Cuba Foreign Policy Gustavo A. Maranges

The US Keeps Betting on Cuba Surrendering Out of Hunger and Desperation

Members of the South African Communist Part protest outside of the Union Buildings in Pretoria to advocate for the removal of sanctions imposed on Cuba by the United States. Discott, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Gustavo A. Maranges / Resumen Latinoamericano

Last week, US President Joe Biden extended for one more year the sanctions on Cuba, arguing the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917. This mechanism has been used for the last 60 years to back the countless sanctions that make up the US blockade against Cuba.

This time, Biden only limited himself to saying that it was a “matter of interest to the United States.” By a stroke of the pen, he condemned the Cuban people to continue to suffer all the economic shortages caused by the blockade. Sanctioning and playing with the welfare of millions of people, with their very lives, seems to be a reflex action of US political class.

For Biden, it was just one of the hundreds of documents he signed last week. Although, for Cubans, this one is a critical signature that has a direct impact on their health, food for their families, working conditions, possibilities to enjoy their country, and everything they do to see their country flourish. The blockade is, without a doubt, the main obstacle to Cuba’s development.

Many of our readers know about all the scientific and social achievements of the island despite the sanctions. Meanwhile, Cubans only think of how much more they could have done without a blockade. The annual losses to the Cuban families’ economy are estimated at billions of dollars, but this is not nearly the worst damage. Enjoying a full childhood or further progress in gender equality or women’s empowerment is hindered by the sanctions, something recognized by UNESCO and NGOs such as OXFAM.

Today, Cuba is going through the worst economic crisis in decades, which is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the deficiencies of the national business system, and the so-mentioned US sanctions. It is not possible to explain Cuba’s reality without understanding the effect of the blockade, since it catalyzes every mistake or wrong internal decision while inhibiting any loophole of development.

However, it has been a long time since the blockade, based on an archaic Act, ceased to be only economic aggression; it now includes the psychological level. This is no coincidence since it was its main objective, as the State Department official Lester Mallory clearly stated in a memorandum: the blockade main’s intention is to “(…) provoke hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government.”

The Trading with the Enemy Act was the legal basis found by the Kennedy administration in 1962 to sustain sanctions against Cuba by considering it a “hostile state.” Despite the Cold War scenario, it was not true then, and it still is a lie now. A lie repeated many times becomes truth, the saying goes, although this is the exception that proves the rule. No matter how often they repeat it, no one can believe in such absurdity.

A country that sends doctors to the poorest places in the world, offered assistance to Americans after Hurricane Katrina, fought cholera in Haiti and Ebola in Africa, and sent doctors to over 56 countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic, cannot be a foe. How can Cuba be so hostile if there are eight bilateral cooperation agreements in force since Obama’s administration?

Cuba’s response was not long in coming. President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, as well as several high-ranking Cuban diplomats, criticized Biden’s cowardly decision and ratified Cuban’s will of not kneeling down before the extortions of any foreign government. Cuba is socialist because we decided so in 1961 and ratified it after every Constitution.

Today, despite Cuba’s complex economic situation, those who continue fighting for their social and political project are more than those who abandon it. The US government thought it was impossible to survive without its help in the sixties, then they got ready to return during the special period. They thought everything would end after Fidel Castro left his government position or later when he passed away. They bet on breaking us during the COVID-19 pandemic, and today, they continue to do everything possible to achieve the long-standing goal. All this shows the Machiavellian character of the US policy towards Cuba and its shameful historical amnesia.

Biden has maintained his predecessors’ bet, which confirms his memory is not the best. Perhaps his case is even more reprehensible, not only because it goes against his electoral promises, but also because his long years in politics have allowed him to see all these failures with his own eyes.

Ratifying Cuba as a “hostile state” says more about the current administration than about the Caribbean island itself. If someone sees Cuba as a “hostile state”, it is because they feel threatened by its example, by what it means to Latin Americans and many Americans who want a fairer US. Cuba has never been hostile to Americans and they will never be. Only those seeking to crush their neighbors’ sovereignty, stand for imperialist policies, and this profoundly unequal world order, can see Cuba in that way. For Democrats and Republican administrations alike, Cuba has always been a thorn in their side.


