CUBA: FIDEL responds to Bush State of Union Address – “The Antithesis of Ethics”

Posted on January 30, 2008


On the day when hundreds of intellectuals coming from every continent are
meeting in Havana to take part in an International Conference for World
Equilibrium on the date of José Marti’s birth, on that same day, by some
strange quirk, the President of the United States spoke. In his last State
of the Union address to Congress, making use of the teleprompter, Bush tells
us more with his body language than with the words arranged by his advisors.

If to the three speeches that I mentioned in my words to the delegates at
the Meeting of January 29, 2003 we added the one he gave yesterday on the
28th, translated into Spanish by CNN -accompanied by the raising of eyebrows
and odd gestures- recorded and immediately transcribed by qualified staff,
this one is the worst of them all on account of its demagoguery, lies and
total absence of ethics. I am speaking of the words that he probably added,
of the tone he used and which I personally observed; that is the material I
worked with.

“America is leading the fight against global poverty, with strong education
initiatives and humanitarian assistance (…) This program strengthens
democracy, transparency and the rule of law in developing nations, and I ask
the members of this Congress to fully fund this important program.”

“America is leading the fight against global hunger. Today, more than half
the world’s food aid comes from the United States. Tonight, I ask Congress
to support an innovative proposal to provide food assistance by purchasing
crops directly from farmers in the developing world, so we can build up
local agriculture and help break the cycle of famine.”

At the beginning of this paragraph he is referring to the old commitments
taken on by the United States in the past with FAO and other international
agencies, one drop of water in the sea of the agonizing present needs of

“America is leading the fight against disease. With your help, we’re
working to cut in half the number of malaria-related deaths in 15 African
nations. And our Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is treating 1.4 million
people. We can bring healing (…) to many more (…) And I call on you (…)
to approve an additional $30 billion over the next five years.”

“America is a force for hope in the world because we are a compassionate
people (…)”

“Over the past seven years, we’ve increased funding for veterans by more
than 95 percent (…) And as increase funding we must also reform our
veterans system to meet the needs of a new war (…) so we can improve the
system of care for our wounded warriors.”

“So I ask you to join me in (…) creating new hiring preferences for military
spouses (…)”

“By trusting the people, succeeding generations transformed our fragile
young democracy into the most powerful nation on Earth (…) our liberty will
be secure and the state of our Union will remain strong.”

He states all this calmly, but from the beginning of his speech, where he
avoids all the thorny problems, he goes along brick by brick laying the
foundations of that false liberty and prosperity, without even the slightest
mention of the American soldiers who have died or been wounded in the war.

He had begun the speech by pointing out that “most Americans think their
taxes are high enough (…)”. He threatens Congress: “(…) [you] should know
(…) if any bill raising taxes reaches my desk, I will veto it.”

“Next week I’ll send you a budget that terminates or substantially reduces
151 wasteful or bloated programs, totaling more than $18 billion. The
budget that I will submit will keep America on track for a surplus in 2012.”

Either he made a mistake with the figure, or the collecting of $18 billion
means nothing to a budget that totals 2.8 trillions.

The most important thing is to distinguish between the deficit of the State
budget which totaled 163 billion, and the deficit of the current account of
the balance of payments that totaled 811 billion in 2006, and the public
debt is calculated at 9.1 million millions. His military spending totals
more than 60 percent of the total invested in the world for that reason.
Today, on the 29th, one ounce of gold broke a record at 933 dollars. This
mess results from the unrestricted issuing of dollars in a country whose
population spends more than it saves and in a world where the purchasing
power of United States currency has been extraordinarily reduced.

The formula his government usually employs is to express confidence and
assurance in the economy, lowering the bank interest rates, throwing more
bills into circulation, worsening the problem and postponing the

What does the price of sugar mean today, as it stands now at 12.27 cents a
pound? Scores of poor countries dedicate themselves to its production and
export. I mention this example just to illustrate that Bush deliberately
entangles and mixes everything up.

