US blockade on Cuba returns to UN agenda

Campaign News | Friday, 21 October 2005

By Circles Robinson*

Havana, (Prensa Latina) 21 Oct:The nearly half century US blockade of Cuba is a broken record that ten presidents have continued to play; last year only three countries sided with Washington and 179 condemned its Cuba policy.

Yes, the wealthiest country on Earth has managed to keep a small island nation from reaching its full potential by causing over 82 billion dollars in damage to its economy.

The bully on the global block appears to have no limit despite its failure to make David succumb to Goliath’s might. Is that something to brag about?

Even countries like the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Mexico -that tend to buckle under Washington’s pressure and side with the superpower in its annual attack on Cuba at the UN Commission on Human Rights-, join the ranks of the civilized world when it comes to asking the US government to cease its economic, commercial and financial hostility towards Cuba.

The vote has nothing to do with judging Cuba’s political, social and economic system. Nations with rightwing, moderate and progressive elected governments as well as monarchies and military juntas have increasingly responded to an injustice that no people deserve or would like to face.

Using cold war politics to keep Cuban-American families apart, prohibiting other US citizens from visiting the island without special permission, and even blocking cultural, scientific, and academic and sports exchanges makes about as much sense as rebuilding the Berlin Wall in 2005.

Successive US governments and the corporate media have relentlessly criticized Cuba for the material and economic limitations faced by its population. At the same time Washington has done everything in its power to stifle the Cuban economy by depriving the island from importing US products or even purchasing from companies in third countries that do business in the US. Cuba also faces marketing limitations for its export products due to US pressure on potential buyers.

Every year around this time the United Nations General Assembly takes up the blockade issue when Cuba presents its annual resolution asking the international community to condemn such a blatant injustice. Each year the US ignores the overwhelming criticism of its Cuba policy with the arrogance of a might-makes-right empire instead of the model democracy it claims to be.

In 1992, the first time the issue was brought to a vote, 59 UN member countries voted for the Cuban resolution and 3 opposed, with 71 abstentions. That margin has increased yearly reaching 179 to 4 (Palau, Marshal Islands, Israel and the US) with 1 abstention (Micronesia) in 2004.

The test of a real leader is humility in the face of grave errors. When in early November the world once again requests Washington desist from its broken record blockade policy the White House should listen, pay heed, and then reap the applause of a wise decision.

* An American writer and translator who is currently based in Havana.


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