In one way or another, the global collective can attest to being affected by the pandemic economically. As a result, many observers lengthen solidarity toward the people of Cuba. Over the past weekend, thousands of Cuban citizens ignited the most far-reaching display of protests the country has seen in decades.
Concerns of noncombatants under a communist party existed before Coronavirus. However, those mentioned above were heightened by recent food shortages and the ongoing fiscal crisis in Cuba. To illuminate present-day conditions further, residents equipped with some currency are subjected to hours-long delays at grocery stores. Extensive power outages affect standard scopes surrounding housing and hospitals — and the responsiveness to the uptick of Coronavirus cases. All the while, essential everyday medications, including aspirin, have become scarce at clinics and pharmacies.
Now, hymns such as “Patria y vida” (Homeland and life) fill the streets to combat the widespread Castro revolutionary motto, “Patria o muerte” (Homeland or death). In video footage, calls to eliminate President Díaz-Canel’s law and a 62-year-old communist regime have become deafening. This week, President Biden responded to journalists concerning Cuba’s political climate at the start of a meeting, saying, “The Cuban people are demanding their freedom from an authoritarian regime. I don’t think we’ve seen anything like this protest in a... long time, if, quite frankly, ever.” Headlines discussing what potential course of action would be taken by our administration began to circulate nationally.
The claim: Has President Biden moved to readjust the country’s Cuba sanctions after President Trump shifted President Obama’s rapprochement?
Rating: False. President Biden says America “stands with Cuban people.” His statement appears to be theoretical.
Consequently, The White House issued a public statement from President Biden:
“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime. The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights. Those rights, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected. The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.”
For some, this legislative sensibility falls flat adjacent to our Oval Office antiquities. The country’s resistance to the troubled Caribbean nation is one of the longest-lasting confinements in America’s international transactions’ history. President Eisenhower’s State Department imposed the leading limitations against the island in 1960. Still, in 1962, the United States took matters a step further by enforcing a “... comprehensive economic embargo on the Republic of Cuba,” according to The U.S. Department of State website.
Suggesting this as a focal point requires political leaders to discern how past actions shape modern outcomes. TIME sequentially noted that the “...original embargo covered all U.S. exports to Cuba except for medicine and some foods.” Afterward, President Kennedy sharply modified the aforementioned embargo when Cuba’s revolution led to a communist government and Fidel Castro’s administration rule. The Spanish-speaking society under duress has suffered commercially since.
Ahead of the masses’ weakened expansion, America was Cuba’s most prominent product and traded goods supplier. More than Cuban communism or any leftist ideations, the United States is responsible for principal economic hardship. According to the United Kingdoms’ Real Business archive, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce predicted that “... the embargo has cost the U.S. economy $1.2 [billion] a year in lost sales and exports, with the Cuban government putting its loss at $685 [million] per annum.”
There have been policy modifications since. While in office, President Obama countered preceding commander-in-chief’s Cuban destabilization efforts by relaxing travel restrictions. The official’s all-embracing statement assessed, “...we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries. Through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people...” Alongside former President Castro, tourism from the states could be sanctioned for educational trips for the first time in over five decades.
Additionally, Cuban citizens were at liberty to open U.S. bank accounts to transfer money between areas. More than policy development, President Obama publicly added that the “Cuban exile community in the United States made enormous contributions to our country.” This progress was celebrated but short-lived.
One outcome was less money flowing into Cuba. Upon President Trump being elected into office, travel to Cuba for tourist activities became prohibited by statute. Instead, stateside residents can travel to the country so long as their visits fall under one of the 12 approved travel categories. Additionally, Americans are subordinate to new financial restrictions while there. The separate wills of civic heads have clashed around proper order.
One party’s attempt to best the other made it difficult to resolve. South of the Straits of Florida, communist administrators, did not respond well to on-camera communications. While visiting Miami’s Little Havana, Former President Trump announced that he was reinforcing trade restrictions. He declared, “With God’s help, a free Cuba is what we will soon achieve... I am canceling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.” A rebuttal was publicized globally: “The government of Cuba denounces the new measures that strengthen the blockade... that won’t achieve their purpose of destabilizing the revolution nor bend the Cuban people.”
Caribbean territories, in particular, gravitated toward rhetoric facing Trump. West Indian and Latinx guides have seen their populaces’ needs disregarded, such as those concerning healthcare like hurricane pharmaceutical supplies or the AIDS epidemic against the Caribbean.
Openly, trust has been compromised among various powers — not just Cuba’s. The islander’s government criticizes that the ongoing unrest is a byproduct of the United States’ interference. Even so, the revolt of Cubans chorusing, “De tanta hambre que pasamos, nos comimos el miedo” (We were so hungry that we ate our fear) in the streets must be regarded. Reuters published that militant leads said American “economic asphyxiation” is promoting city-to-city demonstrations. Meanwhile, fed-up Cubans are not withdrawing quietly without their fundamental freedoms or budgetary reforms.