US sanctions are blocking life-saving relief to Cuba

A fire in a Cuban oil storage facility has killed, injured, and displaced Cubans and exacerbated the country’s energy crisis. Crucial aid efforts have been impeded by US sanctions

Natalia Marques

People’s Dispatch | August 08, 2022

A firefighter near the ongoing Matanzas fire (Photo via David Ramírez Álvarez on Twitter)

On August 5, a major oil storage facility was struck by lightning in the Cuban province of Matanzas, injuring 121, killing one, and leaving 17 firefighters missing. 5,000 people have been evacuated from the surrounding region.

The fire in Matanzas, still blazing as of August 8, is the largest in Cuban history. This fire will only exacerbate the energy crisis in Cuba, which has been racked with high fuel costs and aging infrastructure. Yet US anti-blockade organizations claim that existing US policies make providing humanitarian aid extremely difficult.

Despite the US Embassy in Cuba claiming that “US law authorizes US entities and organizations to provide disaster relief and response in Cuba,” activists say that existing US policy severely restricts any aid to Cuba.

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Cuba Thanks Venezuela For Shipping 30 Foods Containers

teleSUR | August 02, 2021

Citizens prepare food modules for the population, Havana, Cuba, July 31, 2021.
Citizens prepare food modules for the population, Havana, Cuba, July 31, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @BetsyDazVelzqu2

Jamaica’s health workers also sent a 200-kilogram batch of syringes, needles, masks, and disinfectants to fight the pandemic in Santiago de Cuba province.

On Sunday, Cuba’s  Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez thanked the Venezuelan government for shipping 30 food containers and 20 tons of rice in bags to help the Island tackling the U.S blockade amid the pandemic.

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‘End the Blockade against Cuba’, Bridges of Love Yells in Washington DC

teleSUR | July 25, 2021

Solidarity Groups with Cuba gather in Washington DC, Jul. 25, 2021.

Solidarity Groups with Cuba gather in Washington DC, Jul. 25, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @llopezglez

“We are walking to be able to send remittances…to reestablish the family reunification plan, and for Americans to travel freely to Cuba,” activist Carlos Lazo said.

On Sunday, solidarity groups and members of the “Bridges of Love” project arrived in Washington D.C. to demand an end to the U.S. blockade against Cuba.

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Díaz-Canel: We will continue to win and overcome this moment (+ Photos and Video)

The First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, toured important centers from which tasks that support the daily work of the country are assumed today: the Power Plant Maintenance Company; a vaccination center installed in the heart of the Romerillo neighborhood of Havana; and the Center for Molecular Immunology, a prestigious Cuban scientific institution

Yaima Puig Meneses

Granma | July 23, 2021

Diaz-Canel cataloged the way in which Cubans devote themselves to their daily tasks in different parts of the country as heroic. 
Photo: Revolution Studios

From the small esplanade of the Electric Power Plant Maintenance Company, located in the capital city of Marianao, the day-to-day story was told this Thursday. Anonymous heroes, many of them young people who in record time contributed to reestablishing the National Electric System, received the Flag of Labor Prowess in an uplifting meeting led by the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz -Canel Bermúdez.

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Lula da Silva, Frei Betto, Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon and 400 Progressive Leaders Write Open Letter to Joe Biden: Let Cuba Live!

They stress there is no justification for the United States to continue treating the Cuban people as a national security threat.

teleSUR | July 23, 2021

Citizens take part in a rally to reject U.S. blockade against Cuba, Toronto, Canada, July 19, 2021.

Citizens take part in a rally to reject U.S. blockade against Cuba, Toronto, Canada, July 19, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @ONCommunists

They stress there is no justification for the United States to continue treating the Cuban people as a national security threat.

On Friday, over 400 artists, politicians, intellectuals, and international activists will send a letter to President Joe Biden demanding that he end the blockade against Cuba and improve bilateral relations.

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China Asks the US To Lift Its Sanctions Against Cuban Officials

teleSUR | July 23, 2021

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, Beijing, China.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, Beijing, China. | Photo: Twitter/ @zlj517

“The U.S. should foremost examine its human rights issues instead of meddling in other countries’ internal affairs,” the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry stated.

On Friday, China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian asked the United States to remove the sanctions against the officers of Cuba’s Interior Ministry (MININT) and Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR).

