BLM declares solidarity with people of Cuba in attack on ‘cruel & inhumane’ US embargo
Racial justice group Black Lives Matter has publicly condemned the decades-long US embargo on Cuba as the socialist nation was swept by protests against food and drug shortages. The stance alienated some devotees.
BLM “condemns the US federal government’s inhumane treatment of Cubans, and urges it to immediately lift the economic embargo,” the organization said in a statement posted to social media on Wednesday, echoing calls from NGOs, the UN, and other countries to end the trade blockade that has kept the country in isolation and poverty for so long.
The group’s missive laid 60 years of Cuban suffering squarely at the feet of the 1962 US embargo, declaring that Washington had “forced pain and suffering on the people of Cuba by cutting off food, medicine and supplies.” The US policy has endured “because [Cuba] has maintained its commitment to sovereignty and self-determination” ever since, the statement added, a commitment which by BLM’s calculations cost the country “an estimated $130 billion.”
The group added a special note of sympathy to the island’s 4 million “Black and Brown” residents, heralding its history of “demonstrat[ing] solidarity with oppressed peoples of African descent,” mentioning both South African freedom fighters and FBI-designated “domestic terrorist” Assata Shakur, a former member of the Black Revolutionary Army still wanted by US law enforcement for fleeing prison after she was convicted of killing a policeman. Shakur is currently living out her twilight years under political asylum on the island.Also on rt.com Biden calls Cuba ‘failed state,’ says ‘reinstating’ internet access there is one of the things US is considering
Praising Cuba for its “strong medical care and history of lending doctors and nurses to disasters around the world,” BLM pointed out that the money the country is forced to scrape together to survive around the embargo could help it procure medical gear and food production equipment.
The country already has multiple vaccines in various stages of development, two of which – the two-shot Soberana 02 and three-shot Abdala – have been widely administered as part of stage three clinical trials and an “intervention study” to reach the most vulnerable populations and high-risk areas. About 15% of Cubans have been fully vaccinated. True to its reputation, the island nation has also been sending doctors to Covid-19-stricken locales, but the weekend’s protests were prompted by outcry against food, water and medicine shortages.
Citing the plight of the Cuban people, BLM called on President Joe Biden to follow in his former boss Barack Obama’s footsteps and take steps toward normalizing relations with the socialist country.
The post unsurprisingly ruffled conservative (especially Cuban-American) feathers, bringing BLM’s usual detractors out to accuse the group of “reaffirming its support of Cuba’s communist regime just as mass anti-government protests are breaking out” there.
The official Black Lives Matter account has posted a statement reaffirming its support of Cuba’s communist regime just as mass anti-government protests are breaking out in the island. BLM also again expressed gratitude for Cuba giving asylum to convicted murderer Assata Shakur. pic.twitter.com/OCRYvfUMWc— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 15, 2021
You do realize that National police in Cuba are shooting civilians and there has already been casualties? BLM deliberately glossed over the root cause, a communist dictatorship— 🇨🇦RedMageX🇨🇦 (@Redmagex) July 15, 2021
It was never about black lives, it was about pushing communism and using black people's pain and trauma as the vehicle. For shame.— Freethinking Jewess (@freejewess) July 15, 2021
Others suggested BLM keep its focus out of international politics, lest it ruin its image by backing what they called an “oppressor” and “authoritarian” government.
This is why when most black people say “BLM”, including myself, it isn’t in reference to the organization that has appropriated the slogan for its namesake. But I hope they realize they’re potentially hurting the cause when they take clear stances like this in BLM’s name. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/BbjIiM5IXJ— Mr.NotAllSeeing🇺🇸🗽 ✊🏾 (@SeeingMr) July 15, 2021
I’m very disappointed that @Blklivesmatter put out such an uninformed statement regarding Cuba…particularly when it silences so many Black Cubans who have been protesting and putting themselves at risk who consider BLM to be part of them and their movement too.— Danielle Clealand (@ProfClealand) July 15, 2021
Centering US policy and not Cuban voices, many of which are Black is a huge mistake. They are siding with the oppressor and it will not change my support for the movement--because Black Lives Matter. But it is incredibly disappointing knowing this about the org.— Carmen Pelaez 🖋📽 (@carmenpelaez) July 15, 2021
However, some pointed out that BLM’s statement was closer to the rest of the world’s view on the US embargo, noting, for example, that a June UN vote saw 184 countries back a resolution to end the blockade, a move only the US and Israel opposed.
No they aren't, they're saying that the US needs to stop HURTING them. Not that they need HELP. The embargo needs to END. The entire world thinks so. pic.twitter.com/Y4fNIkazmI— 🚩ProletariatRising🚩 (@ProletariatRis1) July 15, 2021
Havana has blamed the unrest on US color-revolutionaries and “mercenaries” taking advantage of the country’s economic problems to foment chaos with the help of local dissidents. No response to BLM’s “diplomatic outreach” was forthcoming as of Thursday.Also on rt.com Miami mayor calls for US to bomb Cuba… because airstrikes have worked so well in the past
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