The United States embargo against Cuba, the longest and most comprehensive isolation policy against any country, was formalised by Democrat John F. Kennedy on 3 February 1962. Republican Donald Trump stepped up the blockade during his term in office (2017‑2021), with 243 coercive measures in force. Under Joe Biden, the blockade remains undiminished.
Sixty-two years after its formal implementation, the Cuban blockade persists, and the current US President’s attitude makes many individuals and organisations think that resolving the issue will remain just another presidential promise.
One such organisation is Acere (Alliance For Cuba Engagement And Respect), a non-profit committed to improving understanding and engagement between the US and Cuba. Acere is trying to dismantle the barriers created by this hostile policy, which has been exacerbated by Cuba’s arbitrary inclusion on the State Sponsors of Terrorism (SSOT) list. A letter, written by Cuban Americans and endorsed by Acere, is open to signatures from both Cuban Americans and other US citizens who support the call for President Joe Biden to fulfil his 2020 campaign promises.
They express their shock and disappointment caused by his “indifference toward the suffering of Cuban families both in Cuba, and here in the United States”.
His campaign promise, they note, “to undo the havoc left by the previous administration for Cuban families” was one of the main reasons that so many of them supported him.
“While you have taken minor positive steps, we are deeply upset that you are far from fulfilling your campaign’s promises to revert to the Obama era policies on Cuba”, they stress.
They add that they are “extremely disappointed and appalled by your inaction, lack of courage and sensibility to undo the drastic and unfounded executive measures imposed by your predecessor, Donald Trump”. They reiterate that such measures “cause great damage to people in Cuba as well here in the United States. With the stroke of a pen, you could easily reverse these policies and end the pain and suffering.” According to Acere, recent polls indicate that, of the nearly 1.5 million Cuban-American voters, more than half consistently favour normalising relations with Cuba; while support among Democratic and younger voters is overwhelming.
This support was also evident both electorally and in terms of policy support when you were Vice-President.
“We are a relatively silent –yet voting— majority, because many of us face threats and intimidation from the Cuban American extreme right, as a result of our support for a rational and humane Cuba policy; the same that you advocated during your 2020 campaign”, the letter states.
In another letter to Biden, signed by 160 leading lawyers from across the country, Acere also calls on Biden to remove Cuba from the SSOT list. The missive, sent to the president in late January, highlights the lack of legal or moral justification for Cuba’s inclusion on the SSOT list, especially in light of the fact it had been removed from the list just a few years earlier by the Obama-Biden administration.
The message comes on the heels of a similar letter sent to the president by 18 former heads of state, as well as petitions signed by hundreds of civil society organisations and thousands of citizens, all calling for the United States to lift the blockade and for Cuba to be removed from the SSOT list.
(Traducido por Rebecca Ndhlovu) – Photos: Pixabay