CSC Statement on ongoing US attempts to destabilise Cuba, March 2024

Campaign News | Tuesday, 2 April 2024

The United States government has pursued a policy of economic warfare to generate unrest in Cuba for 64 years. If it had genuine concerns for the human rights and welfare of the Cuban people it would end the blockade and remove Cuba from the ‘State Sponsors of Terrorism’ list now.

On 17 March 2024 peaceful protests to raise concerns about shortages of food and electricity took place in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba. Local and national government representatives responded by meeting with the population to listen to the grievances and discuss actions being taken to try and resolve the chronic shortages that Cuba is currently facing.

Media coverage of the protests gave little consideration to the root cause of the shortages: more than 60 years of US economic warfare, and extra financial sanctions which have crippled the Cuban economy in recent years.

While hard-line pro-blockade groups in the US attempted to appropriate the protests to stoke-up unrest in the country, cynically and predictably, the United States Embassy in Cuba called on the Cuban government to “to respect the human rights of the protesters and address the legitimate needs of the Cuban people."

The hypocrisy of the US government is staggering. Since a 1960 State Department memorandum advised weakening the Cuban economy by denying money and supplies to “bring about hunger, desperation, and the overthrow of government,” the blueprint for US policy has remained constant.

For more than 60 years the US has enforced and introduced new sanctions to damage every sector of Cuban society. Most recently, the re-designation of Cuba to the US unilateral list of ‘State Sponsors of Terrorism’ (SSOT) has made it impossible for international banks and companies to do business with Cuba without the threat of severe penalties from the US Treasury.

Between March 2022 and February 2023, 130 companies, including 75 from Europe, stopped any dealings with Cuba, affecting transfers for the purchase of food, medicines, fuel, materials, parts and other goods. In March 2024 the US government fined the Swiss bank EFG $3.7 million US dollars, accusing it of violating the measures of the United States against Cuba. This is just the latest penalty against organisations and individuals who dare to trade with the island against the instructions of the US government.

At the same time as hindering the Cuban people’s ability to purchase food, fuel and medicines, the US State Department devotes more than $20 million annually to covert destabilisation programmes in the guise of ‘democracy promotion.’

If the US government sincerely wants the “needs of the Cuban people” to be met it should end its brutal blockade and remove Cuba from the ‘SSOT’ list immediately. Regrettably we know that in reality such feigned concern for the Cuban people’s welfare is a dishonest attempt by the US to distract from its own responsibility for the severe economic hardship that Cuba faces today.

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