HAVANA – What has not been achieved by decades of embargo and open low-intensity warfare might now be happening as an effect of the Democratic primaries. Reports have surfaced on splits within leading ranks of the Communist Party of Cuba over who to endorse in the race.
Raúl Castro made a speech favourable toward Sanders. He stated that he viewed Sanders’s extremely moderate welfare state proposals as a significant upgrade over previous US policy. Further, he stated that in the US context, “nothing could be more revolutionary” than Sanders’s official position that the US should be closer to Cuba on the grounds that it will be more profitable for US capitalists. He concluded by saying: “For decades we did not have to care about who was elected US president and we rightly denounced the whole US ruling class, but now we do have to care and I guess I like Sanders.”
Raúl’s statements prompted a sharp response by his brother Fidel, the maximo leader of the Cuban revolution, and widely regarded as the first modern hipster. In his regular column Reflexiones he wrote: “Raul is still young, but he should actually be aware of what I am going to say. I happen to know a thing or two about US presidents and their relationship to Cuba. And in this upcoming election, I guarantee you that the best choice for the revolution in Cuba is Hillary Clinton. Here is why: First, you want a president who is violently pro-capitalist at home, thereby sharpening the contradictions, and not too hawkish towards us in foreign policy. This is clearly Hillary Clinton and not Sanders. Oh sure, Clinton is an imperialist like the rest of them, but Sanders has to overcompensate on foreign policy, and after what he said about Chavez, I am convinced that he will seek to invade Cuba first thing after being sworn in as president.
“Secondly, We know from history that all US Presidents without a beard were hostile to the Cuban revolution. Which is understandable, considering how formidable our beards were. Just look at pictures of me, or Che, or Camilo Cienfuegos. Hillary is a woman, so she is exempt from that. This is why I am endorsing Clinton. Behind Raúl’s sympathy for Sanders I detect his own ambitions for liberalisation and a moderate welfare state, views which I am sure are closely related to his weak choice of beard. Raul has to grow a beard soon, or it’s all over for Cuba.”
International reactions to this debate were swift: The US-based part-time Trotskyist Cuba-fetishist party and elderly confused Marxist bridge club known as the Socialist Workers Party issued a statement calling for “understanding between the two factions in Cuba”, and expressing its hope that when “militant feminist activist Hillary Clinton” is inevitably named the Democratic Party’s candidate for 2016, she can name Sanders her vice-presidential candidate and form a “popular front for the liberation of the United States”, supported by all Cuban comrades.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro immediately took to the airwaves to declare his support for Fidel’s support for Hillary: “Clearly, the Venezuelan counter-revolution loves Sanders for his comments on our Comandante. I have no idea what Hillary is going to do, but it can’t be worse for us than Sanders, I suppose. Also, Fidel is probably right about the beard business. We also failed to go beyond a managed capitalism, and neither the Comandante nor I had a beard. I thought the Stalin moustache would cut it, but no. Clearly beards are a must for any Latin American revolutionary.
“Well now the whole thing is falling on our heads. In fact, I suspect that the negative results of the recent elections were a consequence of foreign intervention lead by Sanders. It seems that Raúl wants to join in the international conspiracy against Venezuela. To this I say: ¡Viva Fidel! ¡No Pasarán!”
Evo Morales did not comment on the situation directly, but reportedly sent a package with leaves from an unknown tree to Cuba in order to ease the situation. The Komünist Parti in Turkey issued a statement saying that they would support whatever and whoever the Cuban leadership supports, while they also clarified – in spite of its lack of relationship to the topic at hand – that they were opposed to Pan-Kurdism and Kurdish nationalism in general and that the only way to resolve the Kurdish problem in Turkey was a rallying of Kurdish and Turkish workers together under the revolutionary socialist banner of the KP.
Vladimir Putin assured the Cuban leadership that in the case of a Sanders victory, he would station nuclear missiles in Cuba in order to defend it against potential US aggression.