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BLM declares solidarity with people of Cuba in attack on ‘cruel & inhumane’ US embargo

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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