By Bill Van Aukem, October 25, 2007
When it comes to profaning the name of freedom, there have been few speeches given anywhere that could seriously compete with the diatribe on Cuba that President George W. Bush delivered at the State Department Wednesday.
Bush used the word 25 times in a brief address that called for the continued tightening of the 47-year-old US economic blockade of Cuba and implicitly promoted violent upheavals, a possible military coup and stepped-up US aggression against the island nation.
The speech was timed to fall between Cuba’s recent municipal elections—the first held since the ailing Fidel Castro relinquished the reins of power—and next week’s vote in the United General Assembly on a resolution condemning the trade embargo that the US has employed in an attempt to strangle Cuba’s economy since shortly after the 1959 revolution. A similar resolution was passed by a vote of 183 to 4 last year, and this time Washington can expect to be similarly humiliated.
Once again Bush demonized the Cuban regime as one that has “denied their citizens basic rights,” “bought generations of misery,” and “offered Cubans rat-infested prisons and a police state.” Not content with these denunciations, Bush assured his audience of State Department flunkies and members of the Miami-based, right-wing Cuban exile mafia: “Cuba’s regime no doubt has other horrors still unknown to the rest of the world. Once revealed, they will shock the conscience of humanity.”
The immediate question raised by the US president’s speech is: who the hell is he to lecture anyone about democracy, freedom and human rights? If anything has “shocked the conscience of humanity” in the present period, it is an American president who came to power through the fraudulent overturning of an election, has waged unprovoked wars of aggression—killing over a million people—rejected the most fundamental democratic rights, and defended the use of torture.