The fierce policy of economic aggression of Donald Trump’s administration against Cuba, maintained, by the way, almost intact by Joe Biden to date is the focus of this article. But before entering into that matter, I invite the reader to share some considerations on the history of the economic war of the United States (U.S.) against the island.
That war did not begin with President John Kennedy’s Executive Order 3447 on February 3, 1962, although it was the first important step to institutionalize the blockade. Nor did it begin in 1960 when President Dwight Eisenhower suppressed most Cuban exports to that country. Strictly speaking, the economic war against the island and, consequently, the genesis of the blockade, began as a result of the triumph of the Revolution with the reception by the U.S. of officials of the Batista dictatorship who fled to that country taking with them millions of dollars stolen from the nation’s budget. Washington gave them asylum and protection, as it did with the hundreds of war criminals and torturers who managed to escape to its shores after the revolutionary victory. Of course, those funds were never returned to Cuba. So, seen in this light, the blockade has entered its 64th year, the same number of years that the Revolution will soon be in power.
The blockade has been an inhumane policy because it seriously hinders Cuba’s economic and social development and, consequently, severely hinders the daily life of Cubans. It has never been dismantled, not even by the Obama administration, even though the latter facilitated a significant easing of aggressive measures against Cuba and, with the establishment of diplomatic relations, began the long road towards a relative normalization of ties between the two countries. But the blockade–always illegal, immoral and genocidal–was intensified to unusual extremes by Donald Trump, with the advice and active participation of the Miami mafia: Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Diaz Balart, etc.
It must be made clear, since then, the almost total dismantling of the precarious insertion that Cuba had achieved in the international economic, financial and commercial system, despite the blockade, began. This led to the day-to-day life of the people becoming a hard string of hardships, from the uncertainty of how many hours of blackout there will be, how to feed the family the next day, how to get to work, the uncertainty of whether they will find a medicine indispensable for survival such as insulin or a hypertension, or a simple painkiller to mitigate the discomfort when they get to the drugstore.
Through a well-orchestrated campaign of slander and diplomatic pressure against Cuban medical collaboration, which continues under Biden, Trump attacked Cuba’s primary source of income and deprived millions of people around the world of health care in countries such as Brazil, Ecuador and the dictatorial Bolivia of Áñez, whose puppet governments expelled doctors from the island. As The New York Times recognized, covid-19 did far more damage in those countries due to the expulsion of Cuban doctors. Likewise, Trump severely affected tourism, the island’s second source of income, by canceling dozens of flights that went several days a week to the most important provincial cities and suppressing cruise ship trips that visited Havana daily, among other measures. He also cut Cuba’s financial ties to the world by imposing huge fines on business entities suspected of having ties to Cuba.
In the midst of the pandemic, as denounced in a very complete report on the blockade by the prestigious NGO Oxfam[CM1] (https://bit.ly/3RUFjUC), the tycoon stepped up his illegal coercive measures against the island. During this period, he adopted 63 measures against the Cuban economy, in addition to the more than 200 he had already taken. Not content with this, he appealed to the most vile: to include Cuba in the illegal and spurious list of countries promoting terrorism that the U.S. draws up every year, which, by itself, strictly inhibits companies and banks from doing business with any state that is part of it for fear of the harsh “sanctions” of the U.S. power. And Biden is every bit as guilty as Trump by shamelessly continuing all of his measures despite campaigning to the contrary.
But I believe that nothing defines better the diabolical measures of the blockade against Cuba than a phrase, quoted in the Oxfam report, from the U.S. government’s Comptroller’s Office: “The embargo against Cuba is one of the most comprehensive set of sanctions imposed… on any country, including other countries designated as sponsors of terrorism”. The supposed beacon of democracy and human rights in the world maintains this extraterritorial measure against the almost unanimous opinion of the other UN states and against its own public opinion. But nevertheless Cuba continues to fight for the development and welfare of its people, with or without the blockade.
Source: La Pupilia Insomne translation Resumen Latinoamericano—English