If the EU truly prized democracy, it would lobby for an end to the illegal blockade and U.S. interference, Ramona Wadi writes.
Why does the U.S. illegal blockade on Cuba conveniently disappear from the EU’s narrative in the context of the protests against shortages in the country, and in which dissidents have been funded by the U.S.?
At the UN, where the blockade is routinely condemned through non-binding resolutions which of course allow the U.S. complete impunity over extending its violations against the island, the Political Coordinator for the U.S. Mission, Rodney Hunter, defended the sanctions as “one sent of tools in Washington’s broader effort towards Cuba to advance democracy, promote respect for human rights, and help the Cuban people exercise fundamental freedoms.”
Not a single EU member state voted against the UN General Assembly’s resolution to end the blockade last June. Yet since the protests in Cuba commenced, the EU has quietly dissociated itself from the stance it takes at the UN, treating the protests and the illegal U.S. blockade as unrelated, despite U.S. memorandums since the early days of the Cuban revolution stating that crippling the island economically was one imperialist method to bring about governance change in Cuba.
The EU’s High Representative Josep Borrell’s statement is testimony to the chosen narrative which the bloc has now adopted. There is no mention of the 243 restrictive measures imposed on Cuba by the Trump Administration, which did its best to slander Cuba at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and when the island’s medical brigades were offering their help across the globe, including in Italy. Neither does Borrell mention the fact that U.S. President Joe Biden has chosen to retain all the sanctions imposed by the previous administration and added more of its own, not to mention the refusal to remove Cuba from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list. This despite the fact that in January this year, the EU appealed to Biden to take a different stance with Cuba than Trump – at a time when diplomats were still under the impression that Biden would follow in Obama’s footsteps as regards U.S. foreign policy towards Cuba.
Is it surprising that Cubans are protesting? Definitely not, but for the U.S. and the EU to impose their narrative excluding the decades-long illegal blockade does not aid the Cuban people. And the truth is, the U.S. and the EU care little for democratic representation but fully endorse non-democratic measures to force countries into subjugation. That Cuba has survived against all odds has put a toll on the population, but that toll is directly linked to the blockade which almost no government wants to talk about now.
Spontaneous protests need no external funding and Cubans affected by shortages have differentiated between their grievances and the foreign interference, funded under specific programs by the U.S. Not to mention the media manipulation of the protests narrative by using imagery taken from the 2018 May Day rallies in Cuba, as even Reuters has confirmed. If the reporting was not able to produce the correct images, what is missing from the narrative about the Cuban protests? The Cuban narrative itself – that of the people who have resisted against all odds – was absent from mainstream media reporting, keen as it is to promote yet another purportedly democratic narrative, now that the Arab Spring hype has long declined.
The question of whether the EU really wants an end to the blockade on Cuba naturally arises. Considering the non-binding nature of UN General Assembly resolutions, governments are not held accountable for their fluctuating policies. If the U.S. determines, and funds, Cuban dissidents to stage discontent, the EU follows suit in its narrative. It is noteworthy that the EU, despite its purported policy of peace and human rights, kept silent about the calls emanating from Miami urging for U.S. foreign military intervention against Cuba. If the EU truly prized democracy, it would lobby for an end to the illegal blockade and U.S. interference, rather than partake in the U.S.-funded misrepresentative narrative against Cuba.