US Blockade on Cuba Seems Endless
A popular proverb in Cuba states that “nothing goes on forever” but the saying is beginning to look outdated when it comes to the United States and Cuba.
Instead of rapproachement, the US blockade imposed on the island by the Kennedy administration and maintained for nearly five decades has never been more stricktly enforced than under George W. Bush.
Meanwhile, Cuba, with its first world life expectancy, now has around 2,500 residents at least 100 years old, unheard of when the blockade began.
Both the US and Cuban governments remain obstinate in their goals. The US seeks to bring down the Cuban revolution and Cuba to resist.
The United Nations General Assembly voted 184 to 4 on October 30, (US, Israel, Marshall Islands and Palau dissenting) telling the US to lift its blockade. It was the sixteenth consecutive year the US policy was admonished, each year by a growing margin.
Even governments from the European Union and elsewhere that are critical of Cuba’s socialist system vote against the blockade because its extra-territorial tentacles violate international laws and their own trade freedoms.
THE BUILD UP AND ELECTIONS
In the month leading up to the annual UN vote, Cuba’s media ran constant reports and statements from the country’s leaders and people at workplaces on how the blockade has hampered their efforts, keeping the country from reaching its full potential in science, health care, commerce, industry, etc.
Then, a week before the vote, the White House made it clear it would once again ignore the UN resolution. In fact, President Bush put forth a plan to further tighten the noose.
The US State Department had already spent millions of taxpayers’ money to draft detailed plans for administering a post-revolution Cuba, something Washington hopes to speed up.
Curiously, both countries will have general elections in 2008; Cuba in the spring and the US in the fall. Cuba may have a new president depending on the health of Fidel Castro and the US will choose a successor to George W. Bush.
In the lead up to the Cuban vote, resistance to US hostility of any kind, economic or military, will be a common denominator among all potential candidates.
In the US, while Cuba is not one of the top campaign issues, the candidates with enough money to have a chance to win will take turns at Cuba bashing, especially aimed at securing votes in Florida where the powerful Cuban exile lobby is entrenched.
Can the blockade last a century? Perhaps, Will more Cubans make it to 100 years despite it? That seems a certainty.