Cuba’s internal ‘blockade’: How a dictatorship intentionally keeps its subjects poor, hungry, and hopeless
July 29, 2021 BABALU Carlos Eire
CUBAN SOCIALISM AT ITS BEST: AN ETERNAL BLOCKADE AGAINST PROSPERITY
There is plenty to say about an island where the government prohibits its citizens from fishing in the waters that surround it, or in its streams, rivers, and lakes.
And there is plenty more to say about a government that blames all of its problems on an external “blockade” that doesn’t really exist.
From The Center for a Free Cuba
The Castro dictatorship calls the United States economic embargo a “blockade.” This is not true as the State Department (and U.S. – Cuba trade statistics over the past 20 years) demonstrate. A meme appeared on social media in Spanish that outlines this reality, and Cuban scholar and journalist Carlos Alberto Montaner recently gave a commentary on this. Below is a translation to English of this meme.
“The blockade does not prohibit fishermen in Cuba from fishing, the dictatorship does; the blockade does not confiscate what farmers harvest, the dictatorship does; the blockade does not prohibit Cubans on the island from doing business freely, the dictatorship does; the blockade did not destroy every sugar mill, textile factory, shoe store, canning factory, the dictatorship did; the blockade is not responsible for Cubans being paid with worthless pesos and stores sell you products with American dollars; the dictatorship is; the blockade is not responsible that Cubans are beaten and imprisoned for thinking differently, the dictatorship is; the blockade is not responsible that there are hundreds of Cuban political prisoners who have not committed any crime, the dictatorship is; the blockade is not responsible for sending Cubans US dollars that they give to you in worthless pesos in the Western Union, the dictatorship is; the blockade is not responsible for the dictatorship building hotels and the roofs that fall on Cubans’ heads, the dictatorship is; the blockade is not responsible for hospitals in Cuba that are disgusting, the dictatorship is; the blockade is not responsible for not having water in homes, for not maintaining the aqueduct system, the dictatorship is;”
The United States does not have a “blockade” on Cuba, but porous economic sanctions with a focus on cutting off funds to the military that controls most of the Cuban economy. What the meme does reveal is that there is an “internal blockade” on Cubans imposed by the Castro dictatorship. Remittances continue to flood Cuba from the exile community in South Florida. What has become vastly more difficult is sending food, and medicine but that is largely due to the regime in Havana.
Afro-Cuban American scholar, Amalia Dache, an associate professor in the Higher Education Division at the University of Pennsylvania who “engages in research within contested urban geographies, including Havana, Cuba; Cape Town, South Africa; and Ferguson, Missouri” explained in July 21, 2021 the reality of the US embargo and the Castro regime’s internal blockade.
“No. It’s very hard for me to say that as someone who still has family living in Cuba. But lifting the embargo would not magically improve their lives.
Here’s why: To understand the US embargo, it’s important to know about the internal blockade the Cuban government imposes on its own people. For example, the US embargo does still allow for food and medicine sales to Cuba. The Cuban government buys $100 million worth of chicken from producers in the United States annually. It sells that chicken to the Cuban people at a marked-up rate, sometimes at double the cost, and uses the profit to fund the regime. Other countries trade freely with Cuba, but because the government is heavily involved, the internal blockade keeps those profits from reaching the Cuban people. Poor neighborhoods — Afro Cuban neighborhoods — get the worst of the shortages. The police and military get money for new cars and surveillance technology.”