Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Speech by Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, at the XXVII Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, on April 21, 2021, “Year 63 of the Revolution”.
His Excellency Xavier Espot Zamora, Head of Government of the Principality of Andorra;
His Majesty Felipe VI;
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government of Ibero-America and other heads of delegations; Your Excellency Rebeca Grynspan, Ibero-American Secretary-General:
Please receive cordial greetings on behalf of the Cuban people and Government.
The efforts of the Principality of Andorra to organize this Summit and to give continuity to the work of the Ibero-American Conference, in the period that is coming to an end, under the exceptional conditions imposed by COVID-19, must be acknowledged and thanked.
Our congratulations and support to the sister Dominican Republic, next Pro Tempore Secretariat.
Cuba has experiences to show and attaches special relevance to the theme of this appointment: “Innovation for Sustainable Development-Objective 2030. Ibero-America facing the challenge of the Coronavirus”.
In barely a year, a devastating pandemic has worsened the living conditions of millions of human beings on the planet and caused the worst economic downturn in nine decades¹. In contrast, five years after its adoption, hardly any progress has been made in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
There is talk of the multiple crises generated by COVID-19, but some problems are dozens of years older.
Developing countries are burdened with the unbearable weight of a foreign debt that has already been paid a thousand times over, and some of them are also suffering the impact of unilateral coercive measures that violate international law and hinder their legitimate right to development.
Until a just, democratic and equitable international economic order can be established to address the root causes of inequalities and move towards the Sustainable Development Goals, these will remain a chimera for most of the world’s peoples.
Let us be honest. The current development paradigms cause poverty and exclusion of the majority due to their irrational patterns of production and consumption that, under the designs of the market, disdain the most valuable thing: human life and dignity.
An inclusive Ibero-America, which takes into account the interests and development needs of all the members of this Conference, can favor the progress of our nations.
Sustainable development demands political will, solidarity, cooperation, financial and technology transfers from developed countries and equitable access to these resources that takes into account accumulated inequalities.
The pandemic has laid bare an indisputable truth: health and social protection systems, education, science, technology and available material resources must be put at the service of all and not at the mercy of the narrow interests of a few. Regardless of ideologies, the State has a responsibility to assume in the use of resources associated with the life and well-being of citizens.
As I explained at the Ibero-American Summit in Veracruz in 2014, in Cuba, science and innovation have been key factors in the development process and social justice objectives. This premise, which is a fundamental part of the legacy of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, has allowed us to face the current pandemic under the blockade.
A robust system of science and technological innovation with an advanced and efficient biotechnological and pharmaceutical industry, allied to the universal, free and quality health system, with highly specialized human resources, have made possible the Cuban response to the pandemic that seems to surprise some.
A little more than a year after the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in the country, we have five vaccine candidates, two of them, Soberana 02 and Abdala, in Phase III clinical trials and we hope to immunize the entire Cuban population before the end of 2021, with our own vaccines.
Our National Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, gives a leading role to innovation and scientific research.
The links between government structures and the knowledge and goods and services production sectors have been strengthened to promote innovation for economic and social development, with emphasis on local development.
Cuba has 229 Science, Technology and Innovation entities, of which 141 are Research Centers, 26 Scientific and Technological Services Centers, 61 Development and Innovation Units and a Science and Technology Park², and at the same time it is developing a Government Management System based on Science and Innovation.
The Government of the United States, in the midst of the pandemic, brutally tightened the economic, commercial and financial blockade, and financed and supported dangerous acts of violence and disrespect for the law to promote social and political instability in our country. The Cuban people have responded by redoubling their proverbial resistance to the blow of creativity.
The campaigns of the U.S. Government to discredit and boycott the medical cooperation that Cuba offers have not tarnished our vocation of solidarity and cooperation: 57 medical brigades of the Henry Reeve Contingent have contributed to confront the pandemic in 40 countries and territories. Many of the members of this Conference have appreciated the high altruism of Cuban health professionals.
The legitimacy of a government emanates from the expressed and sovereign will of its people, not from the recognition of foreign powers. The Government presided over by the constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros must be respected.
It is unfair to blame the Venezuelan Government for the economic and social situation facing Venezuela, when the application of cruel unilateral coercive measures, planned and implemented by the United States accompanied by several of its allies, with the aim of causing suffering among the population, continues. These coercive measures promote emigration, a phenomenon about which some express great concern and could contribute to resolving its cause.
It would be useful and sincere to recognize that the U.S. design of intervention in Venezuela failed miserably and placed other countries that supported it in an untenable political and legal situation.
Those who claim to respect the will of the Venezuelan people and promote a political solution among Venezuelans should recognize that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is a sovereign state, cease meddling and act with respect for the United Nations Charter and the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.
On behalf of the Cuban people, I am grateful for the traditional support of the Ibero-American community for the just demand to put an end to the blockade against Cuba, as well as the signs of rejection to the arbitrary and unilateral qualification of our country as a sponsor of terrorism, by the Government of the United States.
Cuba maintains unchanged its policy of solidarity and international cooperation for the benefit of our peoples, and will never renounce the construction of a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation, always ready to share, as a human heritage, the results of our experiences based on Science and Innovation.
Thank you very much to all of you.
Taken from the Report: “The Inequality Virus”, published by OXFAM on January 25, 2021 and available at: https://www.oxfam.org/es/informes/el-virus-de-la-desigualdad
Data provided by Citma’s International Relations Department.
By Gisela Arandia Covarrubias
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Thanks to Rosemari Mealy for bring this to my attention.
Listening these days to President Miguel Díaz Canel’s comments on the duration of the blockade against Cuba, I remembered a meeting held in the city of Oakland, in 1998, during the Dialogue with Cuba Conference organized by the US University of California Berkeley, where a group of Cuban intellectuals and scientists participated and the blockade was one of the topics. It came to my mind then, when I explained the spiritual impact of that aggressive measure against Cuban people rooted to their cultural identity wherever they are in the world.
