"Working together for a free Cuba"




The Third Intervention Project:
The Rule of Outrage
By: Alberto Luzárraga

This article is directed to those US congressmen, businessmen and others that play with Cuba's freedom under the guise of "helping" the Cuban people. A bit of history first. Cuba has experienced two military interventions by the Unites States. The first was the consequence of the war with Spain. The Cuban Republic in Arms represented the people but in a state of uprising. The United States Army, as it occupied Cuba after Spain's exit, found a devastated country and a people without democratic experience. It took on the task to rebuild and facilitate elections. And it did the job. Cuba was rebuilt, the administration was honest, institutions were organized and in 1902 elections took place for a Constitutional Assembly, Municipalities, Congress and the Presidency. To sum up, a Rule of Law was established. The Platt Amendment imposed on the Cuban Constitutional Assembly gave the U.S. a right of intervention and was the only issue that marred this otherwise commendable effort. The Amendment was a project of the congress responding to American investors who desired guarantees for their investments. They feared that a young country without democratic experience would veer from the democratic path and the Rule of Law and fall into civil disorder. (The Platt Amendment was abrogated by mutual consent in 1934)

Unfair as it was, it at least sought to maintain the Rule of Law. In 1906, against the wishes of President Roosevelt, a second intervention took place provoked by political fights that spilled over into civil unrest. Roosevelt tried hard not to intervene. He sent Secretary Taft (later President Taft) to Havana to promote a settlement. After three months of efforts he gave up and the second intervention began. It was administered not by a military man but by a machine politician, Charles Magoon who spent money right and left in order to buy peace.

However, during the two years of the Magoon administration, the rule of Law was strengthened not weakened. Excellent legislation drafted by Cuban jurists was enacted, clean elections took place, and power was restored to a properly elected president. The Rule of Law pertaining to the workings of a representative republic was reestablished.

During the intervention and in subsequent Cuban administrations, citizens rights were respected. The institutions created in 1902 prospered. In those distant years there were free unions in Cuba, labor bargaining, an independent judiciary, habeas corpus, judicial review of the law to insure constitutionality, and rights such as protection against illegal takings, illegal searches and seizures, and all others conferred by a liberal democracy.

What a disgusting regression in values! Today, a sector of the American congress allied again to business and other interests, does not appear to have many libertarian scruples or to be much concerned with the Rule of Law. Incredibly it seeks to intervene in a none too subtle manner in order to promote tyranny rather than liberty!

Cuba has lacked free elections for 43 years, there are hundreds of thousands of victims of the longest tyranny in the Americas, a huge number of Cuban citizens have gone through jail or died for the simple "crime" of disagreeing, property rights are a joke, habeas corpus has been suppressed, freedom of expression is limited to saying: "yes master".

And we face a labor situation worthy of a Dumas novel wherein the Cuban state pockets 95% of what it collects from foreign investors for wages of the labor force which is rented out in the most cynical manner. Castro thus violates several International Labor Conventions signed by both Cuba and the United States, and ratified by our congress. Yet some of its members ignore this fact while blithely asserting their "concern" for the people. The European tourism and foreign investment that allowed this abuse of power have only benefited the new class and not the people, as repression and exploitation have become worse. Money keeps the government Dobermans well fed.

But our congressmen and their cohorts seem bent to fulfill an ambition: to be complicit in this abuse. Scores of congressmen and businessmen visit, cater to, and fawn before the Cuban version of a decrepit godfather hoping to gain a portion of the loot for their supporters and/or companies.

Their argument: the embargo did not work, we must try something else. Which really means: given that we could not reform the gang lets participate in the loot and sell them what they need.

But wait, it gets worse. Castro is broke so in order to buy, he needs credit and of course the "smart" thing to do is to make the US government the creditor, to whom the sellers would sell thereby sticking it to the US. taxpayer.

For contrast, again a bit of history. During the first US intervention the Foraker Law was passed prohibiting American companies to bid for government projects in order to avoid patronage and corruption. The Army meant business: the Postmaster General appointed by the military government was found to be stealing and was indicted, judged, declared guilty, swiftly cashiered, sent to the United States and punished. Those Americans had a high regard for the nation's honor.

The problem, gentlemen of the congress, is that the purpose of the embargo was to point out to the world that there were thieves that robbed American citizens and then threatened them with nuclear catastrophe. It was deemed an appropriate sanction and a fair one considering the alternative, Cuba's obliteration, which the US can do anytime it wants but has properly refrained from doing. Reform of the gang was not the objective, but simply letting the Cubans come to their own conclusions. This has happened, Castro is broke not only financially but morally as well. He rules his people by fear and armed force and faces an increasingly difficult internal situation coupled to international condemnation of his human rights practices.

But today the policy of our congressmen is really "creative": Given that the gang won't change, their solution is:

Let us inaugurate a new way of doing things in the continent, The Rule of Outrage.

That would be the true result, because with investors in cahoots with the ruling gang there would be no labor or citizen rights to be respected, no checks and balances. Profits would be quick and juicy, and even better, paid in part by Uncle Sam.

And what about tyranny, gentlemen of the congress? Your actions imply the answer which is not voiced but clear nonetheless: "Ah well, that will "evolve", we can't all expect to enjoy the same rights at the same time. Some of us are more equal than others, and anyway social experiments in other countries are extremely interesting. Cuba should take its proper place as a provider of cheap labor and vicarious pleasures." That is the truth, in all of its poorly disguised, cynical arrogance.

Fortunately the Executive Power has more common sense and a better feeling for the honor of the American nation. The President has announced that he will veto the legislation that would wrap up the deal with the gang. Let us hope that it will happen and that the time thus gained will be employed by the gentlemen of congress in studying history and in replenishing their personal supply of the principles that have made this country great and that were so well put into play by their predecessors.

Be that as it may, what is monumentally stupid is to expect the Rule of Outrage to have a future. One hundred years ago, when it emerged as a country, Cuba may have lacked a population with a working concept of democracy. But today there are almost two million of Cubans in exile. Many have distinguished themselves in politics, business and the arts and know what it is all about. And in Cuba proper, there is an educated dissidence that has learned through suffering and will not be manipulated as easily as the good congressmen and their allies in the Cuban government think.

Face up to it, you are interventionists but not very bright. Like it or not, you must rely on the repressive forces of the present government to implement your vision of things and such arrangements do not last.

No, you won't sell your wares in Cuba, enjoy the protection of those that now govern, and expect that when the inevitable change occurs you will simply say: "Congratulations! Tyranny has ended but my business and my abuses are to be respected, and lets move on." That tune will not play well in Cuba. The Cuban totalitarians have been a headache. The democrats will be a worse one, but if you wish to add that "exploit" to your record, go ahead , because as the saying goes: to each his own poison. Cubans have a lot of defects and some virtues: they are imaginative, hard working and persistent. They understand the game and will be back again and again to denounce the abuse and ask for justice