Former Ambassador Cabañas Challenges State Department Role in Cuba
The virtual overflow of the State Department and its office in Havana
José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez
February 17, 2022 Translated by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Department of State. Photo: Alastair Pike/ Archive
In recent months, both Cuban netizens and foreign diplomats residing in Cuba have been surprised by the open manner in which both the State Department in Washington and its embassy in Havana have incorporated into their daily routine the issuance of judgments and opinions about the Cuban internal reality, which they publish and reiterate without any shame. Although the practice has covered several platforms, it has become more present on Twitter, which is supposed to be less popular than Facebook, but where government officials, academics and decision-makers of various kinds are theoretically more present.
This digital exercise, which now has more intensity than during Trump's disorder, began to become more present to the same extent that the dreamers of the end of the Cuban Revolution felt that the ravages of the COVID19 pandemic, together with the damage caused by unilateral coercive measures (blockade), would cause a social explosion in Cuba.
The State Department and its diplomatic representation in Havana left their traces everywhere in the events before and after July 11, but even so they had a certain modesty in those days, to avoid being seen as the direct handlers of the "demonstrators". ”. As the days went by and the "leaders" of those events bought plane tickets to settle abroad and publicly disqualified each other, the American bureaucrats from the Potomac felt the need to carry out a greater protagonism, which became traumatic as the date of November 20 (which later was 15) approached.
For this last show, they had sold tickets at high prices and faced the danger that there would be no staging, as indeed happened. The event most feared by the puppeteers occurred: the stage set of the puppet fell and the child audience finally saw that the puppets did not have a life of their own, but were managed by others.
Until today it is not known if the main bets on the probable Antillean holocaust were made from Havana, or in Washington. The truth is that forecasts were sent from the State Department to the Office of the National Security Advisor and from there to the White House. This intense exchange of memos and proposals resulted in the opening of the USAID coffers and, especially as of September 2021, more funds began to flow to buy videos, statements, blog comments and as many other devices as necessary. to present to the world and to US public opinion a virtual state of affairs on Cuba.
After all, if a high percentage of the US population still considers that the 2020 presidential elections were "stolen" right under their noses, how could they not think that a similar percentage would take as truth the headline that the Cuban people had rebelled and that those who did not were contained by repression. If for four years the State Department insisted that non-existent sounds created undiagnosable illnesses in its diplomatic personnel in Havana, and many people believed it, then how could one not assimilate that the Cuban government would attack its own people, with a little reiteration.
And in this circumstance, the US authorities once again showed that the multilateral framework that humanity has built in order to survive is useful to them, only if it supports the existence of a single-pole of power. The Vienna Convention? Respect the internal affairs of other countries? Observe the limits of the sovereignty of others? Small details.
And so, in an empty theater, DOS officials have been playing on Twitter the score that was written for third parties. The difference with other crises built in several countries is that in those the infantry has been local and the artillery has acted from afar. But in this case, the conspirators were left with almost no infantry and have had to assume that role themselves, albeit virtually.
Again, in the absence of evidence, evidence, recordings, and photos, tweets from the State Department's Western Hemisphere division have filled that gap. By the way, the lack of photos to support their theories was resolved in a masterful way: to use as their own, to support the thesis of the rebellion, the photos that massively testified to the support of the majority of the Cuban people for their authorities. For them it is not theft, that is called borrowing without the owner's knowledge.
But when someone decides to forget the rules to which the diplomatic services of all countries are bound, it is overlooked also that in said exercise reciprocity is practiced every day. What would have happened if some official Cuban representative, or simply a citizen of that origin, had been involved in the demonstrations for the murder of George Floyd? police sweep of Lafayette Park right in front of the White House, during 2020?. By the way, if there were citizens of Cuban origin present at the events of January 6, 2021 at the Capitol, but they were members of the Proud Boys organization, who before and after those events went to show their masculinity before the Cuban embassy with obscenities and abrasive gestures.