There I spoke of the cultural impact of the blockade, in the space that transcends beyond the political and economic damage, such as the lack of medicines and medical equipment. I made a reference to the anguish caused by sustained shortages in daily life, where the younger generations have known no other reality than that of shortages, a childhood with minimal limitations for their enjoyment, due to the absence of simple things, such as modern toys, that stimulate their abilities. I also mentioned the uncertainty of housewives at the time of preparing the family diet due to the lack of simple but indispensable products in the diet. I insisted on the sadness of the families who could not have the relationships that other peoples have, where emigration is a daily phenomenon. I had just finished an investigation in Miami, organized by Florida International University and I still had fresh in my mind those encounters with Cuban families where crying for the island was a frequent occurrence.
But the reason for this chronicle was the idea of the Cuban President, with reference to the duration of the blockade of Cuba, the longest in history. It is a subject that refers to several variables. Although Cuba does not possess enormous wealth like other nations, its oil resources are still incipient compared to other territories and are still in the process of being studied. Cuba’s reserves of strategic minerals do not offer millionaire profits either. This is a reality known since the XIX century, that, for the empire, towards a nation that, by the way, has not been a political priority for them. Nor have they attempted an armed invasion with the U.S. military as they have done in dozens of countries around the world, although they know that, in this case, the response would be without winners or losers.
Why then this persistence only with Cuba? Even in the case of Vietnam, the scene of human losses for both sides after a war that shook American society or conflicts with other countries where direct or diplomatic attacks have been carried out, why this sustained abuse against this neighboring island where the blockade has a broad historical consensus of rejection in various instances in the United States itself? So, what is it that bothers them so much about this small Caribbean island with an area of only 110,860 square kilometers [42,803 square miles]? Perhaps one answer could lie in the approach to issues of the Humanities and Social Sciences, such as cultural identities.
In all the years of the blockade, it was Barack Obama, a non-white president, who made a different reflection on this long conflict. I am not going to present a eulogy, but to delve into a different look, to dig into the space of those cultural subjectivities, which finally shape humanist behavior. Obama’s genealogy was not typical of the status quo in that country. He was born in Honolulu to an African economist father and an American anthropologist mother, his primary studies were in Hawaii, with his maternal grandparents, with an education that culminated with outstanding grades at Harvard. His professional level provided him with a pragmatic view of Cuba:
“When I was a child this conflict was already going on and in more than half a century nothing has changed in favor of the United States….”
As perhaps the philosophers of the Enlightenment would say, the strategies and tactics employed have become obsolete, so I propose to explore history as that scientific discipline that describes, roughly speaking, social events and, for that, we have as an essential guide José Martí, . He predicted, more than a century in advance, the significance for that empire of its sustained effort to be the master of the continent. There we find a United States that saw and felt the island as an extension of its territory, where, as masters, they determined their road map, from the simplest things such as promoting their way of life,  to decisions such as the Treaty of Paris. In order to eliminate Spain in a sort of ultimatum, they even named their maneuvers, with cynical serenity as “Hispano-American agreement”  supposedly to liberate a Cuba that had already practically defeated the Spanish troops.
A practice of expropriation also used with native peoples of that country or with Mexican territories. In other words, history from the perspective of the Annals  announces a long-lasting conflict between the mighty Goliath and the young David. But in addition to the story, there is the psychological significance, from a perhaps Freudian perspective, of a dominant and powerful father who does not accept the break with a daughter, perhaps a bastard, but whom he wants to keep under his absolute dominion. The hypothesis would have to be formulated: Is it perhaps a lack of psychic capacity to accept that something that is supposedly his own reveals itself against his authority? This also seems to be an unacceptable reflection.
Now from sociology, with a classist and philosophical vision, let us see how Hitler decided that the Jews did not have the right to live. That is why he created the concentration camps for the extermination of those peoples, from the paradigm of an identity superiority, of white-European-Christian people, supposedly with superior intelligence genes. A cultural identity, in force in the United States, that, unfortunately, was possible to observe in the recent events during the electoral process.
Proclaiming themselves to have a superior identity, they do not tolerate, they do not admit being defeated or to lose an iota of what they have believed to be theirs. Even more dramatic, if it is in what they have considered their backyard, where they have lost a part of their property and do not accept losing, nor being surpassed by others, let alone to be ridiculed, because that hurts a lot.
Because something that the U.S. administration cannot stand is the cultural trauma that Cuba has generated. It’s a reality that is expressed in the United Nations, where for years the world has been in favor of Cuba and against the United States. It could be argued that, for the mentality of a sector of that leadership, it is inadmissible to recognize that Cuba has not submitted to its mandates and hegemony, but not only that, but it has been able to survive and even triumph in spite of the sanctions, a reality that is too strong for that segment of an elite, clinging to the thought of an identity superiority.
And there we find then, how the accumulated rage can increase. Thanks to the low political level and ignorance about Cuban reality, Donald Trump found a space in Miami for an alliance with his also-rabid colleagues. Where are those who thought in 1959, that emigration to the United States would give them the possibility of returning to Cuba, as “their owners”, again? Those who left with suitcases in hand and imagined that within a year or two at the latest, they would be back in their homes, with their servants, in their properties. But it was a dream that was not fulfilled and the one that Trump gave them the hope of recovering.
In conclusion, it is possible to think that the U.S. blockade against Cuba hides a kind of paranoia that has penetrated deeply into that colonizing and imperial mentality, which does not admit a Waterloo. Neither the defeat at the Bay of Pigs nor the loss of the war in Vietnam, which caused this inexplicable pain, of those who have imagined that they are the masters of the world. Because neither lies such as the sonorous aggression or the slander that Cuba is a nation that supports terrorism are able to unbalance the Cuban population. They know that David has already defeated them long ago, with his scientific, cultural and athletic advances, but they panic to admit it. That is why Biden continues with indecision about continuing Obama’s agenda or standing and watching the bulls from the rail, as Juan Formell said, paraphrasing his song: Que tiene Cuba, que sigue ahí, ahí, ahi…!!!!!
