An unwelcome visitor
Published Mar 28, 2010 10:09 PM
We haven’t heard that the FBI is investigating the Tea Party gangsters who attacked Black and gay members of the House of Representatives this March. We haven’t heard that this arm of the capitalist state is probing into the loan agreements between the big banks and the universities that offer loans to students and turn them into indentured servants.
What we did hear about was that FBI agents have started to harass U.S. residents who visited Cuba in the summer of 2009. According to a news release from the Venceremos Brigade, five people who traveled with the VB to Cuba have been “visited” by the FBI. The VB has been organizing educational and work trips to Cuba since 1969 and has been instrumental in that whole period of 41 years — along with groups like Pastors for Peace more recently — in contesting the onerous U.S. blockade of the Cuban Revolution.
We put “visited” in quotes because this is not like someone politely stopping by for coffee. The FBI wants to get their foot in your door to allow them to talk to you. Any talking can be a problem, as the FBI is known to try to intimidate the people they talk to and also provoke them. Anything you say can and will be held against you and is the equivalent of speaking under oath. Thus the standard good advice, which the VB seems to follow, is simply to refuse to speak.
Another question comes to mind related to this policy of harassment. When President Barack Obama was elected and in the early months of his administration, he gave the impression that he was for improving relations with Cuba, perhaps even working toward normalization. Though he talked as if he were ready for some sort of progressive negotiations, the U.S. posture toward Cuba hasn’t changed one iota for the better.
It hasn’t opened up on trade with Cuba. Washington and the European Union have used any pretext — for example, the recent death of a Cuban prisoner during a hunger strike — to wage a hypocritical propaganda campaign against the socialist island. The Pentagon even brought the Fourth Fleet out of mothballs to have it patrol South American waters and the Caribbean, which increases the military threat. And now we get another piece of evidence that the U.S. posture toward Cuba is hostility as usual.
It is — in a sick way — understandable that the U.S. ruling class would want to prevent people in the U.S. from seeing — even under conditions of relative poverty — a society that functions under a system that reinforces mutual solidarity rather than dog-eat-dog. People might start thinking there is a better way of doing things than the way they’re done here. And it might look even better to those from U.S. cities and regions with underemployment and unemployment rates of 20 percent or more.
So we applaud the VB’s determination to “continue to travel to Cuba.” And we join them in their demand that the U.S. government stop harassing those who exercise their constitutional right to travel to Cuba and also tear down the blockade preventing normal trade between the countries.
FBI hands off the Venceremos Brigade! U.S. hands off Cuba!