Rodolfo Benítez Verson
Cape Town - Cuba is a small island developing state that faces the vulnerabilities inherent to that condition and suffers the effects of the longest and most comprehensive system of unilateral sanctions ever applied against any country in history.
Added to the above are the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, whose effects have been used deliberately and opportunistically by the US to reinforce its economic, commercial and financial blockade on our country in a cruel way, with the clear purpose of causing more hardship to the Cuban people.
The situation has seriously affected the normal functioning of our economy, by severely reducing income from exports of goods and services, access to fuel, food and medical supplies.
On Sunday, July 11, disorders occurred in some Cuban localities, including acts of vandalism by criminal elements against some institutions, such as police precincts, shopping malls and hospitals.
The incidents were limited and did not receive the support of most Cubans. On the contrary, the largest number of people who took to the streets that day was to defend the Revolution.
The events of July 11 are not a reflection of a social outbreak. Cuba was the victim of a political communication operation orchestrated from accounts in the US cyberspace.
Cuba has made public multiple pieces of evidence showing that the operation did not arise spontaneously.
The technological platforms used are financed with millionaire federal funds from the US government. It is public and notorious of the US to instigate acts of confrontation with Cuban institutions and laws, through media campaigns with lies and misrepresentations of the Cuban reality.
It is part of the Fourth Generation War that the US has rehearsed against Cuba and that does not need missiles or marines. It is an Unconventional War design in which Imperialism has worked for a long time.
US politicians, including President Joseph Biden, have expressed themselves with great cynicism about the events of July 11 and about an alleged intention to help the Cuban people, even though they continue to allocate millions of dollars openly directed to finance subversion and destabilisation from inside and outside Cuba.
If there were a sincere interest in alleviating the difficulties suffered by the Cuban people, the US government would immediately lift the blockade and repeal the more than 243 additional measures against Cuba imposed by Donald Trump and that the Biden Administration applies in full.
Today, Cuba continues to be the victim of a brutal operation of disinformation.
From abroad, there are continuous dangerous and irresponsible calls for acts of sabotage and selective assassinations. In Miami, Florida, elected officials openly call for a military intervention in Cuba, which would have unforeseeable consequences for regional peace and security.
Most of what the world is seeing on social media about Cuba is a lie. It is trying to make the world believe that the Cuban people have risen up against a government that oppresses its people. It is outrageous and offends that absurd narrative.
False images are used; contempt and destruction of property are encouraged and glorified. We are under a sophisticated cyber war.
The websites of the Cuban Presidency and Foreign Ministry, and practically all Cuban public media, are suffering from attacks abroad with denial of services, amid midst of an atrocious campaign of demonisation of the Cuban government.
They try to silence any alternative to their false narrative. Friends of Cuba cannot access our media.
The reality is that the plan that caused the incidents on July 11 has failed. Peace and tranquillity reign in Cuba. The institutions are functioning normally.
The current campaign also failed in the attempts to hide the excellent news that Cuban science, in record time and with very few resources, has achieved the first two Latin American vaccines against Covid-19.
Our Abdala vaccine has shown an efficacy of 92.28%, while the Sovereign vaccine reaches 91.2%.
The two Cuban vaccines achieve 100% efficacy, both in the prevention of severe systemic disease and death from Covid-19. Those are impressive achievements despite the brutal US blockade.
Not all those who were present at the events of July 11 are vandals or committed violent acts. Several expressed legitimate concerns related to irritation due, for example, to the electricity blackouts, caused to a great extent by the economic siege of the US, which prevented the arrival of fuel to Cuba, parts and technologies to keep the national energy system in operation.
Our denunciation of the US’s actions does not separate us from the necessary self-criticism, from the profound revision of our methods and styles of work that collide with the will to serve the people.
Cuba is far from being a perfect country. Of course, there are problems that require solutions, as in any other state. But we defend our right to solve the difficulties, which we have never denied, among Cubans, without external interference.
We appreciate the multiple expressions of support from peoples and governments across the world, including South Africa, who have reiterated their solidarity with the Cuban Revolution, denounced the intensification of the blockade and rejected the fierce campaign to discredit Cuba.
This campaign is nothing new. The US and its puppets have tried many other times before. We have experienced worse moments and we know how to face the current one.
The US will never achieve its goal of erasing from the map the example of our small Island, determined to remain sovereign when so many bend to its orders.
We will defend our right to peace and independence at all costs.
Verson is an ambassador to South Africa, Eswatini and Lesotho