by Joe Meyer
CIVIL WAR IN CUBA - A hypothetical war.
PRINT THESE PAGES and bring them to class.
Map of Cuba
Date: sometime in the very near future - a month after Raul Castro dies.
Situation: Cuban Civil War Continues as “Freedom Army” Calls for U.S. Intervention!
After the death of Raul Castro last month, civil war has irrupted around Cuba. Now the Cuban Army has split into two groups: the loyalist Communist Cuban Army (‘The People's Army) and the pro-democracy “Freedom Army.” Riots have irrupted in several cites only to be put down with more and more repressive tactics. Thousands, maybe over 100,000, have already been killed as unrest and chaos has engulfed Cuba.
A group calling itself “Free Cuba” has announced it is the legitimate government of Cuba and has invited the U.S. to send any military assistance it can. The “Free Cubans” have pleaded for the U.S. to use its airforce and naval abilities, even if it doesn't send troops, to help the cause. The U.S. has imposed a naval blockade for the last week and called for a cease-fire. No other country has challenged the blockade, but there is no hope for a cease-fire. In fact, it's clear that the “pro-democracy movement” is factionalized, unorganized and doomed to disaster. The government of Cuba can just continue it's repressive measures for a month or so and the civil war will be over.
Cuba has been a communist country under the control of its president and party leader Fidel Castro since the ‘60's. The U.S. has had a history of hostile acts to isolate Cuba from the rest of Latin America. The U.S. and Cuba have not had good relations for over thirty years.
There are many successful and important Americans who strongly supported the various pro-democracy groups in Cuba with arms and money. Given a chance, they might be able to help Cuba form a legitimate democratically elected government in six months or so. But it would take foreign troops on the ground to disarm and demilitarize the fighting forces in Cuba and prepare for free elections.
Once “peace” and stability returns to Cuba, it will be an important market for the U.S. and much of the world.
Do nothing and the communist government will win, at the cost of well over 100,000 civilian deaths through out Cuba. Hostile relations between Cuba and the U.S. will continue.
U.S. naval and air support of the various “pro-democracy” forces would involve naval and marine air power and naval bombardment. This would expose U.S. pilots to risk. It would “level the playing filed” giving the pro-democracy rebels a good fighting chance but would not guarantee their victory.
A U.S. invasion would involve U.S. Marines already on the island at Guantanamo Bay Naval base as well as airborne troops from offshore. It would need 100,000 or more U.S. troops. The U.S. is in consultation with England, Canada and Mexico (and others) to contribute to the force size and composition. It would be a major commitment on the level of the U.S. activity in the Gulf War, or Iraq, or Afghanistan.
Can your group develop other options?