Cuba: The Blockade and the Crisis

13 July 2021 —

Atilio Borón

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…there is no precedent in world history of a nation that has been assaulted by another without pause for sixty years…

Washington believes that the time has come to intensify its attacks on any government in the region that does not obey its orders. In the last few days we have seen the suspicious assassination of the president of Haiti, with a modus operandi that bears the imprint of the CIA. Also the brutal attack by Colombian paramilitaries and drug traffickers, equipped with weapons of war, in the Cota 905 in the outskirts of Caracas and shooting at the top of their lungs at residents surprised by the unusual and unexpected aggression. The offensive against Nicaragua gained strength as opinion polls anticipated a resounding victory for Sandinismo in the next presidential elections.

And now Cuba, subjected to a campaign of aggressions of all kinds for sixty years, which obviously could not fail to have a profound impact on Cuba’s economic life. Imagine what would have happened in any other country that had been subjected to such brutal harassment for so long. It can be easily said, however there is no precedent in world history of a nation that has been assaulted by another without pause for sixty years! It is my conviction that not even the United States would have withstood such an attack for so long. It would surely have imploded worse than the Soviet Union, in an orgy of bloodshed fuelled by the gigantic arsenal of firearms in the hands of the civilian population. Not to mention what would have happened in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico or Colombia if they had suffered the harassment that Cuba has been suffering.

What Washington has been doing is called genocide because the blockade, condemned almost unanimously by the international community, causes enormous suffering among the population. These policies kill, sicken, provoke hunger and untold deprivation. They are, in short, a crime against humanity. The United States has been preparing the ground for the current assault in recent years, with a systematic, multi-million dollar bombardment, buying flimsy and ambitious people, appealing to social networks and their fateful algorithms,”fake news” and the chorus formed by its peonada of shoddy politicians and perfidious propaganda agents disguised as “serious and independent journalists.” With immeasurable wickedness Washington intensified the blockade measures when the pandemic broke out, a gesture that is enough to lay bare the moral turpitude of the empire, its true nature.

Some current protests are understandable; others, the majority, are the product of the money and the enormous destabilization campaign orchestrated by the White House. Although they are of a much smaller magnitude than what the corrupt hegemonic press says, the leadership of the Revolution took charge of them and explained the genesis of those ailments that mobilized a few hundred Cubans to the streets. That there have been errors in macroeconomic management; or that the recent exchange unification measures were inopportune, perhaps late; or that relative prices were considerably out of line is unquestionable. But it would be absolutely incorrect to try to explain these problems and the reaction of some social sectors to them without taking into account the unhinged effects of a blockade that has lasted six decades. These days, I have seen and heard brainy analysts talk about the problems of the Cuban economy without uttering the word “blockade” even once. Their anxiety to receive the affectionate pat on the back from Uncle Sam is so great that it leads them to completely ignore the fundamental role it plays in the (mal)functioning of the Cuban economy.

Restrictions to import and export, to acquire food, medicines, medical supplies, spare parts for transportation or electric power; or having to pay extravagant freight charges for goods entering or leaving the island, with banks and commercial agents reluctant to do business with Cuba because of the sanctions that the brutal Goliath of the North promises to those who violate the blockade. If under these conditions the Cuban Revolution was the only country in the region with the capacity to produce its own vaccines to fight covid-19 (to the shame of Argentina, Brazil, Chile or Mexico) and if during all these decades it was able to guarantee universal and free access to high standards of health care, education, social security, sports, music and culture, it is because the Revolution has been tremendously successful. Otherwise none of this would have been achieved.

Therefore, those who set themselves up as judges of Cuba and do not take into account in their explanations the decisive, unavoidable role played in its current misfortunes by the U.S. obsession to take over that island deserve no more consideration than a commentator who, when talking about World War II and its ravages, would fail to mention the word “Hitler”. How would we describe such a character? As an immoral, a paid charlatan, in this case of the empire that reproduces, with airs of “scientific objectivity,” the legitimizing discourse of a genocide.

Throughout history, Cuba -the homeland of Martí and Fidel, of Camilo and Che- has given ample proof of patriotism. Its people may complain loudly about the current problems, but from there to kneeling to be subjected to the yoke of the heirs of the Marines who urinated on the statue of the Apostle in the Central Park; or of the oligarchy that only wants to return Cuba to its colonial condition; or of bloggers and “influencers” willing to throw their national dignity to the dogs for a handful of dollars, there is a huge step. And the Cuban people will never take it, even at the cost of dying in the attempt.

Translation by Internationalist 360°

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