Today I want to tell you how little you know about the world you live in.
Almost the entire world barring two have condemned the US sanctions against Cuba for 30th straight year in the United Nations this week.
I am sure you didn’t know.
The two who haven’t are naturally the United States and Israel who—again it might surprise you—are two sides of the same coin.
Figures might drive home the point better: In the UN General Assembly of 193 nations, 185 voted against and two in favour of US sanctions against Cuba.
Ukraine, as it could be understood, abstained.
This is almost the entire humanity on this earth against the US Sanctions on Cuba which are 60 years in the running.
These Sanctions might just be a term for you for nowhere you read how hideous they are. So let’s give it half a minute.
Cuba, before the US sanctions kicked in in 1962, depended on almost everything on its Big Brother: Trucks, buses, bulldozers, telephone and electrical equipment, industrial chemicals, medicine, raw cotton, detergents, potatoes, poultry, butter, most canned goods, and even such staple items essentials to a Cuban’s diet as rice and black beans.
Cuba was nothing better than an economic appendage of the United States.
But then a revolution happened in this little country in late 50s which has a population (1.13 cr) less than the one of Delhi and an area (1.08 lakh sq.km) lesser than of Telangana.
The US didn’t want communism in its backyard which might appear reasonable to you, never mind you aren’t inclined to apply the same logic in case of NATO in Ukraine for Russia.
But we would let it go for the moment and stick to almost a genocide of Cubans in all these years.
So by its Sanctions, the US presumed the revolution of Fidel Castro won’t last long for the measures amounted to leaving the Cubans in a coma.
Cuba couldn’t import for Sanctions restricted the use of US dollars. Assets were frozen; freight insurance shot through the roof, Cubans abroad couldn’t send their earnings home without a higher cruel tax, inflation soared, jobs lost, money vanished—and all this spiralling effect meant the citizens were denied the most basic needs of food, clothing, education, housing, water and sanitation etc. Agriculture and tourism, vital for its economy, was paralysed. (Kennedy banned Americans from visiting Cuba). Third world countries were deterred from investing in Havana. Latin American countries were pressured to severe their ties with Cuba.
But Cuba didn’t bow. It held its ground. The US now turned the screws further.
In 1982, Ronald Reagan placed Cuba on the US “State Sponsors of Terrorism list” —its illegitimacy you could gauge in the truth that no less than Nelson Mandela, for number of years, was a “terrorist” for US State Department as Washington supported the Apartheid regime in South Africa. (Remember this when next time you hear any intervention by the Hegemon as champion of “Human Rights” in this world.)
In 1992 Congress passed the Cuban Democracy Act which, among other measures, stopped any international ship from coming to US for 18 months if it had docked in Cuba on the way.
The 1996 Helms-Burton Act came down heavily on any company which had invested in properties nationalized by the Cuban government.
Any reactionary group that sought to overthrow the Cuban government were—and are— provided with utmost funds. Any Cuban who fled the country was granted US citizenship. No questions asked.
President Donald Trump exceeded all. He slapped 243—yes 243—new sanctions on Cuba, 90 of which cruelly came in the year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cubans responded by almost being heroic in delivering a vaccine of its own against the pandemic. But Sanctions took away the supply of syringes for them.
The rest of the world, all along has been watching. As recently as this September, it watched Hurricane Ian batter Cuba, cutting out electricity island-wide. The world was privy to what the UN agencies and others were saying about the genocidal nature of US Sanctions.
The UN ECLAC said: “…the numerous United States sanctions constitute the most severe and prolonged system of unilateral coercive measures ever applied against any country…it obstructs the access of Cuban citizens to basic goods and violate their rights.”
Under US president Joe Biden things have only worsened. As Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez said in the UN: “The US administration has escalated the siege around our country, taking it to an even crueler and more inhumane dimension, with the purpose of deliberately inflecting the biggest possible damage on Cuban families.”
The US blockade has cost Cuba over $144 billion in six decades. It costs Cuba $15 million daily. Only this year under Joe Biden, the loss amounts to $6.3 billion. In the first quarter of this year, Cuba earned $493 million—but its import bill was over $2 billion!
So why the United States does what it does against a hapless Cuba?
The excuse of Communism doesn’t cut ice: Neither there is USSR alive, nor is it US’ business to interfere in any other sovereign country, never mind capitalism, communism, socialism or any other system it prefers.
Just after the Cuban revolution in 1959, even before official US sanctions kicked in, this is what an internal US State Department memo read:
It defined the US goals in Cuba thus: “The only foreseeable means of alienating international support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economy dissatisfaction and hardship…(and that) every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.”
Further, Washington’s goal ought to be, the memo said, to make “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.”
Let’s now check the merit, if any, which made the US believe that Cuba was a terrorist state.
Nelson Mandela was a fan of Cuba all along his life: For one, how Havana assisted Angola in its self-defence against the CIA-backed rebels against a number of sovereign nations which left 1.5 million Africans dead at the turn of this century. When Mandela, the modern apostle of peace and non-violence died, South Africa invited the Cuban president Raul Castro in his memorial service to honour his memory.
(All hell at that time broke out in out civilized world. How could Cuba sit with others in international comity? It’s not dissimilar to how India’s deep system reacts when a Pranab Mukherjee visits RSS.)
Cuba’s medics are humanity’s heroes. It sent more than 4,000 medics in 40 countries to help fight Covid-19 pandemic. Its one of the frontline state in fight against global warming and rising sea levels.
This is what Nerys Dockery of Saint Kitts and Nevis island said when the world stood up against US sanctions on Cuba recently in the United Nations: Only five months ago she was facing losing her right eye. But was saved by a Cuban optician.
I write this piece to let you the reader be aware of what is sold to you in the name of “Human Rights” and “rules-based order” by your media, at the behest of West.
What more proof do you need that you haven’t heard a bit about how the world opposes the US Sanctions on Cuba for 30 years now.
And that US has never been closer in breaking Cuba’s resolve than it is now. Cuba’s economy is in very, very bad shape. So-called freedom protests, at the behest of allegedly USAID and National Endowment for Democracy are taking its toll. There are shortages, power outages and line lines for food items and fuel. Emigration has reached a number of 140,000 Cuban citizens now in the US in October itself. To top it all, there is a kind of power vacuum at the top.
I would leave you with a titbit which could disgust you.
The United States, through a treaty more than a century old, has Cuba’s land—Guantanamo Bay under its possession. This is the same 118 square kilometres in eastern Cuba which is known world over for the cruelty US inflicts on its prisoners of war (POW).
Guantanamo Bay is home to around 3,000 permanently stationed US military personnel. It’s annual rent—hold your breath— is a mere $4,085, so around one cent per square metre of land.
That’s not all. Since 1959 and the triumph of the Revolution, no cheque has ever been cashed. Cuba has been demanding that the US return the base since 1959. There are resolutions passed in every Non-Aligned Movement summit.
But predictably, the US don’t care and your media doesn’t inform you!