Calls for end of US embargo on Cuba intensify after weekend’s protests

Cuba protest
Support us and go ad-free

MPs are calling for the end of the US blockade of Cuba after the big protests at the weekend.

On 11 July, thousands of Cubans took to the streets to protest the government and the lack of food and medicine that has been made worse by coronavirus (Covid-19) and the US embargo of the communist-led country.

Some protestors wanted president Miguel Díaz-Canel to step down, calling for “freedom”.

US blame

Díaz-Canel said the US blockade of Cuba had caused the economic crisis, and urged revolutionaries to take to the streets against protestors.

Bolivian news agency Kawsachun News reported that some Cubans were taking to the street in defence of the revolution.

Writing for Jacobin, columnist Ben Burgis said it was “far too early” to define factions amongst the protestors, but said lifting the embargo would best help Cubans.

“Economic war”

In a tweet, Labour MP Zarah Sultana wrote:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

The US has waged economic war on Cuba for nearly 60 years. Its blockade of the country is estimated to have cost Cuba $753,000,000,000+.

If you care about Cuba, the key demand is for Washington to end its economic war on the country, just as the UN has repeatedly demanded.

Similarly, Labour MP Richard Burgon said:

The single most important thing that US politicians can do to help Cuba is to call for their country’s near 60-year blockade to be lifted – as the world has voted for time after time at the United Nations.

The embargo

The US first imposed an embargo on arms sales to Cuba in 1958 during Fulgencio Batista’s presidency. After the Cuban revolution in 1959, the US imposed a “near-full trade embargo” in 1960. In 1962 after the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Kennedy administration prohibited all trade to Cuba.

The United Nations (UN) has made 29 resolutions calling for an end to the US embargo, most of which the US has voted against other than a single abstention by Obama in 2016.

The two countries had a slightly better relationship during Obama’s presidency. Obama eased restrictions on travel, removed Cuba from the terrorism list, reopened the US embassy in Cuba, and visited the country.

After Trump’s election, he reinstated the travel and some business restrictions, and later announced more sanctions and put Cuba back on the US list of state sponsored terror.

As of June 2021, the Biden administration has continued to vote against UN calls for the end of the embargo.

The effect on Cuba

According to the UN, the trade embargo has cost Cuba more than $130bn over the 60 years it has been in place.

Cuba’s economy has been struggling, made worse by the pandemic restricting its tourism income. Its sugar harvest has also not earned as much as expected. Consequently, the government has not had enough foreign currency to make up for shortages.

Inflation has grown, and there have been shortages of medicine, food, and other products.

The aftermath

There have been reports that the government restricted social media platforms and arrested some of the protestors.

Biden tweeted to express his support for the protestors calling for relief from “repression and economic suffering”.

Several replies called for him to lift the blockade of Cuba to help its people.

Featured image via YouTube/BBC News

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us