Skip to content
View Featured Image

As The US Starves The Cuban People, Activists Launch Solidarity Campaign

Above photo: Kids playing in a neighborhood in Havana, Cuba. Zoe Alexandra.

The People’s Forum, based in the United States, has launched a solidarity campaign with Cuban neighbors living under brutal US blockade.

In the wake of the US’ deliberate starvation of the Cuban people through sanctions, solidarity activists with the People’s Forum, a New York-based political education space, has organized a massive campaign to send 800 tons of wheat flour to the island.

The United States policy of continuing the over 60-year-long blockade of the island, as well as maintaining the socialist nation on the “State Sponsors of Terrorism” list, has engineered severe shortages of vital goods on Cuba, including food.

The People’s Forum is soliciting donations to help provide much-needed wheat flour to Cuba. “What would you do if your neighbor was starving? This is not a hypothetical. Right now the US government is deliberately starving the Cuban people 90 miles to our South. We all must act now.”

The United States State Department claims that its blockade of Cuba exempts shipments of food, medicine, and other humanitarian goods. However, even US officials agree this does not reflect reality. As US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, “There’s a significant impediment to trade in Cuba because of [US] legislation that requires payment in advance in cash in US dollars which makes it very, very difficult for a lot of [agricultural] trade to take place.”

Indeed, Cuba imports only a fraction of food from the United States, compared to nations like the Dominican Republic and Honduras, who import far more despite having similar population sizes.

According to activists, US sanctions, which have over time been tacked onto the blockade of Cuba which began in 1962 soon after its socialist revolution, are at the root of the current food crisis on the island. In 2022, the Cuban Foreign Ministry reported that the blockade deprives the Cuban people of USD 15 million per day, and since the blockade’s inception, the Cuban people have lost as much as USD 1.391 trillion to the blockade. Al Jazeera also estimates the total to be around $1 trillion.

Sanctions, especially Cuba’s inclusion on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, problematize all foreign financial transactions due to private entities fearing incurring the wrath of the United States if they engage in transactions with Cuba. According to the advocacy organization the Washington Office for Latin America, “Fearful of being accused of abetting terror and the mammoth fines that an infraction entails, most banks refuse to process Cuban payments and have frozen funds for permitted religious and humanitarian activities, requiring additional licensing.”

For the first time in its history, Cuba is asking the UN’s World Food Program for assistance in providing powdered milk for children under seven years of age.

People’s Forum activists have highlighted the difficulties they themselves faced in finding food providers for Cuba. “The US could end this suffering quickly if it were to lift the blockade and remove Cuba from the ‘State Sponsors of Terrorism List,’” the organization stated. “This has totally blocked Cuba from a broad range of financial and trade transactions and made it impossible to get international credits. As an example: in the last three weeks we called 14 grain companies in the United States offering to pay market rate for grain to go to Cuba as urgent humanitarian aid. We haven’t received a single positive reply.”

Cuba’s socialist system had nearly eradicated illiteracy, diseases of poverty, and starvation on the island, but the decades-long US blockade threatens the project. Cuban people have taken to the streets in irregular waves of protest over dire economic conditions, most recently last month. Instead of lifting the blockade and facilitating the entry of much needed humanitarian assistance, the US has weaponized these protests to call for the overthrow of the Cuban socialist project.

“The Cuban people have boldly stood in solidarity with people across the world throughout history—whether to colonized peoples fighting for liberation on the African continent, or people in the US suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, or with the Palestinian people facing a genocide,” Manolo De Los Santos, executive director of the People’s Forum, told Peoples Dispatch. “Biden has chosen to be no different from Trump in imposing further sanctions against the island as well as keeping Cuba on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. In the spirit of humanity, we stand fully in solidarity with Cuban people living under a US-engineered crisis.”

Sign Up To Our Daily Digest

Independent media outlets are being suppressed and dropped by corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our daily email digest before it’s too late so you don’t miss the latest movement news.