Fidel Castro on Libya (news from the cpi(m
Reflections by Comrade Fidel
NATO’S INEVITABLE WAR
In contrast with what is happening in Egypt and Tunisia, Libya occupies the first spot on the Human Development Index for Africa and it has the highest life expectancy on the continent. Education and health receive special attention from the State. The cultural level of its population is without a doubt the highest. Its problems are of a different sort. The population wasn’t lacking food and essential social services. The country needed an abundant foreign labour force to carry out ambitious plans for production and social development.
For that reason, it provided jobs for hundreds of thousands of workers from Egypt, Tunisia, China and other countries. It had enormous incomes and reserves in convertible currencies deposited in the banks of the wealthy countries from which they acquired consumer goods and even sophisticated weapons that were supplied exactly by the same countries that today want to invade it in the name of human rights.
The colossal campaign of lies, unleashed by the mass media, resulted in great confusion in world public opinion. Some time will go by before we can reconstruct what has really happened in Libya, and we can separate the true facts from the false ones that have been spread.
Serious and prestigious broadcasting companies such as Telesur, saw themselves with the obligation to send reporters and cameramen to the activities of one group and those on the opposing side, so that they could inform about what was really happening.
Communications were blocked, honest diplomatic officials were risking their lives going through neighbourhoods and observing activities, day and night, in order to inform about what was going on. The empire and its main allies used the most sophisticated media to divulge information about the events, among which one had to deduce the shreds of the truth.
Without any doubt, the faces of the young people who were protesting in Benghazi, men, and women wearing the veil or without the veil, were expressing genuine indignation.
One is able to see the influence that the tribal component still exercises on that Arab country, despite the Muslim faith that 95% of its population sincerely shares.
Imperialism and NATO – seriously concerned by the revolutionary wave unleashed in the Arab world, where a large part of the oil is generated that sustains the consumer economy of the developed and rich countries – could not help but take advantage of the internal conflict arising in Libya so that they could promote military intervention. The statements made by the United States administration right from the first instant were categorical in that sense.
The circumstances could not be more propitious. In the November elections, the Republican right-wing struck a resounding blow on President Obama, an expert in rhetoric.
The fascist "mission accomplished" group, now backed ideologically by the extremists of the Tea Party, reduced the possibilities of the current president to a merely decorative role in which even his health program and the dubious economic recovery were in danger as a result of the budget deficit and the uncontrollable growth of the public debt which were breaking all historical records.
In spite of the flood of lies and the confusion that was created, the US could not drag China and the Russian Federation to the approval by the Security Council for a military intervention in Libya, even though it managed to obtain however, in the Human Rights Council, approval of the objectives it was seeking at that moment. In regards to a military intervention, the Secretary of State stated in words that admit not the slightest doubt: "no option is being ruled out".
The real fact is that Libya is now wrapped up in a civil war, as we had foreseen, and the United Nations could do nothing to avoid it, other than its own Secretary General sprinkling the fire with a goodly dose of fuel.
The problem that perhaps the actors were not imagining is that the very leaders of the rebellion were bursting into the complicated matter declaring that they were rejecting all foreign military intervention.
Various news agencies informed that Abdelhafiz Ghoga, spokesperson for the Committee of the Revolution stated on Monday the 28th that "’The rest of Libya shall be liberated by the Libyan people’".
"We are counting on the army to liberate Tripoli’ assured Ghoga during the announcement of the formation of a ‘National Council’ to represent the cities of the country in the hands of the insurrection."
"’What we want is intelligence information, but in no case that our sovereignty is affected in the air, on land or on the seas’, he added during an encounter with journalists in this city located 1000 kilometres to the east of Tripoli."
"The intransigence of the people responsible for the opposition on national sovereignty was reflecting the opinion being spontaneously manifested by many Libyan citizens to the international press in Benghazi", informed a dispatch of the AFP agency this past Monday.
That same day, a political sciences professor at the University of Benghazi, Abeir Imneina, stated:
"There is very strong national feeling in Libya."
"’Furthermore, the example of Iraq strikes fear in the Arab world as a whole’, she underlined, in reference to the American invasion of 2003 that was supposed to bring democracy to that country and then, by contagion, to the region as a whole, a hypothesis totally belied by the facts."
The professor goes on:
"’We know what happened in Iraq, it’s that it is fully unstable and we really don’t want to follow the same path. We don’t want the Americans to come to have to go crying to Gaddafi’, this expert continued."
"But according to Abeir Imneina, ‘there also exists the feeling that this is our revolution, and that it is we who have to make it’."
A few hours after this dispatch was printed, two of the main press bodies of the United States, The New York Times and The Washington Post, hastened to offer new versions on the subject; the DPA agency informs on this on the following day, March the first: "The Libyan opposition could request that the West bomb from the air strategic positions of the forces loyal to President Muamar al Gaddafi, the US press informed today."
