Black Lives Matter calls for end of Cuba embargo

Black Lives Matter (BLM) is calling on the U.S. government to end the decades-long embargo on Cuba amid a growing wave of anti-government protests in the island nation, arguing that the ban on commercial activity is “cruel and inhumane.” 

In a statement shared on its official Instagram account, BLM argued that the embargo was “instituted with the explicit intention of destabilizing the country and undermining Cubans’ right to choose their own government” and is “at the heart of Cuba’s current crisis.” 

“Since 1962, the United States has forced pain and suffering on the people of Cuba by cutting off food, medicine and supplies, costing the tiny island nation an estimated $130 billion,” BLM wrote. 

“Black Lives Matter condemns the U.S. federal government’s inhumane treatment of Cubans, and urges it to immediately lift the economic embargo,” the civil rights advocacy organization added. 

The group went on to say that “the people of Cuba are being punished by the U.S. government because the country has maintained its commitment to sovereignty and self-determination,” adding, “United States leaders have tried to crush this Revolution for decades.” 

“Instead of international amity, respect, and goodwill, the U.S. government has only instigated suffering for the country’s 11 million people- of which 4 million are Black and Brown,” BLM wrote. 

The group concluded by writing, “Now, we look to President Biden to end the embargo, something Barack Obama called for in 2016,” adding, “This embargo is a blatant human rights violation and it must come to an end.” 

Several Republicans criticized BLM following the statement, arguing that the post showed support for the Cuba’s Communist government and its policies, which Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel himself admitted Wednesday were partially to blame for the current economic crisis. 

For example, Cuban American Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote in an early Thursday tweet, “The extortionist ring known as the Black Lives Matter organization took a break today from shaking down corporations for millions & buying themselves mansions to share their support for the Communist regime in #Cuba.”

While former President Obama during his administration issued policies reopening some commercial activities and relations with Cuba, the 1962 trade embargo, which can only be lifted through an act of Congress, has remained in place since the seizure of power by Fidel Castro. 

Calls for lifting the embargo have risen in recent days amid the ongoing protests, as well as demands for a change as the coronavirus pandemic has devastated the Cuban economy and power blackouts and disruptions to food lines have fueled discontent with the current Cuban government. 

While Díaz-Canel acknowledged on Wednesday that the government’s shortcomings were partially to blame, this came after the Cuban leader in a Monday speech said U.S. “politics of economic asphyxiation” toward the island had helped fuel the recent demonstrations.

Tags Barack Obama Black Lives Matter coronavirus pandemic Cuba embargo Cuba protests economic crisis Instagram Joe Biden Marco Rubio Twitter U.S.-Cuba relations
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