Report on No War on Cuba Movements first demonstration
May 17, 2003 - in front of the Cuban Interests Section, Washington, DC [Photos]
By Adrián Boutureira- NWC
On Saturday, May 17th, 2003 the newly formed No War on Cuba Movement (NWC) mobilized over 100 people in front of the Cuban Interests Section (CIS) in Washington, DC to support Cuba’s sovereignty and protest a planned rally by a group of about 35 right wing anti-Cuban demonstrators advocating for more US intervention in Cuba. NWC believes that they and other Miami based right wing groups aim to exploit the dangerously antagonistic attitudes and policies of the Bush regime towards Cuba. As made evident by their literature and public statements, these groups would more than welcome an increase in anti-Cuban legislation tightening the existing travel ban, stopping remittances, increasing all aspects of the blockade, and even perhaps supporting an outright invasion of Cuba by US forces, which would probably end up killing hundreds of their own relatives still living on the island! Such is the nature of the logic behind these groups.
Repeating the same fear tactics used to justify the invasion of Iraq, these groups are actively fabricating and promoting media stories about Cuba manufacturing biological weapons and harboring terrorists in the hope of gaining the American public's support for their destructive war mongering agenda. NWC was formed to counter these fabrications and aims to provide DC residents with the true facts about Cuba and US Cuban policy so often obscured behind so many right wing lies. NWC believes that this weekend was a great success because it was made irrefutably clear that the violent Miami based right wing demonstrators had no popular base of support in Washington DC, were not allowed to go unchallenged in promoting their reactionary message, and their attempt of intimidating and threatening the staff of the Cuban Interest Section was a total failure. On the other hand, NWC guest speakers representing a broad section of DC's civic society presented not only the facts about the recent events for which Cuba has been so unfairly chastised by the corporate media and even by some misguided so-called friends of Cuba, but also a solid historical and political analysis of the who, what, why, when and where of the 44 years of US based aggression against Revolutionary Cuba. To this lesson of facts and history by NWC, the very confused and distraught right wing demonstrators yelled back " End apartheid" (?) "You are all communists” and "Terrorists" and other similarly well thought out slogans. Crude sexual gestures by the men in the right wing crowd towards women in the NWC group were also part of their sophisticated political strategy.
Through all of this, NWC stayed true to its commitment to be there to inform and not to respond to any provocations however serious or laughable. NWC remained in a festive and respectful mood and only occasionally addressed the opposing crowd directly. Much restrained had to be shown by NWC demonstrators to avoid laughing at their opponents, particularly at one guy wearing a suit, dark glasses, and a straw hat that kept yelling totally unintelligible statements into a golden megaphone, and at another quite animated character whose yelling was completely inaudible thus looked like a cartoon character that had been wound up at a secret CIA location and turned lose on the unsuspecting city streets. What is not so funny is that these very apparently comical characters are probably the same ones that are willing to finance and support acts of terrorism, intimidation and aggression against a sovereign state and innocent civilians.
Even though there was not a single act of violence, this was in no way due to police protection of public safety. Police presence was at a minimum with 6 to 7 uniformed secret service officers (there were no DC cops present at all) assigned to line up against the building. Were they intentionally allowing for a potentially dangerous confrontation to get out of control? No one can say for sure, but with no barricades or police separating the two groups, NWC believes that the only fact that deterred any possible violence by the right wing group was NWC's much larger, disciplined and non-violent action, and not proper police management of the public's safety in a potentially volatile situation. This must be kept in mind for future encounters with the anti Cuban fascists.
For the sake of understanding all the differences between the two groups, it is worth noting that the NWC participants were truly an ethnically, gender and age diverse group, whereas the anti-Cuba demonstrators were primarily older white Cuban males. In addition there was a noticeable difference in commitment and determination. NWC was there nearly three hours before the right wing group arrived and things ended with a tired and quiet retreat by the counter revolutionary Cubans, who quite unpredictably began to leave the site early and in a very disorganized and thoroughly defeated manner. They took their shame home with them but left their litter behind in the public streets.
In the spirit of the revolutionary Cuban people who for more than 40 years have been trying to live peacefully in their country free of foreign intervention and intimidation, NWC was able to demonstrate that we too here in DC are willing to do our share to protect truth, justice and the right of nations to exist in peace and with respect for their sovereignty. Hasta la victoria siempre!
Adrián Boutureira- NWC