In other words, with their irresponsible behavior on social networks, and especially on Twitter, the US Foreign Ministry and its employees have opened wide a door so that others can do the same regarding their internal problems. But Cuba has not made use of that opportunity, nor will it, out of respect for the norms of international coexistence and, even more so, out of respect for those who have struggled to claim their rights in that country for decades, genuinely and without the need to be guided or directed from the outside.
But the background will be reflected for the academy, or for third parties that in the future will be able to tell them: what are you complaining about if you did the same thing to the Cubans. They are the risks that are run when arrogance is overwhelmed.
In addition to the occurrence of the event itself, it is interesting to appreciate its quality. When basically the same texts are reiterated mechanically, when the copying and pasting between the State Department and its embassy is so evident, when the contradictions between figures and supposed sources hardly need to be explained, then it is worth asking if the one who commits Such mistakes are made simply due to a lack of creative ability, or to demonstrate that they are "following an indication". And certainly, that doubt remains.
The other thing is to build a so-called "timeline" for beginners, which in itself would discredit the sources of the aforementioned digital bombardments. The aforementioned division of Western Hemisphere affairs, which theoretically attends to and is moved by what is happening in more than 30 nations and territories, has repeatedly fallen silent at a time when mass murders have taken place in the region, when the constitutional order in several countries, when drug cartels have shaken entire cities, when mass graves have been discovered, or in the face of the barbarities committed by human traffickers. Apparently, these are inherent realities of the democratic system that they promote together with their servants from the OAS secretariat, in which it is not necessary to notice because they are not news. But for Cuba there are other rules.
However, those who have mastered the techniques to understand what really happens in the networks pay attention to other interesting details. How many retweets have these abrasive and disrespectful messages against Cuba generated, how many likes (or likes), how many impressions (how many times a content has been seen), how many interactions of Internet users. All these data, taken as a whole, would show that the disrespect for the sovereignty of others has been sterile, the attention generated with the Goebblelian repetition of the contents has been minimal, if we stick to the totals of the population in Cuba, in the United States UU and worldwide, including Hialeah.
It cannot be avoided that the subconscious compares this exercise with what happened months after the US defeat at Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs for them). Months before, the CIA (and we have not talked about the agency in this text) had installed a radio station on Swan Island (we must not add that illegally), which was supposed to guarantee with its propaganda that the attacked people of Cuba would receive with open arms to the members of Brigade 2506 , popularly known as mercenaries. The fact is that once they had been defeated and under the custody of the Cuban authorities, Radio Swan continued to issue calls to "burn the cane fields" and "advance on the capital." It's hard not to remember the background.
The other thing is that the American bureaucracy on average is not well paid compared to the salaries of the informal world. There are officials, sometimes at the end of their careers, who worry about their retirement and future life, which is why they sometimes put an emphasis on their actions, beyond what common rationality explains. And it is that in that of being very emphatic in the attacks against Cuba, with a specific joy and beyond the instructions, the case of James Cason, a former head of the interests office in Havana, also comes to mind, who At the beginning of this century he was characterized by his stridency, which marginalized him even with respect to the rest of the resident diplomats in Havana.
On repeated occasions, foreign officials and visitors wondered the reason for his actions, especially when they knew that he did not have the slightest chance of promotion in the US diplomatic ranking. And the explanation came after his departure: Cason aspired and was elected to the post of mayor of Coral Gables, Florida, emporium of the remnants of the rancid Cuban bourgeoisie and others who were not but aspired.
And please, do not consider that this case is unique or sporadic. Several years before Cason, Mr. Dennis Hayes, who had been nothing more and nothing less than Coordinator of the Cuba Bureau at the Department of State, was hired by the Cuban American National Foundation as head of its office in Washington. In other words, when it comes to the "case" against Cuba, the lines of decency are often crossed, codes of ethics (if they exist) are not followed, and it is difficult to know who pays whom and definitively say who is the boss.