Workers Vanguard No. 966

8 October 2010


Cuba and the Haiti Occupation


19 June 2010

Dear WV,

The rogue capitulation vis the Haiti earthquake aftermath had some consequences I’d like to address.

Without a thorough proletarian perspective, we missed the chance to sharply expose & explain the dual contradictory nature of the Cuban worker state bureaucracy & our strategic aims for the Caribbean region.

A tactical call on the Cubans to provide such relief as possible, given the limited resources of island socialism, was one option. That they did so is laudable—a measure of solidarity with the Haitian masses. This despite the more pressing concern to get the US out of Guantanamo Bay, which involves political will & objective military considerations. Of course, providing aid is far subordinate to political and/or military actions. This was not a case of say, the Soviets in Afghanistan.

On the other hand, Cuba’s support to the UN & allowance of US military aircraft in their airspace are dangerous concessions to US imperialism. These threaten the very existence of the worker state & enable imperialist invasion of Haiti & should be condemned.

Relatedly, we did not explain our historic strategic position to Extend the Cuban Revolution & For a Socialist Federation of the Caribbean. This would require building Trotskyist parties throughout the region.

The Haitian diaspora need to be won to the ICL. We also could have called for trade union relief, which in the US, would have to be independent of the bosses, the UN & Obama’s troops.


WV replies:

AK’s letter raises useful points concerning elements of the Trotskyist program, particularly in regard to Cuba, that we gravely compromised by supporting the entry of U.S. troops into Haiti following the devastating earthquake, which the Obama White House presented as a “humanitarian” mission. In repudiating this betrayal of Marxist principle, we noted that “in failing to oppose the invasion, we also ignored the particular danger this posed to the Cuban deformed workers state” (“Repudiating Our Position on Haiti Earthquake—A Capitulation to U.S. Imperialism,” WV No. 958, 7 May).

Key to our defense of Cuba against imperialism and capitalist counterrevolution is our fight for proletarian political revolution against the nationalist Castroite regime. Following the Stalinist dogma of “building socialism in one country,” the Cuban bureaucracy opposes the fight for proletarian revolution internationally, not least in the belly of the U.S. imperialist beast. The Stalinists’ program undermines the necessary defense of Cuba against the imperialists, who seek nothing less than to smash the workers state and re-establish capitalist exploitation.

In regard to the Cuban bureaucracy’s support to the United Nations, we would note that Havana has indeed repeatedly appealed to the UN, a den of imperialist thieves and their victims, as part of its pursuit of “peaceful coexistence” with imperialism. While sharply criticizing the sending of U.S. and other imperialist troops to Haiti in January, Fidel Castro called to “entrust the UN with the leading role that corresponds to it” (Granma Internacional, 25 January). The UN’s “leading role” has been to enforce an imperialist occupation of Haiti under the guise of its MINUSTAH “stabilization mission,” which was put in place by the U.S. and other imperialist forces in 2004. Criminally, the Chinese Stalinist regime helped prop up the occupation of Haiti by sending contingents of riot cops, both in 2004 and again after the earthquake.

As for the Cuban government granting the U.S. request to fly over its airspace in the aftermath of the quake, our article at the time (WV No. 951, 29 January) cited this decision as a justification for not opposing the occupation of Haiti, conflating aid with imperialist military intervention. This rationale was all the more twisted since Fidel Castro correctly denounced the U.S. intervention as an occupation. The initial agreement simply and unobjectionably allowed American military aircraft to temporarily transport medical evacuees through Cuban airspace on the way to Florida. The agreement was subsequently extended to also allow U.S. flights carrying “humanitarian relief supplies” to Haiti to fly over Cuba—a more elastic agreement. All the same, we are in no position to say that the Cuban government could have, or should have, rejected this request. It also bears mentioning that U.S. and other commercial airliners fly over Cuban airspace every day.

In “Haiti: Mass Misery Under Imperialist Occupation” (WV No. 962, 30 July), we described the intense repression carried out by MINUSTAH forces and demanded that all UN, U.S. and other military and police forces get out of Haiti. In that article, we noted: “Our perspective—for a workers and peasants government in Haiti as part of a socialist federation of the Caribbean—is inextricably linked to the fight for the revolutionary overthrow of U.S. imperialism.” The key task is the building of Trotskyist parties in the U.S. and elsewhere as sections of a reforged Fourth International.