The messages from this evening’s solidarity rally at Belfast City Hall were clear for all to hear – ‘End the Blockade’, ‘No more US Interference’ ‘Let Cuba Live’
The show of support at the event organised by the Cuban Solidarity Forum and supported by the Belfast Trades Council was impressive, colourful and loud.
After nearly seven decades of unrelenting aggression against Cuba and the Cuban people the US, under the presidency of Joe Biden, continues and escalates its belligerence
Despite world opinion, the economic, commercial and financial blockade applied by the government of the United States against Cuba is being maintained and it continues to have profound repercussions on the Cuban economy.
The blockade is deliberately designed to limit Cuba’s right to follow its own development path. The US has opportunistically and criminally tightened the blockade during the pandemic.
But Cuba does not stand alone. In Belfast and in towns and cities across the world the solidarity is tangible, unbroken and determined.
Over this weekend Workers Party members and supporters will be expressing their support for Cuba and the Cuban people at a number of solidarity demonstrations in Northern Ireland and in the Republic.
For more than 60 years the United States has imposed an economic embargo against Cuba and the Cuban people and has tried, unsuccessfully, to overthrow .the Cuban government on dozens of occasions.
Each year, the United States government spends millions of dollars funding anti-Cuban projects and opposition groups .
In the past two months alone Joe Biden’s administration has allocated almost $7 million to twelve organisations for projects designed to destabilise and undermine the Cuban government.
These twelve groups alone are set to receive $18 million over the next three years. There is clear and growing evidence of misinformation, direct US funding and interference, and support from individuals and groups with a history of violence against Cuba. The European Union continues to encourage this interference
The main demonstration in Northern Ireland, organised by the Cuba Solidarity Forum and supported by Belfast Trades Council will take place on:
Monday 15 November at 5pm outside Belfast City Hall.
Cuba’s medical and scientific community has launched an open petition demanding that US President Joe Biden retract his remarks about Cuba and their handling of the Covid pandemic, and that he also ends the economic blockade against the island which is directly effecting the development and availability of a range of medical materials and scientific equipment.
Biden has openly claimed that Cuba is incapable of vaccinating its population, that it needs American vaccines to stem the spread of Covid 19 and that it is a failed state.
The remarks are a deliberate attempt to undermine Cuba’s world standing, pander to the Cuban exile lobby in Florida and further ramp up the aggression against the Cuban people which he and his administration have been demonstrating since his election.
Bidens claims are, of course, completely unfounded.
Not only does Cuba have a comprehensive, publicly funded health and care system freely available to all its citizens but many have claimed it to be one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Cuba’s scientific and research community also has an internationally renowned reputation for its vaccine development, its immunisation achievements, its commitment to international health aid and for the development of its own anti-Covid vaccines.
Since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic more than 2,000 Cuban doctors and other health care staff have travelled to countries across the world to help combat the diseaseba
You can show your support for Cuba, and its medics scientists, researchers and health care staff by signing the petition to President Joe Biden
A wall mural expressing opposition to the ongoing economic blockade of Cuba has been unveiled in Belfast.
Party members were pleased to be part of the event and to have the opportunity to expresses solidarity with the people, government and Communist Party of Cuba in the face of increasing provocation and aggression by the United States.
Addressing the gathering, the Party’s International Secretary, Gerry Grainger, said, “The Workers Party condemns the recent attempts to manipulate international public opinion by deliberately spreading misinformation as a pretext for further US intervention against Cuba and its people”.
“The US blockade is the most enduring blockade in history and is conservatively estimated to have cost the Cuban economy billions of dollars over the last 50 years. Every year the United Nations General Assembly passes a resolution condemning the blockade, only to be ignored by the United States”.
“Despite the weight of world opinion, the economic, commercial and financial blockade applied by the government of the United States against Cuba is being maintained and it continues to have profound repercussions on the Cuban economy. The blockade is deliberately designed to limit Cuba’s right to follow its own development path”.
“It is important that we take every opportunity to condemn these acts of international aggression against the Cuban people and continue to express our support and solidarity”, Gerry concluded.
