The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Cuba:
Social Crisis and Consequences of the Embargo

Jul 19, 2021

Translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.

Thousands of Cubans took to the streets on July 11 to demonstrate, shouting, “We are hungry,” “We want vaccines,” “We are not afraid,” and, “Freedom.”

Anti-Castroists of all stripes, and first of all those in Miami, hoped to see the fall of the Cuban regime come from that day of protest, which involved several cities in the country. That’s taking things a little too fast. But the fact remains that this protest—whoever the instigators may have been via social networks, which have been authorized since 2018—has revealed something. The Cuban population is having to cope increasingly with an economic and health crisis. They are not alone. Reactions of anger and revolt are occurring in many countries where economic degradation is immense, from Peru to Lebanon.

Cuba is not exempt. The country’s economy is largely based on tourism. But letting in tourists has let in the virus. Now, however, the tourists have disappeared and with them the activity they generated.

Added to this was a recent monetary reform that caused a meltdown of the two coexisting money systems, an undervalued currency for locals and an overvalued currency for tourists. The result is high inflation.

But a final cause, and not the least, is the fact that since 1960 the embargo imposed by the United States has deprived Cuba of access to essential consumer goods, food, and medicine.

Cuba has no shortage of dollars. But because of the embargo, many countries that could deal with the island refuse to do so, so as not to suffer Washington’s wrath. In this regard, President Biden is following in the footsteps of Trump, who put an end to Obama’s half-openness. At the same time Biden gave a tip of the hat to the Cubans of Miami, cynically calling on “the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.” This is the pot calling the kettle black!

The embargo Biden and his predecessors promote is the economic weapon of an imperialist state that wants to punish a people for having fought and won their independence. The hardships thus caused provide the pretext for new interventions. The Cuban people certainly have no reason to trust such so-called defenders.