Donald Trump leaves behind not only the White House, but also one of the toughest periods for the island, because, in 2020, he devoted his efforts to suffocating this country, causing deep economic damages to the population, damages that worsened with the pandemic.
According to Bruno Rodríguez, the Chancellor for Cuba, for the first time in six decades, this hostile policy caused losses of more than $5 billion in a year.
During the submission of the report on the effects of the blockade, he [Rodríguez] said that the US government’s tightened measures before Covid-19 are “an act of economic war”.
The island is denied access to medical equipment and supplies from the United States and third-countries that may have a 10 percent of US-made components.
According to Rodríguez, this causes Cuba to face “huge challenges” in obtaining equipment and raw materials to produce SARS-CoV-2 medicines.
On the other hand, donations and purchases abroad couldn’t be fulfilled due to the sanctions that are part of the blockade.
Other examples of hostility are the campaign against Cuba’s medical cooperation, the restrictions in renewing licenses for companies, the extreme reduction of air travel and the attack on remittances.
As a matter of fact, because of the unilateral measures taken by the US government to stop this activity on the island, the US company Western Union stopped delivering remittances to Cuba.
The extraterritorial application of the blockade worsened between 2019 and 2020 as the Office of Foreign Assets Control enforced 12 penalties on US and third-countries entities, exceeding $2,403,985,125. On the other hand, for the first time in 23 years, legal proceedings under the Helms-Burton act began.
In statements to the press, Dalia González, researcher at the Centre of US and Hemispheric studies at the University of Havana, warned that many of the coercive measures imposed by the US follow an electoral strategy.
According to the professor, Donald Trump tried to entice the voters of Florida’s Cuban American community due to its importance as a pendular state.
However, the hostile policy of the White House is hurting Americans also, therefore people from different sectors joined their voices this year and demanded an end to the blockade.
According to Cuban American activist Carlos Lazo, the blockade limits their freedom, prevents Americans to have access to pharmaceuticals from Cuban biotechnology and to the island’s markets, to cite a few examples.
US activist Angélica Salazar told Prensa Latina that the actions coming from the White House prevent her from doing her work in educational programs with the Martin Luther King Memorial Centre, University of Havana, and the Casa de Las Américas (House of the Americas).
Official data show that between 2019 and 2020, in order to stop US and Cuban residents of the country to fly to the island, the United States implemented 17 coercive measures.
In fact, Republican representative Donald Trump banned tourist travel to Cuba, charter flights, cruises, planes, and private boats, and even closed the so-called “people-to-people” contacts.
US policies against Cuba also affect the development of sectors that have a high social impact in the island.
Between April 2019 and March 2020 official sources show losses of $160,260,880 in the field of health, $21,226,000 in the educational system, and damages of $428,894,637 in alimentation and agriculture.
Joe Biden recently manifested his intention to take a new approach regarding Cuba and described the current White House policy as complete failure. (PL)