Recent events in Cuba have made headlines around the world. That, of course, does not mean that we are getting the full picture or even that the reports are true.
For nearly 60 years, the United States has enforced an embargo against Cuba, severely restricting the flow of goods to the island. US companies are forbidden from dealing with Cuba and various US laws punish foreign companies that do business in Cuba. Since the late 1950s US government policy, and the purpose of the sanctions, has been “regime change” – or, in everyday language, overthrowing the Cuban government.
Since Joe Biden took up office earlier this year, he has continued the illegal economic sanctions against the Cuban people, ratcheted up the anti-Cuban rhetoric, pandered to the right-wing lobby of Cuban exiles in Miami and conspired to create a climate which seeks to destabilise the Cuban government.
Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel has denounced what he said was a false narrative over recent events. Speaking alongside ex-president Raul Castro during a rally in front of thousands of supporters in Havana, the President said “What the world is seeing of Cuba is a lie”. He went on to denounce the posting of false images on social media designed to “encourage and glorify the outrage and destruction of property.”
The Cuban government has also criticised the European Union for its uncritical support of the Biden administration and its failure to call out the economic, commercial and financial blockade that the United States government has imposed on Cuba for more than six decades.
Despite the United Nations repeatedly condemning the US sanctions they remain in effect. Cuba is being punished by the most powerful nation in the world for choosing to live, work and play under its own alternative political system. Cuba has removed the price tag from such fundamental human necessities as health and education and its near neighbour has reacted by attempting to overthrow its government and impose its own values on the Cuban people.
Now more than ever, Cuba needs, and deserves, the unwavering support of the international community.
Later next week (23 June) the United Nations General Assembly will debate a resolution to put an end to the U.S. blockade of Cuba.
In recent days, protests against the United States 60-year-old economic blockade have been organised to coincide with this weekend’s meeting of the G7. The call has been for an immediate end to the inhumane sanctions on trade and development inflicted on the Caribbean Island by the world’s largest and most aggressive super power.
In Northern Ireland, Workers Party members participated in the unfurling of the world’s largest Cuba flag and an #unblockcuba slogan on the side of Belfast’s Black Mountain in a demonstration of solidarity organised by the Cuba Solidarity Forum.
The last resolution condemning the US blockade was passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2019 by 187 votes to 3, with two abstentions. Successive motions to the UN General Assembly have been adopted with similarly near unanimous figures over the years.
Despite the local and global protests and in the face of the overwhelming condemnation of the United Nations, the United States persists with this inhumane economic blockade and continues to pursue this massive violation of human rights.
Regrettably, the United States does not stand alone. In early June a resolution brought before the European Parliament maliciously attempted to undermine Cuba, a free, independent, sovereign, democratic nation that embraces social justice and human solidarity, demonstrating many achievements and tremendous social benefits to the Cuban people and engaging in international life-saving, humanitarian solidarity actions.
The momentum, however, is with Cuba and the Cuban people,but there is still a mountain to climb before the blockade is finally vanquished.
This week Cuba’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said,
“The blockade is a cruel policy, which causes suffering, deprivation, and shortages to Cuban families. It has been deliberately tightened during the COVID-19 pandemic; it hinders access to medicines, supplies, and necessary equipment,”
It is worth noting that, although successive US administrations have maintained and strengthened the blockade of Cuba, two US Presidents in particular, both of whom enjoyed hero worship status in Ireland were responsible for some of the worst human rights violations against the Cuban people.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) not only tightened to economic and social noose around Cuba but authorised an illegal invasion at the Bay of Pigs in the early 1960s. Bill Clinton toughened the sanctions against Cuba with the signing of the Helms–Burton Act in 1996 which extended the embargo to include sanctions against non-US companies having the temerity to trade with Cuba.
Despite another ‘friend of Ireland’ occupying the White House the Cuban Blockade continues.
When President Joe Biden makes his long-promised visit to Ireland he should be left in no doubt that, mountain or not, progressive forces here are committed to the long haul until Cuba and its people are freed from one of the world’s most sustained, oppressive, unjustifiable and inhumane campaigns of economic embargo.