–  José Martí “Our America”.
– 2] Louis Pérez, “Ser Cubano identidad, nacionalidad y cultura” 2006.-Ed. Ciencias Sociales.
– 3] The Treaty of Paris of 1898, signed on December 10, 1898, ended up misnamed as the Spanish-American War, by which Spain abandoned its claims over Cuba and declared its independence. The Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico were officially ceded to the United States for $20 million. That agreement has been regarded as the endpoint of the Spanish overseas empire and the beginning of the period of U.S. colonial power.
– 4] The Annals School is a historiographical approach that emphasizes events of long duration.
The author may be reached at:
Gisela Arandia Covarrubias
Juana Carrasco Martín |Juana@juventudrebelde.cu
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Moving trucks leave the White House loaded with large boxes containing the occupying family’s belongings until January 19, evicted by the decision of U.S. voters and the Electoral College, no matter what the outgoing tenant Donald Trump did and did not do to stay in place.
No tricks, unsuccessful lawsuits about alleged fraud and even the seizure of Congress by its white supremacist fanatics, some armed, and willing to do anything, as the gallows erected in front of the Capitol pointed out. A Pew Research Center poll says that about 70 percent of Americans now disapprove of how he has done his job.
Trump takes his stuff, but leaves behind a legacy of worse stuff than anyone would want. I will not speak of the mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic; nor of the internal chaos in a nation more divided than ever before; nor of the discredit of his unilateral and unconsultative policies on the international stage.
I will limit myself to the adverse legacy of injustices, aggressions, revanchist measures, outrageous decisions on the human rights of a people, contained in their policy against Cuba.
The President who is now taking office, Joe Biden, is also carrying this burden, destined during the four-year term of office to please an anti-Cuban clique, which as of January 20 will be his neighbors in Miami, in exchange for their votes and whose aim is to destroy a nation, a people, a social, political and economic system that they viscerally hate.
Over the past few weeks, Mike Pompeo and other retreating officials have exaggerated anti-Cuban actions to multiply the damage and put obstacles in the way of any reversal. In a low and final blow he registered Cuba on the exclusive, sinister and politically motivated list of “countries sponsoring terrorism,” a deliberate lie that has earned the revulsion of various personalities and organizations worldwide.
The final straw came last Friday when the Treasury Department included the Cuban Ministry of the Interior and its head, Brigadier General Lázaro Alberto Álvarez Casas, on a list of those sanctioned for “persecuting or punishing dissidents”, meaning the salaried and discredited acolytes of San Isidro.
“The United States will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to address the terrible human rights situation in Cuba and elsewhere,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.
Both measures against the clock add up to more than 230 approved against Cuba in four years of (dis)government, trying to dent and sink 62 years of resistance that serves as an example to the world and, what hurts them most, to a united nation moving against the tide.
A review, without going deeply into all the nooks and crannies of the operations from Washington to affect the economy of Cuba, allows us to define that the intensification of the blockade and the advertising of lies were centered on ruining the tourist industry, stopping Cuban medical collaboration and cooperation, closing family remittances, paralyzing investments by third parties, financing and trade of the world with and from the island.
The enforcement of all the evil instruments of the Helms-Burton Act was the tool used during these terrible 1461 days by Trump and his people, in which they reversed, or more appropriately, curtailed the policy of rapprochement inaugurated by Barack Obama when, on December 17, 2014, together with Army General Raul Castro, they announced the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, and in two years there were certain achievements of mutual benefit, in favor of a better neighborhood.
Trump’s unseemly anti-Cuban dossier includes organizing, orienting and financing small groups to defame the Revolution and try to turn them into “the leaders” of a subversion that produces a change in the political model on the island. We have already seen how they have defended them…
But the story began early, not with this sin of an idiotic slander, but with aggressive prohibitions and sanctions, including collusion with other governments in the region to attack the Cuban economy and make it as worn out as possible, which in the last year joined the damage caused by the Covid-19.
He did everything possible to bring the situation up to his promise as a presidential candidate made in Miami to hard-line Cuban Americans, and to directors of the terrorist Cuban-American National Foundation (CANF), in September 2016: to break relations with Cuba.
On June 16, 2017, in Miami, he signed the so-called Presidential National Security Memorandum on Strengthening U.S. Policy Toward Cuba. It restricted the travel of US citizens to the Caribbean country and also prohibited economic, commercial and financial transactions between US companies and Cuban companies linked to the Revolutionary Armed Forces and the intelligence and security services.
The ban on cruise ships that successfully traveled to Cuban ports was among the first restrictive measures. They reaffirmed the exorbitant fines on companies that violated the blockade – a practice reinforced by Obama – and strictly enforced the ban on the use of the dollar in Cuba’s international transactions.
By November 2017, Trump had completely changed the policy on U.S. travel to the Caribbean nation, which, with the easing of the previous administration’s blockade rules, allowed 12 categories of specific activities, although tourism remained prohibited.
As a result, the airlines began to shut down travel to Cuban airports, which had been resumed on August 31, 2016, after 55 years of isolation. Other bans followed. On December 10, 2019, the Trump administration ended the bridge established three years ago between the US and several provinces in Cuba by suspending regular flights to those destinations except for Havana.
In addition to being a coup de grace against family ties and the state tourism industry, the impact on small private businesses (transportation, the well-known palates, rental houses, artisans, and many other businesses) directly or indirectly linked to tourism was notable.
Since assuming the presidency of his country, Trump extended, year after year, the Law of Trade with the Enemy, a regulation that serves as the basis for the blockade laws, and maintained his authority to sanction through executive decrees.
