Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's March 22, 2016 Letter

The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge—who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group’s newsletter)

“March 22, 2016

“Dear Comrades
“Hope all is well. Obama came, saw and went. For Cubans of a superstitious bent, the deluge of rain that greeted the president as he arrived at Havana’s Jose Marti Airport was noted. Like his visit.

“Ever since the 1959 Cuban Revolution swept away US puppet Batista, the tiny island has stood as a beacon of dignity and independence to its vast army of supporters. And what a struggle to remain so in the face of Washington’s brutal blockade that forced Cuba to redistribute poverty rather than wealth. Despite its desperate circumstances, we could only admire its outstanding achievements in the areas of healthcare and education, paid maternity leave and equal pay rates, all provided as a right to its citizens regardless of income. Not like the US or Australia where wealth determines everything.
“Cuba also spends money and resources on overseas medical missions, while Washington fights wars, kills people and imposes blockades. Which is why my blood boiled when Obama had the gall to raise the issue of Cuba’s human rights during his brief visit. What a bloody cheek, what arrogance from the leader of a nation with such an atrocious track record. It’s the United States that should be taking lessons from Cuba.

“Obama didn’t hand back Guantanamo Bay, 45 square miles stolen from the Cubans more than a century ago, which the US continues to occupy under a 113- year old neo-colonial treaty. Cuba has refused to cash in the annual $4,085 ‘rental’ since 1960.

“And I presume the Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program, a Bush-era scheme, is still in place, which offers speedy entry into the US for any Cuban medic who defects. Its sole purpose is to undermine Cuba’s medical missions, a brilliant initiative where over 50,000 Cuban medical personnel deliver health care to people in 60 countries, poor people who don’t have access to such care. Cuban doctors have saved 85,000 lives in Bolivia alone.

“When anyone raises the issue of human rights, you tell them: Cuba did not impose a stifling 55-year blockade on the United States, did not put the United States on a list of sponsors of terrorism, did not try to assassinate US presidents or try to overthrow the US government to promote ‘regime change’ or give overt and covert support to violent terrorist groups to attack Washington or use biological weapons. Cuba did not, in breach of international law, beam propaganda radio and TV signals into the US, or use agencies like USAID to financially support anti-government groups in the name of ‘robust democracy assistance.’

“And while you’re at it, remind detractors that the US has refused to sign the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights!

“But there is a hell of a challenge facing the Cuban Government. Opening up Cuba’s economy could damage the strong community bonds that have enabled Cubans to survive all the horrors that have been thrown at it. As I write, new hotels are proliferating to cope with the influx of American tourists, leading to a surge in prices for accommodation, food and taxis, numbers that will inevitably grow.

“At risk, the beautiful, unique colonial-era architecture and other places that make Cuba so special. How ironic it would be if the hordes of overweight, hamburger-chomping Americans could achieve what invasions, assassination attempts and CIA plots could not do, bugger up Cuba’s revolutionary ideals. We firmly believe that Cubans will never allow that to happen.

“According to Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, UN Commissioner for Human Rights, his conviction of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, shows that no-one is above the law. Bull. Those responsible for far worse bloodshed are still at liberty and unlikely to ever be prosecuted.

“A year ago, a report called Body Count compiled by international physicians, revealed that at least 1.3 million people had died in the US-led ‘war on terror’ in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. A figure that does not take into account casualties in other war zones such as Yemen, with the authors stressing that the figure is a ‘conservative estimate’. To this appalling death toll we must add the numbers of people killed during the NATO bombing of Libya and those killed in Syria by terrorists armed and funded by the West. The West’s neocons and their allies are responsible for the greatest amount of death, destruction and human misery on this planet since the days of the Third Reich whose foreign policy they have emulated. Why aren’t the likes of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton and John Howard in the dock?

“No, we must hate Karadzic and not delve too deeply into how the secessionist wars in Yugoslavia started and who lit the fuse. Yugoslavia was ‘expendable’ and the West supported the destroyers like Croatian’s Tudjman and Bosnia’s Izetbegovic who got ‘good press’ coverage because their policies suited the elites.

“Two elections on the way, with the US result probably having more impact here than our own. Neo-fascist buffoon Trump, a rich, white xenophobic crackpot, heavily supported by angry middle and working class Americans tossed onto the economic rubbish dump, their lives blighted by four decades of engineered competition with low-wage overseas labor and ‘free trade’ agreements, versus the Clinton Machine.

“Clinton loves Wall Street, Israel and the TPP. A dedicated imperialist, militarist and racial opportunist, she is strongly supported by the corporate media.

“Sanders? The corporates don’t like his message and ignore him, but he’s still in the ring.

“Like Tony Abbott, unfortunately. It’s been announced that Abbott has joined a group of other horror-heads - Tony Blair and John McCain - who’ve been invited by Ukraine’s President Poroshenko to advise him how to rule Ukraine! Poroshenko must be desperate.

“ Joan Coxsedge”

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