Black Alliance for Peace condemns U.S. sanctions on Cuba and supports self-determination and sovereignty for that nation.
This statement was originally published on the Black Alliance for Peace website.
For Immediate Release
Various right-wing groups across the Americas are preparing demonstrations in support of the one-year anniversary of the exaggerated and media-manipulated protests that took place in Cuba on 11 July 2021. In perfect lockstep, the Biden administration has issued further sanctions on Cuba—visa restrictions on 28 Cuban officials whom they have declined to name. The Black Alliance For Peace (BAP) denounces these efforts to smear the Cuban process and continues to stand in revolutionary solidarity with the peoples of Cuba.
“It remains clear,” says BAP South member, Salifu Mack, “that the enemies of African people and the Cuban Revolution will not rest until total death and destruction are visited upon the island, all in the name of white supremacy and U.S. imperialism.”
In announcing the 28 new sanctions on Cuba on 9 July 2022, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is quoted saying that the sanctions have been implemented to "support greater freedom and economic opportunities for the Cuban people." The Biden administration has declined to name the 28 Cuban officials that they claim these sanctions have been applied to. BAP understands that sanctions targeted toward any person or group of persons, especially in a country like Cuba, which has struggled under the weight of 60 years of a U.S. economic blockade, severely limits the country’s ability to advocate for itself on the international stage. The U.S. economic blockade already excludes Cuba from international trade and banking, punishes countries which try to circumvent it, and overcomplicates immigration from the island.
“We have seen how sanctions have been used to attack efforts toward self-determination in countries like Libya, Zimbabwe, and Eritrea,” says Austin Cole of BAP Haiti/Americas Team. “And we have also seen recently how sanctions against Russia backfire as the U.S. and NATO attempt to maintain hegemony in Eastern Europe.”
Of the 28 new sanctions being imposed upon Cuba, Blinken remarked that this measure is aimed at those who, in his opinion, allowed or facilitated violent and unjust arrests, false trials and prison sentences for those involved in the riots that took place in July of last year. As a continued strategy, U.S. imperialism is leaning into the trope of “critical support to political prisoners.”
Today the United States holds more than 2 million people within its jail cells, the equivalent of roughly 25% of the world’s prison population. Among that prison population is an aging demographic of political prisoners, like Mutulu Shakur, Mumia Abu Jamal, Joseph Bowen, Veronza Bowers, Kamau Sadiki, Ruchell Magee, Leonard Peltier, Ed Poindexter, and Rev. Joy Powell. While the enemies of the Cuban revolution attempt to make heroes out of Cuban citizens who now face the consequences of collaborating with U.S. imperialism, African freedom fighters are rotting away in prisons, being denied life-saving medical treatment, and are only strategically released on their deathbeds.
Additionally, there is an extreme irony in a country that supports reactionary riots throughout the world, yet regularly brutalizes protestors seeking justice within its borders and is helpless to stop its epidemic of mass shootings. As U.S. hegemony continues to weaken, meeting formidable challenges across Latin America and the Caribbean, its violence returns home and compounds against its domestic colonies.
The week to come is certain to be filled with the same circular and baseless attacks using “anti-Blackness” in Cuba as a tool to turn Africans in the U.S. away from support of the Cuban Revolution. BAP is clear that anti-Black racism, a development of colonialism, will only be eradicated with the defeat of colonialism. While U.S. non-profits and NGOs pour billions every year into toothless “diversity and inclusion” and “anti-racist” marketing schemes, we have faith in the people of Cuba to lead their own processes, without U.S. interference, in establishing a world where People(s)-Centered Human Rights—based on materialist reconfigurations of land, healthcare and education—are at the forefront.
When Black people in the U.S. repeat the same positions and talking points of the U.S. government they are not helping Afro-Cubans in Cuba. They are giving cover to the regime change agenda of U.S. imperialism.
The Black Alliance for Peace calls on all serious anti-imperialists in the U.S. to continue standing with the Cuban Revolution. We must be clear that sanctions and other forms of U.S. interventions are an affront to national sovereignty and the right to self-determination. It is the duty of African people living within the belly of the beast to remain vigilant against opportunism and co-optation.