Exactly 61 years ago today, Cubans poured into the streets to cheer the triumph of the Rebel Army led by Fidel Castro. Fulgencio Batista’s U.S.-backed dictatorship was defeated after he fled the country hours before.
Cuba stands tall and proud today, receiving salutations from all over the world for the heroic tenacity and humane principles of its socialist revolution, defended by a people that has withstood a ferocious U.S. blockade and aggression for 61 years.
President Miguel Díaz-Canel tweeted a message to the people today: “We Cubans are winners of the impossible. And this is the right time for us to set out for another exceptionally positive year.”
Despite an especially challenging year for Cuba as it faced heavy U.S. economic attacks, it is encouraging news that its 2019 economy will end on the plus side when statistics are tallied. In comparison, according to Alejandro Gil Fernández, minister of economy and planning, growth in Latin America and the Caribbean last year was only 0.1 percent.
Escalated aggression and tightening of the blockade
2019 is a year that Trump escalated U.S. aggression and a severe tightening of the blockade.
The most harmful of U.S. measures was Trump’s recent implementation on May 2 of Title III of the 1996 Helms-Burton law.
Now in effect, Title III entitles any U.S. corporation or individual — even a Cuban individual who became a U.S. citizen after 1959 — to sue any corporation or individual in the world that invests in former U.S. property in Cuba. All U.S. properties were expropriated in the early 1960s by the revolutionary government in Cuba’s exercise of independence and sovereignty. Although Cuba offered compensation, the U.S. government prohibited U.S. entities from accepting such payment.
The U.S. government also blocked in 2019 the critically important oil shipments from Venezuela to Cuba by sanctioning the ships that deliver fuel. This has forced temporary suspension of some development projects, in addition to impacting public transport and agricultural production.
But Cuba’s planned economy and socialist priorities assure that no medical facilities or schools are closed, nor are gasoline prices raised.
Cuban doctors are now under attack in a U.S. campaign demonizing Cuba’s medical international missions. The medical workers have also been forced to leave Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia with the rise of right-wing, pro-U.S. governments.
Cuba’s doctors left Bolivia after the right-wing coup of November 2019, despite — or because of — 14 years realizing 73 million medical consultations and 1.5 million operations that saved so many lives. Washington’s war on Cuba’s medical internationalism means that millions of people in Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia will be left as equally deprived as the more than 40 million U.S. people who have no access to health care, thanks to the capitalist system.
Cuba’s free and universal health care system is a moral threat to the United States system, which makes super profits exploiting every human being’s need for health care. This is why it is targeted.
Trump also severely limited travel to Cuba for people of the United States, first by eliminating the people-to-people category for legal travel. Then, on Dec. 10, he banned U.S. airline flights to eight Cuban cities, leaving only Havana as a destination.
“The enemy has made the Cuban economy the primary target to destroy. Every minute of resistance to the attack is just saying that only socialism makes the miracle of a small victorious nation in face of a mighty empire unable to crush it,” Díaz-Canel has written.
In the never-ending U.S. propaganda war, officials like to point to Cuba’s economic difficulties and blame it on socialism, while enforcing the longest and most extensive economic blockade ever. Twelve U.S. presidents and 17 administrations have each proclaimed and tried to bring down Cuba’s socialism.
But it is precisely socialism, where Cuba’s people come before all else, that has enabled the island to survive and thrive. The unity and deep revolutionary consciousness of the Cuban leadership and the people is a great inspiration to justice-loving peoples of the world.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation salutes Cuba for its stellar example of struggle, resistance and victory. We for our part will not only continue our international solidarity with Cuba, all Latin America, and the world, we are committed to the struggle for what the people here and abroad need most of all, socialism in the United States.