"The subject is being discussed inside the Libyan Revolutionary Council, ‘The New York Times’ and ‘The Washington Post’ specified in their online versions."
"’The New York Times’ notes that these discussions reveal the growing frustration of the rebel leaders in the face of the possibility that Gaddafi should retake power".
"In the event that air actions are carried out within the United Nations framework, these would not imply international intervention, explained the council’s spokesperson, quoted by The New York Times".
"The council is made up of lawyers, academics, judges and prominent members of Libyan society."
The dispatch states:
"’The Washington Post’ quoted rebels acknowledging that, without Western backing, combat with the forces loyal to Gaddafi could last a long time and cost many human lives."
It is noteworthy that in that regard, not one single worker, peasant or builder is mentioned, not anyone related to material production or any young student or combatant among those who take part in the demonstrations. Why the effort to present the rebels as prominent members of society demanding bombing by the US and NATO in order to kill Libyans?
Some day we shall know the truth, through persons such as the political sciences professor from the University of Benghazi who, with such eloquence, tells of the terrible experience that killed, destroyed homes, left millions of persons in Iraq without jobs or forced them to emigrate.
Today on Wednesday, the second of March, the EFE Agency presents the well-known rebel spokesperson making statements that, in my opinion, affirm and at the same time contradict those made on Monday: "Benghazi (Libya), March 2. The rebel Libyan leadership today asked the UN Security Council to launch an air attack ‘against the mercenaries’ of the Muamar el Gaddafi regime."
"’Our Army cannot launch attacks against the mercenaries, due to their defensive role’, stated the spokesperson for the rebels, Abdelhafiz Ghoga, at a press conference in Benghazi."
"’A strategic air attack is different from a foreign intervention which we reject’, emphasized the spokesperson for the opposition forces which at all times have shown themselves to be against a foreign military intervention in the Libyan conflict".
Which one of the many imperialist wars would this look like?
The one in Spain in 1936? Mussolini’s against Ethiopia in 1935? George W. Bush’s against Iraq in the year 2003 or any other of the dozens of wars promoted by the United States against the peoples of the Americas, from the invasion of Mexico in 1846 to the invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982?
Without excluding, of course, the mercenary invasion of the Bay of Pigs, the dirty war and the blockade of our Homeland throughout 50 years, that will have another anniversary next April 16th.
In all those wars, like that of Vietnam which cost millions of lives, the most cynical justifications and measures prevailed.
For anyone harbouring any doubts, about the inevitable military intervention that shall occur in Libya, the AP news agency, which I consider to be well-informed, headlined a cable printed today which stated: "The NATO countries are drawing up a contingency plan taking as its model the flight exclusion zones established over the Balkans in the 1990s, in the event that the international community decides to impose an air embargo over Libya, diplomats said".
Further on it concludes: "Officials, who were not able to give their names due to the delicate nature of the matter, indicated that the opinions being observed start with the flight exclusion zone that the western military alliance imposed over Bosnia in 1993 that had the mandate of the Security Council, and with the NATO bombing in Kosovo in 1999, THAT DID NOT HAVE IT".
When at just 27 years old Gaddafi, colonel in the Libyan army, inspired by his Egyptian colleague Abdel Nasser, overthrew King Idris I in 1969, he applied important revolutionary measures such as agrarian reform and the nationalization of oil. The growing incomes were dedicated to economic and social development, particularly education and health services for the reduced Libyan population living in the immense desert territory with very little available farm land.
Beneath that desert was an immense deep ocean of fossil waters. I had the impression, when I learned about an experimental farming area, that this would be more beneficial in the future than oil.
Religion, preached with the fervour that characterizes the Muslim peoples, was helping in part to balance the strong tribal tendency that still survives in that Arab country.
The Libyan revolutionaries drew up and applied their own ideas in regards to the legal and political institutions which Cuba, as a norm, respected.
We refrained completely from giving opinions about the conceptions of the Libyan leadership.
We see clearly that the basic concern of the United States and NATO is not Libya, but the revolutionary wave being unleashed in the Arab world, something they would like to prevent at any cost.
It is an irrefutable fact that relations between the US and its NATO allies with Libya in recent years were excellent, before the rebellions loomed up in Egypt and Tunisia.
At senior level meetings between Libya and the NATO leaders, nobody had any problems with Gaddafi. The country was a sure supply source of top-quality oil, gas and even potassium. The problems arising between them during the first decades had been overcome.
Strategic sectors such as oil production and distribution opened their doors to foreign investment.
Privatization reached many public corporations. The World Monetary Fund exercised its beatific role in the orchestration of these operations.
As logic would have it, Aznar piled lavish praise on Gaddafi and on the heels of Blair, Berlusconi, Sarkozy, Zapatero and even my friend the King of Spain, they paraded under the mocking gaze of the Libyan leader. They were happy.
