A Press Release

The anti-government protest in Cuba and the pro-government counter rallies across the cities of Cuba have been the subject of international media frenzy and social discourse for the past few weeks. These rare protests and counter protest in Cuba are linked to the impact of the novel corona virus disease (COVID-19) in Cuba. Most hospitals in Cuba have run out of essential supplies. Many stores and supermarkets in Havana and other cities in Cuba have also ran out of basic goods. The result iswidespread lack, fear, panic, frustration and desperation among the general population. This is regrettable but quite avoidable.

The horrendous landfall of COVID-19 in Cuba flew on the wings of six decades of economic blockade against the Cuban nation and her people by the Government of the United States of America and her allies. It would be recalled that after the revolution that ushered in the Socialist Government in Cuba in 1958, the American government through laws passed by the United States Congress stifled the economy of Cuba. In the 1990s, the Government of the United States expanded the economic sanctions against the people of Cuba by introducing the Torricely Law and the Helms Burton law. These laws introduced an extraterritorial character to the economic blockade against Cuba by coercing other countries to refrain from doing business with Cuba.

For nearly sixty years, the Cuban people has stoically shown resilience and have resisted the economic blockade against their country. Cuba despite the sanctions have made great progress in education and healthcare innovation and services. Successive Cuban governments have managed to maintain a reasonable level of public services.

But there is so much that a people can achieve amidst a debilitating blockade. COVID-19 which has brought many nations not experiencing prolonged economic sanctions to their knees has hit Cuba very hard. The will of a section of the Cuban people is currently broken – that is the intendment of the sanctions. Syndicated media umbrage enabled by social mediaand sponsored anti-establishment civil society activities are the hammers being used to break down the will of the Cuban people and to construct a wedge between the Cuban people and their government. The result is the widespread protest. This is unfortunate!

The most prominent tissue in the muscle of democracy is liberty and freedom to choose. Once freedom to choose is removed from the edifice of democracy, all that is left is a pile of sand. Cubans have a right to self-determination and choice of a political culture that would advance their social and economic aspirations. No nation can and should impose their own will on the Cubans. The beauty of democracy is the availability of alternatives. The Cuban people have chosen their alternative. Cubans have chosen their political path. This should be respected.

The United States and her allies should immediately rescind and remove all the economic sanctions and blockade against the people of Cuba which are at the root of the current serious deterioration of living conditions in Cuba. It is very unfortunate that the reward for Cuban’s international medical outreach evenduring the COVID-19 pandemic and despite its own needs is to stop Cubans from receiving medical help from anywhere including vaccines and essential supplies. That is cruel!

We call on the United States government and her allies to end the economic blockade against Cuba. Clearly, there is no morally defensible reason for the United States of America tosustain the six decades punishment against Cuba. It is gratifying that most Cubans continue to show faith in their government and in the political system they believe works for them. The least the United States and her allies can do is to allow Cubans to decide their own fate. The people of Cuba certainly need a break from the cruel sanctions – Enough is Enough!

Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni
President, Nigeria Labour Congress

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