The Summit and the Lie
By Fidel Castro Ruz
April 22, 2009
Some of the things that Daniel told me would be hard to believe if it was not him who told me them and it was not at a Summit of the Americas where they occurred.
The unusual thing is that there was no such consensus on the final document. The ALBA group did not sign it; that was confirmed in the last exchange with Obama in the presence of Manning and the other leaders in the morning of April 19.
At that meeting, Chávez, Evo and Daniel spoke on the issue with total clarity.
It had seemed to me that Daniel had expressed a bitter complaint when, on the day of the Summit’s opening, he said in his speech: "I think that the time I am taking is far less than that I had to spend – three hours – waiting at the airport inside a plane."
I asked him about that and he told me that six high-level leaders had to wait on the runway: Lula of Brazil, Harper of Canada, Bachelet of Chile, Evo of Bolivia, Calderón of Mexico and himself, the sixth. The reason? In an act of adulation, the organizers decided it that way in order to receive the president of the United States. Daniel remained inside the hot LACSA aircraft for three hours under the radiant sun of the Tropics.
He explained to me the conduct of the principal leaders in the Summit, the fundamental and specific problems of each one of the Latin American and Caribbean countries. He did not seem in any way resentful. He was direct, calm and comprehensive. I recalled the times of Reagan’s dirty war, the thousands of weapons launched against Nicaragua in that context, the tens of thousands of dead, the mining of the ports, the utilization of drugs by the U.S. government in order to get around Congress decisions banning funds to finance that cynical war.
We did not overlook the criminal invasion of Panama ordered by Bush Senior, the horrific El Chorrillo massacre, the thousands of dead Panamanians, the invasion of little Grenada with the complicity of other governors in the region, relatively recent events in the tragic history of our hemisphere.
In each one of those crimes was the hand of the OAS, the principal accomplice of the brutal actions of the great military and economic power against our impoverished peoples.
He informed me of the damage that drug trafficking and organized crime is inflicting on the Central American countries, the trafficking of U.S. weapons, the vast market that impels that activity, so harmful for the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean.
He told me of the geothermic potential of Central America as a natural resource of great value. He is of the opinion that, in that way, Nicaragua could reach a generation capacity equivalent to two million kilowatt/hours. At present its total electricity generation, including various energy sources, barely amounts to 700,000 kilowatt/hours and power cuts are frequent.
He spoke of Nicaragua’s capacity for producing food, of the price of milk, distributed at one third of what it costs in the United States, although wages in the latter country are dozens of times higher.
Out conversation gravitated around this and other practical issues.
At no point did he seem resentful, and far less suggest extremist measures on economic issues. He is well informed and analyzes what can and should be done with great realism.
I explained that many people in our country had not been able to hear his speech given issues of time and the lack of opportune information on the Summit, and for that reason, I was asking him to agree to explain, in a television program, the issues of most interest related to the Summit of the Americas, to a panel made up of three young journalists, which would certainly be of interest to many Latin Americans, Caribbean people, U.S. Americans and Canadians.
Daniel knows of many concrete possibilities for improving the living conditions of the people of Nicaragua, one of the five poorest nations in the hemisphere as a consequence of U.S. interventions and plunder. Obama’s victory pleased him and he observed him closely in the Summit. He did not like his behavior during the meeting. "He was moving everywhere," he told me, "seeking out people who he could influence, putting ideas into their heads with his power and his praises."
Naturally, for an observer at a distance, as was my case, one could observe a concerted strategy to exalt positions closest to U.S. interests and most opposed to policies favoring social change, unity and the sovereignty of our peoples. In my view, the worst thing was to present a declaration supposedly supported by everybody.
The blockade of Cuba was not even mentioned in the Final Declaration and the president of the United States utilized that to justify his actions and cover up his administration’s alleged concessions to Cuba. We could better understand the new president of the United States’ real limitations in terms of introducing changes in his country’s policy toward our homeland, than the use of a lie to justify his actions.
Should we perchance applaud the aggression of our television and radio space, the use of sophisticated technologies to invade that space from great heights and implement the same Bush policy against Cuba? Should we accept the right of the United States to maintain the blockade during a geological period until bringing capitalist democracy to Cuba?
Obama has admitted that the leaders of the Latin America and Caribbean countries are speaking to him all over the place about the services of Cuban doctors but, nevertheless, stated: "...this is a reminder for us in the United States that if our only interaction with many of these countries is drug interdiction, if our only interaction is military, then we may not be developing the connections that can, over time, increase our influence and have -- have a beneficial effect when we need to try to move policies that are of concern to us forward in the region."
In his subconscious mind, Obama understands that Cuba enjoys prestige on account of its doctors in the region, attaching more importance to it than we do ourselves. Perhaps he hasn’t even been informed that Cuba has sent its doctors, not only to Latin America and the Caribbean, but to countless African countries, Asian countries; in situations of disaster to little islands of Oceania such as Timor Leste and Kiribati, threatened with being left under water if the climate changes; and even offered to send – in a matter of hours – a complete medical brigade to rescue the Katrina victims when a large part of New Orleans was left defenseless under water and many lives could have been saved. Thousands of young people selected from other countries have been trained as doctors in Cuba, tens of thousands more are currently being trained.
But we have not only cooperated in the field of health, also in those of education, sport, science, culture, energy savings, reforestation, environmental protection and others. A number of UN agencies can testify to that.
Something more: the blood of Cuban patriots was spilled in the struggle against the last bastions of colonialism in Africa and the defeat of apartheid, an ally of the United States.
The most important thing of all, Daniel already said it at the Summit, is the total absence of any conditions in the contribution of Cuba, the little island that the United States is blockading.
We did not do what we did seeking influence and support. They were the principles that sustain our struggle and our resistance. The infant mortality rate in Cuba is lower than that of the United States; there has been no illiteracy for a long time; white, black or mixed race children attend school every day, and have equal possibilities of studying, including those who require special education. We have achieved not only justice, but the maximum of justice possible. All the members of the National Assembly are nominated and elected by the people, more than 90% of the population with the right to vote, use their vote.
We have not asked for the capitalist democracy in which you were educated and in which you sincerely and with every right believe.
We do not aspire to export our political system to the United States.