  1. Excellent Article.

    Poor Brave Cuba. Shame on President Biden.
    His signing this just shows there is no real difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties in the U.S.

    I have this horrid feeling that Bernie was our last chance at any progressive change, and it is all going to go downhill from here on.

    1. In 2020 I said Bernie was our last chance.
      Then the primaries were rigged and he was out.
      We’re done.
      Things are going to steadily get worse

    2. I totally agree. Fortunately, I’m so old that I probably won’t see the consequences ‘up close’. However, we (the US) are off the rails. I really don’t see any ‘peaceful’ way to get back on track. And, what was that ‘track’ in the first place?

      The human species is in dire trouble based, solely, upon ‘human nature’. Geology and Biology provide evidence that this is a normal pattern, however we were supposed to be so ‘smart’ that we could ‘rule nature’. I wonder how many other species had the same idea in the past.

  2. This is disgraceful: Biden is undermining his own reputation, and campaign. He needs to rescind, not extend, this boycott. And ask Cuba for advice on how to educate an entire nation so that everyone in it is literate (which the U.S. has never yet learned how to do) and how to share our medical expertise, such as it is, with the rest of the world as Cuba has done and continues to do.

    President Biden needs to listen to his own rhetoric. Bring nations into the fold by helping them, not by starving them. Support the First Amendment by pardoning Julian Assange, not persecuting him. It’s enough to make me not want to vote!

    1. Biden is just being Biden. He has a consistent pro-corporate record going back decades. He voted for every single war during that time. He appointed Blinken. As he said, ‘Nothing will fundamentally change’. So, he’s being true to his history and his word.

    2. Biden has been quite consistent. What do you consider his “reputation” to be? Solidly on the right, he was opposed even by liberals, until he ran for president.

      1. I totally agree, Fabian…. Biden has been consistent throughout his long political career. Why would anyone think he would change, now?

        His posting of Blinken as State Secretary directly extends his support for war. He tried to get rid of Social Security, and always was a corporate lackey (which is how he stayed elected in Delaware, a State with almost more corporations than people…Oh, Wait! Corporations ARE people, dontcha know?).

        IMHO, Bernie should have bolted the Party as soon as the evidence of Clinton’s cheating became public. He would have lost, but Trump won, anyway. Had Bernie bolted, however, we might now have a viable ‘third Party’. As it is, we’re still stuck choosing the least of two evils. Is Biden worse than Trump? Wow, what a choice!

  3. The mask of benign power the US empire wears or presents to the world is ripped off when one looks at the inhumane and barbarous treatment of Cuba by the US for the last 60 years or so. The US administration is a gangster organization which punishes those who do not obey its orders. And it always has been such: who but gangsters, thugs, evil men would kidnap and ship tens of thousands of African men, women, and children to its shores to steal their labor, generation after generation in order to enrich a few dozen white men? Cuba stands as a beacon for all of Central and South American countries as they slowly move towards equitable, just societies after centuries of brutal treatment by – you guessed it – wealthy, and corrupt, white men. Being a privileged white man, I am ashamed by my biology to be grouped with those barbarians.

  4. Hang in there Cuba, it’s soon going to be the Empire of Lies turn.

    You can throw a party.

  5. At the expense of the people of Cuba, Biden continues the tradition of prostrating himself to the childish whims the arrogant but wealthy few who had to leave behind their ill-gotten gains when the Cuban Revolution sought to democratize the island. The U. S. is a bully, and bullies are cowards. Our country is hated across the globe for arrogantly attempting to dictate political ideology to sovereign nations. Leave other countries alone and give up your oligarchic ways. We The People want a true democracy.

  6. american stupidity—60 years embargo sanctions vs Cuba fail—and they destroy themselves sanctioning Russia….”Americans are ignorant and unteachable”. George Santayana

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