The endless cruelty of sanctions. US intercept medical supply to Cuba!

By Peter Koenig

Cuba complained recently that a shipment of test kits, masks and respirators, donated by the Chinese Alibaba group, didn’t arrive because the American company tasked with transportation feared breaching U-S sanction rules. Washington imposed an embargo on Cuba in 19-62 after the island nation nationalized its oil industry. The measures have been denounced by the United Nations 28 years in a row. 

There are no words to describe the cruelty of this – and many other similar acts by the United States, to utilize this pandemic to tighten the screws even more on sanctioned countries like Cuba and Venezuela and Iran – and many others, by blocking vital medical supplies from reaching these countries medical staff and hospitals to treat patients. The blockage of this medical supply may cause even more death (from a virus that arguably may have originated in the US). 

The illegal US blockage of Cuba for almost 60 years of which we all know, is inhuman and cruel and against all international laws and standards. 

The UN has voted against this illegitimate blockade against Cuba for almost 30 years in a row. Of the 193 UN members, 191 voted against the continuation of the blockade. The exceptions were the US and Israel. 

This entire world body voting against the US sanction, represents more than 99% of the world population. Yet, it does nothing against the US and its sanctions and embargos on Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, China, Russia, North Korea – and many more. Currently about 30% of the world population are affected in one way or another by US sanctions. Why doesn’t the entire world collectively sanction the US? 

I know, this is a pipe dream. But it’s a possibility. Especially now that the world economy is about to collapse because of the draconian measures almost every government of the globe has taken to fight the corona virus – we have literally created “planet lockdown”, meaning the economy has come to an almost standstill. Now that we may enter into an entire new socioeconomic paradigm, is the time for the 99.9% of the population, to apply the shock doctrine in reverse. It would be the moment for the 191 countries of the UN body to take control and start sanctioning the US, until the ruthless empire becomes a normal respectable nation. 

This all looks and sounds strange in the light of the Obama initiative to “open-up” to Cuba. In December 2014 Obama initiated the “Cuban Thaw” and in July 2015 reestablished diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana. Why does this new thaw not develop into at least a more human country-to-country relationship between the US and Cuba? 

First, this new “overture” by Obama like many other initiatives he took – was a dishonest move. It foremost was to put officially US spies and US propaganda agents into the newly reopened US Embassy, because the loosening of the embargo was never part of the deal. There was not even a plan, about when the embargo might be lifted. 

Then came Trump, a ferocious anti-socialist, anti-everything-that-is-not-capitalist fanatic. He also immensely dislikes Obama and wanted to undo as much as possible of what Obama managed to achieve in his 8 years at the helm in Washington. So, instead of talking about the next steps of loosening the embargo, as the Cubans rightly expected, Trump tightened the screws on the sanctions invoking the strengthening of the Helms-Burton act. This US federal law is a mere strengthening of the sanctions and embargo against Cuba.

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Then under a ridiculous pretext that Cuba poisoned US embassy staff with an unidentifiable hearing disease, Washington withdrew almost all staff from the Embassy. But the official Cuban Washington relation is still on the records, and the Embassies nominally in place. 

Since then, Trump and his various advisors and spokes-people have repeatedly declared that President Trump will not tolerate any socialism in the world, and especially not in “his” Hemisphere; that he will eradicate Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as we know them. That has so far not happened. Will see. These countries’ resistance is much stronger than the Trump ideologues are capable of imagining. – So much for the Obama “opening” to Cuba.

* Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; Greanville Post; Defend Democracy Press, TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.
Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.