Today and tomorrow, an international tribunal is being held in the Belgian capital to denounce the damages suffered by the Cuban people as a result of the U.S. blockade that the island has been experiencing for more than six decades. This tribunal was convened last July 18 at the parallel summit of the peoples that took place in Brussels and from the very first moment it was a call to debate in the European Parliament, in a political and legal way, the effect of the blockade and the denunciation of its extraterritoriality. The violation of the sovereignty not only of the Cuban people, but also of the European peoples and people who want to relate to Cuba.
On November 2, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for a resolution calling on the US to lift the trade embargo against Cuba that President John Kennedy imposed in 1962. The US and Israel were the only two nations to vote no, with Ukraine abstaining. Total dependence creates total compliance. The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control records complex specifics of sanctions on Cuba. There are so many that they amount to a virtual blockade. “You talk about sanctions,” says Cuban journalist Liz Oliva Fernández, “you think ‘OK, maybe the United States has one, two, or three sanctions on Cuba,’ but I’m talking about a blockade—a system of sanctions.
More than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli armed forces in Gaza since 7 October, nearly half of them children, according to the most recent report by spokesperson for the Gaza Ministry of Health Dr Ashraf Al-Qudra. Over 25,000 others have been injured, with thousands still buried under the rubble. Meanwhile, Israeli tanks have begun to encircle Gaza City, whose population was 600,000 a month ago but whose neighbourhoods are now largely vacant due to the desperate flight of its inhabitants to Gaza’s southern shelters and due to Israel’s killing of thousands of Palestinian civilians in their homes.
US officials frequently talk about the “rules-based international order”, and label other countries as “rogue states” if Washington doesn’t like their policies. But a look at votes in the United Nations clearly shows that the United States consistently opposes the will of the entire international community. The world saw a striking example of this on November 2, when almost every country on Earth supported a UN General Assembly resolution that called to end the US embargo against Cuba. Only two countries voted against the measure: the United States and Israel. Just one country abstained: Ukraine.
Cuba defended Palestine at the Security Council open debate on Peace through dialogue: contribution of regional, sub-regional and bilateral agreements to the prevention and peaceful settlement of disputes. Ambassador Gerardo Peñalver Portal, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations, pointed out that Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of the Palestinian population and the destruction of homes, hospitals and civilian infrastructure, as well as the deprivation of water, electricity and fuel services to the Palestinian population, must be stopped immediately.
They came to Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, from all over the country on their own resources. Some paid for over priced plane tickets to this region of New England, some took buses, but regardless it was worth it because “Cuba is calling us,” as a young activist from Virginia told me. Representatives of now 70 organizations (13 new groups joined at this meeting) are gathered here for the US National Network of Solidarity with Cuba’s (NNOC) annual conference to analyze, develop and to come up with new strategies. It also provides a renewed impetus to their main objective which is to lift the economic, commercial and financial blockade, imposed for more than 60 years by both Democratic and Republican governments, on the largest of the Antilles.
A meeting of the Group of 77 and China took place on September 15-16 in the Republic of Cuba where frustrations with the existing world system were articulated by the participants. A declaration issued at the conclusion of the summit demanded the restructuring of the existing economic order which continues to be dominated by the capitalist mode of production, exchange and social relations. Founded in 1964, today the organization has 130 member-states from Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean and Latin America. The summit has a rotating chairpersonship shared by all of the geopolitical regional affiliates. The summit occurred during a period of intense hostilities from the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) towards the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China.
Cuba’s embassy in Washington, DC was attacked with two Molotov cocktails on the night of September 24. This was the second terrorist attack against the embassy in the past three years. The US Secret Service responded at around 8pm, but did not apprehend any perpetrators. The explosives hit the front side of the embassy, which is already scarred with AK-47 bullet holes from a shooting attack in April 2020 — an emblem of the deadly risk it takes to be a Cuban diplomat in the United States, and of the long history of US-backed terrorism against the country. The Molotov cocktail attack occurred the same day that a Cuban delegation led by President Miguel Díaz-Canel returned to Havana.
Cuba’s embassy in the US capital of Washington DC was the target of a violent attack late on Sunday, September 24. In a statement shared on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, the Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said that an individual had thrown two Molotov cocktails at the embassy building. He added that no personnel had been injured in the attack and the details of the incident were being looked into. He also noted that this was the second such attack against the headquarters of Cuba’s diplomatic mission in the US. An individual had fired multiple rounds of bullets from an AK-47 assault rifle at the building in April 2020. Cuba’s embassy in France was also attacked with Molotov cocktails in July 2021.
The memory of the event that occurred 25 years ago today will forever remain in the Cuban people. On September 12, 1998, five Cuban men were targeted by the extreme hatred of those in Miami who have not ceased in attacking Cuba. That day, they were arrested, and their long battle for justice began. Gerardo Hernández, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González, and René González were given brutal sentences, ranging from 15 years to two life sentences, without being proven to be a danger to US national security. They came to the US unarmed—except for the love of their homeland—to monitor the activities of heavily financed anti-Cuba terrorist groups, who were operating with impunity out of Southern Florida
On August 31, US-based airline JetBlue announced that it has suspended all flights to Cuba, effective September 17. In 2016, when US-Cuba relations began to thaw, JetBlue flew the first direct commercial flight to Cuba from the US in 50 years. American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest, and Delta will still provide direct flights to Cuba from the US, however, United will cut its direct flights from Newark, New Jersey in October. “Demand for travel to the island has been significantly affected by changes to the regulatory landscape and restrictions on our customers’ ability to enter Cuba,” stated the airline.
In its summit in Johannesburg, South Africa this August, BRICS invited six new members: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The bloc now represents 37% of global GDP (measured at purchasing power parity, or PPP), as well as 40% of global oil production and roughly 1/3rd of global gas production. The inclusion of top oil producers like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have long priced their crude in dollars, is a direct challenge to the US petrodollar system. All of the invited nations have indicated that they will officially join the extended BRICS+ bloc on 1 January 2024.
At a meeting in Havana on August 11 attended by government ministers and the press, Cuban National Assembly President Esteban Lazo communicated a message to Cuba’s Minister of Agriculture from the Assembly, whose recent session ended on July 22. The ministry would be “transforming and strengthening the country’s agricultural production,” to initiate “a political and participatory movement that would unleash a productive revolution in the agricultural sector.” The National Assembly dealt primarily with Cuba’s present food disaster. The lives of many Cubans are precarious due to food shortages, high prices, and low income.
On August 11, artists, intellectuals, political leaders, people’s movements, trade unions, and political parties from around the world launched a historic campaign to call on US President Joe Biden to remove Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list. The convening organizations of this campaign, the International Peoples’ Assembly (IPA), ALBA Movimientos, Foro de São Paulo, Trade Union Confederation of the Americas, Jornada Continental por la Democracia y Contra el Neoliberalismo, World March of Women, Continental Latin American and Caribbean Network in Solidarity with Cuba, and La Vía Campesina, seek to collect more than one million signatures on a letter addressed to Biden asking that Cuba be removed from the List of State Sponsors of Terrorism.
There should be no doubt that Kenya is in an intractable economic crisis. Filling up gas for a drive from Nairobi to my hometown in Limuru cost 10,000 ksh (about USD70). As a result of the high gas costs prices for everything else have gone up, including public transportation. And those who cannot hike up operating costs, such as the hordes of boda boda motorcycle taxis, are hardly making anything or operating at a loss. Tax hikes mean those who are employed are taking less money home. And no point in kidding ourselves, in a corrupt country some of that money being generated from the higher taxes is going to the politicians.