Saturday, December 20, 2014

America's Deadly Embrace

America's Deadly Embrace

by Stephen Lendman

Forget about Greeks. Beware US normalization schemes. So-called rapprochement. Targeting unwary nations. 

Sucking them into its web. LIke spiders overwhelming prey. Allegedly ending hostile relations. Imperialism 101 suggests otherwise. 

US policies aren't benign. America is a global predator. History's worst ever. Wanting all sovereign independent states eliminated. 

Replaced by stooge regimes. Ones it controls. Subservient to US interests. Their countries looted for profit. Their people exploited as serfs.

American/Russian post-Cold War rapprochement is instructive. US-instituted shock therapy wrecked the country. Irresponsibly. Willfully.  For profit. At the expense of vital people needs.

About 80% of Russian farmers went bankrupt. Around 70,000 state factories closed. An epidemic of unemployment followed. 

Over half of all Russians became impoverished. A permanent underclass followed. Crime. Suicides. Mortality. Alcoholism. Drug abuse. HIV/AIDS. All soared to intolerable levels.

GDP plunged 50%. Life expectancy fell. An oligarch class accumulated enormous wealth. At the expense of millions grievously harmed.

Corruption flourished. Scandals repeated with disturbing regularity. Money-laundering became sport.

Multi-billions were stolen. Hidden in Western banks or offshore tax havens. Russia became a hollowed-out dystopian wasteland.

Post-apartheid South Africa was similar. A horrific toll accompanied a new era. Impoverishment doubled. Forcing millions to live on less than one dollar a day.

Unemployment soared to nearly 50%. Millions lost homes. Near one million lost farms. Shack dwelling grew by 50%.

HIV/AIDS infections increased dramatically. Average life expectancy fell below apartheid era levels.

Around 40% of schools have no electricity. Most with it can't afford the cost. About 60% of South Africans have poor sanitation. Around 40% lack telephones.

Post-apartheid came at a high price. Millions of South Africans suffer horrifically. Out of sight and mind. Predatory capitalism works this way.

Obama's Cuba gambit threatens its 11 million people. Hopefully Havana's leadership remains wary. 

Decades of revolutionary changes are on the line. Transformational differences too important to lose.

Changing Cuba from fascist dictatorship to model populism. A previous article said longstanding US policy calls for regime change.

Wanting Cuba returned to its bad old days. Social justice eliminated entirely. Corporate rapaciousness replacing it. 

Colonizing the island state for profit. Destroying decades of beneficial social change. Including high-quality education and healthcare. Free to all Cubans.

Its Constitution was adopted in 1976. By national referendum. Overwhelmingly approved. Stating in Article 1:

"Cuba is an independent and sovereign socialist state of workers, organized with all and for the good of all as a united and democratic republic, for the enjoyment of political freedom, social justice, individual and collective well-being and human solidarity."

Article 3 saying "sovereignty lies in the people, from whom originates all the power of the state. (Exercised) through assemblies of People's Power and other state bodies…"

Article 9 guarantees "liberty (and) full dignity…(A)ssures educational, scientific, technical and cultural progress.

Guarantees everyone able to work the opportunity to do so. Assures no disabled person "left without adequate means of subsistence."

"(N)o sick person…without medical care. (N)o child…without schooling, food and clothing. (N)o young person…without the opportunity to study."

"(N)o one…without access to studies, culture an sports. (N)o family…without a comfortable place to live." The Constitution contains 137 articles.

Revised in 1992. Again in 2002. According to historian Jorge Dominguez, it establishes a sovereign unicameral National Assembly. With no presidential veto.

Empowered to "instantly remove the president, all justices of the Supreme Court, and all top officials of the Office of the Public Prosecutor."

Subordinates Cuba's military to civilian authorities. "It creates no authoritarian enclaves or reserve domains to protect the military, privileged economic sectors, or the Castro brothers," said Dominguez.

It facilitates political transition. National Assembly members act by simple majority. Except for constitutional amendments. Requiring a two-thirds majority.

