Open Letter to Biden: Lift Trump Sanctions & ‘Let Cuba Live’

The more than 400 signatories include former heads of state, politicians, intellectuals, scientists, members of the clergy, artists, musicians and activists.

Feb. 2, 2015: Then Vice President Joe Biden listening to President Barack Obama, on right. (Obama White House, Flickr)

By Peoples Dispatch

Over 400 former heads of state, politicians, intellectuals, scientists, members of the clergy, artists, musicians and activists from across the globe have issued an urgent appeal to United States President Joe Biden to lift the 243 unilateral coercive measures that were imposed on Cuba by former president Donald Trump. They argue that these measures “have intentionally throttled life on the island and created more suffering.”

The signatories — including former Presidents Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva of Brazil and Rafael Correa of Ecuador; intellectuals Noam Chomsky, Frei Betto, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortíz; artists Boots Riley, Chico Buarque, Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover and Emma Thompson — highlight that the country’s ability to buy lifesaving food and medicine has been hindered due to the restrictions imposed by the United States on sending remittances and Cuba’s access to global financial institutions, among other unilateral measures.

The open letter also points out that the majority of world leaders have, for the last 30 years, taken to the United Nations General Assembly to call on the U.S. to take immediate action to end its six-decade embargo of Cuba.

According to official reports, between April 2020 and December 2020, the blockade caused losses of $3,586.9 million to Cuba. These, including the losses of the previous period, amount to a total of $9,157.2 million (from April 2019 until December 2020). The humanitarian damage, suffering and shortages caused to Cuban families during all these years are immeasurable.

During the Obama administration, in which Joe Biden served as vice president, tremendous strides were made to ease tensions and open-up relationships between the United States and Cuba. Cuba was removed from the U.S. State Sponsors of Terrorism list, a diplomatic relationship was resumed with the establishment of embassies in both countries, trade and economic agreements were made and restrictions on U.S. tourism to the island were also eased. Former President Donald Trump’s entry into the White House saw a reversal of many of these important advances and an intensification of the economic embargo.

Barack Obama, center, and Raul Castro, right, at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana, 2016. (White House, Pete Souza)

The signatories of the open-letter call on Biden to reverse the damage made by Trump to U.S. relations with Cuba and to continue on the path to normalization to prevent the suffering of the Cuban people.

What is happening in Cuba?

The island has become the focus of U.S. domestic and foreign policy discourse following unprecedented protests organized on July 11. The protests saw hundreds take to the streets to raise their complaints over electricity cuts and shortages of medicine and food. Like most countries across the world, Cuba’s economy has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially considering that tourism makes up a crucial part of their economic activity.

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The small-scale protests received immediate attention from Cuban government officials who not only addressed their demands in speeches and national addresses on television, but also went to the streets to speak to the people and hear about their difficulties.

However, longtime far-right opposition activists took advantage of the situation to call for regime change and even U.S. military intervention to “save” Cuba. Carefully planned social media campaigns were activated and the hashtag #SOSCuba became a trending topic internationally for several days accompanied often by false information about the Cuban government assassinating, torturing, and jailing activists (claims which independent journalists on the ground as well as authorities have debunked).

Cubans demonstrating in support of the revolution. (Minrex)

Amid the media campaign against Cuba and the revolution, tens of thousands across the island participated in mobilizations in defense of the government and the revolutionary project. Internationally, people’s movements and civil society organizations also rallied in defense of Cuba. Many highlighted that despite the economic embargo, Cuba has developed five anti-Covid-19 vaccines and has sent medical professionals to more than 50 countries to support their efforts to prevent the spread of the virus and treat those infected.

U.S. politicians on local and national levels were quick to respond to the situation. Far-right and centrists politicians have taken to social media platforms and news outlets to denounce the “communist dictatorship” and voice support to the “struggle for liberty.”

President Joe Biden also released a statement in this context declaring that “We stand with the Cuban people.” The more than 400 signers of the open letter say if Biden and the US stand with Cuba, “we ask you to immediately sign an executive order and annul Trump’s 243 ‘coercive measures.’”

Read the letter organized by The People’s Forum, CODEPINK, and the ANSWER Coalition.

This article is from Peoples Dispatch.

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10 comments for “Open Letter to Biden: Lift Trump Sanctions & ‘Let Cuba Live’

  1. Tomonthebeach
    July 31, 2021 at 23:05

    How could any American with a moral compass refer to Cuban unrest as evidence that communism is the cause of Cuba’s misery when the USA has had its economic and military knee on Cuba’s neck since they expelled that corrupt rascal Batista and his minion carpetbaggers who were forced to emigrate to the luxury of Miami?

  2. Nathan Mulcahy
    July 30, 2021 at 22:56

    How is the “We’ll push Biden to the left after we elect him” strategy working?

    Oh, exactly as successfully as “We’ll push Obama to the left after we elect him (twice)” strategy.


    The Democrats (just like the Repubs) are the problem and not the solution.

  3. Barry Riesch
    July 30, 2021 at 14:54

    Let Cuba Live!

  4. Mark McB
    July 30, 2021 at 09:52

    Ted Cruz has to go! I’ll do my part to help him leave!

  5. Zhu
    July 30, 2021 at 01:04

    Cuba is not submissive towards the US, which is the unforgivable sin, in the minds of the US elites.

  6. Calvin e Lash Jr
    July 29, 2021 at 22:49

    I agree

  7. C. Parker
    July 29, 2021 at 18:36

    The disgraceful reporting on PBS by CNN hired news reporters using the Public Broadcast Station to spread misinformation and downright lies regarding Cuba, China and just about all reporting of late, is for me, very frustrating. No wonder the world is upside down. Thank you ConsortiumNews for keeping world news based in fact. This is the finest news information outlet I know and I am most grateful.

  8. Carolyn L Zaremba
    July 29, 2021 at 17:39

    Asking favors from die-hard imperialists, particularly one with the hawkish track record of Joe Biden, is an exercise in futility. One of his chief duties, according to the ruling class to which he belongs, is to continue the imperialist drive for world domination in order to make the corporate oligarchs and the weapons manufacturers richer. This persistent delusion that a capitalist party will listen to the pleas of the people must end.

  9. Dave
    July 29, 2021 at 15:51

    The extreme right-wing, corporate capitalism-over-everything Democrats best get their collective acts together quickly because the 2022 midterm elections are not that far away. Global warming, fossil fuel abuse, and their attendant negative impacts on Mother Earth do not seem to be taking a holiday. Only the ignorant, bought-off neolithic idiots who infest both major parties seem to be absolutely ignorant of the magnitude of the problems they refuse to confront. Problem No. 1: Use strict anti-trust legislation to break up the corporate media…now, not two months from today. There is no such animal as a “moderate” or “centrist” Democrat any longer, assuming they ever existed. Either these Democrats join socialist economic and social movements that many European societies embraced at least 100 years ago, and actually become a party in opposition to the ugly elements in the Republican Party, or simply get out of the way.

    • Dfnslblty
      July 30, 2021 at 11:04

      Pressure potus46 & congress to lift the immoral and internationally illegal sanctions.
      Compassion is diplomatically the long-term path.

Comments are closed.