“The U.S. should foremost examine its human rights issues instead of meddling in other countries’ internal affairs,” Zhao stated and reiterated China’s support for the Cuban government and people amid the U.S. blockade.

On Thursday, using the 2016 Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the Biden administration sanctioned Cuban senior officials for allegedly repressing citizens during the demonstrations staged on July 11.

In response to this arbitrary act, besides accusing the U.S. of being behind these protests, the Cuban government pointed out that the recent sanctions against FAR and MININT officers are slanderous and unfounded.

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US Sanctions Cuban Defense Minister and Special Brigades

teleSUR | July 22, 2021

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said her department

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said her department “will continue to implement its Cuba-related sanctions, including those imposed today, “to support the people of Cuba in their pursuit of democracy.” | Photo: Twitter/@Antiwarcom

Joe Biden’s administration included Cuba’s Minister of Defense, Alvaro Lopez Miera in a list of unilateral sanctions on Thursday.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez rejected the update of the so-called “Global Magnitsky” list of designated individuals, in which the U.S. government has just included the Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (MINFAR, Defense), Alvaro Lopez Miera, and a unit of the Ministry of the Interior of Cuba.

Rodríguez, the Cuban foreign minister, said the United States should “apply the Magnitsky Act to itself, for the acts of daily repression and police brutality that cost 1021 lives in 2020” in that country.

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The Only Way to End Economic Hardship in Cuba Is to Lift the US Blockade

Francisco Dominguez

Tribune | July 17, 2021

In an evidently well-coordinated action, on 11 July 2021, groups of opponents of the government staged demonstrations in several Cuban cities, notably Havana. Within seconds of the event the world’s mainstream media, including, of course, the media in the UK, were in full swing magnifying the event.

Such social outburst is an unusual event in Cuba and even more surprising were the intensity and violence deployed by the protestors (vandalism, aggression against officials, attacks on public buildings), reminiscent of similar protests in Venezuela in 2014 and 2017 and Nicaragua in the coup attempt of July 2018.

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The War on Cuba—excellent documentary series exposing the naked criminality of US foreign policy

Edited by Patrice Greanville

The Greanville Post | July 22, 2021

Absent an outright military attack, the US is applying to Cuba the same old formula that eventually undermined the mighty Soviet Union: Permanent economic warfare by all possible means, reinforced by an aggressive disinformation campaign designed to destroy the target population’s morale and faith in their own system.


Cuban journalist Liz Oliva is our guide to the series.

The repugnant evil of US policy toward Cuba is undeniable and in the open; it’s been so for decades—six and counting—and yet no one can do much about it because the rulers of the US, the billionaires that comprise its sociopathic oligarchy, will not lift their crippling economic embargo on the island, a polite term for economic warfare. And they can’t be forced to remove their sanctions—completely illegal from the standpoint of international law—because they hide behind America’s bloated military muscle and a thick wall of disinformation loyally operated by the system’s prostituted media. We know why this is being done. Cuba is hated and demonised by US ruling elites and their accomplices around the globe for the same reasons the Soviet Union and Communist China, and more recently Venezuela, Nicaragua and Iran have also been hated and feared: they provide a living demonstration that humanity has much better choices than the “American Way of Life,” that is, irrational and savagely predatory capitalism.

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The United States tries to take advantage of the price Cubans are paying for the blockade and the pandemic

Manolo De Los Santos and Vijay Prashad

Globetrotter | July 14, 2021

Embargo
3 days of the blockade (embargo) is equivalent to the pencils, paper and other materials for a whole school course. (Photo: Flickr – preservationgal)

Cuba, like every other country on the planet, is struggling with the impact of COVID-19. This small island of 11 million people has created five vaccine candidates and sent its medical workers through the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade to heal people around the world. Meanwhile, the United States hardens a cruel and illegal blockade of the island, a medieval siege that has been in place for six decades. In April 2020, seven United Nations special rapporteurs wrote an open letter to the United States government about the blockade. “In the pandemic emergency,” they wrote, “the lack of will of the U.S. government to suspend sanctions may lead to a higher risk of such suffering in Cuba and other countries targeted by its sanctions.” The special rapporteurs noted the “risks to the right to life, health and other critical rights of the most vulnerable sections of the Cuban population.”

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