Politics Magazine

The Extraterritorial Nature of the US Cuban Blockade

Posted on the 25 May 2013 by Calvinthedog

The US has imposed an embargo on Cuba since 1961. That embargo is probably never going to be lifted. 100% of the US power elite of both parties are all of the US media are against lifting the blockade. Imperialism demands not just free elections and what not but also a total dismantling of the socialist economic system on the island. The blockade has always been more about US capitalism’s international war on socialism that about anything else.

Various lies have been parroted about the blockade: That it was imposed due to the Cold War, that it was imposed because Cuba allied with the USSR, that it does not hurt Cuba at all and instead is used as an excuse by the regime, etc.

First of all, if it was imposed as a result of the Cold War, then with the fall of the USSR in 1991, it should have been lifted. The truth is that it was part of US capitalism’s war on the socialist economic system and not part of the war on the USSR. Hence with the fall of the USSR, the behavior of the US state did not change one bit.

It continued its war on socialism, attacking socialist countries, fomenting coups against progressive or socialist governments, blockading socialist countries, supporting fascist and rightwing governments around the word as they are “good for business,” funding anti-Left death squads all around the world, and continuing an ideological war against all progressive forces and states in the world.

We really must smash this lie once and for all that the US reluctantly did all sorts of bad things as a result of the War with the Soviet Union. The truth is that US imperialism simply evil, and it continued to do all of those same bad things after the USSR fell. The war was not against the USSR but against socialism itself, and that is why it continued after the USSR’s fall just as strongly as when the USSR was active.

The embargo was imposed in 1961 because Cuba began nationalizing some US properties of large US corporations. At the same time, the properties of many Cuban large capitalists was also taken. The US companies were offered 100% fair market values for their properties, but all of them told the Cubans to buzz off and those funds have not been collected to this very day. They never will be. However, if the US imposes regime change on Cuba then the first order of business will be a raid on the Cuban Treasury to pay back the US corporations and possibly the Cubans who got expropriated.

Also, Cuba began trading with the USSR. They were also trading with the US. Indeed, they were trading with the whole world. They imported oil from the USSR, but the US refineries on the island refused to refine Soviet oil, so the Cubans heroically confiscated the refineries of the imperialists.

Cuban exiles often say that the embargo doesn’t hurt Cuba at all. Instead Cuba’s economy is hurting due to Communism. One can look at photos of Eastern Europe and the USSR under Communism to see that Communism doesn’t have anything to do with buildings and infrastructure falling apart. I saw a video of Prague from ~1977 that could well have been shot in Paris or Berlin. It looked 100% like a modern Western city.

If you ask these same gusanos,* “Ok, since it doesn’t hurt them, why don’t we get rid of it then?” They will scream and yell and say no way! Obviously it hurts Cuba terribly, and that’s why the gusanos want to keep it. There is scarcely a human being on Earth who lies more than a gusano. Almost everything a gusano says about Cuba is a lie.

The embargo does indeed hurt them very badly. If a ship docks in Cuba, it can’t dock in the US for another six months. There are many penalties on foreign firms doing business with Cuba. It is not quite, “You can either do business with Cuba or you can do business with the rest of the world, but not both,” but it is close to that, similar to the blockade which has completely wrecked North Korea.

There have been massive penalties imposed on and collected from European banks for doing business with Cuba. As you can see below, a solidarity organization in the UK had $1000-2000 seized by the US because it had the world Cuba in its name. The US government says it can go ahead and confiscate that money of theirs and good luck getting it back.

Many products are made only in the US, and many, many products have parts that are made in the US. Any product with any parts made in the US cannot be sold in Cuba. Further, Cubans have many machines that need spare parts and those parts are made only in the US. They might be able to have the specially made by someone else, but that is quite expensive. The regime has to undertake expenses like this all the time.

I recall the case of a man residing in Cuba who made a trip to the UK and tried to deposit some money in Cuba to purchase something or other and he was not able to do so.

The law is crazy and its extraterritoriality is really scary. But US imperialism has always been one of the world’s worst monsters.

British NGO, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) faces financial penalties or the risk having its funds seized by the US treasury department as a result of US blockade legislation against Cuba.

In April 2013, the British based campaign attempted to transfer funds to US publishing house Monthly Review Foundation to pay for 100 copies of The Economic War on Cuba by French academic and journalist Salim Lamrani.

CSC instructed its British bank, the Co-operative, to make the transfer to the publisher’s New York based Chase Bank. However, the payment was never made. Instead CSC received a letter from the Co-op bank stating that this payment has not been completed due to a reference which is similar to an entity related to sanctions as provided by the U.S treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). They require more info regarding Cuba.

The Campaign now faces the option of paying bank charges to try and recover the money, or providing details to the OFAC, who can decide to retain CSC funds if they

The book’s author Salim Lamrani, who is currently in Britain on a speaking tour to promote the book, said:

It is ironic that a British organisation that campaigns against the US blockade of Cuba, now faces penalties as a direct result of this legislation. Aside from the inhumane suffering the blockade causes the people of Cuba by restricting their access to US medicines and medical equipment, its extraterritorial measures break domestic laws in third countries.

Director Rob Miller said:

“It’ s farcical that extraterritorial blockade legislation is being used here to stop the sales of a book that itself exposes the breadth of the blockade against Cuba. Perhaps OFAC have specific objections to the book itself, although it is more likely that they object to allowing a payment from a British NGO with the word ‘Cuba’ in its name. Once again the ludicrousness of the US blockade is exposed in this case in trying to stop UK readers enjoying an excellent book published by a US publishing house.”

This is not the first time the British campaign has fallen victim to the extraterritorial nature of the US blockade. Dell computers has refused to sell the campaign a laptop without first being provided with the full name and addresses of directors and trustees of the organisation and bank transfers destined for projects in Cuba have regularly been refused. Salim Lamrani will be speaking in London on Tuesday 28 May, 6.30pm at Bolivar Hall, Grafton Way, London.

*Gusano means worm in Spanish. Cuban exiles are worms.

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