I write these lines motivated by the pain caused to so many of us by the untimely physical demise of the Cuban intellectual, journalist, computer warrior and revolutionary Iroel Sánchez Espinosa. The following is part of a conversation I had with him during my most recent visit to Cuba, in February of this year. We talked about many things, of course, but we could not refrain from talking about Washington’s criminal policy towards Cuba: the economic, commercial, financial, computer blockade; the persecution or blackmailing of Cuban intellectuals, artists or public figures and celebrities; the phenomenal computer harassment unleashed from multiple troll farms from Miami; the dozens of false news stories launched daily to sow discouragement, confusion and anger among the population subjected to the harsh rigors of the comprehensive blockade decreed by the White House more than sixty years ago. We also speak of the hypocrisy and complicity of the European “democratic” powers, those decadent former colonial metropolises now turned into submissive and unworthy U.S. protectorates, and of so many other things besides. Recalling this morning that long and last conversation with Iroel, I felt that I could better process the grief produced by his death by writing down my memories of that dialogue, as a modest tribute to his memory.
In that conversation we concluded that President Joe Biden should remove Cuba from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism without further delay, a decision taken by his predecessor Donald Trump. An infamous resolution if there ever was one, because if anything has characterized Cuba it is precisely having been a victim of terrorism promoted by the anti-Castro and colonialist mafia entrenched in Miami, with its shadowy characters such as Luis Posada Carriles, Orlando Bosch Avila and their thugs, all enjoying the protection of the FBI and the CIA as certified by the most diverse official sources in the United States. And Cuba continues to this day to be the victim of another type of terrorism, little talked about but no less criminal for that: the economic terrorism expressed in the comprehensive blockade imposed since the early sixties by the United States against the rebellious island in open violation of human rights and the Charter of the United Nations. The terrorism of the “unilateral economic sanctions” which are sometimes mentioned by appealing to a euphemism such as the word “embargo” so as not to have to use the corresponding term: blockade. Terrorism, we say, because according to Richard Nephew–one of the theoreticians and proponents of this policy and an advisor for many years at the State Department–the aim is to surgically inflict the greatest possible suffering on the sanctioned people in such a way as to provoke an insurrection against governments that are not to Washington’s liking. His book is therefore entitled “The Art of Sanctions” (Columbia University Press, 2018) and the “art” it should be emphasized is the art of doing evil, of hurting, of causing suffering and ultimately of killing. His book and his advice are the equivalent in this era of soft coups and lawfare to the manuals that in the 1970s the CIA distributed throughout Latin America instructing the region’s military on the cruelest techniques to torture their detainees and obtain from them the longed-for confession.
In spite of so many defamations and aggressions promoted by Washington’s sick desire to take over Cuba, the latter has the moral prestige that the United States, responsible for so many crimes and terrorist attacks in the five continents, lacks. Suffice it to mention just one: the dropping of two atomic bombs on the defenseless Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantly reducing some 110,000 people to ashes and, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists of the United States, condemning many to death in the following years as a result of the long-term consequences of the deadly nuclear radiation. Because of its moral exemplarity and its incomparable international solidarity, Cuba was, together with Norway, the guarantor of the peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government, and it is still the guarantor today of the negotiations between Bogotá and the ELN guerrilla. To remove Cuba from that infamous list, which aggravates even more the suffering that the blockade produces in its people, is an act of strict justice and moral integrity. That is why we concluded with Iroel that President Biden, who invokes God at all times to enlighten him in the difficult decisions he has to make on a daily basis, should remove Cuba from its unjust inclusion in such an ignominious list today.