CUBANEWS NOTES FROM LOS ANGELES
by Walter Lippmann, May 19, 2004
This is an amazing day in human history. It's the birthdate of
Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh, and the birthdate of Yuri Kochiyama,
who is still an active revolutionary in her eighties. It's also
the date when, in 1898, Jose Marti, the apostle of independence
for Cuba, died in combat against the Spanish colonial army.
You've heard of Malcolm, Ho and Jose Marti, but take a moment to
learn a bit about Yuri Kochiyama if you're not familiar with her:
And find yourself a copy
of her memoir PASSING IT ON, just published this year. You will
be glad that you did. I was simply unable to put it down.
REGARDING THE DISGUSTING DECAPITATION OF NICK BERG
Though there's now emerging the possibility that the images of
the decapitation of Nick Berg were fabricated, we should keep in
mind that they were designed to evoke an emotional response and,
I'll tell you, they certainly evoked on in me.
They filled me with rage. If Nick Berh had been some kind of a
combatant, and were killed in the course of fighting, that would
be normal, in a war situation. There's lots of speculation about
who did this disgusting crime, but it is being used by the media
in the US to attempt to divert public attention from the torture
of Iraqi prisoners by the US guards. Fortunately, that doesn't
seem to be working as well as one might fear.
The media has tried to divert attention from the righteous anger
being felt in most places against the US occupation and the US
torture of its Iraqi prisoners. And there's suspicion that Berg's
death may have sprung from more dubious forces. The claim by the
killers of Berg that they were acting in "revenge" for the way
Iraqis were abused by the US is sick, twisted, depraved. And the
further idea that these people were linked to Al-Queda and Osama
bin Laden only confirms my sense that everything Al Queda and bin
Laden have done have assisted the Bush administration's plans for
unilateral military assaults on any country it chooses to attack.
There was a great quote from the father of Micheal Berg, grieving
for his son, who reacts to the killing of his son and makes this
assessment, which was printed in the Miami Herald. AP reports:
Berg's father, Michael Berg, said he thought U.S. officials allowed
civil rights to be eroded to the point that allowed for the prison
"The attitude that allows for infringement on civil rights and the
attitude that was the wink and a nod for the sexual abuse to happen
came from the top," Michael Berg said. "(Defense Secretary Donald)
Rumsfeld, Bush, said they didn't care, get the job done."
BUSH ANNOUNCED SANCTIONS AGAINST SYRIA
The Bush administration also announced sanctions against Syria, a
further step toward a possible military strike against Damascus as
has been threatened for some time. The situation in the Middle East
becomes more ominous each day as the US gives Israel a blank check
to drive out and kill any Palestinians it can get its hands on,
while the US provides eloquent proof in Iraq of the nature of any
US-imposed freedom on the Iraqi nation.
CUBANS TO MOBILIZED AGAIN IN SUPPORT OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION
Cubans were mobilized in Havana on Friday to protest the latest
anti-Cuban measures by the Bush administration. It was another giant
mobilization and got considerable publicity. The US capitalist
media are telling everyone there's panic in the streets in light of
the dollar stores' being shuttered for a short time. I've no idea
what is going on, but the signs on the doors say they're having an
inventory, and that's probably what's going on. I've heard that
people are stocking up on essential foodstuffs. The latest news is
that the closures are going to be temporary. It's clear that Cuba
is preparing to face any option (in other words, war, of course).
Obviously, they're going to re-open all those dollars stores soon,
and I'll assume that prices will be increased. That's because the
dollar stores serve as a form of indirect taxation so that those
who have dollars contribute to the broader subsidization of Cuban
economic life through those high prices. It's a simple matter of
"from each according to their ability", and those who have dollars
are simply more able than those who don't have those dollars.
Naturally the US media, especially the Miami Herald, is giving the
impression of panic in the streets. Since I'm not there I cannot
tell you what the mood is, of course, but some hoarding is not a
surprise under these circumstances.
Naturally, too, the US media is trying to blame Cuba again for
taking defensive measures in response to the latest attacks on
its sovereignty which were announced by Bush on Thursday.
I'd strongly suggest that you take the time to listen to last
Wednesday's (May 10th, 2004) edition of Babel's Guide, Francisco
Aruca's radio program from Miami. You can hear it Real Audio, at
If anyone wanted to do a great service for all of our readers, it
would be great if someone could transcribe Mr. Aruca's discussion.
He gives a great explanation of the issues and I strongly suggest
that you take the time to listen to his discussion. This file will
be available for two weeks, but go and listen to it ASAP.
And if you haven't had the chance to read carefully through Fidel's
speech given last Friday at the "Million Cuban March", to it now:
HORRORS TODAY, BUT TRAGICALLY NOT NEW. Remember Grenada in 1983?
As we look at and ponder the images so far released of torture
committed by the United States as it imposes "freedom" on Iraq,
I was reminded of something which happened back in 1983 when the
US imposed "freedom" on the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada.
The noted Black lesbian feminist and revolutionary-minded poet
Audrey Lorde, herself born on the island of Grenada, wrote up a
short essay "Grenada Revisited" based on a visit she made to the
island a few months after the US invasion of the country. It's
eerily reminiscent of what we're seeing now in Iraq:
After describing the extensive and open preparations for the
US invasion, which were carried out for two years prior to the
event, and then the invasion itself, Lorde discusses what next
took place in some detail, of which here's but one paragraph:
"P.S.Y.O.P.S., the psychological operations unit of the U.S.
occupation forces - a new development heard from in combat here
for the first time - was quick to plaster St. Georges and the
rest of Grenada with posters of Bernard Coard and General
Hudson Austin, stripped naked and blindfolded, holding them up
to ridicule and scorn as the slayers of the Grenadian people's
beloved Maurice Bishop. It is well know that had Bishop lived,
Grenada would have fought any invasion down to the last child.
So scapegoats for his death were essential. The details of the
power struggles which occurred within the New Jewel Movement
Party - if such they were - are yet to be known and assuredly
complex. Yet months later, these men are still being held
incommunicado in Richmond Hill Prison, St. Georges, by
"security forces," non-Grenadian. They have not bee charged
not brought to trial as of this writing, nor have the forty
odd other Grenadians detained with them." from SISTER OUTSIDER,
Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde, The Crossing Press, 1983)
[Coard, Hudson and a number of their co-conspirators, a group
of ultra-leftists who thought they were more "revolutionary"
than Bishop and the leadership of the NJM, and who had kidnapped
Bishop and his allies, whom they then murdered, providing the
US with its rationale for the invasion and occupation. Coard
and company are still in prison on life sentences for their
roles in the assassinations.]
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