Thursday, July 20, 2017


National Executive Committee

Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS)

Trump Cuba Policy

On June 16, 2017, President Trump gave a speech before an audience of far-right Cuban Americans condemning Cuba for alleged human rights violations, supporting terrorism and human trafficking, and engaging in other nefarious international activities, without a shred of evidence. Trump announced he would use his authority as president to resume restrictions on the basic right of US citizens to travel which might include increasing prosecutions of violators of travel restrictions. He would impose restrictions on US investments on the island, exports of US goods, particularly agricultural commodities, and US airlines and hotels. Trump was willing to sacrifice the interests of tourists, investors, and traders because, as he claimed, no progress on US/Cuban relations could occur until there were fair elections and ending what he claimed were human rights violations. Ironically the reversal of Obama policies could also hurt the small entrepreneurs in Cuba US policymakers claim they want to encourage.

The Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism Join With People All Over the World in Demanding an End to the Violations of Cuba's Right to Determine its Own Destiny

We in CCDS, in conjunction with millions of people all across the globe reject the Trump reversals of United States/Cuban relations and demand that:

The United States maintain full diplomatic relations between itself and Cuba, including respecting Cuba's national sovereignty.

The United States end the economic blockade of Cuba.

The United States abolish all laws that restrict the rights of its citizens to travel to Cuba.

The United States end its occupation of Guantanamo Bay which is in Cuban territory.

The United States promote the resumption of the rich, textured, and mutually beneficial relations between North Americans and the Cuban people that have occurred over the last 100 years.

And more generally, the United States halt efforts to interfere in the political and economic affairs of other countries, such as Venezuela, as they too seek to achieve their own national sovereignty and maintain their own independence.

Cubans Build Democratic Socialism

The Cuban government, in consultation with literally hundreds of thousands of Cubans, decided in 2011 to begin shifting the Cuban economy from one dominated by the state sector to the non-state sector. The non-state sector consists of two elements: small entrepreneurs and workplace cooperatives. 

While Cubans differ on which directions the economy should pursue, many Cubans are beginning to participate in cooperative forms of enterprise ownership and decision-making in the cities as well as the countryside. Some regard the work cooperatives as the centerpiece of a 21st century socialism. They expect cooperatives to continue the successful revolutionary project launched in 1959; creating economic equality, political participation, and continuing the society's commitment to access to health care, education, adequate housing, sensitivity to the environment, and combatting existing racism and sexism. The United States, on the other hand, is far from achieving these goals. It might learn from the Cuban experience policies that could be adapted to circumstances in the United States.

On Medical Diplomacy and International Solidarity

Along with the international reputation of the Cuban health care system, people all over the world know of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM). Since 2005, 23,000 students graduated from ELAM mostly from poor countries around the world. Currently there are 10,000 medical students at ELAM, with small numbers from the U.S. Students participating in the free medical training are encouraged to return to their home country and apply their skills to treat underserved populations. One newly credentialed U.S. doctor trained in Cuba has committed herself to provide health care for African American males in Cook County jail in Chicago.

Visiting ELAM, observers report on the youthful enthusiasm, commitment, and international solidarity. ELAM is one excellent example of Cuban international solidarity. In addition, Cuban doctors are sent to many countries in Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean to address local healthcare emergencies.

Cubans Demand the Right to Self-Determination and Non-interference

At the huge Plaza of the Revolution, a vast open space that sometimes holds a million Cubans, there is a building posting a several story image of Che Guevara, the iconic altruistic hero of the Cuban Revolution. Across the plaza a statue of the nineteenth century revolutionary Cuban poet Jose Marti stands boldly in front of a museum honoring him. Many rallies over the years have protested efforts by the United States to overthrow the Cuban government, led so passionately by Fidel Castro.

The United States still engages in an economic blockade of Cuba. And only in July, 2015 have the two countries reestablished diplomatic relations after a 55-year period of non-recognition. While limited in scope President Obama embarked on a modest policy of reversing the US efforts to isolate the island nation. He used some of his executive authority to allow for increased tourism, investments, remittances, and regional cooperation even though the economic blockade remained in place.

The Cuban government issued a statement in response to the Trump reversal of the modest improvements in US/Cuban relations: "The US President, ill-advised once again, issues decisions that favor the political interests of an extreme minority of Cuban origin in the state of Florida, who driven by petty motivation, do not desist from their objective to punish Cuba and its people for exercising the legitimate and sovereign right to be free and for having taken the reins of their own destiny."

While we would use different gendered language today, Jose Marti's basic principle still stands:

"Everything that divides men, everything that separates or herds men together in categories, is a sin against humanity."

Paul Krehbiel
Rafael Pizarro
Harry Targ
Janet Tucker
Co-Chairs CCDS