Every year, the UN General Assembly in New York votes on a resolution calling for the lifting of the economic, trade and financial blockade that has been imposed on the island by the USA for almost 60 years. For years it has been accepted by the vast majority, with few votes against and abstentions. Most clearly in 2016 with 191: 0, when even the Obama administration did not oppose the resolution. Since Trump’s presidency, the situation has also deteriorated in the UN. In the last vote in 2019, the US, alongside Israel, also brought Brazil to a no-vote and Colombia and Ukraine to an abstention, with the resolution still being adopted with an overly clear 187:3.
The EU member states, including Germany and Austria, as well as Switzerland, have been voting against the blockade for years and condemned its extraterritorial extension, which also affects European companies and institutions. Regardless of this, Trump and his hardliners regularly tighten this sanctions policy against Cuba and other countries, which violates international law.
Some actual examples:
• By activating the so-called Section III of the Helms-Burton Act, US citizens can also take legal action against companies and institutions from third countries in US courts if they use Cuban property that was expropriated after the 1959 revolution. This is de facto directed against all Cubans and all institutions on the island. Village schools built on land that once belonged to large landowners may be affected. Or hotels that were once part of the US mafia empire.
• Online retailer Amazon has been sued for selling Cuban charcoal.
• The US tourism company Marriott International has to leave Cuba.
• Penalties are imposed on shipping companies that transport oil from Venezuela to Cuba, along with other measures designed to stop trade between Cuba and Venezuela.
There are further escalations in the important financial sector:
• Sending money to Cuba is no longer possible with Western Union.
• Various European financial institutions are keeping their hands off the business with Cuba. For years, the big banks UBS and Crédit Suisse in Switzerland have adhered more to US orders than to national legislation and have fully supported the blockade.
Recently, the blackmailing pressure of the US empire has even reached financial institutions that one would think were under state supervision: Cantonal banks (Swiss government-owned commercial banks) refuse internal Swiss payment orders as soon as “Cuba” appears in the system; the reason: “The processing of payments with reference to Cuba are largely no longer possible due to the US sanctions regime. The Group has therefore decided to no longer execute payments related to Cuba.”
This blockade policy has increasingly dramatic consequences for people in Cuba.
Money transfers from family members are made impossible, external support for health projects is prevented, important medicines can only be imported via a detour and at excessive cost, and the transport system has to be massively restricted. The evil intent behind US politics, already announced in 1960 (!), is becoming increasingly clear: “…weakening economic life through economic dissatisfaction and hardship, by denying Cuba money and supplies; with the aim of reducing nominal and real wages causing hunger, despair and the overthrow of the government”.
The peak moral impoverishment of the current US regime is demonstrated by the Corona virus pandemic. Despite its own problems, Cuba sends 3,000 medical workers to 28 countries (including European ones) to help fight the Covid -19 pandemic. How does Washington react? Secretary of State and former CIA director ,Mike Pompeo, calls this “human trafficking”, and Republican hardliners are filing a bill in the US Congress to put pressure on countries that have brought Cuban medical personnel into the country.
Meanwhile, the European governments are using cheap words, or wrapping themselves in silence, and are not taking any action against the US blockade and its devastating effects on Cuba. We demand that the vote against the blockade at the 29th edition of the resolution in the 75th UN General Assembly is finally followed by concrete action. The crawling gear in Europe in the face of US rule of force, that violates international law, must no longer be tolerated! No more aggression against sovereign states in Latin America and elsewhere.
Therefore, in the run-up to the next UN vote in May 2021, we call for a large solidarity campaign for Cuba and against the blockade! Together we – Cuba solidarity groups, progressive organizations and media from the FRG, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Spain, France, Czech Republic, Slovenia and other European countries – want to draw attention to the escalation operated by Washington to put pressure on the US administration and its European servants. With large posters, radio spots, advertisements in newspapers and social media channels, events and rallies concentrated in the capitals of our countries, we want to break the silence of the blockade on the part of the dominant media and make the consequences of such criminal policies unmistakably apparent.
Inform yourself and become active!
Support the European-wide solidarity campaign by donating money!
Talk to other organizations, but also to acquaintances, relatives and friends about the tightening of the blockade and supporting the solidarity-action.
Video – Presentation: European solidarity campaign “Unblock Cuba” XXVI. International Rosa Luxemburg Conference 2021
This article first appeared on the junge Welt website