US embassy cable - 90HAVANA257

CASTRO'S CREED "SOCIALISM OR DEATH"

Identifier: 90HAVANA257
Wikileaks: View 90HAVANA257 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: US Interests Section Havana
Created: 1990-01-16 16:48:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL CU
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 161648Z JAN 90
FM USINT HAVANA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6049
INFO USIA WASHDC 3895
USMISSION GENEVA
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HAVANA 00257 
 
DEPT FOR ARA/CCA 
 
USIA FOR AR, P/G, VOA/MR, R/SE FOR GRANT, R/AR FOR LLACH 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, CU 
SUBJECT:  CASTRO'S CREED "SOCIALISM OR DEATH" 
 
REF:  EVANS/GRANT TELCON 1/2/90 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  WITH THE FALL OF EACH EASTERN EUROPEAN COMMUNIST 
LEADER CASTRO'S DEFENSE OF SOCIALISM HAS SEEMED TO BECOME 
MORE RIGID.  SHORTLY BEFORE EACH COMMUNIST HEAD LEFT 
OFFICE, CASTRO MADE AN OFFICIAL GESTURE INDICATING 
SOME MEASURE OF CONFIDENCE IN HIS REGIME.  IN ROMANIA'S 
CASE, THE GOC SIGNED A TRADE AGREEMENT WITH CEAUSESCU'S 
REPS JUST WEEKS BEFORE HIS DEMISE.  AS THESE COMMUNIST 
GOVERNMENTS GO, CASTRO'S CREED "SOCIALISM OR DEATH" 
TAKES ON A MORE OMINOUS MEANING ESPECIALLY FOLLOWING 
THE BLOODLETTING IN ROMANIA. 
 
CUBAN OFFICIALS EXPLAIN THAT FOR CUBA, IF FOR NO 
OTHER NATION, SOCIALISM IS INEXTRICABLY LINKED WITH 
INDEPENDENCE AND SOVEREIGNTY, NATIONAL IDENTITY AND 
NATIONAL CULTURE.  WITHOUT SOCIALISM CUBA, IN OTHER 
WORDS, WOULD BE EITHER OVERTAKEN OR ABSORBED BY THE 
GIANT BOURGEOIS CAPITALIST STATE TO THE NORTH.  THE 
REAL PURPOSE OF THE SLOGAN, OF COURSE, IS TO MAKE AN 
ENEMY OF ANYONE WHO DOES NOT AGREE WITH CASTRO, TO 
PAINT ANY OPPOSITION TO SOCIALISM AS TREASON, AND TO 
BUILD POPULAR SUPPORT FOR INTOLERANCE AND SUPPRESSION 
OF DISSENT. 
 
3.  WE HOPE THE DEPARTMENT, USIA AND OTHER USG AGENCIES 
WILL FIND WAYS TO FOCUS WORLD ATTENTION ON THIS RATHER 
BIZARRE SLOGAN.  "PATRIA O MUERTE," WHICH CASTRO 
ALSO STILL EMPLOYS, RAISES THE IMAGE OF DEFENDING ONES 
COUNTRY AGAINST ALIEN INVADERS.  "LIBERTY OR DEATH" 
SUGGESTS A CHOICE BETWEEN TYRANNY AND 
FREEDOM.  BUT "SOCIALISMO O MUERTE" SIMPLY SUGGESTS 
A STARK CHOICE BETWEEN ACCEPTING A MARXIST SOCIETY 
OR ELSE DYING.  THIS INTERPRETATION IS REINFORCED 
BY THE CONTEXT AND INDEED THE TARGET OF CASTRO'S 
SLOGAN, I.E., DECISIONS BY INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES AND 
PEOPLES TO INSTITUTE SWEEPING DEMOCRATIC REFORMS 
THAT HAVE DRASTICALLY ALTERED OR COMPLETELY DISCARDED 
MARXIST-LENINIST SYSTEMS. 
 