The President of the United States carries on like this in his Olympian
stroll through the problems of a planet lying at his feet.

“Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,
modernize the Federal Housing Administration, and allow state housing
agencies to issue tax-free bonds to help homeowners refinance their
mortgages (…)”

“We share a common goal: making health care more (…) accessible for all
Americans (…). The best way to achieve that goal is by expanding consumer
choice, not government control (…)”

“(…) we must trust students to learn if given the chance, and empower
parents to demand results from our schools.”

“African-American and Hispanic students posted all-time highs (…) Now we
must work together to increase accountability, add flexibility for states
and districts and reduce the number of high-school dropouts (…)”

“Thanks to the (…) Scholarships you approved, more than 2,600 of the poorest
children in our Nation’s Capital have found new hope at a faith-based or
other non-public school. Sadly, these schools are disappearing at an
alarming rate in many of America’s inner cities (…). And to open the doors
of these schools to more children, I ask you to support a new $300 million
program (…)”

“Today, our economic growth increasingly depends on our ability to sell
American goods and crops and services all over the world. So we’re working
to break down barriers to trade and investment wherever we can. We’re
working for a successful Doha Round of trade talks, and we must complete a
good agreement this year.”

“I thank the Congress for approving the (…) agreement with Peru. And now I
ask you to approve agreements with Colombia and Panama and South Korea.”

“Many products from these nations now enter America duty-free, yet many of
our products face steep tariffs in their markets. These agreements will
level the playing field. They will give us better access to nearly 100
million customers. They will support good jobs for the finest workers in
the world: those whose products say ‘Made in the USA’.”

“These agreements also promote America’s strategic interests.”

“Our security, our prosperity, and our environment all require reducing our
dependence on oil (…) generate coal power (…)
“Let us create a new international clean technology fund, which will help
(…) to slow (…) and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.

“To keep America competitive into the future, we must trust in the skill of
our scientists and engineers and empower them to pursue the breakthroughs of
tomorrow (…) So I ask Congress for (…) federal support (…) and ensure
America remains the most dynamic nation on Earth (…)”

Always appealing to chauvinism, he continues his flight of fancy to other

“Tonight…America honors (…) the resilience of the people of this region
[the Gulf Coast]. We reaffirm our pledge to help them build stronger and
better than before. And tonight I’m pleased to announce that (…) we will
host (…) the North American Summit of Canada, Mexico and the United States
in the great city of New Orleans (…)”

“The other pressing challenge is immigration. America needs to secure our
borders -and with your help, my administration is taking steps to do so.
We’re increasing worksite enforcement, deploying fences and advanced
technologies to stop illegal crossings (…) and (…) this year, we will have
doubled the number of border patrol agents.” This is one of the sources of
well-paid jobs that Bush has in mind.

He does not wish to remember that Mexico was robbed of more than 50 percent
of its territory in a war of conquest, and he would like nobody to recall
that on the Berlin Wall, during its almost 30 years of existence, less
people died trying to gain access to the “Free World” than Latin Americans
are dying today –no less than 500 each year–trying to cross the border in
search of employment, with no Adjustment Act to grant them privileges and
motivation as it does for Cuban citizens. The numbers of illegal immigrants
arrested and traumatically deported every year totals in the hundreds of

Straightaway, the speech leaps to the Middle East from which he has just
returned after a “Veni, vidi, vici” diplomatic junket.

After mentioning Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, he states: “And
that is why, for the security of America and the peace of the world, we are
spreading the hope of freedom (…) In Afghanistan, America, our (…) NATO
allies and 15 partner nations are helping the Afghan people defend their
freedom and rebuild their country.”

He makes no mention whatsoever that this was exactly what the USSR tried to
do when it occupied the country with its powerful armed forces that ended up
defeated in the clash with that country’s different customs, religion and
culture, independent of the fact that the Soviets had not gone there to
conquer raw materials for their great capital and that a socialist
organization that never did any harm to the United States attempted to
change the course of the nation in a revolutionary manner.

