The U.S. has never mastered the art of coexistence and solidarity. Those are not words used in U.S. foreign policy. But those should be our bottom line words.
Americans in general and particularly American presidents historically have been quite nationalistic, and have projected that idea to what is known as U.S.-centered policies. Even if they did not say the words “America first”, as Trump has clearly spelled them out, all the actions of U.S. presidents have always put U.S. interests first – albeit their own vision of them – at the expense of many other nations. No one can doubt that on the face of the U.S. domination in the world.
This is the first anniversary of the Cuban Revolution when Fidel Castro is not with us physically. He passed away last 25 November at the age of 90. During nine days he has been officially honoured in Cuba with visits from dignitaries and world leaders who have remembered him for his many achievements for Cubans and for humanity. Around the world, including in Canada from coast to coast, millions have celebrated his life. Many still mourn him.
Today, the movement is redefining its focus after a successful end to the long campaign to secure the release of the Cuban Five (Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, René González and Fernando González); an overwhelming victory for the island and its supporters.
A year of intense work is how Kenia Serrano Puig, President of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) described 2016, while speaking to the national press in Havana in honor of the institution’s 56th anniversary, and the lead up to the anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution, on January 1.
In 1960, the American sociologist and academic Daniel Bell (1919-2011) published The End of Ideology. It became a classic book in official political science. The publication was listed by Times Literary Supplement as one of the 100 most influential non-fiction books in the second half of the 20th century.
We were witness to his vocation for solidarity, there following a natural disaster, an act of injustice, a people in need of healthcare, or youth desperate to study. He understood that poverty is eradicated through cooperation, not with bombs.
After following many of the war tragedies that have happened and continue to happen during these last few days of 2016, I feel like I’m turning one thousand years old. Not in terms of chronological age, but in terms of accumulated weight of recurring histories of never-ending cravings and unfulfilled desires for power mostly from despotic governments and tyrants trampling on social justice – the fundamental value – that remains unachievable despite tireless popular resistance and rebellions.
From a progressive perspective we have great examples of what fair foreign policy could look like precisely from Latin America. Cuba has laid out a good model of foreign policy based on mutual respect and solidarity.
We need to understand foreign policy because I believe that foreign policy often determines domestic policy. I do recognize the importance of fighting on domestic issues, but in order to understand those issues we must understand where they come from. Domestic problems are usually a reflection of foreign policy.
Let me raise some questions without explanation in order to illustrate and stimulate independent thinking.
Cuba has always been about change. Never still, Cuban society is constantly searching to… revolutionize, to do things better, to do things differently with a keen sense of pride and independence. Two Canadian authors have captured that dynamism and reflected it in the titles of their books: "Cuba a Revolution in Motion" by Isaac Saney, and “Cuba and its Neighbours – A Democracy in Motion” by Arnold August.
From his high school days into the 1950s, Fidel Castro familiarized himself with the writings and activities of José Martí, among other 19th-century Cuban fighters for social justice and independence from Spain. Fidel read all of Marti’s 28 volumes. He also studied the works and practical activities of Marx, Engels and Lenin. He examined and held a deep respect for the Bolshevik Revolution.