News and Facts about Cuba

A Rerun of the Embargo Show

A Rerun of the Show /

Oscar Espinosa Chepe, Translator: Unstated

Cuban authorities, as has been their custom for years, have launched a

new campaign against the U.S. embargo, taking advantage of the start of

high-level United Nations General Assembly sessions. The worn-out script

began with a press conference by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of

Foreign Affairs, in Havana on September 20. The only thing that could be

called new was the announcement that the cumulative damage to the

is now calculated to be one 1.76 trillion dollars. It is not

known where he got this figure or how it was calculated.

Of course, the minister omitted the fact that the United States is one

of Cuba's principal commercial trading partners and that, according to

official statistical annuals, supplied more than 4.1 billion dollars in

products from 2001 to 2002, making it the main provider of these

commodities during this period.

He also forgot to mention that, thanks to Obama's easing of

restrictions, approximately 400,000 members of the Cuban community

arrive in that country annually. They provide substantial help to their

families and friends, and their remittances constitute 85% of one of the

chief sources of hard-currency earnings for Cuba. There has also been an

easing in restrictions limiting the direct shipment of packages and

money meant to aid family members. All this disproves the fallacy that

the embargo has stiffened under the Obama administration.

If the Cuban government is not purchasing medications, it is because of

its perennial financial insolvency. All the world's other countries are

willing to sell Cuba all the goods its requires — including products

from the United States — provided it can pay. This is the real problem

for the Elder of the Antilles, now a parasite state.

In addition to the damage brought on by the embargo, it would be

appropriate to evaluate the disasters caused by a regime which for

fifty-three years has destroyed the very foundations of the nation.

It is worth asking how much the destruction of the sugar industry, the

backbone of the economy, has cost the country. Or the destruction of the

livestock sector, another national treasure, now devastated to the point

of not being able to guarantee that children over seven years old have a

liter of milk or a piece of meat, something Cubans hardly recognize anymore.

One should consider the destruction of coffee and cocoa production, and

the fact that a prominently agricultural country now imports 80% of its

food, including such staples as yucca (cassava) to supply the

industry, as has been recently reported in the official press.

Perhaps the American embargo is responsible for the poor quality of new

construction, which develops leaks immediately after completion and has

many other problems. Are U.S. administrations responsible for Cubans not

having access to the internet and the human knowledge to be gained from it?

Is the United States responsible for the continued decapitalization of

Cuba, or for the fact that it invests half of what other Latin American

countries do, causing it to sink progressively into backwardness?

Can external factors be blamed because people in the principal inland

cities have to get around in wagons and carts pulled by horses, or

because farmers have access only to old hoes and mule teams?

Have external factors caused the destruction of a large part of the

roadway infrastructure and the supply? Are they responsible for

the insignificant amount of housing construction, which has led to

overcrowding for generations of Cubans? Or that 50% to 60% of piped

water is lost due to the poor condition of water mains and the

inadequate state of plumbing in homes? Or that the nation's electrical

energy system is showing signs of collapse due to obsolete Soviet and

Czech thermo-electrical plants, most of which have been in use for forty

years without adequate maintenance, and some of which are fueled by

high-sulfur heating oil?

Is it because of an imperialist plot that the health care system is

falling to pieces, as Cuban doctors recently claimed? Or that Calixto

García finds itself in a calamitous state, with only ten of its

thirty operating rooms even able to function. Or that, meanwhile, the

other great "achievement" of the revolution — — is marked by a

drop in the quality of instruction?

Perhaps it is because of a sinister CIA scheme that Cuba will have an

unsustainable population base by 2035, with more than 34% of the

populace over 60 years of age, according to the National Bureau of


One might mention the many calamities resulting from completely

irrational decisions taken over the course of the last fifty-three years

which have cost the nation hundreds of billions of dollars. These would

include programs such as the character deforming country schools, the

Cordón de La Habana, the Revolutionary offensive of 1968, the Harvest of

Ten Million, the social workers, the emerging and comprehensive

teachers, and many more of the mad ideas that seem to have been schemes

intended to ruin the country.

Was it an international plot to fragment Cuban society by separating

families and causing personal upheaval by forcing people to abandon

their homeland? Who is to blame for the growing marginalization of

society, the runaway growth of corruption at all levels, the fifth

largest rate of incarceration in the world, or the acceptance of new

moral and ethical codes which justify any actions as means of survival

in the the jungle that Cuba has become? All this has resulted in the

greatest loss of moral values of all time.

It is clear that, by the time he realized that the country was on the

edge of a precipice, President Raúl Castro was already aware of many of

these problems. However, his commitment to the past seems not to have

allowed him to take effective measures to rectify, at least in some way,

all the damage caused to the nation that was unrelated to external factors.

It is hoped that the resolution on the embargo, which is scheduled for a

vote on for November 13, will once again condemn it. We have never

supported the embargo, which has been used by the Cuban government as a

justification for all its failures and repression.

However, to condemn only the embargo is a decision that would not take

into account the most important aspect of the Cuban experience, which is

the blockade imposed by authorities preventing the people from realizing

their potential and from enjoying their rights. We, therefore, feel it

would be fitting that the resolution to be approved, in addition to

condensing the American embargo, also demand that the Cuban government

take the following steps:

That it promote for Cubans, respect for and the

introduction of real economic reforms to allow them to fulfill their

creative capabilities;

That the National Assembly of People's Power ratify the the

International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the

International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, endorsed in

writing by the government on December 10, 2008.

Democratic countries would make a great contribution to the Cuban people

if a balanced resolution were approved in the current session of the

United Nations General Assembly.

Translated from Cubaencuentro

Oscar Espinosa Chepe, Havana

25 September 2012

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