By Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES – I have been trying to find a word to describe the US governments’ attitude towards Cuba for a long time now, and I can’t put my finger on it.
What word would you use to talk about a person who sees their neighbor fall to the ground because they suffer a heart attack or another serious illness, and instead of calling the doctor to help them, they push and beat them so that the disease kills them, all because this neighbor doesn’t share their political ideas?
We could call it criminal behavior. Cuba’s neighbor in the North has been attacking the Cuban people for 60 years. It tries to beat them down by starving them and making them sick. They do this just because the Cuban people chose a political and economic system that isn’t to their liking.
Two Crucial Moments
I’m not going to get into all of the details of the criminal attacks the US has committed against Cuba because they are well-known. I will only talk about two key moments in our history, over the past 60 years.
The first moment was when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) disappeared. All of Cuba’s trade had been with the COMECON. This because the US blockade and pressure stopped them from having trade relations with the rest of the world, especially Latin America, where countries had cut off all relations with Cuba. Mexico was the only exception. It never bent down to the demands of the US government and its ministry of colonies, the OAS.
When Cuba was left without its trade with the socialist countries in Eastern Europe and it had no other options because of the US blockade, the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro told the Cuban people outright: “We are facing a double blockade and we need to get ready to spend a special period in times of peace.” He even warned about the possibility of an “option zero”, that absolutely nothing comes into the country. The Cuban people were willing to resist so as not to give into US Imperialism’s demands.
In the face of such a critical situation, the US government implemented different measures to tighten the blockade. It hoped that Cubans wouldn’t be able to resist and that they would give in, but they were wrong. We lived in hardship, without food, medicine, fuel… the entire country was almost paralyzed, but nobody gave in.
Cuba gradually rescued its relations and trade with the world. The US being the only exception, which completely isolated, continues to impose its genocidal policy against the Cuban people.
Then came Covid-19
The second moment I’ll talk about is now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has practically affected the whole world. Amidst this crisis when the WHO and other UN agencies have called for solidarity and collaboration to fight the pandemic, the US withdrew its financial contribution to the WHO. Additionally, it took more aggressive action against Cuba by implementing stricter measures, over the past 7 months.
Punishing a country that can’t buy medicines or the raw materials needed to manufacture them. The US is also trying to stop a single drop of fuel from reaching Cuba. They hope to bring it once again to a complete standstill. All of this in the hope that Cuba gives up and surrenders to the Empire’s appetite.
However, Cuba hasn’t thrown in the towel. On the contrary, it sent thousands of doctors, nurses and health technicians to dozens of countries that requested their collaboration to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 3800 health professionals belonging to the “Henry Reeve” international brigade of experts in natural disasters and epidemics, have fought on the pandemic’s frontline and have saved thousands of lives.
This is a noble attitude that governments and people receiving this aid have appreciated and been grateful for. Meanwhile, the US has been pressuring many governments not to accept Cuba’s aid. This is low and indescribable behavior. Being the richest and most powerful country in the world, it has not helped anyone. It hasn’t even been able to keep the pandemic in check in its own country.
Cuban scientists and the pandemic
Cuban scientists have developed different drugs to fight the pandemic. Furthermore, a vaccine is already in the third phase of clinical trials, the first one in the Americas that has made this much progress. Cuba has managed to keep the spread of pandemic under control. It also has a second vaccine that is in clinical trial.
Every attempt by the US to give the Cuban Revolution its coup d’grace, has run into a Cuban people who are determined to defend their conquests at any price.
The US government’s attitude and its attempt to cripple the Cuban people with desperation can have many names. But I’ll leave it up to you readers to decide which one you prefer.