US Secretary of State John Kerry travelled to Havana this past August for the flag-raising ceremony at the re-established US Embassy in Cuba. While this event was viewed as a landmark occasion by many in the United States, including the mainstream media, it was just the latest in a never-ending stream of landmarks for Cuba. From the victory of the socialist revolution in 1959 to emerging ties with the Soviet Union and the Socialist bloc during the 1960s to political and economic reforms in the mid-1970s to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and resulting “Special Period” during the 1990s to the far-reaching economic reforms of recent years. In other words, socialism in Cuba is not stagnant; nor is it reliant on US policy. To the contrary, Cuba’s socialism has constantly evolved as it has responded to both domestic and international conditions, and this constant redefining of the model continues today. Continue reading
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Cuba proved to be an influential force at the 2012 Summit of the Americas held in Cartagena, Colombia even though the country was not represented at the meeting of members of the Organization of American States (OAS). The summit ended without a final declaration because two—the United States and Canada—out of the 31 participating nations adamantly opposed a proposal to allow Cuba to participate in the next summit to be held in Panama in 2015. Both U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper referred to a lack of democracy and human rights in Cuba as the primary reasons for their veto of the proposal. Ironically, Obama stated his position on Cuba while standing beside the president of Colombia, the country with the worst human rights record in the region, in yet another blatant illustration of the hypocrisy that exists in U.S. foreign policy.
“A gripping tale of savagery and terror, but also of tenderness, compassion, and renewal.” —Noam Chomsky