The Guardian • Issue #2033

The world says enough is enough, time for the United States to listen

Cuba wins for the 30th consecutive time at the UN General Assembly

Party President Vinnie Molina getting his booster.

Activists around the world celebrated Cuba’s win at the UN General Assembly as 185 countries voted in favour of Cuba’s draft resolution to end the criminal US 60-year-old blockade. As has been usual for a number of years only the United States and Israel voted against the resolution with Ukraine and Brazil abstaining.

For the 30th consecutive year the entire world has said enough is enough!

The 60-year-old blockade directly affects the daily lives of every Cuban family. Most Cubans today have only ever lived under the blockade. They have learnt to navigate life under a blockade, but wonder what they have done to deserve this imperialist act of war against them.

The blockade imposed by the United States in 1960 has been a bipartisan policy in the US. The aim has always been for regime change on the island through causing as much pain as possible on the population. The Biden Administration hasn’t changed any of the 243 new executive measures introduced by Trump, which has implications for every single financial transaction made by Cuba. The blockade is an illegal policy with extra territorial consequences as it penalises third countries for trading with Cuba.

The constant attacks on Cuba affects workers and their families and has implications for purchasing capacity as every purchase is penalised making things more expensive and difficult to get for Cuban families. Cuba’s calculations are that the criminal US blockade cost around US$15 million per day.

The Biden Administration hasn’t done anything to alleviate it despite President Biden’s electoral promises. In fact the blockade has cost Cuba more than US$6 billion since Biden took office.

Delegates to the 22nd International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties held in Havana on 27-29 October witnessed first hand the impact of the blockade on Cuban families.

Delegates attended meetings with officials but also shared time in neighbourhoods like La Timba to see one location of a project called “Neighbourhoods in Transformation” which is a people led, government supported project designed to help communities confront and alleviate some of the worse effects of the blockade and its terrible effects on the people. Programs such as Neighbourhoods in Transformation aims to involve people in being part of the solution by jointly identifying problems and needs and finding collective solutions.

The CPA delegation visited the neighbourhood and spoke to a nurse and doctor in their local clinic. They live and work in the neighbourhood and understand the challenges confronted by the community and also play a role in finding solutions to their scarcities.

The challenges brought by the COVID pandemic was overcome by Cuban biotechnology which despite the blockade was able to develop five vaccines (Soberana 1, Soberana 2, Soberana Plus, Abdala and Mambisa). The fifth of them, Mambisa, is the first nasal vaccine in the world. The CPA delegation requested the vaccine as a booster and we can report we didn’t experience any side effects. It has been proven as an effective vaccine of ninety-four per cent efficacy against COVID with no need for syringes, easy administration, storage and access. ( Vol 16 December 2021).

Cuba is the first country in the world able to vaccinate their entire population from the age of 2 with their own vaccines and most restrictions have been lifted in Cuba. Numbers being reported during the meeting 27-29 October there were two cases of COVID reported in Cuba and they were travellers to the island.

The delegation also got to witness the trust Cuban people have for their government which contrasts strongly with what has been experienced in Australia. The Cuban people consciously followed all the measures adopted to protect people from the pandemic. Many Cuban people spoke with great respect and pride for their scientists and health professionals as well as their vaccines.

As we have seen so many times before Cuba is prepared to share their small resources with the world and has already shared the vaccine technologies with other countries as well as sent health professionals in the way of medical brigades to more than 40 countries including wealthy European countries.

The experience of our delegations to the meeting ranged from organised visits and the event’s program to personal visits to Cuban families to their homes. This is where the impacts of the blockade are most felt and it was hard to see Cubans having to experience the long queues to purchase basic foodstuffs and other supplies similar to the special period when the USSR collapsed.

Despite all the difficulties of the blockade, Cuban pride and trust in their revolution has not changed and their generosity is felt when you are welcomed into their homes full of music and dance. As one Cuban family told us it can be tough but nobody dies in Cuba for lack of food or a decent roof. The government ensures every Cuban receives a ration for their families. The basic food is guaranteed including powdered milk for young children.

After spending time in Cuba visiting and talking with Cuban people I fail to understand why the United States persists with this criminal policy. In fact it doesn’t make sense. Cuba doesn’t consider the US as an enemy; Cuba wants to develop respectful diplomatic relations with its neighbour. What Cuba demands from the US is their right to self-determination and independence and to respect its sovereign decision to build a socialist society.

I really encourage more Australians to travel to Cuba. The best way to visit Cuba is in the Southern Cross solidarity brigade which travels to Cuba in December each year for about 3 weeks. This year the brigade starts on 27th December 2022.

2023 marks the 40th anniversary of the Australia/NZ solidarity brigades to Cuba. It is a good opportunity to plan a trip in December 2023 through to January 2024. The best way to express solidarity with the brave island in the Caribbean that has a lot to show to the world. In fact we have a lot to learn from Cuba and its revolution.

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