The Blockade is a Crime Against Humanity

By Fernando Buen Abad Dominguez on February 22, 2021

Our Freedom and Dignity will never be bought. Photo: Bill Hackwell

According to the UN, crimes against humanity are those that constitute widespread or systematic attacks on a civilian population, as well as extermination, enslavement, deportation or forcible expulsion, deprivation of physical and intellectual liberty in violation of international law or torture, rape, prostitution and sexual violence, persecution of a group (including “media lynching”) on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds; enforced disappearance of persons, apartheid and other acts that violate the integrity of individuals and social groups. For example, the blockade, even if they call it an “embargo”. Before the “purists” of legal classifications raise hopes of rehearsing scholastic eloquence, know that they will have no place here. Anything that violates the life, liberty, rights, and dignity of people is a crime against humanity… and blockades are one of the most treacherous, illegal, and illegitimate forms of capitalist warfare, even if they invent ideologues, treaties, and legislation to camouflage themselves.

Fighting the blockade is not just a “legal” matter, the repudiation at the United Nations and the angry proclamations of the most indignant voices have been of little use. The battle against the blockade is a political struggle that does not stop at the gates of the bureaucracies and involves a radical battle against capitalism, its mode, and relations of production. Undoubtedly capitalism, in its development after the Second World War, produced equal or worse horrors against the human species. It produced usurpations, invasions, and thefts. All kinds of deceit, manipulation, and humiliation. Destruction of countries and cultures. Misery and destitution, kidnappings, usurpations, and blockades – it is impossible to disguise so many horrors! The consequences are worsening and behaving like a pandemic. There is no future for humanity under such a system. And to punish those who refuse to applaud its horrors, the empire imposes “embargoes” and blockades. Forms of a merciless war against the peoples. For example, the blockade against Cuba is the longest known in modern history. Although it has been condemned countless times, nothing happens; the same is true against Venezuela and against anyone who tries to develop links with both countries.

Some are only concerned about the “economic damage” caused by the blockade, but this is insufficient to understand and denounce the damage to health, education, housing, work, and culture. The blockade is part of the imperial psychological war against all rebellion. Let us not forget the ethical obligation we all have to denounce the systematic attack on the state of mind of the peoples subjected to the blockade. The urgency of a new planetary proclamation for human rights is clearer than ever; one that clears away all traces of individualism to ascend to a humanist practice that learns not to reduce rights and, in turn, learns to expand all their notions to their necessary social character. It is time to empower ourselves with a new, binding, global humanist agenda in all the constitutional bodies and ethical hierarchies with which a true social justice must be assembled to safeguard us from the prevailing ruthless forms of inequality, deprivation, and marginalization.

We need a new kind of human rights declaration to condemn the blockade, this time a democratic one, signed by the workers’ organizations, accepted by the social movements fighting against the separation of humanity into social classes. A new humanist system, of chapters subordinated to a dynamic and integral conception, capable of perfecting itself with its objective practice and with the permanent democratic organization of overseers, supervisors and controllers organized in ethical committees for the development of collective rights and responsibilities. Breaking with all “litany of false democracy” to democratize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, renewing it on the basis of consensus. This is a necessary step in the short term. To break with the idea that such a declaration has to remain caged in diplomatic verbiage, to ascend to one that becomes the “meat of socialist-based humanist struggles” and is synonymous with practical strength sustained by critical thinking. We need a declaration that includes debates and scrutiny of peoples against their oppressors.

Up to the present day, “human rights”, Marx writes, “are those of members of bourgeois society, i.e. of selfish individuals, separated from themselves and from the community”… but the rights of the citizen “can only be exercised in the community. Their content is participation in it, and concretely in the political community, in the state”. None of the human rights transcend in individuals withdrawn into themselves. We need a declaration that is a tool for daily critique, close to us and in action, whose proclamations are based on the fundamental sense of the inalienable respect for work: “all members of society have an equal right to receive the full fruits of their labor” or to a “fair distribution of the fruits of their labor”.

We need an internationalist, grassroots agreement to rebuild human rights in a critical way against the limited and inhuman nature of the logic of capital. To fight against all forms of blockade, which constitutes a crime, flagrant and systematic. Humanism that is more than a compendium of philanthropic “good intentions”; that is one more way of ascending to emancipatory practice. As Marx thought, in the light of history, inseparable from the content breathed by social forces in their emancipatory struggles. Humanism of a “new kind” as a desirable, possible, and achievable action for the forces based on participatory democracy. Humanism in order not to succumb to the fiercest ideological oppression implicit in the subtraction of surplus-value. Humanism that stops at nothing, that defends nature, that protects cultural heritage, that fights against war business, vulture banks and the mass media, ideological war machines. Let us not swallow any more deceit, the blockade is a crime against humanity. And it must be stopped, punished and forced to repair the damage, globally.

Source: La Jornada,  translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau