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      Despite the U.S. Blockade, Cuba Advances

      By Ben Lefebvre

      The small Caribbean nation of Cuba has suffered a crippling U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade for the better part of six decades.

      This illegal and immoral action has been draining the country’s resources while hurting American farmers and manufacturers that would otherwise enjoy access to the Cuban market. It is said to cost the Cuban economy $12 million per day due to having to buy goods from afar instead of from its nearest neighbours.

      This antagonistic tactic is a classic example of “biting off your nose to spite your own face”.

      Cuba successfully defended itself against a failed American invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and has had to deal with the numerous U.S. sanctioned terrorist and biological attacks ever since the Revolution was won on January 1st, 1959. It has averted several assassination attempts against the country’s leadership.

      In order to protect itself, Cuba has had to maintain costly security and military presence on the island instead of investing in its crumbling infrastructure. One of the true gems of the New World has thus fallen into disrepair but it is doing its best at preserving and improving what it can given its limited resources.

      Cuba has also had to defend itself against a never-ending media war. It has recently been accused of having a significant military presence in Venezuela. Successive U.S. administrations have stated that this peaceloving island nation is a threat to its national security. Both assertions are outright lies.

      Cuba does support Venezuela’s right to protect itself against foreign aggression and why shouldn’t it? If the legitimate Venezuelan government falls due to yet another Latin American U.S. coup d’état, what country would be next? We already know what happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

      In the words of the Trump administration “all options are on the table” when it comes to U.S. interests. Cuba has always been of interest to American imperialists.

      Cuba has gained the respect of the vast majority of the members of the United Nations due to its acts of solidarity around the world. It has about 40,000 highly qualified doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers and technicians working in dozens of other countries at any given time. Where America offers foreign aid with strings attached Cuba delivers the goods because it believes it is, quite simply, the right thing to do.

      One of the most important and admirable projects of the Cuban government delivers free education to its population up to the post-doctoral level. Illiteracy was virtually wiped out on the island within a couple of years of ousting the violent, the U.S. supported Fulgencio Batista dictatorship.

      Cuba provides free comprehensive healthcare to its citizens even in the most remote regions of the country. A full range of social programs are delivered to every citizen from cradle to grave either free of charge or they are heavily subsidized by the state.

      Contrary to what we have been told by our deliberately biased and misinformed media, democracy does exist in this country where the only political party is the Communist Party of Cuba.

      Life is not easy for the average Cuban, that’s for sure, but they’re doing the best they can under very difficult circumstances.

      As many of the world’s nations are looking for alternatives to the authoritarian and coldhearted neoliberal economic model, Cuba will continue to be a shining example to emulate, despite the contradictions that still exist on this Caribbean island nation.

      Ben Lefebvre is a community volunteer, organizer, activist and social democrat. He has been sharing his time between rural Canada and Cuba where has has been writing extensively about Latin American and Carribean culture and politics.

      * Original title: “Cuban Contradictions Still Exist

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