Enrique Orta González
Cape Town - Like all countries, Cuba is going through a difficult economic situation, influenced by the global crisis, the prices of fuel, food and transportation, in addition to the effects of more than two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The attempts to establish opinion in the media that Cuba is facing a massive humanitarian crisis are unfounded.
Falsehoods, fictitious legends, and their propagation in the media are used to internationally generate the image of a country socially unstable and in political crisis.
An attempt is being made to fabricate the pretext for humanitarian intervention, like what was already tried in 2021. The media is spreading a campaign of political destabilisation to discredit Cuba with the use of millions of dollars and highly sophisticated information and disinformation technologies.
Cuba is a stable, safe, united country, capable of facing its challenges with creativity and effort. It is not experiencing a crisis, nor is its population in danger.
Despite having overcome the pandemic and having returned to normality, Cuba faces serious commercial and financial difficulties in all markets due to the impact of the US economic blockade, brutally reinforced in the context of Covid, based on very aggressive measures taken by the Trump government that are still in force.
It seeks to depress the standard of living of citizens, generate discontent and try to mobilise segments of the population to commit violent acts and mobilise them against the government.
The blockade imposed on Cuba for more than six decades is the most severe and longest-enduring system of unilateral sanctions ever applied against any country.
No Cuban family escapes the effects of this inhumane policy, as seen in the scarcities that are part of daily life for every Cuban. The US blockade has been and continues to be the fundamental obstacle to the development of our country and the realisation of the aspirations for progress and well-being of several generations of Cubans.
In fact, more than 70% of the present Cuban population was born and has always lived under the blockade.
The blockade seriously hurt our country’s economy since it made it almost impossible for Cuba to participate in international trade and carry out financial operations.
The food and agriculture sectors constitute the bedrock for achieving food security and sovereignty, two goals that are among the priorities of the Cuban government and are directly linked to the implementation of the National Food Sovereignty and Nutrition Education Plan (SAN Plan) and the fulfilment of the goals agreed upon in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Despite the sizeable resources and efforts allocated by the Cuban State to this sector, the losses due to the blockade are evident. The humanitarian damage caused by the blockade cannot be measured.
Cuba’s claim is to be left to live in peace without the blockade, and to stop the persecution of its commercial and financial relations with the rest of the world.
The example of Cuba demonstrates that even with very limited resources and under a ferocious blockade, even for a small country like Cuba, it is possible to create a society based on human solidarity and social justice.
Thousands of Cuban health professionals in 57 Medical Brigades have contributed to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in more than 40 countries, including South Africa.
Those 57 Henry Reeve Cuban Medical Brigades joined more than 28 000 Cuban health professionals that were already providing their services in 59 nations before the pandemic.
Despite the challenges, we are encouraged by the support of millions of people around the world who have come together to demand that the US government end the blockade.
We deeply appreciate the solidarity of the friends of Cuba in various latitudes, including in South Africa.
Cuba will never regret having given their son´s blood in direct contribution to the liberation Struggles in Africa and the confrontation with Apartheid.
We were paying a historic debt to our ancestors because Africa is part of the very essence of our nation, and we Cubans feel extremely proud of our African roots. South Africa will always hold a special place in our hearts. We treasure the strong and sustained solidarity of the South African people and government with the Cuban Revolution.
We respect the right of others to develop their own system. With the same energy, we demand our right that the system chosen by the vast majority of the Cuban people be respected.
It may be not perfect but has more than demonstrated its advantages, even in the most difficult conditions. The noble and hard-working Cuban people bravely resist challenges every day and move forward.
Despite the blockade and hostility, Cuba will continue to advance in the construction of an independent, sovereign, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation.
Nothing and no one will be able to prevent Cubans from making their own decisions and following the freely chosen path. Allow me to make our own the words of Nelson Mandela when he said: "We also want to be masters of our own destiny".
We, Cubans, know that the challenges to be faced are great, but our will to overcome them is even greater.
González is the Cuban Ambassador to South Africa