The big American cock and the small Cuban needle

Ogunsakin Mustapha
8 Min Read
Owei Lakemfa

By Owei Lakemfa

United States of America, USA, the most powerful country in the universe, to place a country on the list of states “sponsoring” terrorism.

So, when on May 15, 2024 it placed Cuba in this category, it was bound to attract attention. However, the cat and mouse game between both countries since November 3, 1961 when President John Fitzgerald Kennedy signed “The Cuban Project.” Otherwise called ‘Operation Mongoose’ it was a project by the US authorising the use by all means including terrorism, against Cuban civilians to overthrow the Cuban government.

At inception, the Operation was jointly led by US Air Force General Edward Lansdale and William King Harvey of the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA.

The Kennedy administration had begun with the invasion of Cuba by exiles backed by the American military in what became known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion. There were other attacks including hundreds of attempts to assassinate former Cuban President Fidel Castro Ruiz.

Terrorism is essentially the use of violence to further political goals. But the USA has a number of definitions depending on various institutions like the CIA.

However, since we are concerned here with international relations, we can adopt the USA State Department definition which states that terrorism is: “an activity that one, involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; two, appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or, three, to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.”

Now, Cuba does not involve itself in violent acts that are dangerous to humanity. Its acknowledged acts outside its borders are primarily two. The first, is sending medical personnel in their tens of thousands to various countries especially Asia, Latin America and Africa, including Nigeria. One of its remarkable successes, was helping to contain Ebola in Africa.

But is most spectacular contribution to humanity was during the Covid-19 pandemic. First, it was perhaps the only country in the world that refused to shut its borders against other human beings. When in March 2020, the British cruise ship, MS Braemer with 682 passengers on board was ravaged with Covid-19 and left to drift in the Caribbean with no country allowing it to berth, Cuba brought in the ship.

It followed this up by sending 3,700 healthcare personnel around the world to combat the pandemic. This included missions to Italy, Azerbaijan, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Peru, Antigua, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Suriname, Jamaica, Haiti, Belize, Barbados, Martinique and Trinidad and Tobago.

Here in Africa, Cuban doctors and nurses helped to Combat Covid-19 in Angola, Togo, Cape Verde, South Africa, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and Kenya.

This internationalist intervention by the Cuban doctors called “The White Coat Army” was so over whelming that in my September 11, 2020 column titled “Nobel Peace Prize: A case for the White Coat Army.” I joined the campaign that the Cuban internationalist medical teams under the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade, be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The second intervention the Cubans had engaged in, was sending 55,000 troops over 9,000 kilometres to fight and conquer the seemingly invisible Apartheid South Africa military that was invading various African countries and colonizing Namibia and South Africa. This led to the independence of these two colonies in Africa.

While we in Africa were grateful to the Cubans, the USA and Great Britain, saw the Cuban action as terrorism. So, the USA not only declared Cuba, a state sponsor of terrorism, it also declared the liberation movements like the African National Congress, ANC as a terrorist organisation.

While South Africa became independent in 1994, it was not until May 5, 2008 that the USA parliament voted on “ Removing the African National Congress from Treatment as a terrorist organisation.” Also, the USA removed liberation fighters like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Oliver Thambo from its list of ‘terrorists’.

Cuba was first designated a so-called sponsor of terrorism in 1982 for backing liberation movements like the ANC and SWAPO and supporting revolutionary governments like the Sandinista in Nicaragua.

On April 14, 2015, the USA under President Barack Obama reviewed this classification of Cuba and admitted it was political and unhelpful. On that day, the White House declared: “ While President Obama acknowledges that Cuba and the United States continue to have great differences, these differences do not pertain to Cuba supporting terrorism.” So Cuba was removed from the list.

Events outside the control of Cuba and, having no relation to terrorism, led to the re-listing of Cuba. On January 23, 2019, then American Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo issued a statement on the “Recognition of Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s Interim President.” This was a failed coup by the USA to unseat Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro. The Trump administration was livid that Cuba refused to recognise Guaido, so on January 12, 2021, eight days before leaving office, President Donald Trump, relisted Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism for its continued recognition of President Maduro.

It was expected that incoming President Joe Biden who was Vice President to Obama when Cuba was delisted, would reverse the Trump decision more so as it had nothing to do with terrorism. However, the Biden administration has simply continued to relist Cuba.

In the analysis of the Cuban Government: “It is nothing but a totally unilateral and unfounded list, whose sole purpose is to smear sovereign States and serve as a pretext for imposing coercive economic sanctions on them, as those ruthlessly imposed on Cuba.”

If anything, it is Cuba that has been the victim of USA terrorism. The USA Justice Department in its 1976 Office of Justice Programmes Report confirmed terrorist attacks against Cuba from the USA. It listed some of these as including airplane bombings, attacks on ships, assassinations and bombings of Cuba civilians.

It is also ironic that the Apartheid Netanyahu regime in Israel which is carrying out genocide in the Palestine despite worldwide condemnation, is not designated terrorist. But a country like Cuba that carries out demonstrable humanitarian work, is not at war with anybody, has a hundred per-cent literacy, perhaps the best health system in our universe and, ranks high on social indices, is routinely, and perhaps mindlessly, listed as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The big American cock has for over six decades attempted to devour tiny Cuba; but the latter is a needle which the cock might be unable to bite, chew or swallow.

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