Cuban Blockade Should Be Lifted: AMLOBy Sofía Hanna | Mon, 07/12/2021 - 18:04
On July 11, citizens of Havana, Cuba, came out to protest and demand the resignation of President Miguel Diaz-Canel. This is the largest protest Cuba has had against the government in decades. Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that he would support the country by providing vaccines, food and medical services. López Obrador also commented that the blockade against Cuba should be lifted.
Unrest in Cuba exploded after the worst economic and health crisis the country has had to face since the fall of the Soviet Union, explains Reuters. During this period, citizens urgently demanded basic goods, civil liberties and better management of the pandemic. Feeling that their concerns have not been addressed, Cubans took to the streets to demand their President’s resignation. “After 2019, we went through a difficult period and Cuba has remained in that situation for a long time. The commands that the US has given, especially during the term of Donald Trump, led to restrictive, financial and energy persecution that aimed to suffocate the economy of our country. That suffocation provoked that desire for a massive citizen outbreak in Cuba,” said President Díaz-Canel in his live response to the protests.
Citizens have been protesting for years but this is the largest protest the country has seen since 1994, driven in part by the country’s worsening economy. As mentioned in Reuters, Cuba’s “economy contracted 10.9 percent last year, and 2 percent through June of 2021. The resulting cash crunch has spawned shortages that have forced Cubans to queue for hours for basic goods throughout the pandemic.” Even though the Cuban government has started a mass vaccination campaign, the arrival of the Delta variant has brought up a wave of new cases. The country reported a record of 6,923 cases and 47 deaths on Sunday, which is overwhelming hospitals.
On July 12, Mexican President López Obrador addressed the events in Cuba during his “Mañanera” (Morning Press Conference): “I believe that a way out should be sought through dialogue, without the use of force, without confrontation, without violence. And it must be the Cubans who decide because Cuba is an independent, free and sovereign country. There should be no interventionism, the health situation of the Cuban people should not be used for political purposes.” He also mentioned that the economic blockade of Cuba by the US should be lifted or suspended.
US President Joe Biden has said that his government supports the Cuban people in their call for freedom: “The US calls on the Cuban regime to listen to its people and serve their needs. at this key moment instead of enriching themselves,” said Biden, reported Reuters.
The Cuban Blockade
The blockade was also discussed at the UN Annual General Assembly, with the committee once again rejected the embargo. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla commented that “Many argue pragmatically, even within the US government, that the blockade should be ended because it is an anachronistic and ineffective policy that it has not achieved and will not achieve its objective and has ended up discrediting and isolating the US itself. This blockade like the COVID-19 virus suffocates and kills and therefore must stop.”