Cuba: Truths They Want to Hide

By Arthur Gonzalez on August 17, 2023

Like the virus the US blockade isolates. photo: Bill Hackwell

The United States tries to minimize its economic, commercial and financial war established against Cuba since 1959, and with its powerful propaganda machine to make the world and especially the Cuban people believe that the socialist system is the only one responsible for the difficulties and hardships it suffers, hiding the jumble of laws and sanctions applied against the Revolution.

There is no denying the errors committed throughout these 60 years in the management of the Cuban economy, many of them perhaps induced, although if the Yankee laws passed by presidents and Congress were not harmful, they would have been repealed, but in reality they reinforce them with the unhealthy intention of provoking the wear and tear and irritation of the population and stimulating street disturbances that would bring the revolutionary process to a halt.

Cuba calls this inhumane process a blockade, but in reality its actions constitute a real war, given its scope, magnitude and objectives to be achieved. The laws passed reaffirm this and a deficiency has been the failure to include in the Cuban educational system the study of these laws and the sanctions applied, so that all Cubans may master the true dimension of the cruel and merciless U.S. policy.

A few days after January 3, 1961, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower broke diplomatic relations with Cuba, he also suspended trade, through the application of the Trading with the Enemy Act, (TWEA), passed in 1917 to impose economic sanctions against foreign nations, by prohibiting, limiting or regulating commercial and financial transactions with hostile countries in times of war.

Since 1978, all Yankee presidents have issued memoranda or presidential determinations extending the TWEA for one year, considering Cuba a situation of “national emergency” and qualifying it as an interest of the United States”, being the only country in the world to which this law is applied.

In its unhealthy obsession to overthrow the Cuban Revolution, in 1961 the US Congress passed the International Cooperation Act, Section 620.A, which prohibits all aid to any communist country, including Cuba, and to any other country that provides aid to the island. It authorizes the president to establish and maintain a total “embargo” on all trade between the United States and Cuba.

On February 3, 1962, under the authority granted to him by the International Cooperation Act, President John F. Kennedy suspended all trade with Cuba and by means of Presidential Proclamation 3447, imposed an “embargo” prohibiting the importation into the United States of all goods of Cuban origin and goods imported from or through Cuba and all exports from the United States to the Island.

Said proclamation does not establish time limits or conditions for its lifting and since that date the so-called “embargo” became law, expanding with more regulations and new laws.

At the same time, in January 1962, President Kennedy organized the Expanded Task Force of the National Security Council, which designed the well-known Operation Mongoose, containing a variety of political, diplomatic, economic, psychological, propaganda, espionage, terrorist acts and the encouragement and logistical support to counterrevolutionary armed bands.

This Operation was aimed at provoking a rebellion by the Cuban people, which would provide the justification for a direct military intervention by the U.S. armed forces.

It contains 32 tasks, 13 of them economic, stating: “Political action will be supported by an economic war that will induce the communist regime to fail in its effort to satisfy the needs of the country….”

Its extraterritoriality is manifested by stating:

“Collaboration with other OAS nations, particularly Canada and Mexico, will be explored by the State Department. The Department of State, with the Department of Commerce and others involved, will compile a positive list of items from Latin America that will be subject to the same licensing procedures applied elsewhere in the free world to such shipments. The State Department will report on the status of plans to gain the cooperation of NATO allies (bilaterally or in the NATO forum, whichever is more appropriate) The goal is to convince those nations to take steps to isolate Cuba from the West.”

“The State Department will work on the status of actions taken with Japan, who has comparatively significant trade with Cuba, which are similar to those taken with NATO nations.”

Is it possible to hide the real objective and make the world believe that the hardships suffered by Cubans are due to a failed system?

In 1963, the U.S. government issued the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) under section 5.b of the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917.

The express purpose of the sanctions contemplated in these regulations is: “to isolate the Cuban government economically and deprive it of U.S. dollars.

Such sanctions freeze all Cuban assets in the United States and the Treasury Department was charged with regulating all commercial transactions with Cuba, including authorized travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens.

The CACR prohibits the direct or indirect export of U.S. goods, services and technology to Cuba. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control was charged with interpreting and enforcing the provisions of the “embargo” through a set of regulations.

For those who violate the sanctions, criminal penalties ranging from 10 years imprisonment, corporate fines of up to US$1 million, individual fines of up to US$250,000 and civil penalties of up to US$55,000 may be imposed.

After the disintegration of the USSR and to further aggravate the internal Cuban economic situation, dreaming of achieving “a peaceful transition to democracy”, President George H. Bush passed the Cuban Democracy Act (Torricelli Act), which prohibits subsidiaries of US companies from establishing commercial relations with Cuba; prohibits US citizens from traveling to Cuba and prohibits sending money remittances to the country.

The 1992 Torricelli Act “encourages the governments of other countries that maintain commercial relations with Cuba to restrict their trade and credit activities, and imposes sanctions on any country that provides aid to Cuba, including ending U.S. aid to those countries, declaring them ineligible to benefit from any debt reduction or forgiveness program they maintain with the United States”.

In the face of the stoic resistance of the Cuban people, in March 1996, the U.S. Congress passed new legislation aimed at strengthening the enforcement of the “embargo” against Cuba, called the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, better known as the Helms-Burton Act.

President Bill Clinton signed it into effect and sanctions against Cuba were strengthened. This law seeks to “strengthen international sanctions against the Castro government and to plan support for an elected transitional government to lead a democratic government on the island”. With it, the economic, commercial and financial war against Cuba took on a greater dimension and it is only possible to lift it with the approval of Congress.

Can public opinion be deceived that the “embargo” is not the fundamental factor in Cuba’s economic problems?

It is vital that these laws be studied in Cuban schools at all levels, because unfortunately many, including the youngest, do not know their contents and allow themselves to be carried away by the campaigns fabricated by the United States.

With the arrival of President Donald Trump to the White House, 243 new sanctions were added that aim to asphyxiate Cubans, and Cuba was once again included in the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, which increased the coercive measures against banks and international companies that carry out transactions and trade with the island, a situation that drastically worsened the economic crisis and has led to an unprecedented volume of emigrants.

Errors exist and also policies that do not adjust to reality, but the brutal economic war exercised by the Yankees for 64 years cannot be denied and only the lack of knowledge and the lack of systematic disclosure of the obstacles that must be circumvented to materialize Cuban trade, allow the disinformative machinery of the United States through social networks, to gain a space that does not belong to them.

José Martí is right when he affirmed: “To appreciate with fruit, it is necessary to know in depth.”

Source: Razones de Cuba, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English