While the summary execution of General Ochoa and others found guilty of drug trafficking and corruption was largely condemned in the press around the world, similar executions of ETA members in Spain were met with almost complete silence. The strong condemnation of former Spanish President Felipe Gonza'lez about Cuba's execution while sending dozens of ETA members to the same fate clearly demonstrates the hypocritical nature of world policy towards Cuba, especially since Felipe Gonza'lez was also the leader of Spain's PSOE, the Socialist Worker's Party of Spain.
During the special period following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Felipe Gonza'lez offered much advice to the Cuban government about necessary reforms that would supposedly ameliorate the overall economic hardship for the Cubans and allow them to grow past the debilitating state they felt as a result of the downfall coupled with the immoral economic embargo imposed by the United States. Unfortunately, it was Felipe Gonza'lez who had beengiving bad advice tothe Soviet Union through much of the perestroika period of President Gorbachev's term and helped bring down the country.
Cuba strongly supported Felipe Gonza'lez when he ran for president of Spain in 1982. Up until a few years prior, Spain had been suffering under the cruel hand of General Guillermo Franco, a Fascist dictator that the world simply accepted as the de facto leader of the country since the Spanish Civil War despite his non-Democratic government and totalitarian rule. The chance for real progress and social change that Felipe Gonza'lez represented was a welcomed change to those years.
But after winning the election, President Gonza'lez began to change his political agenda. Though he strongly opposed Spain's entry in NATO, which happened in May, 1982, he softened his approach after he was elected in October of the same year. Over the next ten years he moved slowly more Capitalistic in his approach and by the 1992 election; he had lost his Socialistic tendencies and was soundly beaten by Jose Aznar. By that time, Gonza'lez's ideas had gone a long way to destroy the Soviet Union and were being proposed by his people to do the same in Cuba.
With the arrival of President Aznar, leader of the Partido Popular, or Popular Party, of Spain, relations only worsened. President Aznar acted almost like a puppet of the United States, following Washington's every lead and mimicking their foreign policy statements to a tee. Spain and Italy were the only major Western European nation to actually support America's illegal war on Iraq. It was little wonder then, that Spain constantly attacked Cuba for its Socialist ideologies while helping the US engage in illegal wars, international drug trafficking and torture of political prisoners.
But concerns with European attitudes towards Cuba don't end with Spain. France has also heavily and falsely criticized Cuba in the past. After all, one of Cuba's first acts as a sovereign nation under new management was to aid the country of Algeria to become independent of its colonial master, France. This was at the same time that WWII hero, General Charles de Gaulle, first came into power there.
But President de Gaulle was his own man. He never kowtowed to British or American demands throughout his presidency. You can agree or disagree with his policies, but you would always know that they were his own policies, and not something from other countries he felt forced to follow. He was in agreement to enter NATO, per se, but he completely refused to allow American foreign military bases on French soil.
President de Gaulle also opposed the abuses by the United States over the Bretton Woods agreement and in the late 1960s, started demanding gold bullion in repayment instead of US dollars. This contributed immensely to President Nixon's eventual release of the dollar from a gold-backing reserve to a fiat monetary system and the collapse of Bretton Woods.
And in 1981, France elected its first full-blown Socialist President, FranÃ§ois Mitterand. Obviously, ties between the two nations improved substantially. Over the 14 years that President Mitterand remained in office, the relations between the two countries remained high. Even his daughter, Danielle, once showed affection for President Castro during his last visit to the presidential palace in 1995, and broke with protocol, kissing President Castro on both cheeks, causing immediate furor in the French press. In later years, Danielle has requested, and received, the ability to investigate any prisoner case on Cuba's books, of which she has identified and examined several dozen.
The friendly relations with France extended beyond the presidential palace, however. George Marchais, France's Communist Party leader, had often visited Cuba, bringing some of France's famed foie gras, cheeses and wines with him, and engaged in serious discussions over Cuba's role and Socialism's role in modern society. It was during one of these visits that President Castro is known to have asked him, "And what do you people intend to do when you come into power?"
"We're going to nationalize a number of banks and large corporations," was Marchais' response.
"Well, don't even think about nationalizing agriculture. Leave the small producer alone, don't touch them. Otherwise, you can kiss good wine, good cheese, and excellent foie gras goodbye."
Beyond Europe, Cuba's relationship with Latin America is also very strong, even though in the beginning it was far from that. In the beginning, only Mexico recognized Cuba's new government and maintained diplomatic relations with them, ostensibly to allow a back door for the United States to communicate with Cuba if necessary. The rest of Latin America was strong-armed by the United States to vigorously denounce Cuba, President Castro and his entire government.
But over the past two decades, the tide has been gradually changing towards a far more positive outlook towards Cuba in general, and towards Socialism in particular. For the first time in its history, on December 18, 2005, Bolivia elected an indigenous citizen as president of the country, Evo Morales. Even though Bolivia is rich in minerals, it is among the poorest nations in all of the Americas. Bolivia has been ruled by Western-styled oligarchs and American puppet presidents throughout the 20th Century, leaving its people in ruins while stripping the country of its vast mineral wealth and sending the profits to the US and beyond.
The first country President Morales visited was Cuba. His first acts as president have been to pass pro-life and pro-humanitarian policies that will improve the quality of health care for all Bolivians and increase their longevity.
Other indigenous movements are also springing up across Latin America. Countries like Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, and others are seeing large grass-roots organizations arise to deal with the inhumane conditions that exist there and elsewhere. Even Commandante Marcos in Chiapas, Mexico, has become a force to reckon with, though it is still somewhat uncertain what agenda he is really looking to promote.