- Created: Thursday, 23 April 2009 16:13
- Written by Hannah Caller
On 9 November, at the United Nations, almost every country in the world voted against the illegal US blockade of Cuba. 182 countries supported Cuba’s resolution against the blockade – the highest number ever (179 in 2004). The three new countries to vote with Cuba are Uzbekhistan, Vanuatu and Chad. Four countries, the same as last year, voted in favour of the US Blockade – US, Israel, Marshall Islands (population 59,000) and Palau (population 20,000). Only Micronesia abstained.
The US blockade violates Cuban sovereignty and international law. Felipe Perez Roque, Cuban Foreign Minister stated: ‘Never before has this blockade been applied with the viciousness and brutally seen over the last 18 months. Never before has a government of the US so cruelly and mercilessly persecuted the economy and the right of the Cuban people to live a decent and respectable life.’
In 2004 alone 77 companies, banking institutions and NGOs were fined by the US for violations of the blockade; this included the US offices of third country organisations such as Alitalia, Daewoo and the Bank of China and 11 US subsidiaries operating out of other countries.
The tentacles of the blockade reach into every area of Cuban life, affecting health, sport, culture, science and of course, overwhelmingly, trade. Cubans living in the US have restrictions placed on their travel to the island and on the remittances they can send back. Over all, Perez Roque stated, the illegal US blockade has cost Cuba $79 billion over the past 46 years. ‘No economic or social activity in Cuba escapes the consequences of such figures. There is not a single human right of the Cuban people which is not violated by this blockade.’ He also condemned US ‘radio and television aggression’, which bombards the island with thousands of hours of propaganda every week.
Perez Roque referred to what the US calls transition as a ‘cruel and bloody annexation of Cuba’. He reminded the world of the courage and political consciousness of the people of Cuba who will defend their Revolution.
UN General Assembly resolutions are non-binding and the resolution will in any case be vetoed by the US. However, the vote is a political defeat for the US and a moral victory for Cuba.
US continues to protect terrorist
On 26 October, the time allowed for the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to appeal against the right of terrorist Posada Carriles to remain in the US expired (see FRFI 187). The DHS, with its multimillion dollar budget and remit to protect US citizens from terrorism, has therefore given its blessing to the permanent accommodation of Carriles on US territory. Recently declassified CIA and FBI documents add to the mounting evidence proving beyond a shadow of a doubt Carriles’ responsibility for the bombing of the Cubana airliner in 1976 which killed 73 people. Carriles had warned the US administration he would spill the beans on US involvement in and backing for all his terrorist activities over the past 40 years.
Cuban political prisoners still in US gaol
On 9 August a panel of judges from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta made the unanimous decision to overturn all convictions against the Cuban Five and order a new trial. On 31 October however, the same 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta agreed to consider the US Attorney’s appeal against the August decision. This serves only to prolong the process and delay justice for the Cuban Five. As a Granma editorial stated on 2 November: ‘Those who are silent are granting refuge to terrorists and prison to those fighting against terrorism’.
Art and culture in Cuba
On 28 October, Fidel Castro addressed newly qualified art instructors at the second National Graduation Ceremony and announced that Cuba now has 6,318 art instructors, enough for at least one for every preschool, primary school, secondary school and special education school in Cuba. Fidel said ‘Cuba is today a source of inspiration and a beacon of hope for many. The Revolution’s humanitarian goals and quest for justice are a point of reference for those who believe that a better world is possible and can replace the world of savagery, violence, egotism and squandering which the powerful have created...The Cuban artists and intellectuals who have gathered under the standard of “in defence of humanity” have become a bulwark for the Battle of Ideas... spreading progressive ideas and lucidly spearheading our struggle for culture, freedom and the dignity of our people’.
Guardian reprints CIA lies
‘Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated’ Mark Twain
On 17 November, the British ‘liberal’ Guardian newspaper uncritically repeated CIA allegations that President Fidel Castro is suffering from Parkinson’s disease and is rapidly degenerating. ‘The CIA says the US should be “ready for trouble” as Castro’s symptoms become more evident and his grip on Cuba’s 46-year communist regime weakens’. Ironically, Cuba is one of the five leading countries in the world in the development of neuro-rehabilitation treatment for Parkinson’s; such treatment is a major source of medical tourism to the island. But why is The Guardian recycling CIA propaganda, first circulated about seven years ago (along with other rumours, over the years, claiming Castro had had a series of strokes, had cancer, or was dead) if not to attack Cuba? In a five-hour speech a few days later, Castro robustly denied the rumours and, in a television interview with Diego Maradona, joked that when he does actually die, no one will believe it any more!
Rock around the Blockade remembers Che
On 8 October, to mark the 38th anniversary of Che Guevara’s murder in Bolivia, Rock around the Blockade held a day of debate and discussion on Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela.
After the dayschool, we marched to Trafalgar Square behind a banner of the Cuban Five. There we held a lively, noisy demonstration, with speeches, chants and readings to demand the immediate release of the Cuban Five and call for the defence of Cuban socialism – a fitting tribute to the memory of Che Guevara.
FRFI 188 December 2005 / January 2006