Two days ago, in Havana, during the beginning of the International Book Fair, the splendid author Nadine Gordimer, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, said that she was happy with the arrival of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States, but this devotion would disappear if he did not fulfill his campaign promise to lift the embargo on Cuba.
In these same pages, I have commented that to promise is not the same as to accomplish, referring to the case of Obama specifically. He has not been able to put his promises into practice because there is a political, social and economic system that impedes it. But how ridiculous is it that a Swedish panel of judges has given, under pressure, the Nobel Peace Prize to a man that presides over the biggest military power in the world, whose war industry will not stop its immense production. Its best scientists never cease inventing more and more deadly weapons. The Swedish judges should think more about the prize that is to be given to a person that has worked long and hard against war.
With the Nobel Prize already in his hands, Obama, who without a doubt has a pacifist spirit, attacked Afghanistan. On Saturday, a brutal charge of more than 15,000 people from North America and NATO, its eternal ally, began to attack in zones supposedly in the hands of the Taliban. In this nation, Afghan troops recently killed many children because they thought they were with the feared enemies that were in their house, so to speak. As if this were nothing, the “pacifist” Obama has increased the pressure on Iran because no one else can join the exclusive nuclear club; he continues destroying Iraq, today the ruins of a nation, placing military bases in Colombia and consolidating his military presence in South Korea.
But Gordimer is only asking for something simple: to make up for a lengthy injustice against Cuba and to suspend the fierce blockade that has existed for a half century. Enough already of suffocating Cuba just because it decided to look for a different road than the one desired by the U.S. for Latin American countries. If this island has suffered grave hardships, it has been in large part due to the blockade imposed by the United States, who have obsessively punished a small country for its audacity in selecting a socialist path.
The history of the differences between Cuba and the United States is well known. It is obvious that no gringo government representative has read "Listen, Yankee: The Revolution in Cuba" by sociologist C. Wright Mills, published in 1960, nor has he ever understood the battles of Ernesto Guevara. Quite simply, world policies have tried to suppress the right of Cuba to choose its own political destiny. When I got my degree from UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), I did it with a thesis about Guantanamo. Even then, it was already an unnecessary military base due to long range missiles and ships and submarines that did not need to stock up 200 miles from their own territory. It was a relic with no military value; on the other hand, it did have political value. It would remain there as a symbol of North American power in Latin America. Recently, Guantanamo was transformed into a high security prison where pain and torture are frequent, where the violation of human rights is something normal. Why not retire it? Why not give it another use or flatly leave it in the hands of its legal owners, the Cubans?
Obama is the first U.S. president to promise that Guantanamo would stop being a prison and to suspend the blockade. Neither has occurred; with discretion, he has postponed the moment. The reason is that, supposing Obama is of the same species as Nelson Mandela, the North American system impedes him. The United States will never stop being a warlike power. Manifest Destiny will not disappear because it is a pillar of the nation chosen by God to govern the world. Until today, it has done it, but the planet has changed; there are emerging powers, religions that grow and disagree with Christianity, and personas that will not accept that the United States is the watchman appointed by God to make sure we behave. This power has supported coups in Mexico and Chile, has sustained military dictatorships and has exploited entire countries. Is it time to stop protecting us so well? If Gordimer supposes that the U.S. can suspend the blockade on Cuba, consider a more convenient case: the relationship with Mexico. Despite its promises to search for more just treatment, it has endured U.S. policies against migrants. Why, then, imagine that there will be a good and pacifist man that will quickly solve the problems at the bargaining table and not with weapons?
At this point, it is not clear to anyone why the Swedish occasioned to choose to award Obama a prize that is meant to be given to people that truly fight for peace.