The US Has No Right to Call Assata or Cuba Terrorists

Background

Let’s start with the irrefutable statement issued from the lips of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he said in 1967 that the United States is “the number one purveyor of violence on the planet Earth!”  Starting 531 years ago and the illegal invasion of Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) crashing into the area known today as the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, the colonial nightmare began. The so-called U.S. revolution in 1776 was just the official dawning of European colonial conquest over Indigenous lands and of course, that terror against the Indigenous people has continued for this entire 500+ year period.

All of this trauma was accompanied by the violent kidnapping and enslavement of millions of Africans where the U.S. was one of the very last countries to eliminate chattel slavery of Africans, just doing so in 1863-65, less than twenty years before Brazil became the last country to end the enslavement of African people in the West. After 1865, the U.S. had a brief period of potential progress with the Freedmen’s Bureau, but any perceived progression was wiped out with the Plessy v.s. Ferguson decision of 1898 which institutionalized racial segregation throughout most of the U.S. through so-called Jim Crow laws. Fully operational until the 1970s, Jim Crow made the demotion of African human rights in the U.S. policy on every conceivable level and the vestiges of this systemic oppression can still be found in 2023 with mass incarceration, job discrimination, housing discrimination, police terror, health disparities, etc. 

On an international level, U.S. terrorism has been equally horrific. It can be unquestionably argued that U.S. participation in World Wars I and II were motivated by desires to see the U.S. rise as the undisputed capitalist and imperialist world power. And, each of the devastating U.S. invasions since World War II in Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, have all played the role of attempting in some, and succeeding in others in consolidating U.S. terrorist and capitalist hegemony over those societies.

The U.S. and Terror against Cuba

That previously mentioned U.S. invasion against Cuba is ironic because it symbolizes 60+ years of U.S. terror against Cuba’s socialist development. And, although the U.S. has most people living in the U.S. convinced that Cuba – not the U.S. – is the terrorist country, the evidence is overwhelming in indicting U.S. actions against Cuba while Cuba can be accused of nothing besides attempting to build a society that prioritizes people over profit. In other words, despite what the 98% European (white) so-called Cuban community in Florida will tell you, the actual facts will always illustrate and confirm the following:

  • In 1961, the U.S. sent 1500 Navy Seals into Playa del Giron (the so-called Bay of Pigs) with the intention of overthrowing the democratically supported Cuban revolutionary government that was led by Fidel Castro. That effort was defeated by the Cuban people.
  • In 1962, the U.S. falsely accused the Cuban government of threatening world peace because of the Soviet missiles that were set up in Cuba, aimed at the U.S. What they conveniently forgot to inform us in school is that the missiles were only placed there because the U.S. had previously had nuclear missiles stationed in Turkey, aimed at the Soviet Union who was Cuba’s chief ally at that time. The U.S. missiles and the missiles in Cuba were removed, but historically, this has to be seen as a defeat for U.S. imperialism.
  • In 1962, the criminal and illegal U.S. economic blockade against Cuba was instituted making it illegal for any country wanting to stay on the right side of the U.S. (for fear of economic isolation themselves) to desist in engaging in trade of any type with Cuba meaning spare parts for machines, automobiles, medicines,food, other supplies, etc., were virtually impossible for Cuba to get.
  • The 1980 Marial Boatlift resulted from the U.S. Carter Administration accusing Cuba of violating hundreds of thousands of people’s rights by imprisoning them. Cuba responded by asking the U.S. to explain where those people were wrongly incarcerated and when the U.S. identified the prison spaces in Cuba, the Cuban government responded by releasing 125,000 of those incarcerated in the identified prisons onto a boat headed for Miami. The majority of those 125,000 people were hardened criminals in Cuba and they became hardened criminals in the U.S. The realities of this were even illustrated in the Hollywood movie “Scarface” starring Al Pacino. Carter got egg on his face. Another victory for the Cuban revolution.
  • In 1992, with the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. celebrated the eventual fall of the socialist Cuban government, telling everyone who would listen (including all of the illegal invasions of Cuban airspace that the U.S. launched during that time, dropping thousands of anti-Cuban revolution leaflets on Cuban land space) that the days of the Cuban revolution were numbered. The Cuban revolution responded by relying on the innovativeness of their people, creating unprecedented gains in bio-medicines developed from plant life, etc.
  • In 2000, the U.S. attempted to use the young boy Elian Gonzales as a weapon against the Cuban government. That backfired and today Mr. Gonzales is a respected leader in the Cuban Communist Party.

We could go on and on, but the point is the U.S. is the country that has terrorized Cuba for six decades. This terrorism includes training and material support (through covert support from the Central Intelligence Agency) for traitor Cuban terrorists on U.S. soil like Luis Posada Carilles, Orlando Bosch, and terrorist organizations like Alpha 66 and Omega 7 engaging in repeated attacks against Cuba where dozens of Cubans have been killed. There is also the above ground support for lobby organizations like the Cuban American National Foundation which has always served as a front group financier for the terrorist cells previously mentioned. Meanwhile, even the most ardent haters of the Cuban revolution cannot name one act of sabotage the Cuban government has carried out against the U.S. Literally hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. have visited Cuba and came back declaring how bogus U.S. claims are about democracy in Cuba, but still the lies continue.

Central to the lie narrative is the U.S ‘s continued attempts to portray former Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur as a criminal. Accused of the death of a New Jersey state trooper in 1973, Assata’s only crime was being a leading figure in the struggle for African liberation against the U.S. government. Since 1984, she has lived peacefully in Cuba under political asylum while the Cuban government has had to take drastic steps in ensuring she is safe due to U.S. efforts to bride U.S. terrorists to go to Cuba and kidnap and/or kill Assata in order to bring her back to the U.S. for money.

Conclusion

The reasons why the U.S. will never cease labeling Cuba and Assata as terrorists are because the most important thing Cuba and Assata have in common is their unwavering resistance against U.S. imperialism. As long as the Cuban Revolution and Assata Shakur exist, free and uncontrolled by U.S. dominance, there exists a shining light for all of humanity who need a vision that the U.S. in particular, and capitalism/imperialism in general, are not invincible and can and will one day be defeated.

Currently, there is a national call to take Cuba and Assata off the U.S. terrorist list. These are noble efforts and we commend the organizers waging that campaign, but we encourage everyone to view this issue beyond the scope of making reform demands against imperialism. Instead, we desire to continue to intensify the revolutionary work designed to build capacity through revolutionary consciousness and action. This work will create the conditions where we can effectively organize revolutionary change, wiping out capitalism and imperialism, following in the footsteps and inspiration provided to us by the collective example of the Cuban Revolution and the personal revolutionary example of Assata Shakur.


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Ahjamu Umi is revolutionary organizer with the All African People's Revolutionary Party, adviser, and liberation literature author.