The Guardian March 1, 2000


Cuba:
US Government on trial

This past January 3, a group of Cuban social, popular and student 
organisations, which encompass practically the whole population, filed a 
lawsuit against the government of the United States, in the Civilian and 
Administrative Court of the People's Provincial Court of the City of 
Havana, for economic damages and injuries arising from illicit acts that 
have affected the Cuban people throughout the entire historical process of 
the Cuban Revolution.

The organisations that filed the suit are: the Central Organisation of 
Cuban Trade Unions; the National Association of Small Farmers; the 
Federation of Cuban Women; the University Students Federation; the 
Federation of Senior High School Students; and the Association of Veterans 
of the Cuban Revolution.

For over 40 years, the Cuban people have been subjected to a brutal policy 
of hostility and aggression of all kinds on the part of the United States, 
whose strategic aim has been nothing less that the liquidation of the 
revolutionary process in Cuba and the destruction of the political, 
economic and social system freely constructed and developed by the Cuban 
people.

In pursuit of this goal, the United States has resorted to all kinds of 
political pressures, attempts at diplomatic isolation, propaganda 
campaigns, the encouragement of desertion and illegal emigration, 
espionage, economic warfare, and a wide range of physical aggression, 
including subversion, terrorist acts, sabotage, biological warfare, the 
formation of armed bands, armed infiltrations and incursions into Cuban 
territory, the organisation of hundreds of plots to assassinate the 
principal leaders of the Revolution, military harassment, the threat of 
nuclear annihilation and even direct aggression by a mercenary army.

Blockade

The main weapon used in the economic war has been the application of a 
total blockade on economic relations between the United States and Cuba, 
which the United States has attempted to extend to Cuba's economic ties 
with all other countries through the use of its immense financial, 
commercial and technological power.

As early as January 21, 1959, US representative Wayne Hays declared that 
the United States should consider sending troops to Cuba and imposing 
economic sanctions, among which he expressly mentioned the reduction of the 
Cuban sugar quota and a trade embargo.

An official document signed April 6, 1960 by L D Mallory, a State 
Department senior official, brazenly declares that "the only foreseeable 
means of alienating inter support is through disenchantment and 
disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship."

It goes on to stress that "every possible means should be undertaken 
promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba", and proposes "a line of 
action which makes 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."

This was, in essence, the basic platform that would support throughout the 
following 40 years, and still continues to support, the US economic 
blockade against Cuba.

The opportunity to apply one of these potential measures soon arose. The 
country's oil supply depended upon three companies that controlled the 
importing and refining of the fuel needed for the country's functioning, 
namely Esso and Texaco of the United States and Shell of the United 
Kingdom.

At the request of the US Government, these companies had already begun to 
limit imports with the purpose of fully cutting off the country's fuel 
supply, if necessary, and thus paralysing the national economy.

In view of this fact, the Revolutionary Government obtained a commitment 
from the Soviet Union to guarantee the necessary amounts of oil at 
reasonable prices.

This arrangement, however, frustrated the plot agreed upon between the oil 
companies and the US Government, and as a result, the three companies 
refused to refine the Soviet crude oil in their installations.

On January 3, 1961, the US Government announced the breaking of its 
diplomatic and consular relations with Cuba. On the 31st day of that same 
month, through a presidential proclamation signed by Kennedy, the Cuban 
sugar quota on the US market, which totaled some three million tons, was 
eliminated.

Mercenary invasion

In April of 1961 came the mercenary invasion of Cuba through the Bay of 
Pigs, organised by the CIA and approved by Presidents Eisenhower and 
Kennedy. This episode constituted a major political and military defeat for 
the US Government.

In January of 1962, the 8th Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign 
Affairs of the Organisation of American States, in Punta del Este, marked 
the culmination of the maneouvres to politically isolate Cuba within the 
hemisphere.

Intense pressure from the US delegation resulted in the approval of a 
series of resolutions that led to Cuba's suspension from the Organisation 
of American States and the breaking of bilateral diplomatic relations with 
the majority of Latin American countries.

Soon afterwards, on February 3, 1962, President Kennedy decreed the total 
blockade on trade between the United States and Cuba.

The approval of the Torricelli Amendment, included in the 1992 Defense 
Appropriations Bill, further intensified the blockade by prohibiting Cuba 
from trading with subsidiaries of US companies based in third countries.

For the Cuban economy, the loss of its trade with these subsidiaries, 90 pe 
cent of which was constituted by food and medicines, was an additional blow 
during the critical period of the early 1990s.

The approval in March of 1996 of the Helms-Burton Act signified yet another 
major step, certainly the most despicable and dangerous of all, in the 
escalation of the economic war against Cuba.

Intimidation of investors

The Act is aimed at cutting off the flow of investments of foreign capital 
into Cuba through the intimidation of actual and potential investors, using 
as an instrument of blackmail the nationalisation of US properties, which 
was in fact carried out by the Cuban state within the framework of national 
and international legality, and the alleged lack of compensation for these 
properties.

It has been made impossible for Cuba to acquire from the United States, or 
from US subsidiaries based in third countries, medicines and medical 
equipment and supplies that are crucial for the preservation of human life 
and that are produced exclusively by US companies.

Cuba is not allowed to import so much as an aspirin from the United States 
or from any other country in the world, if that aspirin is produced by a US 
subsidiary.

As it has been possible to confirm through the recent declassification of a 
secret report drafted in October of 1961 by CIA Inspector General Lyman 
Kirkpatrick, the US Government's undercover operations against Cuba began 
in the summer of 1959, just weeks after the signing of the Agrarian Reform 
Law.

From that time onwards, the US Government organised and directly executed 
or encouraged, assisted, financed, supported and tolerated thousands of 
acts of sabotage and terrorism, carried out by US agents or by counter-
revolutionary elements operating within Cuba or from US territory with the 
full knowledge and support of that country's authorities.

The crushing defeat of the Bay of Pigs invasion elevated the destruction of 
the Cuban Revolution to a position of maximum priority within the highest 
levels of US Government.

Operation Mangosta

This led to a comprehensive examination and revaluation of the strategy 
against Cuba, directed by President Kennedy, which finally resulted in the 
formulation of the so-called "Cuba Project", consisting of a complete 
reappraisal of the undercover war against Cuba, organised from that time 
onwards under what came to be called Operation Mangosta.

That operation was discontinued in January of 1963, three months after the 
so-called Cuban Missile Crisis.

During the time in which the Operation was in effect, that is, a period of 
14 months, a total of 5,780 terrorist acts against Cuba were registered, 
including 716 major acts of sabotage against economic targets.

From 1962 until the present time, the US Government has resorted to the use 
of biological aggression as one of the primary weapons in its dirty war 
against Cuba, resulting in considerable damage to the country's economy 
and, something even more grave and criminal, to the health and the lives of 
Cuban citizens.

A total of 78 aircraft of various kinds have been subject to terrorist acts 
and attempted hijackings and assassinations, often involving the use of 
violence and the loss of human life.

The list of aggressions is endless. the above are a few of the aspects 
included in the suit filed by a group of Cuban organisations to demand that 
the Government of the United States provide reparation and compensation to 
the Cuba people in the amount of US$121 billion, for the damages and 
injuries suffered by the population as a result of these acts.

The lawsuit itself contains detailed, exhaustive and rigorously documented 
information on the actions undertaken against the Cuban people since 1959.

A copy of the lawsuit can be acquired from any Cuban diplomatic mission 
around the world, and is also available through the Internet at:

http://www.granma.cu/siglo/

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