By: Roger Waters, Vijay Prashad and Manolo De Los Santos.
The United States maintains a list of countries it considers to be “state sponsors of terrorism.” There are currently four countries on that list: Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Syria. The basic idea behind this list is that the US State Department determines that these countries have “provided support for acts of international terrorism.” The US government does not provide evidence about these “acts.” For Cuba, there is not a shred of evidence that the government has offered such support to terrorist activities, in fact, Cuba has been, since 1959, the victim of acts of terrorism by the United States, including an attempted invasion in 1961 (Playa Girón) and repeated assassination attempts against its leaders (638 times against Fidel Castro).
Cuba, rather than exporting weapons around the world, has a long history of health internationalism with Cuban doctors and medicines being a familiar sight from Pakistan to Peru. In fact, there is an international campaign for Cuban doctors to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Why is a country that floods the world with health care being singled out as a state sponsor of terrorism?
Cuba was not on the state sponsors of terrorism list from 2015 onwards, when President Barack Obama removed Cuba from that list (it was first added to the list in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan). In his last week in office, and days before Joe Biden took office as his replacement, former President Donald Trump put Cuba back on the list on January 12, 2021. The comments of the then US Secretary of State ., Mike Pompeo, provide a strange justification for this action: Despite the fact that Cuba was removed from the list in 2015, five years earlier, Pompeo said that “for decades, the Cuban government has fed, housed and provided medical care to murderers , bomb makers and hijackers.”
The phrase “for decades” suggests that the Trump administration goes back further than 2015, not assessing the situation in Cuba in the five years since it was delisted, but instead going back to an era before Obama acted. There was no new evidence that anything had changed since 2015, which showed that Trump’s actions were purely political (to curry favor with the far right that continues to want to carry out regime change in Cuba and overturn so many Obama policies). as possible).
The United States has maintained a blockade against Cuba since 1959 when the Cuban Revolution began a process to transform the country ruled by gangsters (including the American mafia) into a country that would serve the needs of its people. The revolution developed programs for literacy and health care and to establish capacities for the population to access cultural goods, suppressed for a long time by Spanish and American colonialism. The US elite was eager to do away with the example of Cuba, which showed that even a poor country could transcend the socioeconomic conditions of poverty. Every year since 1992, nearly every country in the world—184 of 193 at last count—votes in the United Nations General Assembly to condemn the blockade of Cuba.
Remove Cuba from the list
The designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism by the United States profoundly damages the ability of the Cuban government and its people to carry out the basic functions of life. The immense power of the United States government over the world financial system means that banks and merchants refuse to do business with Cuba for fear of retaliation from the United States government for breaking the blockade. It is surprising to know that due to this blockade, and despite the murmurs of the US government about medical exceptions, companies refuse to sell to Cuba raw materials, reagents, diagnostic kits, pharmaceutical drugs and devices, and a range of other materials needed to operate Cuba’s excellent but stressed public health and science system.
The President of the United States, Joe Biden, can take Cuba off this list with a stroke of his pen. It’s as simple as that. When he ran for president, Biden said he would even reverse Trump’s toughest sanctions and return to the policies of the Obama administration. But he hasn’t, which could be for reasons of political expediency. There is a streak of rancor that runs through the policies of the United States against Cuba, an island that demonstrated during the pandemic that its revolutionary process cares about its people. The example of public health in Cuba, despite being a small island nation, should be exported to the whole world. The country is not a state sponsor of terrorism, but a state sponsor of global welfare.
(Published by Peoples Dispatch with translation from Cubajournalists)
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Cuba must be removed from the list of State sponsors of terrorism