Message from the ACERE Alliance for Cuba
This week marks one year since many Cubans protested the deteriorating economic conditions on the island, including lack of access to food, medicine and basic supplies, as well as frequent power outages. Still in the middle of an uptick in cases of COVID-19 at the time, the island-wide scarcity exacerbated existing economic hardship and pandemic fatigue, leading many to express their deep frustration in the streets at not being able to access basic necessities. Cuba’s current economic crisis is one of the worst in years, and is a result of the global pandemic and recession, U.S. embargo and increased sanctions, the addition of Cuba to the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, and more recently the war in Ukraine.
We know that the acknowledged purpose of the U.S. embargo is to deny “money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, [and] to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of [the Cuban] government.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise when the embargo has its intended effect and is causing the very conditions it was designed to, devastating the lives of millions of Cuban citizens — the very people the Biden administration says it is interested in helping.
What can you do?
One significant and immediate action President Biden can take is to remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, which former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added Cuba to in a last minute effort of the outgoing Trump administration to appease pro-embargo supporters. Cuba’s unwarranted presence on the list is justified by its support for peace processes and as a means of punishing Venezuela. As a result, Cuba’s access to international financial mechanisms and institutions, banking systems, financial transactions (including for entrepreneurs) and even humanitarian assistance is blocked, stifling trade and access to basic goods, as well as impeding its ability to begin to recover economically.