The US Gets Isolated by Its Blockade Policy: What Will Happen Now?

Cuba bursting with pride as 184 nations stand with them in the UN and vote for an end to the criminal blockade of the island (Photo: Bill Hackwell)

Cuba’s new victory over Washington was not news in the US. No head of diplomacy or White House representatives issued any criteria regarding the fact that 184 of the 193 countries that make up the United Nations (UN) voted on Wednesday to end the blockade imposed on the island for almost 60 years.

Only two governments voted in favor of maintaining the blockade; The United States and Israel. Although President Joe Biden’s administration has repeated that it is “evaluating” that policy, yesterday there was no sign of the turnaround he promised during his election campaign. The world expected Washington to resume some advances of the Obama-era when Biden was vice president. Ironically when the same vote came up in the UN in 2016 the Obama – Biden Administration abstained from voting against it but now the reality is that Biden not only regressed at the UN he is keeping intact the deadly 242 sanctions against Cuba that was dished out during Trump.

Analysts say Miami continues to define the new administration’s political calculus regarding its relations with Cuba. “Dante’s first ring of hell is reserved for Florida’s Cuban-Americans who continue to encourage the blockade and hostilities toward the island. How can anyone ask for their families’ suffering?” U.S.-based Cuban attorney Jose Pertierra said during an interview for Cubavision Internacional.

Biden’s representative at the United Nations, Rodney Hunter, sought to justify the administration’s vote by claiming that its policy is “for the good of the Cuban people.” He told yet another string of lies, such as that “sanctions are a series of tools to promote democracy and respect for human rights in Cuba.”

Ignoring the massive backlash that erupted at the General Assembly session against the White House, Hunter added that “the U.S. is a trading partner of the island, despite the blockade. We are in direct contact with members of its civil society and continue to encourage the Cuban people to determine their own futures.”

Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez refuted Hunter’s every word with precise data. “The blockade is an economic war with extraterritorial measures, a mechanism of political interference that seeks to generate political and social instability on the island. Just like COVID-19, the blockade suffocates and kills,” he affirmed.

For Cuban journalist Rosa Miriam Elizalde, this policy is for Cuba what it was like for George Floyd’s neck with the knee of that white policeman who suffocated him to death in May 2020.

“Cuba was shaken by the image of George Floyd suffocating on the ground while the policeman would not lift his knee from his neck, despite the victim’s cries that he could not breathe. We know that feeling of helplessness of many Americans before their government’s systematic abuse of power,” she wrote in La Jornada.

Cuba knows the knee is always there, invisible, on someone’s neck. “It happens the same way with the blockade, that word that may seem like an abstraction, but it is not for those who are in an intensive care unit (UCI) in Cuba, have an ill child, or have spent six hours in a line to buy food,” Elizalde added.

Today, Biden is following the same path of Dwight Eisenhower in 1960, when he banned Cuba’s sugar exports to the US, which were 95 percent of the island’s sales abroad, to starve the Cuban people. Meanwhile, the U.S. press looks the other way and fills headlines about the latest scandal of some unfortunate celebrity, as happened yesterday, for example.

After the vote at the UN, the news that was among the top stories of the day and that received all the alerts was Britney Spears’ complaint that she is not allowed to live as she wishes. People in the US were up to speed on all the details of her day in court but had to dig deep to find even a morsel of news about the humiliation of US policy in the UN by 184 nations of the world standing with Cuba.

Alejandra Garcia is a Cuban journalist who writes for Resumen Latinoamericano (English). Read other articles by Alejandra.