The blockade that the United States has imposed on Cuba practically since the beginning of its revolutionary process does not cause all the problems and challenges affecting the Revolution, but it undoubtedly has a crucial link with them.
The enormous difficulties generated by the multiple measures of aggression against the island (in particular, trade measures) entail immeasurable losses which, in the context of the current global pandemic, greatly exacerbate key problems of the population’s daily life.
One need only look at the role of tourism as an important source of foreign exchange for the island -drastically reduced by the pandemic (as is the case worldwide)- to understand the existing difficulties in a country that depends on foreign exchange to import more than 50% of its food and pharmaceutical products.
Almost ironically, Cuba is one of the few countries in the region (and the world) that has produced a vaccine against the virus but lacks sufficient syringes for vaccination and must import almost all of them.
Indeed, hundreds of humanitarian initiatives in many countries are sending batches of these syringes to Cuba as a show of solidarity.
It is very likely that the protest demonstrations (much smaller compared to the massive marches in support of the government) are partly due to discontent over the lack of some essential commodities.
However, the extreme right in Miami (the mayor of that very “Cuban” city) has officially called for the bombing of the island), Washington (less aggressive than the mayor), the reduced internal opposition and the angry right on the Latin American continent (Bolsonaro, Duque, Piñeira et al.), with timely funding and technical support from imperialist agencies, have taken advantage of the situation to seek the overthrow of the Cuban government.
But this is more a wish than a real possibility: even the US government itself – which has essentially maintained the harsh measures to the blockade added by Trump – has expressed its opposition to invading Cuba. This blockade is not only completely illegal (year after year condemned by the UN General Assembly, approved only by the US and Israel), but of immeasurable cruelty.
In reality, it constitutes a war crime for which the US rulers who approved, extended and maintain it should be tried, just as the leaders of the Nazi regime were.
Indeed, what would explain such a measure that Washington applies only to Cuba but not to its other enemies, many of whom are far more dangerous to its so-called “national interests”?
The answer seems to be one reason only: it is not possible [for them] to allow another Cuba in a region that the United States considers its property, justified by the “Manifest Destiny” of “America for the Americans”.
But the blockade and hostility towards Cuba (as well as a failed invasion) have not achieved their objectives and there is no indication that they will. Certainly, there is discontent and uncertainty in Cuba in some social sectors, but it does not reach the dimension that is given to it in a self-serving way in the media manipulation campaigns.
Indeed, the regional situation is not particularly favourable to the right.
The results of the electoral processes in Peru and Chile confirm the advances of the left, while the plummeting social support for right-wing governments such as those in Brazil and Colombia and the very certain prospects of victories for the left and progressivism in next year’s presidential elections in these countries are solid indicators of the loss of support for Washington’s policies in the region.
To this should be added the stability achieved by the governments of Argentina and Mexico as another factor showing the weakness of US dominance in the region.
The “backyard” is not what it used to be. The United States exercised almost complete hegemony over it at least for much of the last century.
Gradually it has had to share this space with other capitalist powers of the Old Continent and with Japan, and today it is facing the advance of new powers, China in particular, without ignoring the role of Russia, Iran, India and other countries.
All of them want to increase markets for their products and secure supplies of raw materials in a global competition in which the United States is losing every day.
If in its day the socialist camp served the promising Cuban revolution as the strategic ally that allowed it to overcome the blockade imposed by Washington, in the current world situation nations like China can play a similar role.
The harshness of the US blockade of Cuba has this particular purpose: to serve as an example of what awaits those in the region who are committed to radical reforms of the current social order.
For the moment, it seems, direct military aggression against Cuba is ruled out by the US because it is not politically expedient; but it remains a real threat.
The result of military aggression is well known: a panorama of desolation and ruin of incalculable dimensions. To ravage the island -materially- but not to defeat the revolution would be to show the full weakness of imperialism as it is registered in Syria or Afghanistan.
If the Cuban government’s new economic strategy yields positive results, as is already happening in similar countries such as Vietnam (a controlled role for certain forms of market economy while maintaining the hegemony of socialism), the US blockade will have failed miserably.
An example that can be followed by governments such as Venezuela, which is subjected to very similar forms to the blockade practised against Cuba.
The practical sense of Cuba’s leaders and their ability to assume and correct mistakes will undoubtedly play a decisive role in overcoming the current situation.