More than 440 activists, politicians, artists and intellectuals from different countries have signed a public letter addressed to the government of President Joe Biden, which will be published in the American newspaper New York Times this Friday (23). The document criticizes the trade and economic embargo that the United States has imposed on Cuba for more than six decades.
Posted as a paid ad in the newspaper, the text urges Biden to cancel the more than 200 sanctions lifted by his predecessor, Republican Donald Trump, who has stepped up the embargo on the island in rhetoric and in practice. “There is no reason to maintain the Cold War policies that lead the United States to treat Cuba as an enemy rather than a neighboring country,” one passage reads.
Among the more than 50 Brazilian signatories are former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), singer and songwriter Chico Buarque, actor Wagner Moura, MP Gleisi Hoffman (PT) and Dominican brother Frei Betto. City councilor Monica Benício (PSOL-RJ), member of the movement of anti-fascist liberators Paulo Lima (the Rooster) and of the MST (Movement of rural workers without land) also signed.
The list of international names includes such figures as American actors Mark Ruffalo and Jane Fonda; philosopher Judith Butler; linguist Noam Chomsky; Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; and former President of Ecuador Rafael Correa. Former military analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked Pentagon documents in the 1970s, is also a signatory.
The organization of the open letter was led by three American organizations —People’s Forum, Answer Coalition and CodePink—, the same organizations that this week announced that 6 million syringes would be sent to Cuba to help with the vaccination campaign in Cuba. Caribbean island. The money to pay for the publication of the ad was donated by these organizations and others who signed the document, as Folha Manolo De Los Santos, co-director of the People’s Forum, said.
The letter will be released the day after the Biden government announces the opposite of what the signatories are asking for: a new round of sanctions against the island’s communist regime, announced Thursday (22). The measure, which remains to be specified, targets the Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, General Alvaro Lopez Miera, and a security unit of the Ministry of the Interior.
The White House maintains that the new sanctions are a response to human rights violations during the crackdown on acts recorded in Cuba just over a week ago, on July 11. “This is just the start; the United States will continue to punish those responsible for the oppression of the Cuban people,” Biden said shortly after the measures were announced.
The document demands that “instead of following the path traced by Trump in his efforts to undo the opening initiated by [Barack] Obama, “the Democrat goes further.” Resuming the opening, starting the process of lifting the embargo and ending the severe shortages of food and medicine should be the top priority, “he said.
“We consider it unscrupulous, especially during the pandemic, to intentionally block Cuba’s remittances and dialogue with global financial institutions, as access to dollars is necessary for the import of food and drugs, ”says another passage.
On Tuesday (20), the White House announced that the Biden administration would form a task force to review the policy of sending funds to the island, with the possibility of relaxing the rule. Nothing has been implemented so far.
The debate over the blockade imposed by the United States resurfaced after a new wave of protests in Cuba, the largest since the 1990s. Organizations such as those signing the letter to be published on the NYT say the embargo is one of the main reasons for the discontent. which pushed Cubans to take to the streets to demand more effective policies to fight the shortage of food and medicine, and also for more political freedom.
Manolo De Los Santos says organizations understand the protests express real and legitimate frustrations for the Cuban people, but “they have been manipulated by Florida-based networks [EUA] so that they can turn into acts against the regime, and not into social protests “.
Read the full announcement: