- by Eileen Whitehead
- The Guardian
- Issue #1980
ACFS Perth rallied against the blockade, Monday 20th September 2021.
From its inception in 1962, the embargo against Cuba has remained the most comprehensive US economic sanctions regime against any country in the world.
The impact of US sanctions has varied, depending on the current US President’s aims: at times inflicting serious harm on the Cuban economy and at other times merely making life on the island extremely difficult. However, the embargo has never been effective in achieving its principal purpose: forcing Cuba’s revolutionary regime out of power and returning it to being America’s playground!
Sanctions are a form of war. They are directed against the people from countries that will not follow the dictates of the US. The goal is to make the lives of the people in these countries intolerable so they will oppose their governments and support the US regime-change agendas in their countries. In their most severe form, as is being imposed on Cuba, Venezuela, and other countries, they deny these countries food, medicine, and trade and cause great suffering for the people of those sanctioned countries.
The US has been underpinning its sanctions by financing Cuban counter-revolutionary organisations and with subtle propaganda via social media, which led to the recent synchronised uprisings around the country. Despite the hardships they face, the supporters of the revolution quickly took to the streets in defence of their way of life.
It is obvious that the US hierarchy are petrified having on its doorstep what can be seen as a completely different and successful way of life that reveals the shortcomings of its own capitalist ideology. What’s more important to the US is preventing socialism from spreading further to Latin America as a whole! However, it might have back-fired, with China now stepping up to help the ravaged country: the US’s usual stringent trade sanctions being of no particular concern to China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has said he’s willing “to walk together with Cuba in building socialism,” which should send a chill down Biden’s spine. The increasing aggression of US imperialism, with its blockade of Cuba and its new cold war against China have made these ties increasingly significant and even indispensable. The murderous US sanctions have made it very difficult for Cuba to cope with the spread of the pandemic: it has its own vaccine, but not enough syringes, ventilators, oxygen, etc. So China’s help is invaluable. Without it, there would be a rampant spread of the virus, encouraging discontent and a regime change that could result in Cuba being enslaved once more under the heel of American imperialism.
Pan Deng, who is the executive director of the Latin America and Caribbean Region Law Centre of the China University of Political Science and Law told the Global Times, that although Cuba has strong research and development capabilities, its own vaccines faced challenges in manufacturing amid US sanctions and the pandemic. The Havana Times reported that Cuba has now started to administer China’s Sinopharm vaccines along with its home-grown doses to accelerate the inoculation pace.
This is an example of socialist internationalism. Cuba and Venezuela are no longer alone in building socialism. Washington has every reason to fear the powerful economic development of the Chinese economy, especially when China’s relationship with Cuba will encourage socialism over a prolonged period, in Latin America and beyond.
It also demonstrates the great divide between capitalist imperialism and communism, with the former denying access to vaccines and other equipment to poorer countries of the world in order to keep prices up and profits soaring, whereas China, with its own (very large) pharma companies, is donating equipment to Cuba and many others, and supplying it cheaply to many more. China has pledged to provide two billion doses to the rest of the world by the end of 2021. COVAX has received a US$100 million donation from China, whereas combined imperialist countries have pledged just US$224 million so far.
Having personally visited Cuba in 2015/16 a couple of months before we saw Donald Trump elected President of the United States, the people I met were happy with a political system that gave them a say in the running of the country. They were able to send chosen representatives from their regions, who in turn could take their local problems to the National Congress. But, of course, most of the problems were being caused by the US sanctions. The unemployment rate was extremely low and anyone not employed was helped by the state: not regarded as bludgers.
This contentment with their situation was plain to see as thousands of Cubans turned out against the counter-revolutionaries. Cubans do not want to go back to being a mafia-led US playground, and are supported by countries all around the world. In Australia, we have the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society which is just one of many globally. And the CPA continues its support.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Cuba is missing the revenue that tourism brings, which together with the US draconian blockade, makes the hardship of the Cuban people much worse than usual.