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MSJ: While richer countries horde vaccines, Cuba sends nurses; the US must end ‘illegal blockade’!

“[…] Mr Biden, you are on the wrong side of history… and you are repudiating the very policies of the [Barack Obama] administration of which you were an integral part as vice-president; which policies saw a return to diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba.

“[…] In the face of all the difficulties that Cuba is experiencing, it is able to demonstrate its humanity in ways that other, rich countries are not. Cuba is assisting many countries with medical professionals to support health care and the treatment of Covid patients. Other countries are hoarding vaccines…”

The following press statement, which calls for an end to the United State embargo on Cuba, was submitted by Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) political leader David Abdulah:

Photo: A glimpse of life in Cuba.

The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) demands once again that the United States ends immediately the illegal, illegitimate economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba. This is consistent with the positions of all but two countries in the world. 

On 23 June, the United Nations General Assembly voted for the 29th consecutive year that the US should end the blockade. Only two countries—the United States and, not surprisingly, Israel—voted for the blockade to remain in force. One hundred and eight four countries supported Cuba’s Resolution that called for the US to end the blockade. 

Votes have been very similar in the previous years at the UN. The US stands in isolation, in the face of this overwhelming world opinion against it.

The MSJ is calling out President Joe Biden on this issue. Mr Biden, end the blockade against Cuba now! Take your knee off the neck of the Cuban people! They cannot breathe because of the blockade! 

People are hungry and without medicines in this time of a pandemic because Cuba can’t access goods with the blockade in effect. Mr Biden, you are on the wrong side of history. You claim to be about humanity, yet your actions are in defiance, and not in defence, of humanity. 

Image: A view on the US blockade of Cuba.
(Copyright Carlos Latuff)

And you are repudiating the very policies of the administration of which you were an integral part as vice-president; which policies saw a return to diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba and the relaxation of some of the measures of the blockade that could be effected by executive order. Those executive orders, signed by President Barack Obama, were all reversed by Donald Trump—who you recognise as being the worst US president ever.

You need to demonstrate leadership, Mr Biden, and do what is in your power to do. Reverse all the executive orders, including the one that unilaterally and without a shred of evidence listed Cuba as a country that is involved in state-sponsored terrorism. That is our minimum demand. 

You should of course collaborate with your Democratic colleagues in Congress to end the blockade once and for all by repealing the odious and illegitimate and illegal Helms Burton Act and the other laws that have resulted in the blockading of Cuba.

The MSJ stands in solidarity with the Cuban people and the Cuban Revolution, led now by President Miguel Diaz Canel. This is the first time that the revolution is being led by someone who is not a member of the historic generation of Fidel and the July 26th Movement. 

Photo: Children in Cuba.

We applaud the openness of the Cuban party and government in discussing the issues that have brought about many difficulties for the Cuban people. We are also seeing the many popular mobilisations of the Cuban people in defence of their revolution.

The blockade, made worse by Trump’s actions, is making it extremely difficult for Cuba to engage in trade. It was even blocked from buying ventilators for the treatment of Covid patients! 

The tourism sector, the main earner of forex, has been badly affected by first Trump’s measures and then the Covid pandemic. All this has resulted in major shortages of many basic goods in Cuba, a fact that is openly recognised by the government.

Recently, there have also been electricity outages as fuel supplies have become challenged. The pressures on the Cuban people have created the conditions for people to protest. That is understandable. The way to ease this pressure and allow the Cuban people to breathe is to end the blockade.

The US is, cynically, using the blockade as the means to bring about regime change. They are hoping that, with a new leadership and with a young generation of Cubans who have taken as a norm the social programmes of the revolution, this is the moment for the empire to strike! 

Photo: US President Joe Biden.
(Copyright Newsweek)

The use of social media is their tool. It cannot be ignored that the US is also actively instigating protests. This is not about helping the Cuba people or democracy. It is about regime change. 

This was the rationale in 1960 for imposing the blockade as stated by then Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Lester Mallory in a memo:

The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship… it follows that every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba. 

‘If such a policy is adopted, it should be the result of a positive decision which would call forth a line of action which, while as adroit and inconspicuous as possible, makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.’ 

That is still the objective of the blockade: the overthrow of the Cuban Government.

Photo: Protesters vent against the US at Hyde Park in London, during the Cuba Missile Crisis in 1962.

In the face of all the difficulties that Cuba is experiencing, it is able to demonstrate its humanity in ways that other, rich countries are not. Cuba is assisting many countries with medical professionals to support health care and the treatment of Covid patients. Other countries are hoarding vaccines. 

Cuba has been able to develop several vaccines and has committed to making vaccines available to countries that have little or no access. Cuba is managing the Covid pandemic better than most. To date just over 1,800 people have died from Covid in a country with a population of over 11 million—nine times that of Trinidad and Tobago, yet we have 1,000 deaths.

The MSJ says to the US: respect international norms of non-interference in another country’s internal affairs! Respect Cuba’s sovereignty. 

End the blockade now and let the Cuban people breathe!

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2 comments

  1. Earl Best

    “The MSJ says to the US: respect international norms of non-interference in another country’s internal affairs! Respect Cuba’s sovereignty. “

    “That is our minimum demand.”

    How wonderfully heroic, David. I am sure Biden and co are now trembling in their boots.

    This is reminiscent of that absolutely unforgettable photo of the Tianamen Square events featuring a single, frail Chinese man starting in front of a column of tanks. I am sure that ended well for all concerned.

    Lest you mistakenly question where I stand, let me say that I wholeheartedly support your stance on the issue. I just wonder about the usefulness of the call-to-arms if that is what it is.

  2. The blockade of Cuba went from being a foreign policy objective to in fact being a permanent part of the internal US political debate, even to the point of US politicians being hostage to it. Why? the Cubans in Florida who of course by now are US citizens and some Americans who see Cuba as a potential cause of US leftists going far left, and of course the military industrial complex that needs an enemy in order to sell weapons, spy tech, training etc., and it also serves as justification for the people in uniform and Government suits who want to use the power of a super power against weaker nations on the western hemisphere and beyond in order to make it crystal clear who is boss. These people are the driving force behind this never ending blockade. What has Cuba done to deserve a war of embargo that never ends. The USA is best friends forever with Saudi Arabia that persecutes Christians, Shias, women, lgbtq etc., a nation that kills journalists in it’s consulates. I mean it’s friggin insane to see the contrast. Yes Cuba has a different system, Venezuela too, but do these Christian nations have to be enemies at a time that the US is bff with islamic human rights hell hole nations. What would be the problem of removing all the non military sanctions and simply letting these nations develop accoriding to their own ideas. The US of course is afraid of socialism, communism, to put it short the red shirts (not to be mistaken with Pnm red shirts). It is the right of every nation to have self determination. Even to the point of absurdity as we are witnessing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and North Korea.

    President Biden is weaker than one may think. He beat Trump, not because the democratic left loves him but because he wasn’t Trump, he was Obama’s side kick and as such considered better than Trump even though as a senator Joe Biden voted yes for the Iraq war#2. The man is not a man of peace, he is a man of the US empire, he allrgedly may also be going senile so we don’t even know who exactly is making decisions in the White House. It is also very strange that his family seems to have benefited so much while he is in politics. What would we call this type of benefiting here in TT?