Who is isolated?
Manuel E. Yepe
IT is well-known that the majority
of U.S. citizens favor more friendly relations with
Cuba, despite the venom they have been fed by the
mass media for more than 50 years. Opinion polls
consistently show this.
The enormous anti-Cuban
disinformation apparatus ensures that few people in
the United States know that every year practically
all of the world’s governments vote for a United
Nations resolution calling for an end to the
Many ask why the economic and
commercial blockade is imposed on a neighboring
country and what good it does the super-power to
restrict travel by its citizens to Cuba.
Unfortunately not all of those who
think the blockade should be lifted base their views
on the fact that this policy violates fundamental
principles of human coexistence and international
law. As a result of anti-Cuban propaganda, many only
consider the issue in light of U.S. interests or, at
best, humanitarian concerns.
John Layfield, an entrepreneur who
broadcasts his own radio program on the Internet,
wrote March 9 for Fox Business, "Our Cuban policy is
the perfect definition of insanity - doing the same
thing time after time but somehow expecting
different results… What is it about Cuba that makes
it impossible for us to make decent decisions? … We
make decisions we know are wrong, simply for
There is no question that the
disinformation campaign directed against Cuba is
responsible for the fact that millions of U.S.
citizens continue believing that Cuba faces
isolation within the world community - something the
United States has not been able to impose – unaware
that it is, in fact, the U.S. policy which is
increasingly isolated internationally.
Do U.S. citizens know that almost
every year, practically all of the 190 countries
voting in the UN General Assembly - with the sole
exception of the United States and Israel - support
a resolution condemning the blockade of Cuba?
Over the more than 50 years of their
existence, the economic and commercial blockade, as
well as the travel ban, have been temporarily eased
depending on the relationship of forces facing
whatever President was in office. The unalterable
core of the policy has however remained fixed, as if
dictated by a super-government which no one has
Thus since 2001, given the efforts
of a strong Congressional agriculture lobby, and the
support of humanitarian organizations who emphasize
the denial of food and medicines to the Cuban
population, the U.S. government has allowed sales of
agricultural products to the country, following a
complicated bureaucratic process, totally unheard-of
in normal commercial relationships.
Cuba cannot sell any exports in the
U.S. and must pay for its purchases in cash, in
advance, no credit allowed – far removed from the
norm in true trade relations. Cuba is the only
country in the world to which travel by U.S.
citizens is restricted – by their own government.
They can travel to countries with whom the U.S. has,
or has had, major conflicts, such as Vietnam, China,
North Korea, Iran or Myanmar, if they have a visa
from these nations, of course.
Perhaps because an outright
prohibition violates Constitutional rights, all of
the administrations which have dealt with the issue
have been willing to allow certain exceptions, some
flexibility. On more than a few occasions, they have
done so arguing that contact between individual
citizens from the two countries would contribute to
the erosion of the political system chosen by the
Cuban people, allowing them, through the visitors, a
glimpse of the benefits of capitalism, in order to
diminish their appreciation of the gains made
possible by socialism in Cuba. Of course, if the U.S.
government consistently took this approach, all of
the travel restrictions would be eliminated,
allowing for a free exchange of ideas and a
comparison of the two economic systems.
In Cuba there has never been any
doubt as to the outcome of such a comparison and the
government here has always sought friendly relations
with the people of the United States and a
respectful relationship, based on equality, with the