Right away Bush leaps to Iraq which had nothing to do with the attacks on
September 11, 2001, and which was invaded because that was what Bush,
President of the United States, and his closest collaborators decided to do,
with nobody in the world harboring any doubt that the aim was to occupy the
oilfields; this action cost that people hundreds of thousands of dead and
millions of people uprooted from their homes, or forced into emigration.

“The Iraqi people quickly realized that something dramatic had happened.
Those who had worried that America was preparing to abandon them instead saw
tens of thousands of American forces flowing into their country. They saw
our forces moving into neighborhoods, clearing out the terrorists, and
staying behind to ensure the enemy did not return (…) Our military and
civilians in Iraq are performing with courage and distinction, and they have
the gratitude of our whole nation (…)”

“A year later (…) we’ve captured or killed thousands of extremists in Iraq
(…) Our enemies in Iraq have been hit hard. They are not yet defeated, and
we can still expect tough fighting ahead.”

“Our objective in the coming year is to sustain and build on the gains we
made in 2007, while transitioning to the next phase of our strategy.
American troops are shifting from leading operations, to partnering with
Iraqi forces, and, eventually, to a protective overwatch mission (…)”

“(…) this means more than 20,000 of our troops are coming home.”

“Any further drawdown of U.S. troops will be based on conditions in Iraq and
the recommendations of our commanders.”

“Progress in the provinces must be matched by progress in Baghdad.”

“(…) still have a distance to travel. But after decades of dictatorship and
the pain of sectarian violence, reconciliation is taking place -and the
Iraqi people are taking control of their future.”

“The mission in Iraq has been difficult (…). But it is in the vital interest
of the United States that we succeed.”

“We’re also standing against the forces of extremism in the Holy Land (…)
Palestinians have elected a President who recognizes that confronting terror
is essential to achieving a state where his people can live in dignity and
at peace with Israel.”

Bush says not one word about the millions of Palestinians stripped of their
lands or driven away from them, victims of an apartheid system.

Bush’s formula is well-known: 50 billion dollars in weapons for the Arabs,
from the industrial-military complex, and 60 billion for Israel in ten
years. We are talking of dollars that maintain a real value. Someone pays
for it: the hundreds of millions of workers producing cheap goods with their
hands and being paid a minimum salary, and hundreds of millions more who are

But the speech does not end here: “Iran is funding and training militia
groups in Iraq, supporting Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, and backing
Hamas’ efforts to undermine peace in the Holy Land. Teheran is also
developing ballistic missiles of increasing range, and continues to develop
its capability to enrich uranium, which could be used to create a nuclear

“Our message to the leaders of Iran is also clear: Verifiably suspend your
nuclear enrichment, so negotiations can begin.”

“America will confront those who threaten our troops. We will stand by our
allies, and we will defend our vital interests in the (…) Gulf.”

We are not talking about the Gulf of Mexico, but the Persian Gulf, in waters
that are only 12 miles away from Iran.

There is a historical fact here: in the days of the Shah, Iran was the best
armed power in the region. When the Revolution triumphed in that country,
led by the Ayatollah Khomeini, the United States encouraged Iraq and
provided support for the invasion. That was the beginning of a conflict
which cost hundreds of billions and untold numbers of dead and maimed, and
today is being justified as part of the cold war.

Really, we don’t need other media to inform us about the speech made by the
President of the United States; all we need to do is to let Bush speak for
himself. For people who know how to read and write, people who think,
no-one can make a more eloquent criticism of the empire than Bush himself.
I’m responding to him on behalf of the country in question.

I have worked hard.

I hope that I have been impartial.

Fidel Castro Ruz
January 29, 2008.
Time: 7:35 p.m.

Posted in: Cuba, Imperialism, US