Relations between states can develop only on the basis of respect for sovereignty
On 17 December, 2014, US President Obama announced that his government and that of Cuba will take steps to normalize relations with each other. This announcement marked the reversal of a more than 50 year old American policy of having no formal relations with Cuba and trying to impose complete isolation on the Cuban state. In Obama’s own words, the policy had proved to be an abject “failure” whose continuance served no purpose and which was supported by no other country. The abandonment by the US of this unilateral, cynical and immoral policy of trying to isolate Cuba marks a significant victory for the principled struggle of the Cuban people and state to chart out their own course free of American dictate, and for the tireless efforts of Cuba’s innumerable well-wishers and supporters around the world. As part of the normalisation, the US was forced to release five Cubans whom they had jailed for more than 16 years despite numerous calls around the world to release them. The release of “The Five” and their homecoming has been received with extraordinary joy and emotion in Cuba.
Following the Cuban revolution of 1959 and the nationalization of American imperialist interests in Cuba, successive American governments have tried to use every means possible to cow down this valiant country of 11 million people lying just 90 miles off the American coast. This has included planned invasions, terrorist plots (including several attempts by the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro and other Cuban leaders), political intrigue, numerous acts of provocation and a crippling economic blockade and sanctions. None of these succeeded in their main objective which was to undermine the Cuban state and bring Cuba back into the US imperialist orbit.
However the recently announced change in policy by the US government, it must be understood, does not in any way imply a change in this objective, but only a change in the methods adopted. As the statement issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba noted, US policy so far had, “instead of isolating Cuba, contributed to the international isolation of that country.” Every year, when the resolution against the US economic blockade of Cuba has been put to the vote in the UN General Assembly, the only two countries voting against it have been the US itself and its faithful ally Israel. Even America’s other close allies have not sided with it on this issue. Moreover, particularly in the last one or two decades, the movement against American imperialism has gained a lot of ground in neighbouring Latin America and Central America. The US diehard policy towards Cuba has been a major factor in this trend. By changing some of its policies towards Cuba, which have anyway failed to serve US imperialist interests, the Obama administration hopes to partially reverse its growing discredit and isolation among countries and peoples in this region and elsewhere. At the same time, in his announcement on December 17, Obama made no attempt to hide his continued hostility to the Cuban people’s political and economic system and his intention to push for changes there, saying only that there are other ways to bring about such changes. This clearly shows that there will be no letup in US attempts to interfere in Cuba’s internal affairs.
While steps are being taken to establish full diplomatic relations, and to lift certain curbs and sanctions against Cuba, there is a long way to go before the full American economic, commercial and financial embargo is lifted. The 1996 Helms-Burton Act made the embargo against Cuba a matter of American law that only the US legislature can change. Despite the growing sentiment among American people to end the embargo, there is no guarantee that this will translate into a change in law that will end the inhumane blockade that has imposed so much hardship on the Cuban people while respecting the Cuban people’s right to live according to their own wishes.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar supports the desire of the Cuban people and government to have normal diplomatic relations with the US and all other countries while retaining their right to chart their own course of development. We call for the immediate and complete lifting of the immoral blockade imposed on the Cuban people by the US.