By establishing sanctions against the Venezuelan oil sector, Trump was also establishing a measure to deprive Cuba of fuel with the intention of delivering a coup de grace in the midst of the terrible 2020, which together with the decision to re-impose the limit of up to ten percent on U.S. components for products that the island can import, points against any development sector.
The Trumpist push to impose limitations of all kinds was made despite the fact that U.S. legislators and various economic sectors rejected the restrictions, which hardened the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington against Cuba, which also hurt sectors of the U.S. economy and the rejection of the blockade by a part of the Cuban migration wishing to have no obstacles of any kind to their family relations.
Perhaps one of the most monstrous actions linked Trump to equally aberrant rulers in our hemisphere. The accusations against Cuban medical cooperation justified countries like Brazil, Bolivia under the coup d’état and Ecuador, closing the doors to solidarity and also to the right to health of the most humble of their peoples by putting an end to the agreements that made possible the presence of hundreds or thousands of Cuban doctors, and put pressure on others to follow that inhumane path in the midst of the pandemic.
Trump definitely closed down spaces for dialogue and cooperation, and any possibility of advancing, as intended, toward a “civilized coexistence”.
This is, in short, the abusive legacy that Donald Trump leaves to Joe Biden.
FROM THE LEFT
Despite the intense propaganda to which the US allocates tens of millions of dollars each year, the results are overwhelmingly favorable to the revolutionary leadership that Washington has been trying to overthrow for six decades
Author: Iroel Sánchez | email@example.com
November 2, 2020 02:11:30
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
A Brazilian friend who, as a journalist, was in Cuba for a few days, told me of her amazement at how all the Cubans she spoke to know who Bolsonaro is, who Dilma is and who Lula is, which was not the case in other Latin American countries she had visited recently.
The exceptional interest with which Cubans follow international events is something very particular that often goes unnoticed by those of us who live on the island. The social upheavals in Haiti, Chile, Panama and Ecuador, the conflict of powers in Peru, the endless repressions and assassinations of social leaders in Honduras and Colombia, the inherited ungovernability that forced the Mexican government to release a drug trafficker, the unjust imprisonment suffered by the leader of the Brazilian left to prevent his safe electoral victory and the elections in Bolivia and the United States, or Washington’s constant aggressions against Venezuela, can be topics of conversation anywhere in Cuba, from a corner where dominoes are played to a university classroom.
Of course, these conversations do not avoid the serious difficulties that the Cuban economy is going through, against which every week new US government sanctions are announced, nor any of the deficiencies in services with which the citizenry clashes. In these, the impact of the economic blockade can be mixed with bureaucratic laziness and cause discomfort and dissatisfaction.
However, this mixture of economic warfare with internal shortcomings does not cause social upheavals, and when the system – single-party socialism – has been put to the test at the ballot box, as in the recent constitutional referendum. This is so, despite the intense propaganda to which the US spends tens of millions of dollars each year and a well-funded “Cuba Internet Task Force”. The results have been overwhelmingly favorable to the revolutionary leadership that Washington has been trying to overthrow for six decades.
The explanation for the dominant media machine is that the mix of “intense regime repression” and “Cuban relaxation” prevents an outbreak. But in the history of Cuba –from Weyler’s reconcentration to Machado’s dictatorship to Batista’s– no regime based on repression has ever managed to remain in charge of the country for a long time, despite a “relaxation” in which corruption was the dynamic of the functioning of politics and the economy at all levels.
On the contrary, if instead of February 2019, the electoral consultation were to take place now, in the midst of an intensified blockade, the percentage of approval would probably exceed that obtained then, and that would be the result, without a doubt, of the combination of three conjunctural and two structural factors.
The intensification of the U.S. government’s aggressiveness strengthens patriotic sentiment and national unity.
The political effectiveness of the Cuban government, convincingly explaining the relationship of shortages with the increase in aggression, and the way in which the strategy to confront the US sanctions seeks to lessen their impact on the daily life of the people.
The international situation with visible failure of neo-liberal policies and discrediting of the formulas of bourgeois democracy
The massive political culture among Cubans, established for 60 years by Fidel Castro’s teaching, about the nature of imperialism and the project of social justice and national sovereignty of the Revolution.
The link between the revolutionary leadership and the people, continued by the leadership of Raúl and supported by Díaz-Canel, which has reinforced the perception that the government listens to the people and works for them.
No Latin American country, of those who right now repress social protest with gunshots and gases and/or openly violate the rules of formal democracy that they themselves defend, has been subjected to economic warfare, to multi-million dollar financing to create an artificial opposition and, much less, to permanent global media and academic lynching of their leaders and their political and social project.
But in spite of all that, it must be recognized that there are dissatisfied people in Cuba, and many of those dissatisfied people are going to Miami. The accumulation of almost six decades of migratory privileges, together with the development of educational capabilities and the state of health brought about by Cuban socialism, make them very competitive with respect to the rest of the non-native communities, but they do not make them freer. More than one million Cubans in the US suffer serious limitations in their relations with their families in Cuba thanks to Trump’s measures; however, there is no news that this causes significant protests there.
Nor do we read anywhere that this public absence of disagreement is attributed to corruption and the repressive practices, not at all democratic, that the ruling class on the island until 1959 seems to have implanted in Miami during its already long stay in that city. This is not to disregard the uplifting example offered by a system that today puts Donald Trump and Joe Biden in competition, in corruption and insults.
Published: Thursday 27 February 2020 | 11:48:01 pm. Updated: Friday 28 February 2020 | 12:16:12 am.
By Yoerky Sánchez Cuéllar
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
The pressure valve resonates and they keep adding fuel to the fire. Let the pot explode. This is what the American circles of power want every time they announce a perverse measure against this small archipelago which, at the cost of sacrifice and resistance, pays the price of being independent.
My generation was born under the effects of the blockade. Perhaps at that time its economic impact was not so visible, thanks to the mutually advantageous relations and agreements established with the socialist camp. Until I was seven years old I fully enjoyed my childhood, playing bowling or watching dolls and adventures in an old Krim 218 at the house of my friends in the neighbourhood. But then the 1990s came and the scene took a traumatic turn.
The fall of Soviet socialism cracked our economy and left it without 80 percent of its foreign trade. Transportation collapsed, factories were shut down, “gossip” lamps replaced incandescent bulbs during long hours of scheduled blackouts.
In the face of the irresistible heat, people slept on the rooftops, with their mattresses uncovered. Publications disappeared. Juventud Rebelde, for example, changed its daily frequency to a weekly newspaper. Faced with a shortage of soap, I remember my mother washing with maguey fibres. Chinese bicycles became fashionable… At that age I couldn’t really understand what was going on around me.
In the book No hay que llorar (Let’s not cry), Santa Clara writer Aristides Vega Chapú compiled testimonies from 34 Cuban authors about this period. About the difficulties of that time and how we overcame the onslaught, each Cuban can tell his own story of ingenuity and resistance. The work would be a book of many volumes.
During all this time, what was the “help” of the American rulers? Was their intention to extend their hand so that the people would overcome the crisis?
In July 1991, months before the “de-escalation,” the U.S. Senate passed several amendments imposing a number of conditions on the Soviet Union to be eligible for U.S. foreign aid. These requirements included the cessation of military and economic assistance to Cuba.
And in 1992 the US government, led by Bush senior, signed the Torricelli Act, after the Democratic candidate, William Clinton, publicly endorsed it as a result of an agreement with Jorge Más Canosa, president of the Cuban American National Foundation. The objective: to asphyxiate us economically in order to provoke social chaos and, consequently, to overthrow the political order established on the island. Illusioned by a supposed domino effect, they openly proclaimed “the end of history” for the “Castro regime”.
In that same year, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) prohibited third-country nationals from introducing tobacco and rum from Cuba into the United States, even when these were for personal consumption. They had not yet approved the unfortunate Helms-Burton Act of 1996.
In their speech on humanitarian aid to the Cuban people, they always put one condition in advance: “If Cuba holds totally free and fair elections under international supervision, respects human rights and stops subverting its neighbors, we can hope that relations between our two countries will improve significantly,” are the words of the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, in March 1990.
Thirty years later, the goals remain the same. We are asked to make political concessions as a condition for taking the pressure off the pot. In the face of Cuba’s dignified and unchanging stance, they resort to arrogance and overkill. These incluse the 85 aggressive measures of various kinds that they applied only in 2019 and which have been rejected by our people and by many in the world, who also suffer the consequences of imperial arrogance.
The writer Eduardo Galeano illustrated this act of genocide with an emphatic and sentimental style: “The blockade against Cuba has multiplied over the years. A bilateral affair? So they say; but nobody ignores that the US blockade implies, today, the universal blockade. Cuba is denied bread and salt and everything else. And it also implies, although many people ignore it, the denial of the right to self-determination. The asphyxiating siege around Cuba is a form of intervention, the most ferocious, the most effective, in its internal affairs.
In the face of this policy of permanent aggression, made worse by the Trump administration and his perverse advisors, aim9ing to make the pot explode, the best response from every Cuban is to do things right. And that the result of daily work neutralizes every plan that the enemy cooks up. In short, “emancipate ourselves by ourselves and with our own efforts,” as Fidel explained it to us in his concept of Revolution.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
On March 12, 1996, the Congress of the United States of America approved one of the most regressive and draconian imperialist foreign policy initiatives, ironically named the Solidarity Act of Freedom and Democracy for Cuba (LIBERTAD), known as the Helms-Burton Act.
Before the triumph of Cuban guerrilla weapons over the armed forces of Fulgencio Batista’s tyranny, which had been imposed by Washington on Cuba, the United States exercised absolute control. The economy of the island was ultimately subordinated to the interests of U.S. companies involved in relations with the Cuban authorities and entities.
After the victory of the revolution in January 1959, the situation changed completely. Cubans became masters of their country and their economy. Nevertheless, Cuba could not conduct its normal foreign trade relations with the US because US hostility became present in economic relations.
However, before the 1990s, the blockade on trade with Cuba had not been legally established although it started working through so-called “executive orders”.
It was President Kennedy who officially initiated the blockade, euphemistically called the “embargo”, in 1962. He did this on the basis of [U.S. national] self-interest in response to the nationalization of US assets ordered by Cuba following the revolution’s coming to power.
Happily for Cuba, that moment arrived just at the moment when Moscow was in a position to become Cuba’s main trading partner in the New World. There were special incentives from its ideological affinity and a certain economic complementarity that the political alliance would bring about.
It is rightly said that the community’s approach and world public opinion have very little influence on the policy of the United States of America. This perception was fully confirmed by history during the second half of the 20th century.
Every year, Cubans, many Latin Americans and not a few Americans, humiliated by the shame of the criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade that their country, the richest and most militarily powerful in the world, has been exercising against this small island. Cuba is a giant in terms of dignity,
The sole justification of Washington’s fear is that the example of Cuba’s successful resistance to unjust abuse will encourage other peoples and governments of the continent to defend their sovereignty, which cannot be renounced.
Once again this year, the most representative body of the international community debated and approved almost unanimously, in a plenary session of its General Assembly, the resolution “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba”.
A few minutes after the conclusion of this most recent session of the UN General Assembly, the whole of Cuba celebrated, as it does every year, “the new victory against imperialism” with as much joy as if it were the first time that it did so as an expression of its condemnation of the unjust blockade imposed on the Caribbean country.
This was the umpteenth time in as many consecutive years that the United Nations General Assembly approved the same resolution. It calls for the suspension of the longest blockade in human history. It has already caused the island more than $100 billion in losses. It could have served to bring Cuba out of underdevelopment through its own efforts, according to the original projects of the triumphant revolution in January 1959.
The Helms-Burton Act was not the only piece of explicitly anti-Cuban legislation circulating in Congress at the time. On February 9, 1995, Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) introduced a bill with a diametrically opposed text, the Cuba Free Trade Act. It was aimed at eliminating the blockade and establishing a dialogue with Cuba. In doing so, Rangel sought to draft an agreement on the disposition of expropriated U.S. assets in Cuba.
Congress did not approve that law, opting for a hard-line stance against Cuba and avoiding constructive policies that would transform it.
December 27, 2019
By: Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
Ph.D in Philosophy and Literature, writer and Cuban politician. He was Ambassador to the UN and Cuban Foreign Minister. Presided over the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba (Parliament) for 20 years.
April 13, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Since the beginning of this year, the U.S. State Department has issued several announcements about the partial suspension of the application of some aspects of a chapter of the so-called Helms-Burton Act. It has done so in the deceitful, fraudulent style characteristic of the current rulers. Its clear intention is to create uncertainty and confusion, a purpose for which they have, as usual, the means that are supposed to be used for informing the public.
Above all, it must be said rigorously said that this is a secondary aspect of the Helms-Burton Law, a pseudo-juridical contraption that grossly violates International Law, whose illegality and aggressiveness does not change a bit whether or not the so-vaunted suspension is applied. It is a question of opening or not, now, the possibility of presenting lawsuits before North American courts for acts carried out outside their jurisdiction, in this case in the territory of the Republic of Cuba. Since such litigation could affect foreign companies with investments in the Island, the matter provoked rejection by other countries. It also led the European Union to present a formal complaint to the World Trade Organization in 1996. The matter was then sealed when Washington undertook to suspend the action before its courts, which Clinton, W. Bush, Obama, and even Trump, have consistently done every six months.
This was an exercise repeated for more than twenty years until, on January 16,  it was announced that this time the suspension would be for only 45 days. When the deadline expired in March, they made it known that they would extend it for another 30 days, adding that, as of the 19th of that month, they would allow the filing of lawsuits before their courts against some 200 Cuban companies arbitrarily included in a list drawn up by Washington. Again, in April, they extended the deadline by two weeks, until May 1st, maintaining the exception against Cuban entities.
Already in 1996, Fidel Castro had anticipated that the suspension clause was a “hoax”. Since last January, twenty-three years later, Mr. Pompeo appears, in a doubtful pose, “shedding the daisy”, mocking everyone, especially his European allies, turning the commitment made to them into wet paper.
This game serves, above all, to divert attention from what is fundamental, to what is barely spoken of, and to what I would like to refer to, trusting in the benevolence of the readers of Por Esto!
The Helms-Burton Act has four Chapters or Titles. The first turns into Law, all the measures, which until then were executive decisions, that shape the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba, widens it, and tries to extend it all over the planet. The infamous policy, thus codified, could only be eliminated by a decision of both Houses of the U.S. Congress.
The Second describes, with a certain level of detail, what would happen with the hypothetical defeat of the Cuban Revolution as a consequence of the economic war. There would then be what they call a “transition period” during which all the institutions of Cuban society would be dismantled and the country would be under total U.S. domination. So that no one can doubt it, the process would be led by a U.S. official appointed by the President of the United States, whom the law discreetly calls Cuba Transition Coordinator. This true proconsul was actually appointed by W. Bush, although he never fulfilled his mandate on the island. He had to devote himself to promoting, outside Cuba, the Transition Plan that Bush, in compliance with the law, presented to Congress in 2004 and in an expanded version in 2006 and that no one has repealed.
Throughout Title II, there is a redundant insistence on the concept that for the elimination of the blockade and future relations with a supposed post-revolutionary Cuba, an indispensable condition will be the return of their properties to those who lost them on January 1, 1959 (to this subject I will have to return later).
So far, with Title I and Title II, Helms-Burton is a text that tramples on International Law from beginning to end. Its extra-territorial character is more than obvious since the Cuban archipelago is not part of the territory under Washington’s jurisdiction.
In addition to the above, Helms-Burton added a Title III that establishes the possibility of bringing legal actions before U.S. courts against companies or individuals who use, in any way, properties claimed by those who allegedly owned or inherited them. This Title includes an article that allows the US President to suspend the commencement of such actions for half-yearly periods, to which I devoted the initial part of this essay.
Finally, Title IV, which has already been applied on several occasions, denies visas to enter the United States to businesspeople and their families who use properties that are the subject of a lawsuit.
The Helms-Burton Act reminds us of the warning Carlos Manuel de Céspedes gave us very early on. The Father of the Cuban Homeland, in 1870, discovered that the “secret” of U.S. policy was to “seize Cuba.” Thanks to Helms and Burton, the designs of the Empire appear in the light of day. That they can make them a reality is, of course, something quite different. From Céspedes to Fidel, Cubans have shown that they will fight to the end and that they will never be anyone’s slaves again.
Special for Mexican daily Por Esto! Taken from Cubadebate.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
The mysterious case of the alleged “acoustic attacks” against US diplomatic personnel in Cuba turns out to have been a media maneuver aimed at damaging tourism in terms of as part of the blockade against the island.
One of Cuba’s greatest attractions for foreign tourism is the guarantee of security offered by the island to visitors from any part of the world. Another is the high level of public health in Cuba, one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere with health indicators comparable to those of the most developed nations.
In addition to the exceptional conditions with which the island has been endowed by nature, the popular revolution of 1959 has incorporated the dsocial conditions of peace and harmony that the visitor appreciates from the first moment of their stay in Cuba.
More than half a century of possessive paranoia, aggravated by the economic, commercial and financial blockade, have not been able to counteract the enormous achievements of socialism, even if they have postponed or limited many revolutionary economic and social advances in the country.
Basque journalist José Manzaneda, coordinator of the Cubainformación website, a channel that broadcasts news, reports and commentaries on the island from Spain, has denounced the media’s objective against Cuba over the campaign of alleged sonic attacks.
Manzaneda remembers that it was the Argentine newspaper “Clarín”, among many other media, who published a report two years ago from the Associated Press. Its focus was on an American traveler who felt “a sudden loss of feeling in his four extremities, in the same hotel where some affected diplomats were staying.”
Then there’s the growing interest among students, the sector of American visitors that has grown the most in Cuba –118% in the first half of the year– given that conventional tourism is still prohibited by the US blockade, Diario de Cuba, half-financed by the governments of the United States and Spain, wrote: “There are signs that students and retirees (from the U.S.) plan to cancel their trips to the island”, since neither “Washington nor Havana have been able to prevent the attacks, which could generate an uncontrollable crisis”.
El Nuevo Herald, a mouthpiece for the extreme right-wing Cubans in Miami, assured its readers that Raúl Castro is turning a diplomatic crisis into an economic, potentially destabilizing one.
Agencies and media collaborated in this way with the objective of the White House that came to life on September 29. That was when, recognizing that ti was “not aware” of the origin of the supposed acoustic attacks, it officially recommended not traveling to the island.
“Coming from the government of a country where every year 30,000 people die by firearms, more than a thousand by police, and 31% of the world’s mass shootings are recorded, this alarm seems like a joke in bad taste,” says Manzaneda.
The extreme-right of Cuban origin of the Republican party, which, in exchange for its vote on other matters, already manages Donald Trump’a Cuba policy. It seeks to reverse the growth experienced through the trips of Americans to the island and damage the income from them which it brings to the Cuban economy.
In line with this campaign, the conservative Washington Examiner asked the House of Representatives to demand that Cuba “evaluate security at its ten international airports.” This is an inadmissible interference that seeks to reduce the number of visitors from the US, in this case by canceling the regular flights authorized by the Obama administration.
However, RESPECT, the largest US association of travel promoters in Cuba, rejected –as unnecessary and counterproductive– the “security warning” issued by the State Department, arguing that Cuba is a “safe destination.”
The Spanish newspaper El País followed with an interview with Thomas Shannon, US Undersecretary of State. He held Cuba responsible for everything that had happened, but without clarifying what he was referring to, and without contributing any element to such an unusual story. Republican Senator Marco Rubio, Donald Trump’s current spoiled scion, seems to be, according to analysts, the one who is behind the nefarious campaign about “sonic attacks” in Cuba.
Everything indicates that, now, the tactic chosen by the right, at the service of imperialism, is to generate fear more than to legislate against Cuba. This is because, since for the former they have the concurrence –conscious or unconscious– of powerful international agencies and media, so much so that, for the second, they run the risk of increasing the division in the Republican ranks in Congress.
Let it be known then that all this diabolical mischief of sonic attacks is nothing more than another element of the blockade against Cuba that this past November 1, was condemned almost unanimously by the world community in the UN for the 26th consecutive year.
November 2 of 2017.
By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
It appears that a new maneuver against Cuba by terrorist sectors in the US government’s foreign policy establishment has been exposed and neutralized when the Associated Press (AP) published information dated September 15, 2017 about damages caused by Hurricane Irma and the penetration of the sea that affected the building that houses the US Embassy in Havana.
According to the AP, a National Security Subcommittee (NSSC) official, who asked not to be identified, revealed to his correspondents that the NSSC was filing a lawsuit against the American Technology Corporation (ATC), maker of the LRAD equipment -RX that the NSSC uses to communicate with its agents in Cuba.
The suit was based on the auditory harm that these equipment would have caused to workers of the NSSC, its officials and relatives. According to the plaintiff, the equipment in question was purchased less than a year earlier and the ATC experts who trained those who would be responsible for using them at any time warned them against hearing problems.
Anonymous sources had then told the AP that the hearing loss may have been related to sound devices that emit inaudible waves capable of causing deafness.
According to the source, the suit presented by the NSSC included economic compensation for damages caused to workers of the teams and their relatives, as well as for operational damages suffered by the NSSC.
Immediately the NSSC knew of the auditory problems caused to the operators, it ordered discontinuance of use of the LRAD-RX but this implied an immediate change in the means of communication with its agents, which entailed higher expenses that surpassed what which is budgeted.
However, in May 2017, the State Department ordered the expulsion of two Cuban diplomats in response to “incidents” at the US embassy in Cuba without specifying what or whom they considered guilty.
The penetration of the sea in the embassy due to a hurricane. It complicated the investigation into the technological aspects of the case. This was because part of the equipment was under the sea. Although the trip to Cuba by a number of technicians and specialists was supposed to verify the condition of the equipment, this aspect of the research did not make sense. Public and staff access to the Embassy was restricted in order to disassemble the equipment and send it to the United States for eventual repairs by the manufacturers without the knowledge of the result.
It is alleged that, although the ATC is a commercially-registered US firm, it is an entity created by the security forces of the state of Israel and, as has been reported, LRAD is a weapon that emits a sound that temporarily deafens the adversary. From what we’ve seen so far, it is clear that the maneuver was intended to involve Cuba in an act of terrorism, a scourge in which the island has never dirtied its flag, although it has been a constant a victim of it.
However, when suspicions seemed to focus on supplier-related technological problems, US Sen. Marco Rubio made scandalous statements “calling for blood against Cuba”. This showed Florida’s Republican politician as likely axis of terrorist manipulation.
Shortly afterwards, Washington withdrew 60% of the staff from its embassy in Havana, and then expelled 15 diplomats from the Cuban embassy in the United States. The US argued that “there are no adequate Cuban measures to protect our diplomats from sonic attacks”. This is despite the fact that, from the outset, Cuba said that it would do everything possible to investigate the facts and invited the FBI to join the investigation in Cuba.
This investigation by Cuban authorities involved some 2000 people, including law enforcement officials and the best scientists in the country. They interviewed 300 neighbors and carried out dozens of medical examinations to see if anyone outside the diplomatic cadre had been affected.
They examined the rooms of two hotels where several employees of the United States Embassy lived, interviewed 300 neighbors in a neighborhood where many lived in houses. They analyzed air and soil samples, verified whether insects could be the culprits and considered a range of toxic chemicals and even electromagnetic waves.
However, the United States has refused to allow Cuban doctors access to the medical records of those affected or to let Cubans talk to US doctors. Neither were Cuban experts allowed to visit the homes of the US diplomats involved to conduct expert tests.
October 28, 2017
By Manuel E. Yepe
Parecía que una nueva maniobra contra Cuba de los sectores terroristas en la política exterior del gobierno estadounidense había sido expuesta y neutralizada cuando la agencia Associated Press (AP) publicó una información fechada el 15 de septiembre de 2017 acerca de los daños ocasionados por el ciclón Irma y la penetración del mar que afectó el edificio que alberga a la Embajada de Estados Unidos en La Habana.
Según la AP, un funcionario del Subcomité Nacional de Seguridad (NSSC, por sus siglas en inglés) que pidió no ser identificado, reveló a sus corresponsales que el NSSC preparaba una demanda contra la American Technology Corporation (ATC), fabricante de los equipos LRAD-RX que utiliza el NSSC para comunicarse con sus agentes en Cuba.
La demanda se fundamentaba en la afectación auditiva que dichos equipos habrían causado a operarios del NSSC, sus funcionarios y familiares. Según el demandante, los equipos en cuestión fueron adquiridos menos de un año antes y los expertos de la ATC que entrenaron a quienes se encargarían de utilizaros en ningún momento les advirtieron contra problemas auditivos.
Fuentes anónimas habían dicho entonces a la agencia AP que la pérdida auditiva pudo estar relacionada con dispositivos de sonido que emiten ondas inaudibles capaces de causar sordera.
Según la fuente, la demanda que presentaría el NSSC incluía compensación económica por los daños ocasionados a operarios de los equipos y los familiares de éstos afectados, así como por los perjuicios operativos sufridos por el NSSC.
Inmediatamente que el NSSC conoció de los problemas auditivos ocasionados a los operadores, ordenó descontinuar la utilización del LRAD-RX pero esto implicó un cambio inmediato en los medios de comunicación con sus agentes, lo cual conllevó mayores gastos que sobrepasaban lo presupuestado.
Sin embargo, en mayo de 2017, que el Departamento de Estado dispuso la expulsión de dos diplomáticos cubanos en respuesta a “incidentes” ocurridos en su embajada en Cuba sin precisar a qué o quién consideraba culpable.
La penetración del mar en la Embajada a causa de un huracán complicó la investigación acerca de los aspectos tecnológicos del caso porque una parte del equipamiento quedó bajo las aguas del mar y aunque se había planificado el viaje a Cuba de un número de técnicos y especialistas para verificar las condiciones de los equipos, ya este aspecto de la pesquisa no tenía sentido. Sólo se limitó el acceso de público y del personal a la Embajada a fin de desmontar los equipos y enviarlos a Estados Unidos para su eventual revisión por los fabricantes sin que se sepa del resultado.
Se afirma que, aunque la ATC es una firma estadounidense por su registro comercial, se trata de una entidad creada por las fuerzas de seguridad del Estado de Israel y, según se ha publicado, la LRAD es un arma que emite un sonido que deja temporalmente sordo al adversario. Por los elementos evidenciados hasta el momento es claro que la maniobra tenía el propósito de involucrar a Cuba en un acto de terrorismo, flagelo en el que la Isla jamás ha ensuciado su bandera aunque ha sido constantemente víctima de éste.
Sin embargo, cuando las sospechas parecían concentrarse en problemas tecnológicos imputables al suministrador, escandalosas declaraciones del senador estadounidense Marco Rubio “pidiendo sangre contra Cuba” evidenciaron al político republicano de Florida como probable eje de la manipulación terrorista.
Poco después Washington retiró el 60 % de los trabajadores de su Embajada en La Habana y luego expulsó 15 diplomáticos de la misión cubana en Estados Unidos arguyendo la “inexistencia de medidas cubanas adecuadas para proteger a nuestros diplomáticos de los ataques sónicos” pasando por alto el hecho de que, desde el primer momento, Cuba dijo que haría todo lo posible por indagar los hechos y había invitado al FBI a compartir las pesquisas en Cuba.
Unas 2.000 personas involucraron las autoridades cubanas en esta investigación, incluyendo agentes de orden público y los mejores científicos del país. Entrevistaron a 300 vecinos y llevaron a cabo decenas de exámenes médicos para ver si alguien fuera del cuadro diplomático había sido afectado.
Examinaron las habitaciones de dos hoteles donde vivían varios empleados de la Embajada de Estados Unidos, entrevistaron a 300 vecinos en un barrio donde muchos vivían casas. Analizaron muestras de aire y el suelo, verificaron sí podrían ser insectos los culpables y consideraron una gama de productos químicos tóxicos e incluso de ondas electromagnéticas.
Sin embargo, Estados Unidos se ha negado a permitir a los médicos cubanos acceso a las historias clínicas de los afectados o a dejar que los cubanos hablen con los médicos de Estados Unidos. Tampoco se permitió a los peritos cubanos visitar los hogares de los diplomáticos estadounidenses implicados para llevar a cabo pruebas periciales.
Octubre 28 de 2017