My Questions For Obama
The brightest and best of the presidential hopefuls seeks to extend a cruel, immoral Cuba blockade
By Fidel Castro
29/05/08 "The Guardian" -- - It would be dishonest of me to remain silent after hearing Barack Obama's speech delivered at the Cuban American National Foundation last Friday. I feel no resentment towards him, for he is not responsible for the crimes perpetrated against Cuba and humanity. Were I to defend him, I would do his adversaries a favour. I have therefore no reservations about criticising him and expressing myself frankly.
What were Obama's statements? "Throughout my entire life, there has been injustice and repression in Cuba. Never, in my lifetime, have the people of Cuba known freedom. Never, in the lives of two generations of Cubans, have the people of Cuba known democracy ... I won't stand for this injustice ... I will maintain the embargo."
This man who is doubtless, from the social and human points of view, the most progressive candidate for the US presidency, portrays the Cuban revolution as anti-democratic and lacking in respect for freedom and human rights. It is the same argument US administrations have used again and again to justify crimes against our country. The blockade is an act of genocide. I don't want to see US children inculcated with those shameful values.
No small and blockaded country like ours would have been able to hold its ground for so long on the basis of ambition, vanity, deceit or the abuse of power, the kind of power its neighbour has. To state otherwise is an insult to the intelligence of our heroic people.
I am not questioning Obama's great intelligence, his debating skills or his work ethic. He is a talented orator and is ahead of his rivals in the electoral race. Nevertheless, I am obliged to raise a number of delicate questions. I do not expect answers; I wish only to raise them for the record.
Is it right for the president of the US to order the assassination of any one person in the world, whatever the pretext? Is it ethical for the president of the US to order the torture of other human beings? Should state terrorism be used by a country as powerful as the US as an instrument to bring peace to the planet?
Is an Adjustment Act, applied as punishment to only one country, Cuba, in order to destabilise it, good and honourable when it costs innocent children and mothers their lives? Are the brain drain and the continuous theft of the best scientific and intellectual minds in poor countries moral and justifiable?
Is it fair to stage pre-emptive attacks? Is it honourable and sane to invest millions and millions of dollars in the military-industrial complex, to produce weapons that can destroy life on earth several times over? Is that the way in which the US expresses its respect for freedom, democracy and human rights?
Before judging our country, Obama should know that Cuba - with its education, health, sports, culture and science programmes, implemented not only in its own territory but also in other poor countries around the world, and in spite of the economic and financial blockade and the aggression of his powerful country - is proof that much can be done with very little. Cuba has never subordinated cooperation with other countries to ideological requirements. We offered the US our help when hurricane Katrina lashed the city of New Orleans. Our revolution can mobilise tens of thousands of doctors and health technicians. It can mobilise an equally vast number of teachers and citizens who are willing to travel to any corner of the world to fulfil any noble purpose, not to usurp rights or take possession of raw materials.
The goodwill and determination of people constitute limitless resources that would not fit in the vault of a bank. They cannot spring from the hypocritical politics of an empire.
· Fidel Castro is former president of Cuba. This is an edited version of an article that appeared in Granma, the Cuban Communist party newspaper granma.co.cu