Although it may appear that I am being facetious, that’s not the case; I merely wonder why they now want to invade Libya and haul Gaddafi up in front of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
They are accusing him, 24 hours a day, of shooting against unarmed demonstrating citizens. Why don’t they explain to the world that the weapons, and especially all the sophisticated repressive equipment Libya possesses, were provided by the United States, Great Britain and the other illustrious hosts of Gaddafi?
I am against the cynicism and the lies that they are now using in an attempt to justify the invasion and occupation of Libya.
The last time I visited Gaddafi was in May of 2001, 15 years after Reagan attacked his rather modest residence where he took me to show me how it had been left. It received a direct air hit and was considerable destroyed; his little three-year-old daughter died in the attack: she was murdered by Ronald Reagan. There was no prior agreement by NATO, the Human Rights Council, not even the Security Council.
My earlier visit had taken place in 1977, eight years after the start of the Libyan revolutionary process. I visited Tripoli; I participated in the Libyan Peoples’ Congress in Sebha; I toured the first experimental farms using the waters extracted from the immense sea of fossil water; I saw Benghazi and I received a warm reception. This was a legendary country that had been the stage for historic battles in the last world war. At the time the population barely reached six million, nor were they aware of the enormous volume of light oil and fossil water. By then the former Portuguese African colonies had been liberated.
In Angola, we had fought for 15 years against the mercenary gangs organized by the United States on tribal bases, the Mobutu government, and the well-armed and trained racist apartheid army. That army, following instructions of the United States, as we know today, invaded Angola to prevent its independence in 1975, reaching the outskirts of Luanda with their motorized troops. Several Cuban instructors died in that brutal invasion. With the utmost urgency we sent resources.
Ejected from the country by internationalist Cuban troops and the Angolans, right up to the border with Namibia that was occupied by South Africa, for 13 years the racists received the mission of liquidating the revolutionary process in Angola.
With the backing of the United States and Israel they developed nuclear weapons. They already had that weapon when Cuban and Angolan troops defeated their land and air forces in Cuito Cuanavale and, confronting the risks, using conventional tactics and weapons, advanced to the Namibian border where the apartheid troops wanted to put up resistance. Twice in their history our troops have been under the risk of being attacked by these kinds of weapons: in October 1962 and in southern Angola, but on that second occasion, not even using the weapons that South Africa possessed would they have been able to prevent the defeat that marked the end of the odious system. The events occurred under the Ronald Reagan government in the United States and that of Pieter Botha in South Africa.
No one speaks about that, and about the hundreds of thousands of lives that were the toll of the imperialist exploit.
I regret having to remember these facts when another great risk hovers over the Arab peoples, because they do not resign themselves to continue being the victims of pillage and oppression.
The revolution in the Arab world, so feared by the US and NATO, is the revolution of those who lack all their rights in the face of those who wield all the privileges, thus called the most profound revolution since the one which burst on Europe in 1789 with the storming of the Bastille.
Not even Louis XIV, when he proclaimed that he was the State, had the privileges that King Abdul of Saudi Arabia possesses, and much less than the immense wealth that lies beneath the surface of this practically desert-covered country where Yankee transnationals determine extraction and thus, the price of oil in the world.
Starting with the crisis in Libya, extractions in Saudi Arabia reached a million barrels a day, at a minimal cost and, as a result, for just this reason, the incomes of that country and those controlling it are reaching a billion dollars a day.
Nobody imagines, of course, that the Saudi people are swimming in money. It is heartrending to read about the living conditions of many of the construction workers and those in other sectors, who are forced to work 13 and 14 hour days for miserable salaries.
Alarmed by the revolutionary wave that is shaking the prevailing system of plunder, after what has happened in Egypt and Tunisia with the workers, but also because of the unemployed youth in Jordan, the occupied territories in Palestine, Yemen and even Bahrain and the Arab Emirates with their higher incomes, the Saudi upper hierarchy is under the impact of these events.
Unlike other times, today the Arab peoples receive almost instant information about what is happening, even if it is being extraordinarily manipulated.
The worst thing for the status quo of the privileged sectors is that the stubborn events are coinciding with a considerable increase in the price of foods and the devastating effect of climate change, while the US, the biggest producer of corn in the world, uses up 40 percent of that subsidized product and a large part of soy to produce biofuel to feed automobiles. Surely Lester Brown, the American ecologist who is the best-informed on agricultural products, can give us an idea about the current food situation.
Bolivarian President Hugo Ch?vez is making a brave attempt to seek a solution without NATO intervention in Libya. His possibilities of reaching his objective would be increased if he would attain the feat of creating a broad movement of opinion before and not after the intervention happens, and the peoples don’t see a repetition in other countries of the atrocious Iraqi experience.
Fidel Castro Ruz
March 3, 2011