Tribunal against the Blockade of Cuba in Brussels

By Ana Hurtado on November 16, 2023

photo: Yaimi Ravelo

Today and tomorrow, an international tribunal is being held in the Belgian capital to denounce the damages suffered by the Cuban people as a result of the U.S. blockade that the island has been experiencing for more than six decades.

This tribunal was convened last July 18 at the parallel summit of the peoples that took place in Brussels and from the very first moment it was a call to debate in the European Parliament, in a political and legal way, the effect of the blockade and the denunciation of its extraterritoriality. The violation of the sovereignty not only of the Cuban people, but also of the European peoples and people who want to relate to Cuba.

Let us remember.

Lester Mallory. 1960. His memorandum to overthrow the Cuban Government. Seeing in textual words that “the people want Castro”, they could not come up with a more macabre idea than to drown the people and their desires with a blockade that over the years has been turning into a war in all its aspects. To quote the objective they had:

“To provoke disillusionment and discouragement through economic dissatisfaction and hardship, to weaken the economic life of Cuba, denying it money and supplies in order to reduce nominal and real wages, to provoke hunger, despair and the overthrow of the Government.”

But the blockade grew as time went by and as different U.S. presidents passed through the White House. We could write and smudge pages, but, in the shortest possible way, let us synthesize, making use of redundancy.

Then came the Torricelli Act in 1992; the Helms-Burton Act in 1996, whose Title III went into effect in 2019. The 243 new measures against the people of Cuba imposed during the Donald Trump Administration.

And then the inclusion of the island in the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, sponsored in a capricious and criminal manner by the United States of America.

It reads fast without delving into what it implies, but it means a lot. Just to quantify the damage that all these measures have caused to the population, let’s stop her at the losses in the first 14 months of the mandate of the current U.S. President Joe Biden.

According to the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), the damages caused by the blockade reached 6,364 million dollars, or more than 15 million dollars a day. Between August 2021 and February 2022, they set a record, for only seven months, of 3,806 million dollars. In the absence of the blockade, in that period the GDP could have grown by 4.5%.

At present, this system of unilateral coercive measures has intensified in the midst of a complex scenario, marked by the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic and the combined effects of a multidimensional crisis at a global level, reflected in the energy, food, environmental and transportation sectors, among others.

And it is taking into account all this scenario of violation against a people that representatives of the European and American society, political parties, associations of jurists, businessmen, scientists and friends of Cuba are convening this tribunal today. It will be made up of five European and American judges and three prosecutors together with witnesses also from both locations, and Cubans. With more than 300 confirmed participants from 17 countries.

In an interview granted to Resumen Latinoamericano, German judge Norman Peach stated:

“We are hopeful that the European governments will make valid an influence on the US government to put a definitive end to a policy that is in violation of international law (…) We appeal to the reason not only political, but also legal, of a government that must comply with the basis of the UN Charter to ‘live and coexist in peace with neighboring states'”.

And although the court’s ruling will not be legally binding, it will serve as a theoretical and legal argumentation and also as working material for solidarity associations, political parties, trade union organizations, companies and countries.

The participants and congregants agree that the blockade is a crime and must be condemned. So much so that the United States, in the words of Spanish activist and solidarity activist David Rodriguez, should reward Cuba for the aggressor country that it is.

This meeting will mean a qualitative and quantitative advance in the world struggle against the inhuman blockade suffered by Cuba and all those who want to relate to it in any way. Without leaving behind its significance in showing the truth beyond the disinformation and the constant media manipulation in this regard.

The international support for the cause that occupies the court will also be evident these days in Belgium. Along with the screening of the documentary La gota de agua, produced by Resumen Latinoamericano, which shows the effects of the blockade on the life of a little girl suffering from cancer at only a few years old, as just one example.

The humanism that Cuba has shown since 1959 is what the aggressors cannot bear. Because Martí was not just a passing breath of air in Fidel. Not even a source of inspiration. He was not an influence on him. He was a presence. Fidel was all his life in consistent dialogue with Martí’s teachings. And this fact made him forge his personality as a man, politician and leader that influenced a people towards sovereignty and freedom.

Nor can they repute the fact that a people was taught to read and write from the first days of the triumph of the Revolution. That today, even with all the impediments and obstacles they put in their way, it can be said loud and clear that this island is home to, I dare say, the most educated people in the world. History fulfilled its absolution with Fidel and it was demonstrated with the passion he put into education.

What can we say about the fulfillment of the Moncada program and the fact that so many men and women chose a leader to lead a national project for more than half a century.

And do you know in spite of what? Invasions, bandits, biological warfare, terrorist attacks and all kinds of daily threats. And always helping people in need around the world. Where others sowed war, he sent life.

That is why, to this day, the world loves Fidel as the great freedom fighter he was and is. And of the rest, of those who tried to overthrow him, no one remembers their names.

Source: Cubadebate, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English