It can "revoke all laws, decree-laws, decrees, and other regulations issued by any other public authority, including subnational assemblies," Dominguez explained.

It's an effective governing instrument. Cuba has no central bank. Or other independent entity authorized for economic or social decision-making. 

In 2002, National Assembly members amended constitutional provisions. Guaranteeing permanent irrevocable "quality of the socialist system," said Dominguez.

Changes sought to constrain future National Assemblies from  "mak(ing) fundamental constitutional changes."

Article 52 mandated the Ministry of Education’s budget to be larger than any other ministry. The 1992 Constitution doesn't mention Fidel Castro by name.

Or afford him special rights and protections. Or grant blanket amnesties or pardons to officials guilty of crimes. Or halt prosecutions.

Cuba has no independent Supreme Court. National Assembly members elect justices. Without tenure. Those abusing their authority can be removed.

"All individual rights are subordinate to the interests of" state, said Dominguez. So are provincial and municipal governments. No "whiff" of federalism exists.

Cubans get essential social benefits. Constitutionally guaranteed. Including high-quality education and healthcare. The state commits full support.

Including for arts and sciences. Other forms of culture. Sports. Vacation opportunities. Day care centers. Full employment. 

Unemployment compensation between jobs. Pensions and disability benefits.. Elder care. Organically grown non-GMO foods. 

Subsidized food, housing an utilities. Market economy practices operate in tourist, international and export sectors. Separate from Cuba's socialist economy. Substantially sustains it.

According to Dominguez, political transition in Cuba isn't likely unless new governance continues providing constitutionally enshrined social rights.

In 2014, Cuba granted state-owned enterprises more autonomy. Freeing their managements. Vice President Marino Murillo saying:

"If we don't transform the socialist state companies positively, we won't be able to bring up to date the Cuban economic model."

One change lifted limits on wages paid. State-owned companies can now use half their after-tax profit. For recapitalization and/or new investment.

Despite Cuba's increasing private sector, state-owned enterprises remain the backbone of Cuba's economic model.

In his 2008 inaugural address, Raul Castro said Cuba would "advance in an articulate, sound and well-thought out manner."

Raising Cuba's overall standard of living. Increasingly tying individual prosperity to initiative and work performance.

Farmers now work small portions of land on their own. Limited numbers of traders operate privately. Used cars are sold this way.

Access to consumer goods was expanded. Including computers. Cell phones. Home appliances. Greater private use of state land was authorized.

In 2010, new self-employment rules were established. Around 75,000 licenses were issued. Over 50% more than in 2009.

In 2011, purchase and sale of private property was authorized. Credit mechanisms for small businesses and cooperatives were established.

Instituted changes are measured. Limited. Short of Western rapaciousness. Key is keeping them this way. 

Not easy with America's dirty hands involved. Operating out of their Havana embassy. Targeting Cuba for regime change.

Perhaps by color revolution. A US speciality. Fascists replacing democrats.

Months earlier, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said Washington spent around $5 billion sabotaging Ukrainian democracy over the past 20 years.

Calling it "democracy promotion." Establishing a fascist dictatorship. Run by neo-Nazis.

How many billions has Washington spent over the past half century trying to transform Cuba the same way?

What's ongoing now covertly? With diplomatic relations established, Cuba will be swarming with CIA and FBI operatives. US-funded anti-democracy agencies.

Right-wing think tanks will be involved. Corporate predators intend getting their dirty hands on Cuba's economy. Raping it for profit. 

Will Raul Castro's government stop them? Will decisive action to taken to maintain Cuba's core economic model?

Will its officials stay true to their roots? Will they prevent Cuba from becoming a hemispheric Ukraine?

Once America's dirty hands get involved, will they be able to stop them? Cuba did for over half a century. 

Will it stay resolute ahead? Social justice depends on it. Freedom from corporate rapaciousness. 

Cuba's existence as a free sovereign state is up for grabs. What's too precious to lose.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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