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Bush's Brazen Lies in Cuba speech

Bush and corporate press continue to lie about the real situation in Cuba and real reason for US anti-Cuba vendetta.
George Bush's reply to Jimmy Carter's visit to Cuba was the usual tissue of falsehoods that successive US presidents have fed the American public about the island nation. Most laughable is his "shocked, shocked, shocked" discovery that elections in Cuba are fraudulent. In fact, many foreign observers have witnessed Cuan elections and do not agree with that assessment. Cuban local, provincial and national elections are based on universal suffrage. Local candidates are nominated from neighborhood caucuses and there must be at least two candidates for each constituency for the election to go forward. Although it is true that only the Communist Party is legally recognized, it is also the case that elections in Cuba are non-partisan, i.e. you don't have to be a party member to run and candidates are not identified by party in the election campaign. Candidates elected at the local level tend to be local activists and civic leaders respected by the people, or just respected neighbors.
What about Florida? Who can have forgotten the Florida fiasco of 2000, in which the Bush brothers put George Jr. into the White House by a scandalously fraudulent election? It is well documented that thousands of African-Americans in particular, who were not likely Bush voters, were denied the right to vote. The margin provided by this electoral fraud was more than enough to decide the election at the state and national level. Bush said foreign observers should be sent to observe the 2003 elections in Cuba; does he plan to send Florida Secretary of State Harris to do the job?
It is also precious that Bush comes to the defense of Cuban workers, including their right to unionize. Cuban workers are 95% unionized, US workers 13%, the latter figure much thanks to the anti-labor attitudes of political leaders like Bush. Many US and foreign trade unionists have visited with Cuban union activists and report that the unions in Cuba are internally democratic and heavily involved with all decision making in the country, especially economic planning. In every other Latin American country, unions are out in the street confronting the governments' neo-liberal policies of structural adjustment, free trade, privatization and cuts of public services. Cuba is virtually the only Latin American country that has refused to implement such anti-worker policies.
One additional note: False information is being put out about the "Varela Project", a petition drive being circulated within Cuba by opponents of the socialist government. It is being stated in the corporate press here that the Cuban constitution requires that a referendum be held on any item that gets 10,000 signatures on a citizen petition. If this were true, it would be one more proof of Cuba being the most democratic country in the world, of course. But the information about requiring a referendum is not correct. The presentation of a petition with 10,000 signatures only makes it obligatory that a committee of the Cuban parliament look into the issues that are raised; there is no requirement of a popular referendum, any more than there is in the United States. The parliamentary committee is constitutionally free to accept, reject, modify, pass on to the full Parliament or kill such a petition based request. I will have more to say about this in a subsequent posting.



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