“I call again on President Biden to make good on his campaign promises and immediately suspend the US sanctions to allow the Cuban people themselves to overcome the current difficulties.”Grahame Morris MP
The Global COVID-19 Pandemic has stretched resources to the limit and the blockade has unnecessary intensified the suffering of the Cuban people. The time to end the US imposed blockade of Cuba is long overdue, writes Grahame Morris MP.
Recent protests in Cuba have received intense and not unbiased coverage in western media. It iis clear that there are very serious shortages of food, medicine and power supplies at this time causing real suffering for the Cuban people.
However, it is also clear that this emergency has been caused by the cumulative effects of the ongoing and cruel US blockade. These have been recently worsened by the additional 243 sanctions imposed by the Trump administration which have been left in place by President Biden, despite his pre-election promises to revisit them. The US Blockade is now more severe than at any time in the 60-year history of interventions and determined attempts by the US to dominate its small Caribbean neighbour.
Now, as in many countries across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched resources to the limit and caused alarm across populations. In Cuba’s case, the effect on the economy has been devastating as the situation has been compounded with international tourism having been completely suspended, cutting off much needed hard currency revenues.
In the immediate aftermath of the protests in Cuba, some politicians and organisations in the United States have called for some form of ‘international intervention’ in Cuba on humanitarian grounds. These calls come primarily from hard-line Cuban American politicians mainly from Florida. On July 14 the Mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, even made a call for air strikes on Cuba on Fox News.
Such calls are disingenuous to say the least and are at the same time incredibly dangerous. The fact is that such calls are coming from the same people who have been the most vociferous supporters of the blockade policies which have caused the ongoing suffering, shortages of food, fuel and medicines. These are hard-line, right wing, politicians who want ‘regime change’ in Cuba at any cost. They look for a return to pre-1959 when, working alongside US based multinationals, a small elite controlled and exploited Cuba’s wealth and resources, to the detriment of the majority.
I, alongside 30 fellow MPs, signed the Socialist Campaign Group statement calling for an end to the US Blockade and against any moves for foreign intervention in Cuba. We have seen only too well the long history of US ‘humanitarian’ interventions which have left a legacy of death and destruction across the globe from Libya to Iraq, from Chile to Grenada.
I agree with the many parliamentarians who have signed a statement pointing out that the overwhelming majority of the world’s countries and people oppose the illegal US blockade of Cuba. This was evidenced most recently when the UN General Council voted overwhelmingly by 184 to 2 to lift the blockade and sanctions against Cuba. The blockade is the source of all Cuba’s economic difficulties. I stand with the Cuban people and their government who can resolve the present problems caused by shortages of vital supplies once the blockade is lifted. I say no to foreign intervention and unequivocally call for an end to the blockade!
The US has already spent millions of dollars and caused thousands of deaths in Cuba through its various ‘interventions’ over the past 60 years, from the failed invasion at the Bay of Pigs, to the endless mercenary attacks on the island, including the killing of international tourists through hotel bombings and the scores of attempts to assassinate Cuban leaders.
The quickest and easiest intervention would be for the US to lift its unilaterally imposed and inhumane blockade. President Biden could immediately lift the restrictions on Cuban Americans wishing to send remittances to their families on the island. Such a move would give immediate relief to millions on the island. I call again on President Biden to make good on his campaign promises and immediately suspend the US sanctions to allow the Cuban people themselves to overcome the current difficulties.
I welcome genuine efforts to support the Cuban people at this time, such as the Mexican Government’s recent shipments of medical and food aid, and the efforts of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign including their members and trade union affiliates in the UK who have together raised almost £100,000 so far for much needed medical aid to help Cuba’s health services with Covid-19 treatments and vaccination programmes.
- Join Grahame at What’s going on in Cuba? on August 9, 6.30pm – info & tickets at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/whats-going-on-in-cuba-tickets-165281895599
- Support the Cuba Solidarity Campaign’s COVID-19 Medical Appeal for Cuba at https://cuba-solidarity.org.uk/emergency-appeal-for-cuba/
- Grahame Morris is a Labour MP, a member of the Socialist Campaign Group and Chair of the UK Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Cuba.