Cuba Vigorously Marches On After Six Decades Of Success Protecting Its Sovereignty and Independence

January 5, 2020

The U.S. government continues to hold the peoples of the world hostage to the anti-Cuban, anti-people policy that has already been underway for more than six decades. From the very start of the ongoing victory of the Cuban revolution in 1959, the U.S. government began an all-sided campaign aimed at restoring U.S. domination over the country.

In 1960, the U.S. cut off Cuba's sugar quota and embargoed a number of commodities destined for Cuba. Light aircraft from the United States strafed Cuban cities and burnt cane fields. The United States openly supported and encouraged terrorist groups, designed and implemented assassination plans against the leaders of the Revolution. In January 1961, the U.S. severed diplomatic relations with Cuba and financed and trained the mercenary troops that launched the Bay of Pigs invasion in April of that same year.

In 1962, the U.S. imposed an economic, financial and commercial blockade on Cuba. This included a total ban on all food, medicine, equipment and raw materials from the U.S. and prohibited free travel between the two countries. 

In 1992, the U.N. General Assembly adopted its first resolution demanding the end of the blockade. That same year, Washington enacted the Torricelli Act, which forbade subsidiary enterprises of American companies in other countries to trade with Cuba and, in violation of the sovereignty of all countries involved, prohibited the entrance to U.S. ports of ships involved in trade with Cuba. 

The Helms-Burton legislation, signed into law by Clinton in 1996, enlarged such third-party sanctions by denying entry visas to the U.S. for foreign individuals linked to any corporations doing business in Cuba. It also sought to terminate all international loans to Cuba. The bill permitted Americans who had property confiscated during the Cuban revolution of 1959 to sue any foreign company that subsequently owned the Cuban property. It also forbade entry into the U.S. for any individual who profited from such property. Other provisions empowered the office of the U.S. president to pursue efforts to establish an international embargo against Cuba and authorized U.S. assistance to Cuban opposition groups. 

Overall, the economic blockade has resulted in untold hardship on the Cuban people, denying them medical and humanitarian supplies as well as the raw materials, energy and spare parts necessary to maintain the country's industrial base. 

During all these years, the U.S. government has also continued organizing internal subversion, sabotage, and murder against the Cuban people. It has threatened Cuba with nuclear weapons, trained counter-revolutionary armies and political shock forces in the U.S. and kept up a nonstop campaign of ideological, political and diplomatic pressure.

The U.S. blockade and pressure against Cuba is in total defiance of international law and the accepted principles of sovereign equality amongst nations, non-intervention and non-interference in the international affairs of other countries as well as the freedom of international trade and navigation. U.S. policy is directed against the sovereign right of countries that refuse to accept the blockade of Cuba and the sovereign right of the Cuban people to determine their own economic and political system. The U.S. aims are to overthrow the Cuban government and change Cuba's economic and social system.

Below we reprint the first part of a December 21 speech for the forthcoming year of the Cuban Revolution addressed to the Cuban people by Cuba's President Bermúdez.

“On the eve of another anniversary of the undefeated and victorious Revolution, first of all I want to exclaim: Congratulations!

“We have navigated a year full of challenges, tension and aggression. We faced these united, and united we are winning.

“The 61st year of the Revolution has indeed been difficult and challenging, although never as hard as those that followed the January triumph when the harassment was accompanied by vicious attacks, including: an invasion, sabotage, arson, banditry and the isolation of Cuba throughout the hemisphere.

“The challenges were defeated, overcome one by one, leaving us, the protagonists, with a history that makes us deeply proud and a very formidable revolutionary lesson: by the people, with the people and for the people: anything is possible!

“Steeled by all those years of resistance, and supported by the strength of the human work erected against all odds over six decades, we have been able to navigate through 2019 overcoming obstacles that appeared insurmountable, and today can rightly celebrate, without complacency and conscious that every goal met is a new starting point.

“Speaking of obstacles, let us begin with the worse and most pervasive of all: the United States economic, commercial and financial blockade.

“When the history of these days is written, we will need to reserve a chapter for the year 2019 because of the brutal, one could say demented way in which aggression against Cuba was escalated this year, practically, at the rate of more than a sanction per week; that is, a "turn of the screw" every seven days to asphyxiate our economy.

“Cruises, flights, remittances, medical services, financing, fuel transportation and insurance were cancelled, restricted or prohibited. There was no area exempt from witch-hunting, sieges, and persecution. Nor is there any revolutionary project or action exempt from defamation.

“To justify its actions, Washington has once again resorted to blatant lies, and to the crude accusation that we are promoting instability and are a threat to the region, which we have vigorously denied.

“Measures adopted are aimed at sabotaging Cuba's foreign trade and hindering financial transactions with third countries, including payments, collections and credit options. They seek to deny supplies to national industry, limit access to technology and sources of capital, and cut our economic income, with specific actions against fuel shipping, tourism and international health services.

“To this end, the United States has launched an intense slander campaign against the medical collaboration that Cuba provides. It is immoral and unacceptable to question the dignity, professionalism and altruism of the more than 400,000 health collaborators who, over 56 years, have participated in missions in 164 nations.

“As the people know, behaving in an unprecedented manner, the United States government today boasts of having threatened, persecuted and taken illegal action against more than ten companies and dozens of vessels from third countries that transport oil to Cuba. This aggression will go down in history as cowardly piracy.

“The openly stated goal is to deprive a country of 11 million people of its fuel supply. The impact was not worse thanks to the unity, conscious response and solidarity of the people; the strength of the socialist socio-economic system; and our 60 years of experience confronting imperialist aggression.

“But there, in our economic results, is the impact this aggression caused. Virtually every sector was obliged to face interruptions or delays in production. We were able to prevent inconvenient power outages and endure the restrictions by taking measures tailored to particular situations, by territory and by agency. The entire country tightened its belt again, but no austerity measures were implemented that would unload the cost of the criminal blockade onto the people. We are a territory free of neoliberalism!

“According to our enemies, and those who amplify their messages on whatever communication platform, the blockade is meant to harm the government. A lie! The blockade affects the entire people because it affects all economic sectors and actors.

“The additional restrictions on the availability of fuel, which began in April, significantly affected public transportation, forcing a temporary halt or slowing down of some investment projects, damaging agriculture, food production and distribution, and other areas of significant economic and social impact.

“The suspension of cruise ship arrivals and flights to the provinces, cuts in remittances, the closure of consular offices and limitations on travel licenses, among others, hit the non-state sector of the economy particularly hard.

“The people know this because they are suffering from it; but they have also faced the situation with greater wisdom and foresight, with that inexhaustible source of energy that exists in every Cuban: creativity and the unsurpassable capacity to find a solution to every problem. This is our history, which teaches us that unity, resistance, struggle and emancipation are key to our victories.

“In the first place, thanks to this and also to the cooperation of sovereign governments and courageous business people, willing to challenge U.S. hegemony to trade with Cuba, we have faced and resisted the economic war.

“And, here we are! On our feet, dignified and firm. Calm, but alert. Aware that those who go this far in their malevolence have no scruples in resorting to even more perverse plans, if they might contribute to erasing from the map this example of audacity and resistance that irritates them so much, and which they have not been able to defeat in 61 years, with neither coercion or seduction.

“Exactly two years ago, at the closing of the National Assembly, Army General Raúl Castro recalled, 'The Cuban Revolution has resisted the attacks of eleven United States administrations of different parties and here we are, and here we will be, free, sovereign and independent'.

“With the greatest pride, the present generations of leaders, of the people and, particularly, Cuban youth, present today in the Revolution, we say: Of Fidel, of Raúl and of all their comrades in struggle, we are continuity!

“I know that this statement alone infuriates our adversaries, because it is the confirmation that none of their plans have worked. They have hit us hard and are hitting us. The blockade delays progress and reduces the effectiveness of our efforts. It hurts us, bothers us and irritates us, just as abuse, arrogance and wickedness hurt, bother and irritate; but it is important for them to know that we will not surrender!

“The blockade is a policy so discredited, so immoral and so contrary to all rights, that its defenders go beyond all legal and human limits to maintain it, forgetting a Spanish proverb, older than Don Quixote: 'The pitcher goes to the well so often that, in the end, it breaks.' Proverbs, by the way, express the wisdom born from the people’s experience, including their struggles.”