Trying to Destroy the Danger of a Good Example
A Review of “The Economic War Against Cuba”
Daniel Kovalik is a labor and human rights attorney, and teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
If it weren’t bad enough that the U.S. has imposed an illegal embargo against Cuba for over 50 years, it has also tried to prevent those interested in learning about this embargo (more accurately termed a blockade because the U.S. aggressively enforces it against third countries to stop them from trading with the island) from reading Salim Lamrani’s new book, The Economic War Against Cuba.
Thus, according to Opera Mundi, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Office Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) the government agency tasked with enforcing the blockade against Cuba seized the funds a British NGO, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, attempted to wire to purchase 100 copies of this book from Monthly Review Press. (1) OFAC also demanded that this same NGO describe its relationship with Cuba in detail. This episode is emblematic of the absurd lengths to which the U.S. government will go to stop the world from dealing with Cuba.
As an initial matter, author Salim Lamrani, a professor at the Sorbonne in Paris, explains that the U.S. war against post-revolutionary Cuba began on March 17, 1960 one month before Cuba established relations with Moscow. Lamrani relates that this war, declared by President Eisenhower, was “built on several pillars: the cancellation of the Cuban sugar quota, an end to the deliveries of energy resources such as oil, the continuation of the arms embargo imposed in March 1958, the establishment of a campaign of terrorism and sabotage, and the organization of a paramilitary force designed to invade the island overthrow Fidel Castro.”
This war would then be expanded by President Kennedy in 1962 to include the unprecedented economic blockade against Cuba a blockade which continues to this day, over 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
This is important, for it demonstrates what Noam Chomsky has argued numerous times before: that during the Cold War the U.S. intentionally pushed Third World countries guilty of declaring their independence from U.S. hegemony towards the Soviet Union so as to manufacture a convenient pretext for U.S. belligerence. And, the blockade initially imposed by Kennedy did just that.
As Lamrani explains, “[o]n September 16, 1962, Kennedy developed a blacklist that included all ships having commercial relations with Cuba, regardless of their country of origin, and banned them from docking in a U.S. port. These measures drastically reduced the links between Cuba and the Western World and increased the island’s dependence upon the USSR.”
Lamrani concludes that the results of this relentless 50-year blockade have cost Cuba more than $751 billion, and has “affected all sectors of Cuban society and all categories of the population, especially the most vulnerable: children, the elderly, and women. Over 70 percent of all Cubans have lived in a climate of permanent economic hostility.”…
Read the entire review on Marxism-Leninism Today