Havana. May 27, 2009
The shameful history of the OAS (II)
• The OAS against Cuba • Inter-American complicity in and legitimization of U.S. aggression against the Cuban people • Raúl Roa’s battle for dignity
ON March 18, 1959, just two and a half months after the popular victory of January 1st, Raúl Roa García, the new Cuban ambassador to the Organization of American States, was setting out the position that would define the relationship between the triumphant Revolution and the hemispheric organization from then on: “…For long years, Cuba’s genuine voice had not been raised or heard in the OAS Council…. It is worth recalling, because of its historical novelty and obvious encouragement for those peoples who are still oppressed. The overthrow of dictatorships through armed action is not an unusual event in our America; the one that overthrew Fulgencio Batista’s in Cuba, however, is.”
“I am going with my people, and with
my people, the peoples of our America are likewise leaving here, affirms Raúl Roa in defense of dignity.”
This position taken by Cuba was based on its revolutionary leadership’s knowledge of what was then the brief and sad history of the OAS in the service of the United States which, since 1959, had drawn up a plan to utilize the organization against the Revolution and our people. Up until then, no multilateral or regional mechanism had inflicted or had attempted to inflict more damage on a country than the OAS in relation to Cuba.
The so-called “Cuban question” was a priority on the OAS agenda, and, in line with U.S. interests, it began to lay the foundations for Cuba’s political/diplomatic isolation and the activation of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR) in order to “legitimize” direct military aggression against Cuba.
In August 1959, the governments of Brazil, Chile, the United States and Peru asked for a Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs to address the situation in the Caribbean. The Revolution had passed the first Agrarian Reform Act, which eliminated large landholdings, including that owned by United Fruit; those who held interests in this company included the Dulles brother: Allan Dulles, who was U.S. secretary of state, and Foster Dulles, director of the CIA.
The 5th Foreign Ministers Consultation Meeting in Santiago de Chile did not adopt any document condemning our country, but created a “conceptual framework” that would serve the purposes of yanki policy toward our nation; it established the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, while the Inter-American Peace Commission was given new powers, as part of a strategy for creating or perfecting the tools that would be key to applying yanki directives against Cuba within the OAS.
The meetings took place one after the other, and Roa, forewarned of the objectives of those meetings in terms of the Caribbean, stated, first in Washington: The Cuban government is convinced that all of those accusations are an attempt…to creation a hostile international environment for Cuba, and to organize in Cuba an international interventionist-type conspiracy, with the aim of interfering in, blocking, or wrecking the development of the Cuban Revolution. He later rounded off his remarks in San José with a revealing charge: If this is about doing justice, then Trujillo and the United States government, jointly, should be punished.
CONSPIRACY AND VINDICATION IN SAN JOSE
The 7th Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs took place in San José, Costa Rica from August 22-29, 1960. One of the points on the agenda was the strengthening of continental solidarity and the Inter-American System, particularly in response to threats of extra-continental aggression and taking into account international tensions in the Caribbean region, so as to ensure the harmony, unity and peace of the Americas, among others.
The meeting adopted a declaration whose operative paragraphs 4 and 5 stated, “…The Inter-American System is incompatible with all forms of totalitarianism and democracy will only achieve the height of its objectives on the continent when all of the American republics adjust their conduct to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Santiago de Chile and all member states of the regional Organization have the obligation of submitting to the discipline of the Inter-American System, voluntarily and freely agreed upon and that the firmest guarantee of its political independence comes from obedience to the stipulations of the Charter of the Organization of American States.”
In San José, the necessary conditions were established, on yanki terms, to impose the exclusion of the Cuban government. In protest, on announcing his decision to withdraw from that shameful cabal, Foreign Minister Roa declared, in a memorable and resounding statement, Cuba’s definitive break with the OAS: “…The Latin American governments have left Cuba on its one. I am going with my people, and with my people, the peoples of our America are likewise leaving here.”
