The triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 was the first case of a sustained act of disobedience to the Empire that managed to successfully resist its retaliation. Lacking any other possible explanation or reasonable theory, this reveals the cause of the aggressiveness, intensity and persistence over time of the United States’ policy against this small archipelago in the Caribbean.
Cuba has been able to resist any number of aggressions from the US Government: mercenary invasions like the Bay of Pigs, terrorist acts against commercial flights, cargo ships, hospitals, schools, hotels and other civilian facilities; more than 600 hundred attempts on the life of Fidel Castro and other revolutionary leaders, as well as the longest economic, financial and trade blockade ever imposed on a nation in history. All of these together with a sustained smear campaign in the US and world corporate media.
The victory of Cubans over Batista’s tyranny by means of a popular armed struggle inspired patriots in many countries in the continent to take the same road for the liberation of their countries from foreign domination.
But, under the direction of the United States, and with the assistance of military advisors from the superpower, Latin American tyrannies ruthlessly repressed such actions that had been inspired by the Cuban victory. Without previous trial, tens of thousands of suspected young revolutionaries were tortured, murdered or disappeared in the 60’s and 70’s of the previous century.
Operation Condor, the most outrageous operation of Latin American dictatorships in those years, was designed and promoted by the CIA in its role of global covert organization to practice state terrorism against Latin American popular movements. It was an intelligence plan coordinated among the security services of the military regimes in Argentine, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia, but its criminal effects were felt in all the countries in the region.
Paradoxically, the role of the armed forces repressing the people for the benefit of oligarchic interests gave origin to many actions of dignity within military barracks. Officers and soldiers promoted among their ranks revolutionary and patriotic ideas to counter the prevailing shameful situation.
There would then come a time when these military dictatorships at the beck and call of the Empire, having lost their prestige in the management of government, had to give way to processes of so-called “representative democracy” with the presumption that the traditional oligarchic parties could recover their previous controlling hold and together with their subordination to Washington, keep up the implementation of the neo-liberal globalization scheme initiated in the continent through those tyrannies.
The street fighting and electoral struggles that followed the retreat of the military provided the framework for the people to impose their numbers over the fortunes of the oligarchies.
The disobedience to Washington’s dictates that Cuba practiced without interruption since 1959, as reaffirmation of its independence, was stimulated by the successes of the Bolivarian revolution which in its turn fertilized the soil for a proliferation that today includes most of the Latin American and Caribbean nations.
With enough motivation to confront imperialism and the Cuban Revolution steadfastly showing the feasibility of breaking down the fatalistic mechanism of geopolitical subordination to the United States, in Venezuela young Commandante Hugo Chávez, inspired by the liberatory and integrationist ideals of Bolívar –after a failure in a military uprising– adopted the political strategy that circumstances demanded and, with a government platform of high social content, won three consecutive presidential elections.
The coming to power in the early years of the 21st century of several popular leaders, who aimed at the self-determination of their countries and believed in regional integration as a fundamental resource to make this viable, marked the emergence of several integrationist projects that culminated in the creation of the Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC) as a new hemispheric organization that excludes the United States and Canada, as an alternative to the US dominated Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA).
This has been the highest point of a process that could be called “the Hemispheric Revolution of Disobedience”.
To get this far, several methods of struggle were necessary, but the final goal is still to achieve a truly democratic and independent Latin America, with its own regional identity and the maximum social justice.