The weekly newsletter of the México Solidarity Project
September 29, 2021/ This week’s issue/ Meizhu Lui, for the editorial team
Who doesn’t love the story of a kid with a slingshot bringing down an armored nine-foot tall warrior wielding sword and javelin? In countless US movies, we’ve all cheered the valiant underdog who vanquishes a powerful and evil enemy who threatens a vulnerable people.
But what if you happen to be the Goliath — and the kid hasn’t slayed you, just fought you to a standstill? Imagine the wound to your pride, your burning desire for revenge that even stomping down other kids can’t quench. The United States has been that Goliath ever since the end of the Cold War swept away any geopolitical rationale for continuing US hostilities toward the island. The US has sustained these hostilities for decades now, painting little Cuba as a big danger to the entire world, formally listing Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” maintaining a blockade that serves only to starve the Cuban people.
Countries that have lived under similar threat, including México, look at Cuba with a mixture of wonder, delight, admiration — and support, as Pedro Gellert explains in our interview this week. Latin Americans see what’s going on with Cuba through the sovereignty prism. A century and a half ago, the Monroe Doctrine proclaimed Latin America the backyard of the United States, and the US has, ever since, been acting like the schoolyard bully who decides who can play there and who can’t, beating up on those who disobey. Earlier this month, México’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador pushed back against that bully. In a fittingly symbolic move, he used the annual commemoration of México’s own independence day to applaud Cuba for maintaining its sovereignty against all odds.
But not just formerly colonized countries think the US should lay off Cuba. The UN General Assembly has for 30 years made that case, most recently this past June when 184 nations voted to demand an end to the US blockade.
Those of us who love David but live with Goliath need to pressure our merciless giant to put down his sword and shield. Our Cuban David-and-Goliath story needs a sequel. Can we write one where the bad guy becomes a good guy? Why not! We all love that story line, too!
Pedro Gellert edits the Morena Internacional newsletter, an appropriate role for a veteran activist in global solidarity circles. Gellert has been long involved in efforts defending Cuba’s sovereignty and also helped found the Mexican NGO focused on struggles in the Middle East, the Coordinadora de Solidaridad con Palestina. Among his other efforts: an active role in the México Solidarity Project.
México has maintained friendly diplomatic relations with Cuba since the Cuban revolution in 1959. Why did the PRI government keep that relationship in spite of pressure from the US?