October 30, 2018

The world votes on the UN's resolution to lift US blockade on Cuba

On Wednesday, October 31st, the General Assembly of the UN will be called to vote on a resolution condemning the US criminal blockade imposed to the Cuban people since 1961. Since 1992, the vast majority of the world’s countries votes in favour of the resolution calling to end this blockade, the longest one in contemporary history. The two countries voting against the motion are the US and Israel, although in 2016, in an effort of rapprochement between the two countries, the US abstained. With Trump in office since 2017, Washington is back to its old practice.

The US blockade has cost to Cuba over $4 billions between April 2017 and March 2018. Since its imposition, the amount of money lost by Cuba sums up to over $933 billions.

Despite this, Cuba remains an example in terms of social development for the world. The literacy rate in the country reaches 99%, education is free from elementary school to university, unemployment rate is as low as 2.7%, healthcare is totally free. Healthcare services quality is also worth mentioning : Cuba is the first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of syphilis and HIV. It is also the country that created the meningitis B vaccine in 1985. In terms of gender equality, Cuba also breaks records with women occupying almost ½ of the seats at the National Assembly for People’s Power, all this without any imposed quotas. In the new Constitution, marriage is not being referred to as a union of men and women anymore.

Many countries would look at Cuba’s achievements with envy. Even here, in Canada, the youth would love to benefit from a 100% free, public and quality education. Yet, Cuba doesn’t stop there : people from all over the world can study and benefit from Cuba’s education and healthcare systems. The Latin American School of Medicine, for example, welcomes students from across the world to be trained as doctors. These foreign students include some from the US who cannot afford studying Medicine in their country. In addition to that, over 325 000 Cuban health workers participated in missions in 158 countries. It also launched a literacy campaign that helped 10 million people.

One could argue that the US also have their own « cooperation » missions through organizations such as the USAID and the NED. However, these are notorious to play a key role in the US attempts to intervene in a country’s internal affairs. The reality is that while Cuba exports healthcare and education to the world, the US have nothing else to offer other than regime changes, soft coups, war, oppression and exploitation. They back dictatorial regimes in Honduras and Brazil, but also in Ukraine; they are 100% supportive of Israel’s massacres on the Palestinian people, preparing a coup against Venezuela and continuing a war against Syria. The criminal blockade on Cuba, which is also referred to as a genocide, is part of this continuous attack on the peoples of the world by US imperialism. To the US’s great displeasure, this has not prevented Cuba from fulfilling its internationalist commitment.

When Cuba asks the world to denounce the blockade, they are not asking for any favour. They are simply demanding that the economical sanctions that have maintained them in hostage for years be lifted. They call for an end to an injust 60 years economic war between one of the strongest economy of the world and a small caribbean island. They are simply calling for their right to self-determination and sovereignty (a right embedded in the UN Charter that sets the basis for International Law) to be recognized.

As it is a duty for any progressive and peace-minded person to stand firm against this injustice, we invite our readers to attend the following actions in solidarity with Cuba for the occasion of the vote at the UN. We also want to outline that no matter what the vote’s result will be, solidarity with Cuba is crucial, especially in these years where Latin American progressive forces are facing major threats from the reactionary and far-right movements and parties as illustrated with the election of Bolsonaro in Brazil on Sunday, actions will continue to be held in solidarity with Socialist Cuba, for the end of the Blockade and to demand that Guantanamo base be closed and given back to its only legitimate owner, the Cuban people.

Here are some actions on Oct. 30th and 31st :

Toronto : Tuesday Oct. 30th from 5-6 PM in front of US Consulate, 360 University Ave. (between Queen – Dundas)

Ottawa : Wednesday, Oct. 31st, at 4 :30 PM, in front of US Embassy (490 Sussex Dr.)

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