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Editorial: Cuba’s woes are rooted in the six-decade US blockade

CUBA faces enormous challenges. This is true ever since the mafia and US big business were driven from the island.

But today it faces difficulties deepened by the tightening US blockade, the loss of its tourism revenues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the greater potency of new variants of the virus.

Even our state-affiliated BBC is compelled to acknowledge the remarkable resilience of Cuba’s comprehensive national health service, which in normal times delivers positive health outcomes unknown in the rest of Latin America and which are not even universally available to working people in North America.

Even so, deprived of basics such as hypodermic needles by the US blockade — backed at the UN only by apartheid Israel — Cuba is facing a sharpening coronavirus crisis amid deep economic problems that arise not from the socialist nature of its economy but from the pressure exerted by US capital.

There are some who hope that humanitarian instincts, political pressure and a hitherto absent goodwill might effect a change in the stance taken by Joe Biden’s administration and lessen the blockade to allow food, fuel and medical aid to the island.

This misses the point. The whole purpose of the blockade is to create the effect we see today. This is to encourage in the minds of some Cubans the idea that the overthrow of popular power in Cuba will grant them access to untold capitalist riches.

Of course, everyone who casts their eyes over Latin America knows that the opposite is true and that a US presence carries with it the danger of dictatorship, the reality of repression and the dominance of foreign capital.

The hunger and deprivation are real. The immediate US strategy is to further impoverish Cubans. 

Decorated with a lavishly funded and mendacious media offensive, it exists to create a crisis to clear the ground for a “humanitarian intervention” that would give the US a direct physical bridge into the island.

This is the logic of the “CubaSOS” scheme concocted by US intelligence and now to be funded by the state revenues of Florida.

The social media networks of US big business are already playing an active role in these manoeuvres. 

This includes faked accounts which rebadge football celebrations in Brazil and mass protests in Egypt as demonstrations along Havana’s waterfront.

Bear in mind that Florida is just 90 miles away and the US has in Cuba’s territory an enormous base at Guantanamo Bay that would facilitate such a “trojan horse” operation.

Popular power and socialist relations of production do not, of themselves, end class struggle.

This continues, especially in the case of Cuba, in foreign intervention, in the persistence and mutation of reactionary ideas that are grounded in centuries of exploitation, servitude and dependency and in the subterranean anger of those deprived by the revolution of property and the power to exploit the labour of others.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel read the situation correctly when he mobilised many thousands of revolutionaries to reclaim the streets for the people. Political power in Cuba rests with them.

Not even the most deranged US strategist imagines that there exists in Cuba either the mass support or organisational structures that could overthrow popular power.

The Cuban revolution has deep roots and its revolutionary armed forces and state security have decades of revolutionary and internationalist experience, gained in defending their own revolution and in practical solidarity in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Labour can take an active role in backing early day motion 1550 — Cuba and the US blockade, while each of us can donate to the Cuba Solidarity Campaign’s Covid Medical Appeal.

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