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Joe Biden, Like Trump, Plans to Impose More U.S. Sanctions on Cuba

Written by David Starr   
Friday, 30 July 2021 02:03

I don't know if U.S. president Joe Biden is talking tough on Cuba merely to appease conservative Democrats, Republicans and the right-wing Cuban exiles in Miami; or if he means what he says with regards to planning more sanctions against the island nation.

Biden's sanctions would target Cuban officials due to some crackdowns on anti-government protesters. Overall, protesters are seen as peaceful by Biden and other U.S. officials, but some turned to violence, turning over cars, throwing Molotov cocktails at police, smashing windows, rocks thrown and assaults. Is this the same as protests in the U.S. after the killing of George Floyd where some protesters turned violent? Actually, no. The Floyd protests were about combatting systemic racism, not to overthrow the government.

The reasons for Cuba's protests are based on shortages of goods, and for some to overthrow the government. The latter have been heavily funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), "two traditional CIA fronts," according to Max Blumenthal, writing in The Grayzone (07/25/2021). Blumenthal wrote about the San Isidro Movement, which "has invited an open conflict with the state." Furthermore, "Behind their branding as cosmopolitan intellectuals, renegade rappers and avant garde artists, San Isidro has openly embraced the extremist politics of the Miami Cuban lobby. Indeed, its most prominent members openly expressed effusive support for Donald Trump, endorsed U.S. sanctions, and clamored for a military invasion of Cuba." San Isidro is thus primarily right-wing, even though it's based itself in a largely Afro-Cuban community in Old Havana.

But not all protesters were anti-government and counter-revolutionaries. According to Helen Yaffe, writing in Counterpunch (07/23/2021), Biden expressed "mind-boggling hypocrisy," saying he was "concerned about the situation and called on the Cuban government to listen to the people. But if Biden were actually concerned, and listening to the Cuban people, he would lift the sanctions. This was a demand I heard from every Cuban I spoke to at a rally of 200,000 in Havana on 17 July, when hundreds of thousands took to the streets around the island."

But there are youth in Cuba who are marginalized, falling through the cracks of the Cuban economic system. In itself, their discontent and anger are justifiable. Cuba has a social safety net that has helped, unlike other countries in the region. And given the difficulties, youth are angry with the government. But their anger is largely misdirected. The purpose of an economic blockade is to cripple an economy, and with that comes the misery and hardship.  The U.S. blockade against Cuba has been tightened three times: with the Torricelli Act in 1992, the Helms Burton Act in 1996 and with the Trump regime's recent sanctions. Will Biden make it a fourth time?

The 60 year old blockade has cost Cuba $130 billion in revenue since the 1960s. Yaffe wrote that the Trump regime added "243 new actions, measures and sanctions to cut off Cuba's trade with the world, fine ships carrying fuel to Cuba, scare away foreign investors, block remittances and family visits, and prevent Cuba's access to the international finance system which is dominated by U.S. dollars." During the presidential campaign, Biden promised to reconsider the actions taken against Cuba. And now it looks like he may break that promise. Unless he can be pressured by many people not just in the U.S. but worldwide to prevent further hardship on the Cuban people.

For almost 30 years, the world has condemned the U.S. blockade, with the United Nations General Assembly voting overwhelmingly to lift it. The most recent vote was 184 nations for lifting it and only two nations continuing it. Those two were the United States and Israel, and this disregard for Cuba makes the U.S. and Israel look like rogue nations.

If Biden can follow Obama's path and resume diplomatic relations with Cuba, and has the courage to try and lift the blockade, he is to be commended. If he continues with the blockade, a violation of Cuba's sovereignty and international law, he and other U.S. power brokers are to be condemned. your social media marketing partner
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