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Don't underestimate Cuba


The Bush administration set aside around $80 million for the "Transition to a Free Cuba". A plan was drawn up to establish capitalism in Cuba in the event of Fidel Castro's death. A secret annex to the plan outlined invasion plans. Activists in mass organisations were to be rounded up and imprisoned – trade unionists, women, young people, and communists.

Unlimited money was to be given to any dissidents or anti-Castro organisations set up on the island. Even the US Interest Section in Havana (US embassy) that distributes this largesse, is displaying huge neon signs attacking Cuba and its leadership calling for a counter-revolution. Some in Miami could not wait to get their hands on "confiscated property" – plantations, houses and other property. But they were to be disappointed. "We have achieved a smooth succession," commented a member of Cuba's ruling National Assembly. "We cannot accept this," cried Bush. "We cannot have one dictator replaced by another!"

What he failed to take account of was that Cuba did indeed have a "dictatorship" – a dictatorship of the working class – the highest form of democracy. A collective leadership has taken over the functions of President Castro following his complex surgery for intestinal problems days before his 80th birthday. They will either return his duties in the event of his recovery, or if not, there will be elections according to the constitution to elect a new President. Nor did Bush count on the prayers offered for Fidel's recovery by the Cuban Catholic Church or the expressions of solidarity and good wishes from national leaders around the world.

Bush underestimated the respect that both Cuba and Fidel are held in around the world. Like in more than 60 countries where Cuban doctors provide free health care to the people or where Cuban teachers are eradicating illiteracy and improving education standards. Or the 135 countries that voted Cuba onto the new United Nations Human Rights Committee recently. Or the 180 countries that voted against the US blockade of Cuba at the UN in 2005. Or the fact that Cuba is to host the World Conference of Non Aligned Nations in Havana in September.

Comrades in Cuba have advised WORKERS that Fidel's condition is "delicate". We wish him a speedy recovery and recognise the achievements of his leadership, not least in steering Cuba out of the "special period" in recent months and years. We stand with the Cuban working class in defending their revolution from subversion and attack, and recognise that their struggle is ours, against capitalism and for a better world.