For One Democratic State
in the whole of Palestine (Israel)


FOR One Man, One Vote



Cuba Libre

By Israel Shamir

A Talk for the International Conference


Havana, Cuba (24 – 26 October, 2005)


In the North of the Holy Land, in a deep valley, there is a shining white stone pierced by a perennial spring. One may swim in its lucid waters into the depth of the rock, until the tunnel abruptly ends. But a brave soul can inhale, dive under the stony roof for a few meters and emerge in a spacious chamber with good air to breathe and sunlight to enjoy. Such a narrow passage is called a ‘siphon’, and daredevils venture into this great unknown, hoping for the air bubble in the deep innards of earth. This is a risky enterprise, for they do not know whether they face a siphon or a dead end.

In 1991, Cuba came to the abrupt end of the world socialist system. In a course of a few months, the mighty edifice built by the workers of the world in Russia and Eastern Europe collapsed and was taken over by the imperialist forces and their local agents. A cowardly or simply prudent man would turn back into the tender clutches of the new world order waiting at the exit. But Cuba, led by intrepid Fidel, bravely soldiered on, into total darkness of isolation, blockade, embargo, trade war and threats of invasion. Cubans survived with little food and no oil, grass grew thick on their motorways, and their enemies in Miami and Washington counted days to Cuba's collapse.

Surprisingly, this adventure worked out well, for  Cuba is no longer alone  – her Bolivarian sister Venezuela stands next to her. The blockade is broken, Venezuelan oil flows into Cuban factories and power stations, the darkness is left behind. The Cubans emerged into the sunlight. Their cars are running the roads; people come from all over the world to learn the lesson of survival and victory. Once the backyard of  the Yanks, Latin America today strives for freedom and independence.

Cuba's miraculous survival  and the Venezuelan breakthrough were made possible, to a not discountable extent, by the stubborn peoples of the Middle East, for theirs was the area the US imperialists planned to take over after their victory in the Eastern Europe. Instead, they concentrated all their attention in Faluja and Baghdad, in Gaza and Ramallah, in Tehran and Damascus, and forgot about the glowing unrest in Latin America. Thus the Eye of Sauron was wandering in far-away places and battlefields while its Nemesis was approaching the Dark Tower. Even now, as we speak here, the US war machine is ground down by the barbudos of Iraq. Iran withstands the pressure, encouraged by your successes. The bleeding wound of Palestine is still open, and the overextended Yanks, in hock to the Zionists, can’t disengage from the Middle East and turn to slipping-away Latin America. The neocons of Washington have thus brought the long-predicted disaster to their own powerbase.

Your stand is the great encouragement to people everywhere. Belarus upheld the red banner of the Soviet Union; it sticks to its independence despite NATO threats. In Kiev, the pro-American president tried to vote against Cuba, and masses of people crowded the main square protesting; they forced him to apologise for this act. In Russia, your friends are recovering  lost ground. The Red giant of China goes through its modernisation and liaises with Venezuela.

The world has changed greatly since 1991. If, in the 1980s, Islamic militants fought the Russians on the US side in Afghanistan, now they have made a full turn-around, and have taken an important place in the anti-imperialist struggle. In Palestine, Hamas has gained wide public support; in Lebanon, over a million men and women demonstrated in support of Hizbullah. This is not to be dismissed -- in the new war against globalising imperialism, we need all the allies we can get! Their success also shows the need of the masses for spiritual dimension. The Old Left led by rigid Marxists overlooked it; now we should build a new coalition for freedom, for spirit, for patriotism and love for one’s land against the enslaving, uprooting neo-Liberal and pro-Zionist forces.

The great success of Cuba was due to this amalgamation of Left paradigm with patriotism as expressed in Fidel’s words “Patria o Muerte.” Patriotism offers a way for new coalition building, for there is a convergence of interests of various Left and Right patriotic forces, despite many inherent differences. Within the Left, as well as within the Right, there are pro-globalist, pro-US and anti-globalist, anti-US elements. In post-Soviet Russia, such a political coalition between the Communists and other Left patriotic forces on one side and the Nationalists, religious and right-wing patriotic elements on the other side came to existence, in order to counteract the union between pro-Western left liberals and pro-Western right-wing neo-liberals.

Such coalitions are not a new phenomenon:  Chairman Mao called for cooperation with the nationalist Kuomintang against the compradors. However, there are new elements. The new globalist imperialism differs from the older version by its anti-spiritual anti-national anti-traditional tendency. This tendency creates new possible allies, namely, the patriotic elements in the national churches, nationalists and traditionalists.

Within the US, your great neighbour to the North, disenchantment grows with the imperialist course of the political establishment. We wish US well, provided they keep to themselves. A good dose of isolationism is the best we can hope for them. Let them sort out their social disparity, attend to their own problems, and forget about the rest of the world for a while. It will be good for them, and for the world.