Lifting the Blockade, the U.S. Best Possible Deal with Cuba

Por Martha Andres Roman

Washington, Jun 23 (Prensa Latina) If U.S. President Donald Trump wants a ”better deal” with Cuba, he should continue the rapprochement and lift all aspects of the blockade, the journalist and activist Cheryl LaBash said here.

LaBash, who promotes ties with Cuba and is the co-president of the National Network on Cuba in the United States (NNOC) referred in those terms to the decision by the Republican president to reverse aspects of the U.S. opening policy on Cuba started by the previous administration.

Trump said a week ago in Miami, Florida, that his executive order to restrict U.S. citizens’ travels to Cuba further and to limit trade and business was seeking a ‘better deal’ for the Cuban people and for the United States.

However, in an interview with Prensa Latina, LaBash noted that if the president really wanted that, he should not only keep the rapprochement with Cuba but also eliminate all aspects of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington for 55 years.

‘How is the continuation of the blockade a better deal for farmers who grow black beans in Michigan, or for milk producers in Pennsylvania?’ She wondered.

‘How is it a better deal for dozens of thousands of Americans whom are denied Cuba’s treatment against diabetic foot ulcers that can prevent 70 percent of amputations?’ The Cuba solidarity activist added.

For Cuba, the best deal is that the blockade and regime change programs come to an end, that the country’s self-determination and autonomy are recognized and that its people are allowed to decide the socialist forms and their future, she pointed out.

According to the NNOC co-president, Trump’s speech and the executive order signed on June 16 are full of contrasts with reality.

It is an insult and a farce for a U.S. president to punish Cuba for human rights, she noted.

LaBash recalled that while the head of State was speaking in Miami, the police officer who shot to death an innocent African-American driver, Philando Castile, in Minnesota last year was acquitted.

On my way to the Capitol building in Washington D.C., I pass by the place where a black woman lives under a bridge, there are thousands of families of all races who live in cars, shelters, on the street, because they cannot afford to rent or buy a house, she said.

She lamented that several people get numbed with drugs, alcohol or commit suicide in the United States, and that with all that talk about health care in the Government, there is no will to make health care available and affordable to all.

When I was called for this interview, I was supporting families who were protesting against the police raids that took their beloved ones with threats to be deported to Iraq, she noted.

‘And the president points to Cuba? We say in the United States that when you point to someone, the other three fingers point to you. That is also true in this case,’ she noted.

The journalist recalled that last February she visited Havana and met the owner of a small restaurant in northern Michigan who told her, ‘Why don’t they tell us how wonderful Cuba is?

At the airport, on my way home, I asked some travelers if they had enjoyed their visit and they told me that they were planning to return. ‘Every person who goes to Cuba is a potential voice to end this injustice that has lasted nearly 60 years,’ she underlined.

According to LaBash, many U.S. city halls are starting to approve official statements opposing the U.S. policy on Cuba and are asking their representatives and senators in Congress to support the legislation to end the blockade and the bans on travel.

‘The capitals of three states have approved those resolutions: Hartford, Connecticut; Sacramento, California; and more recently Helena, Montana,’ said the activist, who pointed out that other cities have passed similar documents or are working on them.

Asked about what people who want to strengthen ties with Cuba can do, she urged, ‘Go to Cuba, don’t be afraid. Make you city hall or trade union approve a resolution against the blockade.’

She pointed out that there are wonderful examples of these kinds of actions on the website or on the web page of the organization in Facebook.

She also called on those who wish to join the NNOC or to participate in the seminars that are taught on line on the 17th of every month to recall December 17, 2014, when the two countries announced their decision to reestablish diplomatic relations.


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