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U.S. Personalities React to Trump’s Reversal against Cuba

U.S. Personalities React to Trump’s Reversal against Cuba- Comments in response to President Trump’s anti Cuba speech of hate in Miami Florida on June 16 [Intellectuals and Artists in Defense of Humanity, United States]
[Cuba-Network in Defense of Humanity, July 3, 2017]

Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher
The current administration combines a clownish (and very dangerous) figure who prances in the spotlight with the most savage wing of the Republican organization, dedicated with passion to enriching the wealthy and powerful while kicking the rest in the face. One primary goal is to dismantle anything connected with the hated Obama – and it is worth bearing in mind that “racial animus has shaped reactions to Obama since his emergence as a presidential contender and throughout his presidency,” to quote the mainstream academic literature (Gary Jacobson, Political Science Quarterly). Since Obama made some gestures towards normalization with Cuba, these must be attacked. Not just Cuba, but much of the world, and future generations, are at considerable risk.

James (Jim) Winkler, President and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches
My friend, Rev. Joel Dopico, general secretary of the Cuban Council of Churches, wrote me on June 16 with this message, “A sad day.” I agree. The churches in Cuba and the U.S. have worked together for decades to normalize relations between our nations and to end the U.S. blockade. Donald Trump’s foolish move sets back the progress we have made, but we know he will not have the last word.

Ann Wright, retired United States Army colonel and U.S. State Department official
I am aghast at President Trump's speech in Miami and his administration's roll back of travel opportunities that are key to cultural and academic exchanges for better understanding of our respective societies.

Setsuko Ono, painter and sculptor
How sad it is that such a big and powerful country can elect a person with so little intelligence and such lack of concern for what is good for the American people. I am sorry that Cuba and its people have to suffer injustice once again because of the idiocy of United States.

Rafael Cancel Miranda, Puerto Rican Citizen and former political prisoner
My first reaction to the words of Donald Trump with respect his new policy towards Cuba was one of outrage. And I know that the reaction of compañero Fidel would have been ¡Patria o Muerte Venceremos! Because I know the history of US imperialism, I am not surprised by Trump’s words. Although other US presidents spoke in a less irresponsible way, they acted the same as whatTrump proclaimed, not only against Cuba but also against all the other people of Latin-America. Let us remember Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger and Operation Condor that was responsible for the death of thousands. We are all Cuba and Venezuela. Unity among all of us is an urgent need. As Fidel and Chavez said, revolution is the unity against imperialist terrorism. What will happen in Cuba will affect all Latin-Americans including those who live in US territory. As I said on one occasion in a Cuban radio program, US imperialism brings death to the world, while the Cuban revolution brings life. To end, imperialism is our common enemy, let us not allow it to divide us.

Dan Kovalik, human rights, labor rights lawyer
The thawing of relations with Cuba is way overdue. Not only should President Trump relent from his plans to close down relations that were open by his predecessor, but he should also make moves to end the 50-plus years blockade against that island nation which poses absolutely no threat to U.S. interests.

Nelson Valdes, Emeritus Professor of Sociology
Donald Trump, the representative of world oligarchic interests, considers Cuba a threat. No surprise. Trump sides with the interests of a very small but very powerful minority in the US and the world - rightwing "exiles". Cuba represents the interests of humanity and defends the promotion of peace, justice and solidarity world-wide. It is not surprising that the people who handle Trump's affairs as president of the US ended up selecting the reactionary, plutocratic and lying interests who live in south Florida. Trump and his allies in Florida lie without the need to practice, it is now inherent.

Jane Franklin, Historian and scholar
In a Miami auditorium on June 16, 2017, President Donald Trump delivered his remarks to an audience of reactionaries who, alongside imperial Washington, have continued a State of Siege against the Cuban Revolution since 1959. He promised that this day would be "a great day for Cuba" as they shouted "Trump, Trump, Trump" with the adulation this president craves. These reactionaries are in jubilation mode now that they have a president who is marching backward with them without any pretense of going forward. But most people in the United States do not wish to go backward, away from Cuba. A majority of U.S. citizens want to go forward, toward normalization of relations with Cuba. We want the right to travel that the U.S. Supreme Court ordered exactly 59 years earlier, on June 16, 1958, and we want an end to the trade embargo, a blockade aimed at starving the Cuban people into submission, and an end to the illegal occupation of Cuban territory at Guantánamo Naval Base. We will work with the Cuban people to uphold Cuba's independence and sovereignty.

