The US Has No Business Lecturing Cuba About “Free and Fair” Elections

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      First of all, there’s the issue of Washington’s flagrant double standards. Because when we look at US relations with other countries it becomes obvious that the US couldn’t care less whether or not another country holds “free and fair elections.” That is simply not, nor ever has been, the criteria by which it predicates its treatment of other nations. Rather, administrations in Washington of both parties base their stances toward the rest of the world’s countries on whether or not they are obedient to US interests. Countries deemed insufficiently obedient are singled out for “regime change,” which can include sanctions, destabilization campaigns, covert support for coups or even direct military intervention. And to be clear, this applies irrespective of whether the target country holds “free and fair elections.” For those countries that are obedient to US interests, on the other hand, there is practically nothing that Washington won’t overlook. Again, that, of course, includes failure to hold “free and fair elections.” Examples include Washington’s alliance with the Wahhabist royal family in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy where elections are held for only a handful of minor local government positions, and the dictatorships in Chile and Argentina during the second half of the twentieth century.

      Note the cruel irony when it comes to the latter two examples. The US not only issued no punitive measures whatsoever against the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile or the military junta in Argentina, but rather propped them up by providing generous financial support and recognition on the world stage. And this was taking place at the very same time that Washington was escalating the embargo against Cuba. There is an even further layer of irony in the case of Chile given that the Pinochet dictatorship, which murdered thousands of political opponents and tortured many more, came to power via a US-backed and CIA-orchestrated coup that removed the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende.

      This brings us to the second reason why the US has no credibility when it comes to pontificating about “free and fair elections.” And that is that Washington only accepts the results of elections in other countries when it approves of the outcome. The most salient example of how this has played out in recent memory is undoubtedly Venezuela, where every single election that has been won by the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has not been recognized as legitimate by the US on spurious grounds of fraud. But when Washington’s favored parties, which make up the Venezuelan opposition, won the National Assembly elections of 2015, on the other hand, accusations of vote rigging and irregularities were miraculously forgotten – conveniently enough, just in this one instance.

      The contrast between Venezuela and the narco-state of President Juan Orlando Hernández’s Honduras is also illustrative in this regard. Because at the same time that it was denouncing PSUV election victories in Venezuela as fraudulent, Washington completely ignored allegations of fraud in elections taking place in Honduras, in spite of a much greater preponderance of evidence. Even the pro-Washington Organization of American States (OAS) denounced the 2018 election that returned Hernández to power as fraudulent. Yet Washington nonetheless recognized the result as legitimate.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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