By Luis López González, Prensa Latina Contributor.
Humankind had not heard Martin Luther King deliver his speech “I have a dream”, man had not traveled to the Moon, the first heart transplant had not been performed, the Internet did not exist, we did not know The Beatles, but the people of Cuba were already suffering from the consequences of the United States Government’s blockade.
Some 80 percent of Cubans only know a country under the effects of maximum commercial and financial pressure imposed by their northern neighbor. Generations of children have grown up with the economic limitations, commercial harassment, cultural war and media siege for choosing a sovereign path so close to the world’s biggest empire.
An undeclared war against the economy, society, daily life and dreams of progress of 11 million Cubans has not ceased for a single day. On the contrary, it improves its methods to deprive us of equipment, spare parts, technologies, supplies, medicines and food.
On April 6, 1960, Undersecretary of State Lester D. Mallory wrote in a secret memorandum a line that has been followed to the letter by successive US administrations: “(…) Every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba. (…) denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”
The damages from these policies, only between March 2022 and February 2023, amounted to 4.867 billion dollars. If the blockade did not exist, barely one third of this amount would have covered the family basket that Cuba offers to the entire population. A week without its restrictions would allow the acquisition of 206 buses, six trains, a plane and a ferry.
The surgical design of the blockade measures means that there is no Cuban who does not suffer from the limitations imposed by these inhumane policies. At this time, 20,000 families are waiting for diagnoses of genetic diseases that have not been confirmed because the technology necessary for this contains 10 percent of US components, which are prohibited for Cuba.
The persecution of banks around the world that operate with our country, fines on shipping companies and various entities, intimidation and discredit campaigns against medical cooperation and the tourism sector, and the inclusion in the unilateral and spurious list of countries that allegedly sponsor terrorism are part of the challenges imposed by 243 coercive measures, which reinforced the blockade and have remained in force since the Donald Trump administration.
When we talk about the accumulated effects, the figures and economic damages have a lot to tell, but so do the life stories and the efforts to defend the chosen path. We Cubans reinvent ourselves in light of adversity and limitations. In those same 60 years of blockade, Cuba has helped 165 nations with medical missions, saved more than 10.35 million lives and assisted sister countries during the pandemic. It has created vaccines, protected its people, trained doctors and reached out. Despite the aggressiveness, solidarity prevails.
We have received that same solidarity from the peoples of the world in the most critical times of our history. In the face of this infamy, it has not been different, and in a few hours, we will reaffirm it.
On November 1 and 2, Cuba will submit a draft resolution to the United Nations that demands the end of the genocidal blockade against our people. For the 31st time, the international community will denounce and take a stand to end the longest, most ruthless, illegal and shameful blockade known to humanity.
The universal clamor for respect for Cubans and international law is accompanied by the elimination of all unilateral sanctions and the blockade imposed six decades ago.
Like a political dinosaur, there should never have been a mass of obsolete laws based on hatred against an entire people. It is time to end the infamy once and for all; for justice, for Cuba, and for a better world, which is still possible.