Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Cuba and the second party

The text of the “Compact with the People of Cuba” is here. It lists the many things the US will do to support a “Cuban transition government,” whatever that might be, including providing emergency food, water, fuel and medical equipment (none of which except perhaps fuel are in short supply in Cuba), helping “rebuild your shattered economy,” and my favorite, “Discourage third parties from intervening to obstruct the will of the Cuban people.” Presumably the third party they have in mind is Venezuela, but.... third party? The unthinking use of that phrase neatly demonstrates the assumption that intervention by the US (the second party) in the affairs of the Cuban people (the first party) is completely natural and legitimate.

(Later): at the roll-out of the report yesterday, Caleb McCarry, the “Cuba Transition Coordinator,” undeftly dodged a question about whether the US would send troops:
MR. MCCARRY: Well, the report, in terms of perspective recommendations, does include a recommendation regarding providing support during a transition, as authorized by U.S. law, to assist the Cuban security forces in making the transition to working under a democratic government. That --

QUESTION: Does that involve the deployment of U.S. forces?

MR. MCCARRY: That’s -- I just gave you the -- recited the part of the report that does refer to, prospectively, in the future with a transition government, the kinds of assistance that might be provided.
In the Report to the President, Venezuela is indeed a big concern. It goes on and on about Venezuela and the Cuba-Venezuela “axis.”

The Report is about what you’d expect, how we’re going to destroy Cuba’s economy until Castro dies, and then how we’re going to rebuild it and bring in a prosperous, democratic future. Or to put it another way, they think they’ve learnt something from the example of how not to do such things, Iraq (which they never mention), but they really haven’t. What they have concluded is that “freedom” is not enough: “Offering to help Cubans meet their basic and unmet social desires and humanitarian needs will be a powerful force for change and the best guarantor that the transition to freedom will succeed”. In other words the “powerful force for change” will be tens of billions of dollars of American money.

Which will be channeled through this “Cuban transition government.” And quickly too: the report calls for the US to be ready “to provide technical assistance in the first two weeks after a determination that a Cuban transition is underway”. The CTG is the black box of the report, a CIA-coup-sized hole in its middle. The report talks endlessly about all the things the CTG should do and all the things we’ll do to help it but says nothing about how it would be formed, how it would push aside the Communists (though we are planning to “undermine the regime’s succession strategy”), from whence its legitimacy would be derived (we’re giving it 18 months to organize elections). McCarry at that press conference kept deflecting questions about this. I’m guessing that’s all covered in the classified parts of the report, because without this mysterious entity, there is literally no plan. The CTG will evidently just magically appear, possibly defrosted from cryogenic freezers in Langley and be embraced by the Cuban people and possibly welcomed with flowers and dancing in the streets.

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