Clarence Thomas, Secretary Treasurer ILWU Local 10, retired
The bonds of solidarity between workers in the U.S. and the revolutionary workers of Cuba cannot be broken by any president, certainly not this one. “ILWU policies and actions on foreign affairs have always been built on the belief that international labor solidarity and world peace is the cornerstones of social and economic justice for all workers, including the membership of the ILWU.” In 1960 an ILWU rank and file delegation visited Cuba as the Eisenhower administration began economic warfare against Cuba by cutting the sugar quota. “The ILWU has been guided in these actions by the conviction that solidarity with workers of all lands is sound union policy. To help build this understanding, the ILWU has sponsored overseas delegations of rank-and file members and has, in turn, hosted trade union visitors from every continent.” It is the inalienable right of workers to travel and associate with our sisters and brothers around the world. Trump actions will not stop this.

William Blum, American author, historian
If anyone still had doubts that Donald Trump is a genuine classical right winger, his speech in Miami should put those doubts to rest; a right winger of the most uneducated, simplistic and uncompassionate type.

Bill Fletcher Jr, former president of TransAfrica Forum
Donald Trump and his rightwing allies wish to turn the clock back on US/Cuba relations. Trump & company are able to coexist with communist-led governments in China and Vietnam. Trump supports regimes, such as Saudi Arabia, guilty of horrendous human rights abuses. The issue with Cuba is that a long line of US governments have viewed the Western Hemisphere as their terrain. And, as with the French after Haiti secured independence in 1803, Trump & company, along with their predecessors, cannot accept that a nation of black and brown people have defied imperial domination. People of conscience must resist the Trump regime and its nefarious efforts to return us to the 19th century.

Netfa Freeman, Events Coordinator at the Institute for Policy Studies, and radio producer and host for Voices With Vision on WPFW 89.3 FM, Washington DC.
One lesson Donald Trump should have learned from the effect of Obama's initial 'human rights' rhetoric around Cuba at the beginning stages of negotiations, is that such talk opened the door for Cuba and the whole world to expose the atrocious human rights record of the U.S. human. And Trump's timing couldn't have been better. He makes his completely ignorant speech demanding so-called Cuba human rights when the U.S. state fails to prosecute the police murderer of Philando Castile and when another cop in Seattle kills the pregnant Charleena Lyles. This only a couple of months after he directly attacks the Syrian people with missile and orders the mother of all bombs dropped on innocents in Afghanistan. This idiot couldn't give better proof of his genuine concern for the well being of the Cuban people.

Piero Gleijeses, professor of U.S. foreign policy
The embargo punishes the Cuban people because they refuse to turn against their government. It is a criminal and failed policy. It is only fitting that Donald Trump wants to strengthen it.

Gayle McLaughlin, former Mayor of Richmond, CA and candidate for California Lt. Governor in 2018.
It is outrageous that the Trump Administration is rolling back many of the positive steps made in Cuban/US relations in the last period of the Obama Administration. Those gains took a lot of hard work and dedication from activists all over the world. Though there remained work to be done, the US was finally at the beginning stage of opening up fair and just relations with our island neighbor, which was not only for the benefit of Cuba but also for the benefit of the US. Irrespective of setbacks, those of us on the side of justice know that the work for normalizing relations with Cuba, lifting travel restrictions, and ending the blockade will indeed continue. We will never surrender to the forces of injustice!

Cindy Sheehan, peace activist
It is discouraging to see Donald Trump rolling out the moldy Cold War rhetoric regarding Cuba and to see the gains the Cuban people fought so hard for be put in jeopardy. There are many positive programs in Cuba for citizens of the US (including its leaders) to learn from and I hope Trump sees the cowardice in his escalation of tensions and pursuit of re-tightening travel restrictions. Let the people go to Cuba and see how wonderful it is for themselves.
Michael Parenti, political historian and writer
Plutocratic leaders like Donald Trump do all they can to keep history from happening. Yet people of both Cuba and the United States move forward and use their voices and organizations to mobilize the interests of democratic forces throughout the world.
Peter Phillips, professor of sociology and former director of Project Censored
Trump’s reversal on Cuba is a return to Cold War lies and disinformation regarding our progressive open communal democratic neighbor nation 90 miles south of Florida.

James Cockcroft, author, lecturer and poet
Trump's Miami speech was one more instance of his celebrating himself to a captive audience of fanatical right-wingers, this time the Cuban mafiosos and terrorists who long have terrorized Cuban progressives and others in Miami and elsewhere but now have lost their accustomed power and influence to the vast majority of Cubans who desire an end to the genocidal economic blockade of Cuba, the return of Guantánamo to Cuba, the constitutional right to travel to Cuba, and peace. Hopefully, saner voices along with several U.S. business interests seeking investments and trade with Cuba, will prevail on U.S. Cuban policy formation, with full recognition of Cuban sovereignty and independence. To avoid more deaths in the ongoing bloody history of U.S. interventionism in Cuba (and elsewhere), the international solidarity movement with Cuba becomes more important than ever.