4.  WE WOULD HOPE THAT INDIVIDUALS, GROUPS,AND PRIVATE 
AS WELL AS GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS WOULD BEGIN TO 
QUESTION THE MANICHEAN CRY OF THE CUBAN LEADER. 
FOLLOWING ARE SOME SAMPLE QUESTIONS THAT COULD BE POSED: 
 
-- DOES "SOCIALISMO O MUERTE" MEAN THE CUBAN PEOPLE 
HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO ACCEPT SOCIALISM NOW AND FOR 
ALL TIME? 
 
-- DOES ANY CUBAN HAVE THE RIGHT PEACEFULLY TO ESPOUSE 
ANOTHER POLITICAL-ECONOMIC SYSTEM; CAN HE MAKE SPEECHES, 
PRINT ARTICLES, HAVE MEETINGS, ETC. TO PROMOTE 
AN ALTERNATIVE TO SOCIALISM? 
 
-- CAN A CUBAN WHO IS OPPOSED TO SOCIALISM AND IN FAVOR 
OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY BE A LOYAL CITIZEN? 
 
-- WHAT CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS DOES SUCH A PERSON 
HAVE? 
 
-- IF A SOCIALIST REGIME SUCH AS THAT OF CEAUSESCU 
SEES ITSELF ON THE VERGE OF BEING OVERTHROWN, DOES 
IT HAVE THE RIGHT AND THE DUTY TO USE FORCE AGAINST 
CIVILIAN, UNARMED DEMONSTRATORS IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN 
SOCIALISM? 
 
-- DO YOU BELIEVE THAT SOCIALISM REPRESENTS A 
LINEAL PROGRESSION OF HISTORY AND THAT ONCE A COUNTRY 
IS SOCIALIST IT MUST ALWAYS REMAIN SOCIALIST? 
 
-- DO YOU STILL SUPPORT THE WARSAW PACT INVASION 
OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA IN 1968 AS HISTORICALLY CORRECT? 
 
-- WAS THE 1968 INVASION AN IMPLEMENTATION OF 
"SOCIALISMO O MUERTE"? 
 
-- IS THERE ANY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BREZHNEV 
DOCTRINE AND "SOCIALISMO O MUERTE"? 
 
-- WOULD YOU PREFER TO SEE CUBA SINK UNDER THE OCEAN 
THAN TO SEE IT BECOME NON-SOCIALIST UNDER A 
POPULAR MOVEMENT? 
 
-- YOU SAY SOCIALISM IS SYNONYMOUS WITH NATIONALISM 
IN NBA.  DOES THIS MEAN THAT MEXICO, PERU AND OTHER 
NON-SOCIALIST LATIN COUNTRIES ARE NOT EQUALLY NATIONALIST 
AS CUBA? 
 
-- WHO HAS DECIDED SOCIALISM IS SYNONYMOUS 
WITH NATIONALISM IN CUBA?  CAN ANY CUBAN OPENLY DISPUTE 
THAT? 
 
-- IF THE UNITED STATES BECAME SOCIALIST (COMMUNIST), 
WOULD IT THEN BE POSSIBLE FOR CUBA TO BECOME NON- 
SOCIALIST?  WOULD THE SLOGAN "SOCIALISMO O MUERTE" 
STILL BE VALID? 
 
- 
5.  THESE QUESTIONS COULD BE POSED IN AN OPEN LETTER 
TO CASTRO SUCH AS THE RECENT ONE ON A PLEBISCITE 
SIGNED BY 400 INTELLECTUALS.  OTHER VEHICLES COULD 
INCLUDE:  DISCUSSION PANELS ON RADIO MARTI; STATEMENTS 
BY HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS, AND ARTICLES BY PROMINENT 
INDIVIDUALS AND JOURNALISTS.  WE WOULD ALSO EXPECT 
THAT "SOCIALISMO B MUERTE" WOULD MAKE AN INTERESTING 
TOPIC FOR DISCUSSIONS IN GENEVA. 
 
 
TAYLOR 

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