Cuba-U.S. Relations – A Book Review

Nino Pagliccia

A new book by Canadian journalist and political scientist, Arnold August, has recently been published by Fernwood Publishing (2017) titled “Cuba-U.S. Relations-Obama and Beyond.” The book has a well-written Foreword by eminent Canadian scholar Keith Ellis (“Arnold August brings to the task his finest gift, his superbly developed talent as a journalist.”). Ricardo Alarcon, former permanent representative of Cuba to the United Nations, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Deputy and President at the National Assembly of People’s Power, wrote the Introduction to the book where in his last sentence he writes that Che Guevara’s warning, “never trust imperialism, not one iota,” “remains as relevant as ever.

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Arnold August: Dedico esta medalla a la obra de Fidel


Palabras de nuestro colaborador Arnold August tras recibir la Medalla de Amistad concedida por el Consejo de Estado a propuesta del ICAP. La Habana, 4 de julio de 2017

Muchas gracias, Fernando, por sus amables palabras. Muchas gracias Gerardo por hacerme entrega de esta Medalla. Me siento honrado de estar hoy aquí en presencia de ustedes dos, por dos razones en particular.

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Trump Cuba Policy: What Will Happen in Coming Months?

By Arnold August on June 19, 2017

The official June 16 statement was barely uttered when the majority nationwide opposition to the Trump Cuba policy was once again reignited. Indeed, it was already extremely active and vocal before the Little Havana, Miami venue and date were announced on June 9. By stage-managing the event in Little Havana, Trump was preaching to the choir, one that does not even include the rest of Florida, where the majority of Cuban-Americans oppose the blockade, or at least support the Obama policy of making the blockade somewhat more flexible. Trump’s trademark manner of hand-picking events to spread the word across the country will not work. His Cold War rhetoric will not detract the forces that want to increase trade and travel to Cuba.

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The End of Ideology in Cuba?

By Arnold August

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.

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Fidel’s Legacy to the World on Theory and Practice

By Arnold August

legato-de-fidelFrom 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.

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Fidel the Guerrilla in 2015–16 and Beyond

Fidel and Obama 2016By Arnold August

Fidel’s thinking on tactics and goals with regards to Cuba–U.S. relations will be a necessary guide for years to come.

During U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba on March 20–23, 2016, I was commentating on the event with Cuban colleagues for the Caracas-based teleSUR television network. On the Cuban side, the event was overshadowed by Cuban diplomacy skillfully led, in a complex situation, by President Raul Castro and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From the Obama administration’s perspective, the trip also consisted of diplomacy. However, it was tainted by a heavy dose of speeches and talks that promoted U.S. Cuba policy, which is very self-serving. The resistance in Cuba by Cubans and some foreigners, including myself, to this U.S. cultural, political and ideological assault seemed to have taken a backseat. However, on March 27, only a few days after Obama’s departure from Cuba, Fidel Castro shared his reflections, ironically titled “Brother Obama.” It hit Cuba and the world like a bomb. We will soon analyze it. 

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Some Thoughts on Cuban Resistance to US Ideological/Political War

By Arnold August, April 25, 2016

Arnold AugustBefore leaving Montreal for Havana in March 2016 to cover the Obama trip, I wrote an article on Cuba–US relations. Referring to the cultural war to include, in the broad sense of the term, ideological and political aggression, I asked:

“The question is, will Obama’s visit to Cuba provide Cubans the opportunity to make headway against the cultural war, or will it allow the US to make inroads? Or are both these scenarios on the horizon?”

My intention at that time was to deal with this question immediately upon my return from Cuba. However, one feature became clear during my stay in Havana and immediately following it. Both in and outside of Cuba, the repercussions of the visit not only continued but were being ramped up. In fact, at the time of writing, a month after the trip, the ideological and political controversies are carrying on.

This situation is at present further being fostered by Raúl Castro’s April 16, 2016 Central Report to the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (CPC). He devoted important sections of the Report to the issue of Cuba–US relations.

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Arnold August: Writing and speaking about democracy in Cuba is solidarity

Writer and activist Arnold August in Chapter 9 of "Cuba Solidarity in Canada – Five Decades of People-to-People Foreign Relations" also gives us a first-hand view of a very effective type of solidarity in the form of scholarly publications and public speaking that highlight Cuba’s unique distinctiveness. In reference to his recent book on democracy in Cuba (August 2013), he says, “Writing and speaking about democracy in Cuba is a specific type of solidarity that differs from much of the conventional collective solidarity actions that I have participated in since the early 1990s.”