“Hunger, desperation, overthrow of the government”. By Abel Prieto Jiménez
On June 23, a new report on the resolution “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US against Cuba” will be submitted to the UN General Assembly. Since 1992, on 28 occasions, the Island’s proposal has had broad international support. In 2019, 187 countries of the world rejected this inhuman aggression against the Cuban people.
The U.S. has ignored, with its typical arrogance, the successive UNGA resolutions and the numerous voices advocating, inside and outside the U.S. territory, for the end of this criminal policy.
Before the official proclamation of the blockade by Kennedy in February 1962, Lester Mallory, US Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, summed up his intentions when he wrote in a secret memorandum in April 1960 that “the majority of Cubans support Castro”. Therefore, “the only foreseeable way to undermine his domestic support is through disenchantment and dissatisfaction arising from economic malaise and material hardship.” It is necessary to achieve “the greatest advances in depriving Cuba of money and supplies, to reduce its financial resources and real wages, to provoke hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government”.
This infamous strategy has been at the heart of the U.S. policy toward revolutionary Cuba. The blockade systematically and massively violates the human rights of all Cubans. It qualifies as an act of genocide under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
After the collapse of the socialist camp and the USSR, the US decided to give another twist to the blockade. First, through the Torricelli Act, passed on October 23, 1992; then, with the Helms-Burton Act of March 12, 1996.
The first was enacted by George Bush (Sr.) who was seeking reelection, pressured by the support that Clinton, then-Democratic presidential candidate gave to that legislative bill in his campaign in Florida. Thus, in the midst of the publicity and demagogic hubbub of an electoral contest, it was decided to further tighten the siege around a small country that had abruptly just lost its main commercial allies. It was designed to definitively isolate Cuba. Its extraterritorial provisions contravene the rules governing freedom of trade and navigation and show US contempt for the sovereignty of States.
It proposed to prevent trade with Cuba by subsidiaries of U.S. companies in third countries and to prohibit ships entering Cuban ports from touching U.S. territory for the next 180 days.
The Helms-Burton Act also flagrantly violates international law and in particular the freedom of trade and investment. It denies credits and financial aid to countries and entities that cooperate with Cuba and establishes that companies from any country in the world that have dealings with the island may be subjected to legal reprisals. It even threatens potential investors by banning them from entering the U.S. It also encourages owners and heirs of properties nationalized by the Revolution where there is some type of foreign investment to file lawsuits before U.S. courts against citizens and companies of other nations.
The application of this last point, the announcement of which generated conflicts with US allies, was postponed by all US presidents until the arrival of Trump, who unfroze the chapter that allows such legal aberration.
The Helms-Burton Act reflects in its letter the US obsession to recolonize Cuba: it decrees that the blockade will only be lifted when the nationalized properties are returned and the US president certifies that the government established on the island after the fall of the Revolution is indeed “democratic” according to its schemes, among other requirements.
Trump reinforced the blockade with 243 new measures and did nothing to relax it for humanitarian reasons in the face of the advance of the global pandemic. On the contrary, he promoted a media campaign to discredit Cuban doctors multiplied the projects of internal subversion and did the impossible to prevent the acquisition of medicines, means of protection, diagnostic tests and basic supplies destined to combat the epidemic and the manufacture of vaccines on the island.
The application of the blockade laws as a whole has been implacable. Shipping companies and ships contracted to import fuel and other vital supplies are targeted under the threat of sanctions. The fines imposed on international banks for the slightest transaction involving Cuba are multimillion.
The very adverse context created by the epidemic surely made Mallory’s old memorandum fashionable among the Empire’s think tanks: it was an appropriate juncture to intensify actions that would reduce “internal support” from the Revolution “through disenchantment and dissatisfaction arising from economic malaise and material difficulties” and “provoke hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government”.
Raul called the blockade, at the recent 8th Party Congress, “the most comprehensive, unequal and prolonged economic warfare ever unleashed against any nation.”
Trump underestimated the resistance capacity of the Cuban people and the Martian and Marxist roots that have sustained the Revolution. In the face of each measure added to this endless and perverse economic war, the support of the overwhelming majority of the population for the revolutionary process has increased and their anti-imperialist consciousness has deepened.
So far, Biden has not taken any steps to alleviate the terrible burden that has weighed on Cuba for so many years. Hopefully, he will be able to rectify a ruthless, cruel policy, doomed to failure. If he does not, he will go down in history as another Emperor humiliatingly defeated by a worthy little island in the Caribbean.
source La Jornada
translation Red en Defensa de la Humanidad