Socialist Cuba’s internationalism
The exceptional foreign policy paradigm of the Republic of Cuba has long been designed to both protect and advance two interconnected aspects of its historic socialist revolution. While Cuba permanently defends its socialist system from external harm, primarily from American imperialism’s incessant attacks, it simultaneously helps to actively promote the principled aims of world socialist revolution. In firmly upholding and pursuing “revolutionary proletarian internationalism” as its brand of global relations, Havana’s operative foreign policy consistently assists many of the world’s oppressed nations and exploited working masses. And by aligning socialist Cuba with revolutionary anti-imperialist and national liberation struggles, this progressive camp of worldwide solidarity globally unites to resist and fight the same common enemy on the world stage—capitalist-imperialist aggression.
In fact, by advancing its internationalist foreign policy line, Cuba was able to actively defend a newborn country from getting crushed militarily, directly helped to create an independent state, radically pressured a racist regional power to democratize, successfully assisted in life-saving humanitarian medical missions in over 160 countries for six decades, and has steadily struggled to raise an urgent global agenda for humanity’s survival and development inside leading world organizations since the 1970s.
In particular, Cuba’s internationalist mission in defense of Angola’s sovereignty (1975-1991) victoriously led to the defeat of separate rebel groups backed by South Africa, Zaire, and the United States, while decisively beating back invading South African troops. As a consequence, Cuba’s “overwhelming victory” over South African forces in the legendary Battle of Cuito Cuanavale in early 1988 inevitably became a “turning point for the liberation of the African continent” itself. This watershed moment’s aftermath quickly saw the lifting of South Africa’s universally condemned apartheid policy and the democratic rise of Nelson Mandela as the country’s first black president in 1994. At the same time,
Namibia became Africa’s newest state as a result of Havana’s steadfast support of the Namibian revolution—its top leader, Sam Nujoma, soon became the country’s first president in 1990. Subsequently, Mandela and Nujoma both publicly hailed Cuba’s direct internationalist role in the successful national liberation outcomes in their own countries, and for Africa.
In parallel with this, Cuba has also carried out globally admired internationalist missions in the medical sphere. From the early 1960s, Havana’s teams of health professionals have saved lives in the world’s major regions. Highly laudable is the work of its Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade which has undertaken many humanitarian tasks across the globe in response to the West African Ebola virus epidemic, post-earthquake and post-flood disasters in the western and eastern hemispheres, and the present-day COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, the Brigade has lately been widely nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for its exemplary work. Moreover, Cuba has just successfully produced the Soberana 2, Abdala, and Mambisa COVID-19 vaccines for global use.
As well, Cuba has played sharply influential and leading roles in various international platforms. Havana hosted the Tricontinental Conference in 1966 to strongly advance key principles of internationalist solidarity,
anti-imperialism, and people-centered cooperation throughout the world. It twice chaired the Non-Aligned Movement and convincingly pushed for the concept of the New International Economic Order and intensified unities within the Global South. As such, Cuba’s courageous advocacy of these ideas and positions earned it eminent respect in the United Nations for over half a century now.
Cuba has daringly advanced its socialist revolution in the face of critical worldwide shifts challenging its overall existence. Amazingly, Havana’s internationalist foreign policy has crucially safeguarded the Cuban people’s close bonds of solidarity with the world’s exploited working class and oppressed peoples—our “global humanity.” Cuba greatly inspires the world community with a positive future amid today’s destabilized post-pandemic international order.
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Rasti Delizo is an international affairs analyst and an activist in the socialist movement.