Biden forced to step back, but cruel U.S. blockade of Cuba remains

Sameena Rahman

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The Biden administration announced yesterday a change in some existing measures against Cuba, reversing several Trump-era restrictions. The U.S. government will now allow air travel between the United States and Cuban cities beyond Havana and allow for more remittances – although their scope is limited. While these measures are a welcome step in the right direction, they are politically shrouded in anti-Cuba hostility and the urgent necessity remains to fight for the total end to the U.S. blockade of the island.

This announcement comes a few weeks after the U.S. embassy in Cuba resumed issuing visas for travel in May, for the first time in four years. The U.S. State Department will reinstate the Cuban Family Reunification Parole, which would allow for more travel between the two countries. The sanctions will also lift a $1,000 cap on family remittances and provide for more U.S. internet access. It should be noted that the U.S. government and its CIA front agencies USAID and NED have used the internet extensively to encourage opposition elements inside the island to carry out subversion. And in the heat of the U.S.-sponsored July 11, 2021 disturbances, when Cuba temporarily blocked the internet to stop the hundreds of thousands of automated social media messages flooding Cuba, Biden promised more internet access from the United States.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said in a tweet that “this decision in no way modifies the blockade, Cuba’s fraudulent inclusion in the list of countries as sponsors of terrorism or most of Trump’s maximum pressure coercive measures that still affect the Cuban people.” 

In another tweet, he said, “…Content of announcement confirms that neither the goals nor the main instruments of the United States failed policy against #Cuba has changed.”

A Cuban government press release described the Biden administration’s devious use of language, “In taking these steps, the State Department uses an openly hostile language, accompanied by traditional slanders and new fallacies that have become fashionable in the last few months, which show that neither the goals pursued by the U.S. policy against Cuba nor its main instruments have changed.”

In 2021, the Biden administration jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of people frustrated by food shortages and other difficulties – ironically, caused by the U.S. blockade itself. Biden put out a hypocritical statement claiming solidarity with Cuban people while doing nothing to withdraw the Trump administration’s 243 unilateral coercive measures. Instead, Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ policy for regime change remains intact.

Additionally, the Biden administration’s decision to exclude Cuba from the Summit of the Americas shows the United States is not really interested in easing tensions. Some political commentators see Biden’s announcement as a way to overcome opposition among Latin American and Caribbean heads of state who are planning to boycott the U.S.-sponsored Summit of the Americas. Biden officials will travel soon to Mexico to meet with President López Obrador, presumably to try to change his mind. López Obrador has said he will not attend the Summit, and he has expressed strong solidarity with Cuba against the blockade.

The people of the United States must demand withdrawing not some, but all economic and political policies against Cuba. Cuban officials say that understanding the true implications of this announcement will depend on their implementation. Regardless of the U.S. government’s persistent hostility and attempts to suffocate the Cuban people, the Cuban government reiterates its dedication to establishing respectful dialogue in a climate of peace as outlined by the UN Charter without external interference from the United States.

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