The Price of a Lie
Since 1959, ten US administrations have not tired in repeating —for purposes of justification— that the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba was and continues to be a reply by the US government to nationalization. These transfers of property were lawfully conducted following the triumphant revolution against the pervasive Yankee monopolies that had for decades drained the resources of the Cuban people
By NIDIA DIAZ
It has been said over and over, and there is plenty of truth in it, that Cuba has been the most expensive lie for the US Empire.
Since 1959, ten US administrations have not tired in repeating —for purposes of justification— that the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba was and continues to be a reply by the US government to nationalization. These transfers of property were lawfully conducted following the triumphant revolution against the pervasive Yankee monopolies that had for decades drained the resources of the Cuban people.
The economic war against this small island —history’s longest and most protracted of such kind of aggression— and qualified under international law as an act of genocide, is nothing else but the most cowardly expression of the US’s long-cherished dream of colonial domination of Cuba.
This is the price we Cubans have been forced to pay for our steadfast determination to defend our sovereignty, our independence and our irreversible gains under socialism.
In its attempt to subdue us, the US has not stopped at the most sordid delegitimization campaigns, sabotage, military aggression, assassination plots against our main leaders, and frustrated attempts to organize an internal opposition. Its meager host of mercenary and pro-annexationist elements, who have accepted America’s money, have utterly failed in setting up a support base that could assist the US in its domination plans.
The US has therefore built upon its most stubborn and protracted method: the blockade, which they euphemistically call an "embargo" with the unprincipled aim of deceiving international public opinion and the American people themselves.
This is an old issue, a sort of tug-of-war that future generations, when reviewing this dark part of the history of the mightiest empire ever, will stop in disbelief to wonder why there was so much scorn and deep hatred.
It is therefore once again worth while to disassemble the pieces form this lie and refresh the notions of how events truly unfolded and how this war, this act of economic aggression against the Cuban people, has become the Gordian knot in relations between the two countries.
The January 1 revolutionary victory in Cuba did not take the US government by surprise. Huge sums of money had been spent and much maneuvering done to prevent it, once they realized that the collapse of the dictatorship they had been propping up had become inevitable.
The US embassy lobbied fiercely among the few likely figures that remained in that decadent, mockery of a republic. Up to the very last minute they thought that the junta they had set up —headed politically by Magistrate Carlos M. Piedra and militarily by General Eulogio Cantillo, who were later joined by a few representatives from the so-called fuerzas vivas (active forces)— was going to be able to stop the advance of the liberation forces.
In their logic and imperial arrogance, the Yanks, faced with the inevitable, bet that the leaders of this new emancipating wave could not compete with a reality that was expressed in facts and figures: 70% of the domestic imports came from the powerful neighbor to the North, which bought 69% of our exports.
On top of that it was the main investor in the Island and our sugar quota in the American market represented 33% of the consumption of that country, with an annual delivery of between 3.5 and 4 million tons at preferential prices.
To this it is necessary to add that the overthrown dictator, Fulgencio Batista, the repressors that sustained the regime and their accomplices had left the State treasury exhausted, it only had a gross reserve, in dollars, of less than $7 million, when in 1955 that figure was more than $509 million.
Politics, it has been said, it is the concentrated expression of the economy and Washington acted accordingly.
When the first Agrarian Reform Law was signed on May 17, 1959, the fate of the Revolution and its relationship with its powerful neighbor was sealed. With their usual prepotency, haughtiness and arrogance, they had so decided it.
As early as February 12, 1959, the US government denied the young revolutionary government the concession of a small credit required to maintain the stability of the national currency. From that date they unleashed their escalade of aggressions.
In August of that year, as reprisal for a lowering of the electric tariffs, the American Foreign Power, controlling company of the misnamed Cuban Electricity Company, cancelled a funding of $15,000,000 and the entry of Cuban fresh fruits was also prohibited into Florida.
In June 1960 they cut off the supply of petroleum and the US refineries on the island refused to process crude coming from the Soviet Union; in September all credits which had been previously granted to the Cuban banks were suspended and it was "suggested" that US citizens not travel to the island.
At the beginning of July, and in an escalation that would no longer have limits or end, President Eisenhower clipped the sugar quota to 700,000 tons (that was eliminated in December of the following year by the recently elected president, John Kennedy). In October of that year, the commercial embargo that prohibited exports to Cuba, with the exception of medicines and food, was decreed by Kennedy, and on January 3, 1961 diplomatic relationships were severed.
At the same time, the US government resorted to brute force and secretly prepared the 2506 Brigade, in advance of what was planned to be the landing of the US army on Cuban soil.
It took less than 72 hours for their defeat to be complete and President Kennedy in a vain gesture to win over the local ultra-right wing and out of commitment with the mercenaries, signed Proclamation 3447, which established the total blockade.
From then on, regulations, provisions and decrees in the purest colonial style were added, until in 1992 the Torricelli Act was passed, combining by means of its so-called Track II, economic war with the traditional politics of ideological subversion.
Shrouded deep in the US Senate, Jesse Helms—the embodiment of the worst of the local ultra-rightwing elements acting in complicity with the Cuban-American mafia and deeply entrenched and inseparable from the US establishment—continued to plot, until finally in 1996 he achieved the passage of the Helms-Burton Act, which was and is not only anti-Cuban and pro-annexation, but illegally extraterritorial.
Throughout the years, the Cuban Revolution has demonstrated to the world that it has not fallen, but has survived and continued to develop, despite the fact that its socialist allies in Europe had given in for shiny mirrors and beads from the new conquerors. Furthermore, Cuba has created immeasurable human capital that has become the greatest proof of the justice and victory of our socialism. The wealth of Cuba is its investment in its people.
The latest ravings from that demented creature —a product of delirious champions of annexation— are new, yet more aggressive measures, first announced by Bush on May 6 of last year and which went into effect on June 30. Not only do these new acts of aggression constitute a violation of Cuba’s independence and sovereignty, but are also an unprecedented escalation of the worst violations of human rights against our people. If there were any cracks in the Helms-Burton Act they have been filled in by this new and futile attempt to suffocate and bring about the surrender of Cuba.
There are abundant figures that support this claim. Conservative estimates put the damage caused by the more than four decades of blockade at $82 billion dollars, not including the more than $54 billion attributable to direct economic and social damage.
To cite a more recent estimate, last year the blockade caused the loss of more than $2.76 billon in economic damage.
For 14 years Cuba has been battling in the UN General Assembly in an attempt to expose the truth; so much so that the number of member nations that vote in support of the Cuban resolution and against the blockade has grown from 59 in 1992, when Cuba first presented the resolution, to 179 last year.
This is not a mere figure; the fact that the overwhelming majority of countries have the boldness to support the resolution in the presence of representatives of the US Empire speaks to the almost unanimous and universal rejection of this genocidal war, a war like no other country in history has had to face.
The Empire is becoming exasperated and no longer even bothers to conceal its plans of aggression and internal subversion; the words of Lester D. Mallory, Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, were forever engraved in history when he said on April 6, 1960:
"(…) there is no effective political opposition (…) the only foreseeable means of alienating internal support (of the Revolution) is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship (…) every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken economic life of Cuba..."
Since then, 45 years have passed and the overwhelming majority of Cubans remain unyielding in their support of the Revolution and the undisputed and reinvigorated leadership of Fidel Castro. (Cubaminrex- Granma)