Independent Foreign Policy? / Fernando Dámaso

Photo Rebeca

The issue of foreign policy has always been central for any state. All declare, unequivocally, that their foreign policy is independent. However, nothing is further from reality. Historically, the foreign policy of states has always been conditioned on economic, political, and ideological interests. These go beyond national frameworks and reach into neighboring states, first, and then generally on to the rest. Meanwhile, more of humanity has developed and relationships have been universalized, dependence between states has strengthened and this, undoubtedly, adds a crucial element to the content of foreign policy.

In the bipolar world that emerged from World War II, the foreign policy of states, whether they accepted it or not, responded to one or the other of the blocks created. To escape from them was virtually impossible, since their real influence was all-encompassing. Even the foreign policy of the so-called non-aligned nations, was underpinned by an indirect alignment with the now extinct Soviet Union, which sustained and manipulated them.

Cuba’s foreign policy, like that of any other country, neither before nor now has been alien to this dependency. Before 1959 it moved within the norms of Western democratic bloc, led by the United States, against the Eastern bloc, led by the former Soviet Union. Our statements in international bodies and our positions and actions, were in correspondence with it: we were united by economic ties, political and ideological as well as historical, geographical, cultural, etc., belonging and being part of the Western world of Greco-Roman descent.

After 1959, our foreign policy took a full turn, joining the East Bloc against the Western bloc. Our foreign policy, although proclaimed truly independent, as before, was not, with the aggravation of being more dependent and respond to a block that was historically, geographically and culturally distant, with which we had absolutely no connection.

This change was based on the new economic, political and ideological ties established ton confront the neighbor to the north which with hard work and good luck was converted into the necessary external enemy, as recommended by Machiavelli in his famous work The Prince.

It is easy to see at a glance that the new foreign policy was born heavily conditioned: there is not a single statement, position or act contrary to Soviet foreign policy during the thirty years of the Soviet-Cuban marriage, as there is not a single statement, position or act that does not condemn the United States or other Western countries, which were labeled as lackeys.

It seems that our older brothers the Soviets possessed the key to absolute truth and were never wrong, because we were always fully in agreement with them. However, history shows quite the opposite: the invasion of Hungary (1956), the construction of the Berlin Wall, the nuclear weapons facility in Cuba, the invasion of Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, and so on.

Today, the Soviet Union has disappeared and the independent countries that formed the Eastern bloc are independent of it; but Cuba’s foreign policy, always dependent, without departing one iota from its sickly ideologicalization, joins militantly with the residue of the past and the so-called new integrationist or nationalist movements, oblivious to the reality of the globalized world we live in, continuing the political and ideological confrontation with the neighbor to the north and its lackeys, not working to achieve a climate of peace and good relations with all countries, which the Cuban people so much need in order to engage in rebuilding their nation and to achieve prosperity and happiness.

January 12 2012