U.S. imperialism remains unflinching in its campaign to crush the Cuban Revolution.
In 2004, then Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama said that he supported an end to the economic blockade in Cuba. Yet on Sept. 5, 2014, President Obama signed the annual memorandum that continues the U.S. blockade against Cuba under the infamous “Trading With the Enemy Act.” Cuba is the only country in the world targeted by this act.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy bought himself 1,200 Cuban cigars. He then declared an economic blockade against Cuba. Not only did this mean an embargo of all goods to the socialist country, but also a permanent campaign to discourage and punish other countries from doing business with Cuba.
And for the last 52 years, U.S. imperialism has maintained this blockade, this economic war against the government and the people of Cuba.
Why? Because since the 1959 Revolution, the people of Cuba have shown the world, particularly the people of Latin America and Africa, that despite being a small country; despite a legacy of cruel, colonial rule; despite one dictator after another ruling with an iron grip to serve U.S. corporations; despite racism so powerful that the last of those dictators, who was Black, could not even go onto the U.S. hotel’s beaches — despite all of that, an organized people led by determined revolutionaries could break U.S. imperialism’s grip.
Further, the people of Cuba have shown that poor and working people can themselves run a government, an economy, a whole society themselves, without wealthy landowners and corrupt dictators who answer only to Wall Street banks and corporations.
Before the revolution, five out of six Cubans were in abject poverty, living in shacks or homeless. Two out of three Cuban children did not go to school. Hunger, disease, unemployment: that was the lot for most Cubans.
The U.S. economic war against Cuba has created more suffering for the Cuban people, with food and medicines cut off; with spare parts for cars and other machinery denied; with CIA-directed sabotage and even with a U.S.-sponsored invasion; and with the collapse of the Soviet Union removing economic support.
The Cuban government estimates that this economic war against their country has cost their nation one trillion, 112 billion, 534 million dollars [$1,112,534,000,000]. (cubannews.ain.cu, Sept. 25).
Yet, despite of all of that, the Cuban poor and working people and their government have created in their country a society designed to fill the needs of the people, not to fill the coffers of banks and corporations. The results are more than dramatic:
- There is almost no homelessness in Cuba. Eighty-five percent of Cubans own their own homes and pay no property taxes or interest on their mortgages. By law, mortgage payments can be no more than 10 percent of combined household income.
- Cuba’s unemployment rate is only 1.8 percent. A recently developed urban agriculture program has created 350,000 jobs.
- The adult literacy rate in Cuba is 99.8 percent, almost a full percent higher than the U.S. rate. (CIA World Factbook)
- The infant mortality rate in Cuba is 4.7 per 1,000 live births. The U.S. rate is 6.0 per 1,000. (dollarsandsense.org, March/April 2009)
For more than 20 years, United Nations resolutions demanding an end to the U.S. blockade of Cuba have passed with overwhelming majorities. The 2013 resolution in the U.N. General Assembly passed 188 to 2, with only Israel joining the U.S. in voting no. The same resolution is scheduled for October of this year, and the vote’s outcome will undoubtedly be the same.
Workers in the U.S have in increasing numbers said that they too oppose the Cuban blockade. A February 2014 poll showed that 56 percent of the people here support normalized relations with Cuba, with an even higher 63 percent of the people polled in Florida — formerly a hotbed of anti-Cuba reaction — saying so. (Huffingtonpost.com, Feb. 11)
A June poll of people in the U.S. originally from Cuba shows that 52 percent of them want an end to the embargo as well.
Even many U.S. corporations have called for an end to the blockade, since it costs them billions in lost sales to foreign competitors from Europe, Asia and Latin America.
However, mired in its own economic crises with no solution in sight, the U.S. simply cannot tolerate a successful workers’ state on its own doorstep.
Only a determined struggle by workers here will end this cruel economic war against the people of Cuba. n