With the aim of denouncing the damages caused by the criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the U.S. government, various social organizations and personalities from different countries around the world are set to participate in the “Third Days of Action Against the Blockade” in Washington D.C, from September 11-16.
Organized by a coalition of groups from the U.S., including the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity for the Peoples; Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO)/Pastors for Peace; National Network on Cuba; Institute for Policy Studies; and Venceremos Brigade; the days of events will serve as an opportunity to reflect on the unilateral policy applied by successive U.S. administrations in their attempts to destroy the Revolution.
The impossibility of accessing markets, international financing and investment, represent serious obstacles to the development of various sectors on the island, including food, public health, education, science, culture, transport and industry.
Blockade legislation also means that individuals or institutions anywhere in the world which attempt to circumvent the policy, imposed by the U.S. since 1962
and categorized under the Geneva Convention as genocidal, are subject to harsh punishment.
In this regard, Graciela Ramírez, coordinator of the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity for the Peoples, speaking to Granma International, explained that a key example of the damage caused by the blockade is its negative impact on cancer patients and diabetes sufferers, who are unable to access medicines, equipment, medical devices and even basic supplies like medical gloves and disposable syringes, to manage their conditions.
The Argentine activist noted that “We are inviting three Cuban health professionals; we hope that their visas get approved and we don’t see a repeat of what happened on two prior occasions when their authorization arrived after the event had ended. They (the U.S. government) manipulate the visa issue to prevent freedom of expression and stop U.S. professionals from learning about the advances Cuba has made in the field of medicine, despite restrictions imposed by the blockade.”
Similar events were held in 2015 and 2016 to give participants the opportunity to hear directly from Cuban representatives, and allow Cubans to share their opinions with U.S. citizens, and visit Congress people and Senators at the White House, and decision makers in the U.S. government.
“These days of events,” stated Graciela Ramírez “are taking place at a very difficult moment for the region, with the rise of right wing forces in Latin American governments, while we are also facing the Donald Trump administration, which has signified a step back in international political relations. We hoped that the process of rapprochement begun by then President Barack Obama in relation to Cuba would continue; but this past June 16, we saw the current U.S. President give an interventionist, outdated, terrorist and fascist speech, which buried all our expectations.”
As such, organizations around the world are holding parallel activities to those taking place in Washington, in order to accompany the days of mobilizations and protests against the economic blockade and Trump administration.
Support for Venezuela is also being called for, and a statement by the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity is already circulating on the internet, which in one of its paragraphs states: “The Empire and the retrograde right fear the Constituent Assembly because it will be the most genuine expression of people power. To support it is not only to defend the sovereign right of the Bolivarian people to decide their own fate in peace. It is also to preserve ours.”
The document, which demands the U.S. government cease their non-conventional war against the government of Nicolás Maduro, has been signed by over 150 personalities including Argentina’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.
In this regard, Graciela Ramírez noted, “When Maduro empowers the people so that, in full compliance with the Venezuelan Constitution, they might decide what kind of country they want to live in, and who they want to represent them, this is something basic, elemental and is down to Venezuelans alone.”
The document also demands that the decision to build a popular government be respected.
As such, Graciela Ramírez added, “Now another battle has begun, we must protect the right of the Venezuelan people to choose their Deputies, in a completely democratic process and which has set a precedent and provided a lesson for all of Latin America.”