came to the United States where again she started from scratch and again built up a very successful competence. And now as a very elderly person, I've heard her tell this story on more than one occasion and invariably someone in the audience, when she is finished, will say, "You poor, unlucky woman. How you have suffered. What an ordeal you have been through." And her answer is always the same: "I, unlucky? Ah, no. I am one of the luckiest women who ever lived. Twice I have lost my country. Twice I have had a country to which I can go. When you Americans lose your country, where will you go?" I've heard her ask the question more than once. I've never heard a convincing answer.
  • President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus, even as he has relaxed sanctions on Castro's Cuba. He abandoned our friends in Poland by walking away from our missile defense commitments, but is eager to give Russia's President Putin the flexibility he desires, after the election. Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty, and Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone. We will honor America's democratic ideals because a free world is a more peaceful world. This is the bipartisan foreign policy legacy of Truman and Reagan. And under my presidency we will return to it once again.
  • A few moments ago, the body was treated to a report from the senator from Iowa about his recent trip to Cuba. Sounded like he had a wonderful trip visiting, what he described as, a real paradise. He bragged about a number of things that he learned on his trip to Cuba that I'd like to address briefly. He bragged about their health care system, medical school is free, doctors are free, clinics are free, their infant mortality rate may be even lower than ours. I wonder if the senator, however, was informed, number one, that the infant mortality rate of Cuba is completely calculated on figures provided by the Cuban government. And, by the way, totalitarian communist regimes don't have the best history of accurately reporting things. I wonder if he was informed that before Castro, Cuba, by the way, was 13th in the whole world in infant mortality. I wonder if the government officials who hosted him informed him that in Cuba there are instances reported, including by defectors, that if a child only lives a few hours after birth, they're not counted as a person who ever lived and therefore don't count against the mortality rate.
  • It is eminently fitting that we should assemble here today to pay solemn tribute to the heroic champions of human freedom who brought about the liberation of Cuba. The commemoration of half a century of Cuban independence recalls the valor of the Cuban patriots and American soldiers and sailors who gave liberally of their strength and their blood that Cuba might be free. From that chapter in man's age-old struggle for freedom, we can draw inspiration for the hard tasks that confront us in our time. The struggle for Cuban independence, like every other effort of its kind, was fraught with hardship and disappointment. But the unconquerable determination of the Cuban people to win freedom overcame all obstacles. From the first, the fight for liberation by Cuban patriots evoked the sympathy of the people of the United States. Those in quest of independence have always had the support of the people of this Nation. Americans watched with admiration the beginning of the final struggle for independence led by Jose Marti and his valiant compatriots, Gomez, Maceo, and Garcia. Our people made increasingly plain their desire to assist the Cuban patriots. The sinking of the United States battleship Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898, crystallized the growing sentiment in this country for joining forces with the Cuban people in their fight for self-government.
  • As we restore American leadership throughout the world, we are once again standing up for freedom in our hemisphere. That's why my administration reversed the failing policies of the previous administration on Cuba. We are supporting the hopes of Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans to restore democracy.
  • I always felt, in looking at [the Cuban] situation, that it was wrong. And I now know why. It came to me one night in Mexico. China is communist, the same as Cuba, and yet we have no problem trading with China. In fact, today we can't get over there quick enough. The difference is simple: China welcomes our corporations. Cuba threw them out. It's a basic decision of corporate America: We will punish Cuba because Castro stuck it to us by nationalizing everything after he came to power. What other reason could there be? China is far more powerful but we now welcome them into global trade with open arms—as we should—while we continue this bitter, hostile policy towards Cuba. It must be because there are still people alive in the corporate world who got hammered by Fidel's revolution.
    • Jesse Ventura, Ch. 6, p. 111, Don't Start the Revolution without Me! (2008)
  • I want a grown-up attitude to Cuba, for instance, a country and people I love. I want an end to the war immediately, and I want the soldiers to be encouraged to destroy their weapons and drive themselves out of Iraq. I want the Israeli government to be made accountable for its behaviour to the Palestinians, and I want the people of the US to cease acting as if they don't understand what is going on. But most of all I want someone with the confidence to talk to anyone, "enemy" or "friend", and this Obama has shown he can do.
    • Alice Walker, "Obama is the change that America has tried to hide" in The Guardian (1 April 2008)

Fidel Castro at the United Nations (1960)Edit

(Full text)

  • Much has been said of the universal desire for peace, which is the desire of all peoples and, therefore, the desire of our people too, but the peace which the world wishes to preserve is the peace that we Cuban have been missing for quite some time.... Are we, the Cuban delegates, the representatives of the worst type of Government in the world? Do we, the representatives of the Cuban delegation, deserve the maltreatment we have received? And why our delegation? Cuba has sent many delegations to the United Nations, and yet it was we who were singled out for such exceptional measures: confinement to the Island of Manhattan; notice to all hotels not to rent rooms to us, hostility and, under the pretense of security, isolation.
  • Now, to the problem of Cuba. Perhaps some of you are well aware of the facts, perhaps others are not. It all depends on the sources of information, but, undoubtedly, the problem of Cuba, born within the last two years, is a new problem for the world.
  • For many, Cuba was something of an appendix of the United States. Even for many citizens of this country, Cuba was a colony of the United States. As far as the map was concerned, this we not the case: our country had a different color from that of the United States. But in reality Cuba was a colony of the United States../ It was not because of its origins; the same men did not colonize the United States and Cuba. Cuba has a very different ethnic and cultural origin, and the difference was widened over the centuries.
  • Cuba was the last country in America to free itself from Spanish colonial rule, to cast off, with due respect to the representative of Spain, the Spanish colonial yoke; and because it was the last, it also had to fight more fiercely.
  • Spain had only one small possession left in America and it defended it with tooth and nail. Our people, small in numbers, scarcely a million inhabitants at that time, had to face alone, for almost thirty years, an army considered one of the strongest in Europe...
  • For thirty years the Cubans fought alone for their independence; thirty years of struggle that strengthened our love for freedom and independence.
  • But Cuba was a fruit — according to the opinion of a President of the United States at the beginning of the past century, John Adams —, it was an apple hanging from the Spanish tree, destined to fall, as soon as it was ripe enough, into the hands of the United States.
  • Spanish power had worn itself out in our country. Spain had neither the men nor the economic resources to continue the war in Cuba; Spain had been defeated. Apparently the apple was ripe, and the United States Government held out its open hands.
  • Several apples fell in to the hands of the United States. Puerto Rico fell — heroic Puerto Rico, which had begun its struggle for independence at the same time as Cuba. The Philippine Islands fell, and several other possessions. However, the method of dominating our country could not be the same. Our country had struggled fiercely, and thus had gained the favor of world public opinion. Therefore the method of taking our country had to be different.
  • The Cubans who fought for our independence and at that very moment were giving their blood and their lives believed in good faith in the joint resolution of the Congress of the United States of April 20, 1898, which declared that “Cuba is, and by right ought to be, free and independent.”... But that illusion was followed by a rude awakening. After two years of military occupation of our country, the unexpected happened... a new law was passed by the United States Congress... stated that the constitution of the Cuba must have an appendix under which the United States would be granted the right to intervene in Cuba’s political affairs and, furthermore, to lease certain parts of Cuba for naval bases or coal supply station.
  • ...Under a law passed by the legislative body of a foreign country, Cuban’s Constitution had to contain an appendix with those provisions. Our legislators were clearly told that if they did not accept the amendment, the occupation forces would not be withdrawn. In other words, an agreement to grant another country the right to intervene and to lease naval bases was imposed by force upon my country by the legislative body of a foreign country... Then began the new colonization of our country, the acquisition of the best agricultural lands by United States firms, concessions of Cuban natural resources and mines, concessions of public utilities for exploitation purposes, commercial concessions of all types. These concessions, when linked with the constitutional right — constitutional by force — of intervention in our country, turned it from a Spanish colony into an American colony...
  • The National General Assembly of the Cuban people condemns large scale landowning as a source of poverty for the peasant and a backward and inhuman system of agricultural production; it condemns starvation wages and the iniquitous exploitation of human work by illegitimate and privileged interests; it condemns illiteracy, the lack of teachers, of schools, doctor and hospitals; the lack of old-age security in the countries of America; it condemns discrimination against the Negro and the Indian'; it condemns the inequality and the exploitation of women; it condemns political and military oligarchies, which keep our peoples in poverty, prevent their democratic development and the full exercise of their sovereignty; it condemns concessions of the natural resources of our countries as a policy of surrender which betrays the interests of the peoples; it condemns the governments which ignore the demands of their people in order to obey orders from abroad; it condemns the systematic deception of the people by mass communications media which serve the interests of the oligarchies and the policy of imperialist oppression; it condemns the monopoly held by news agencies, which are instruments of monopolist trusts and agents of such interests; it condemns the repressive laws which prevent the workers, the peasants, the students and the intellectuals, the great majorities in each country, from organizing themselves to fight for their social and national rights; it condemns the imperialist monopolies and enterprises which continually plunder our wealth, exploit our workers and peasants, bleed our economies to keep them in a backward state, and subordinate Latin American politics to their designs and interests.
  • In short, The National General Assembly of the Cuban People condemns the exploitation of man by man, and the exploitation of underdeveloped countries by imperialists capital.
  • Therefore, the National General Assembly of the Cuban People proclaims before America, and proclaims here before the world, the right of the peasants to the land; the right of the workers to the fruits of their labor; the right of the children to education: the right of the sick to medical care and hospitalization; the right of young people to work; the right of students to free vocational training and scientific education; the right of Negroes, and Indians to full human dignity; the right of women to civil, social and political equality; the right of the elderly to security in their old age; the right of intellectuals, artists and scientists so fight through their works for a better world; the right of States to nationalize imperialist monopolies, thus rescuing their national wealth andresources; the right of nations to their full sovereignty; the right of peoples to convert their military fortresses into schools, and to arm their workers -- because in this we too have to be arms-conscious, to arm our people in defense against imperialist attacks -- their peasants, their students, their intellectuals, Negroes, Indians, women, young people, old people, all the oppressed and exploited, so that they themselves can defend their rights and their destinies.
  • Some people wanted to know what the policy of the Revolutionary Government of Cuba was. Very well, then, this is our policy. (ovation)

Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, USA (Ret) U.S. Cuba Policy: Ending 50 Years of Failure, Prepared Testimony to the Committee on Finance United States Senate (11 December 2007)Edit

(Full text)

  • For almost half a century, U.S. policy with respect to Cuba has failed—miserably...Like the city planners in Marseilles, France, the Cubans are not driving people from their homes by renovating living quarters and putting them out of the financial reach of their previous occupants, they are renovating them and then bringing back in their original occupants. As a result, the city center is not simply beautiful, it is full of life and vitality, children and families...
    Yet, while we have significant relations on almost every level with Communist countries 10,000 miles away such as China and Vietnam, we have almost no relations with the 11 million souls on an island 90 miles off our southern coast where all this dynamism is beginning to show.
  • Because of our failed Cuba policy, we miss valuable opportunities to share Cuba’s rapidly growing store of knowledge and expertise in, for example, how to deliver high quality healthcare to deeply impoverished areas. Moreover, we are missing opportunities to explore mutual interests in vaccine development, to share in Cuba’s extraordinary wealth of experience in combating hurricanes and the floods that often accompany them, to explore together Cuba’s continental shelf for fossil fuels, and to sell our agricultural products in a more cost-effective and profitable way to an island population that needs these products and would benefit greatly from the shortened transits and thus reduced expenses.
  • A rapprochement with Cuba would create the same opening in Latin America that a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian situation would create in the Middle East. I am not sufficiently naïve to believe that either development would meet all regional challenges or solve all problems, but both would be a dramatic and effective start. Both would give America a decisive leg-up on regaining some of the prestige and power we have squandered in the past seven years.
  • Military power is the least likely instrument of national power to be successful if you decide to use it. A corollary truth with great relevance to Cuba is that sanctions, embargoes, closing embassies and withdrawing ambassadors, the silent treatment, branding other countries as evil and advocating and supporting regime change—all of these methods, even if actually backed by strong military power and the threat to use it, rarely work and, even when they appear to do so, the results they produce are usually negative and even when they are positive, are almost never long-lasting.
  • Let's examine just two of the extremely negative impacts of our almost half-century of failure vis-à-vis Cuba:*The U.S. has reconciled with the Communist governments in China and Vietnam. We support dictators throughout Central Asia under the strategic mantra of "contact and influence is better than isolation". We talked to the Communist Soviet Union for the duration of the Cold War. But we cannot bring ourselves to deal with Havana and have maintained that failed policy for almost half a century. It is simply absurd to continue to do so.
  • The export of revolution at the behest of the Soviets has been transformed into the export of healthcare at the behest of the Cuban people. When I visited Cuba this past March, this was one of the areas of Cuban activity on which I focused—the delivery of first-class healthcare to impoverished people in Cuba, in Venezuela and elsewhere in South and Central America, and increasingly in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • One of the most dramatic moments for me occurred when I visited one of Cuba's hospitals in Havana and plowed through a waiting room of people from all over the world—poor people who had come to this Cuban hospital largely to have eye surgery of some sort, many to have cataracts removed so their blindness or near-blindness would be eliminated. Speaking to some of them was, again, heartwarming. They all said that they were there because of Cuba's outreach. Again, this is powerful public diplomacy.
  • We could learn much from how the Cubans deliver healthcare particularly applicable to our rural areas and our inner cities where impoverished people predominate. And in the process, the contact would benefit Cubans. They would be able to study what is strong and robust about the U.S. healthcare system—the high technology components, for example—and at the same time learn that freedom and democracy are pretty good items too.

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