In response to the outcome of the San José meeting, more than one million Cubans came together in the Plaza de la Revolución in a historic General Assembly of the People of Cuba and adopted the First Declaration of Havana, in which they rejected the hegemonic intentions of the United States toward Cuba, its policy of isolating our nation and the servility of the OAS in the face of those lies.
THE EXPULSION AND ATTEMPT AT ISOLATION
In December 1961, at Colombia’s request, the OAS Permanent Council decided to call the 8th Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs for January 1962 (from the 22nd to the 31st), in Punta del Este, where new resolutions were passed, four of them against Cuba. The fourth however, was an OAS “jewel”, titled Exclusion of the Present Government of Cuba from Participation in the Inter-American System, the maximum yanki aspiration for de-legitimizing our Revolution politically and diplomatically. The resolution passed with 14 for (the United States had to buy Haiti’s vote to get a minimum majority), one against — Cuba — and six abstentions: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Mexico. The latter two nations stated that expelling a member state could not proceed, because the organization’s Charter had not been previously modified.
The Cuban president at the time, Osvaldo Dorticós, raised the same banner that Foreign Minister Roa had raised before in that same scenario: “…If what is being attempted here is for Cuba to submit to the decisions of a powerful country; if what is being sought is for Cuba to capitulate, renounce the aspirations of well-being, progress and peace that motivate its socialist revolution and give up its sovereignty; if what is being attempted is for Cuba to turn its back on countries that have demonstrated sincere friendship and total respect to it; if, in a word, the idea is to enslave a country that has achieved its full freedom after a century and a half of sacrifices, then let it be known once and for all: `Cuba will not capitulate.’… We came convinced that a decision would be made against Cuba, but that will not affect the development of our Revolution. We came to move from being the accused to being the accuser, to accuse the guilty one here, which is none other than the imperialist government of the United States…. The OAS is becoming incompatible with the elimination of the latifundia, with the nationalization of imperialist monopolies, with social equality, with the right to education, with the elimination of illiteracy… and in that case, Cuba should not be in the OAS…. We might not be in the OAS, but Socialist Cuba will be in America; we might not be in the OAS, but the imperialist government of the United States will continue to have, 90 miles from its coast, a revolutionary and socialist Cuba….”
With the Bay of Pigs defeat of 1961, with the failure of Operation Mongoose plans that led to the October (Missile) Crisis of 1962, with the economic, commercial and financial blockade proclaimed, and with terrorist gangs fighting in the Escambray Mountains, all that was left for the United States was to internationalize its despicable policies. For that, it used the 9th Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, in Washington, in July of 1964, via a resolution based on the TIAR, which had replaced the OAS Charter, stipulating that the governments of the American States should break off their diplomatic and consular relations with the Cuban government.
Only Mexico maintained a dignified position and did not bow down to the empire’s plans.
THE DEMOCRATIC CHARTER AND THE FAILURE OF A BAD POLICY
September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers were collapsing in New York, was the very date for approving the Inter-American Democratic Charter, the most recent and underhanded yanki maneuver against Cuba in the OAS, and which established the rules that countries are obliged to follow in order to belong to the hemispheric bloc. Previously, member countries could not be Marxist-Leninist; now, they are required to adopt bourgeois representative democracy and the “Market as God.” In the background, Cuba’s exclusion was being promoted in a similar manner.
But the Revolution entered the 21st century as the victor in the longest and cruelest siege that any nation has known in the history of humanity. It is a symbol that the imperialist powers are not absolute or eternal. The nobility and determination of our people is recognized all over the planet. The OAS had resoundingly failed.
Cuba has fluid diplomatic relations with every nation in the hemisphere and was acclaimed in the Rio Group, because no nation on the continent ever excluded us. Our country was not frightened, did not give in, did not change its sovereign decision one iota, and did not negotiate its freedom, independence or self-determination. It is not a fanatical position but a principle, one established by the “Foreign Minister of Dignity,” Raúl Roa, in August of 1959, when he said, “…The Cuban Revolution is not to the right or to the left of anybody: it is in front of everyone, with its own and unmistakable position. It is not third, or fourth, or fifth position. It is our own position.”
To be continued…