Traducción al español.
[Espere la respuesta del Señor Menéndez en este blog]
[Espere la respuesta del Señor Menéndez en este blog]
Dear Senator Menendez,
I'm writing to you in regards to our government's failed, genocidal foreign policy towards the sovereign nation of Cuba.
I am appealing to you not only as a constituent of yours whose vote you are privileged to have and whose bests interest you are supposed to be representing, but as a fellow compassionate human being who cares about the well-being of his fellow human beings all over the world, and recognizes his social responsibility to them.
I am not insisting, but demanding, in the swiftest manner possible, that you, as my representative, work to put an end to the genocidal economic blockade that has strangled Cuba's economy for over fifty years, and continues to do so today. The fifty year-old blockade is not only counterproductive and a blatant failure in our government's foreign policy, but most importantly is the cause of much hardship and devastation to the Cuban people. Recent polls taken in the US measuring public support for the blockade demonstrate that an overwhelming majority of Americans actually support lifting it, and an almost unanimous number of member countries of the UN General Assembly have voted for its termination the last nineteen consecutive years – which testifies to its unpopularity throughout the world1. But if this weren't enough to compel you and your colleagues to end the blockade, then maybe an account of some of the damages the Cuban economy has incurred might oblige you to do otherwise. As of the end of 2010 the blockade has resulted in damages totaling 975 billion dollars when adjusted for the depreciation of the dollar against the the price of gold, which continues augmenting in light of the current economic circumstances1. But that is just the financial cost of this harsh policy, here are some of the socioeconomic repercussions of the blockade, which I hope will shed some light for you on the hardships which millions of Cubans struggle with on a daily basis.
Between March 2010 and 2011 alone the agricultural sector has suffered damages worth 120 million 300 thousand dollars due to difficulties and obstacles in dealing with foreign markets that the denial of access to the US market has caused1. The company ALIMPORT from 2001 to 2010 has suffered damages totaling 90 million 800 thousand dollars as a result of not being able to import agricultural goods from the United States1. Those losses are equivalent to Cuba having bought one of the quantities of the following three food products at the 2010 average price per each staple: 350 million tons of wheat, 380 million tons of corn, or 125 million tons of chicken1. In 2010 alone Cuba had to spend an extra 22.4 million dollars to import food from other foreign markets due to being shut out of the US market – a hefty amount that the agricultural industry could have used to buy 52,000 metric tons of bread wheat, 40,000 metric tons of rice and 4,000 metric tons of powdered milk2. That could have certainly fed a lot of hungry people, not to mention it would have brought good business for our struggling farmers in the countryside. But most importantly, it's morally wrong and despicable that our government's foreign policy is denying civilians of a sovereign nation food.
Regarding the Cuban health care system – and this is where the blockade really shows its cruelness and immorality – sick men, women, and children are deprived of medications and medical devices they need for treatments of certain serious ailments like various cancers and heart conditions because the American transnationals who manufacture and hold a monopoly on these products refuse to supply them to Cuba in order to comply with the regulations of the blockade1. As a result Cuba has to turn to other foreign markets to acquire these items which are much more costly and take longer to arrive, resulting in delays in treatment plans – which in turn leads to prolonged patient suffering or even death in some cases. For example el Instituto de Oncología y Radiobiología has met difficulties in performing surgeries on malignant bone tumors in children, in which the part of the bone where the tumor lies is removed and replaced with a prosthetic, because the devices are produced by American companies who refuse to sell them to the hospital citing the regulations of the blockade1. Cubans who suffer from HIV-AIDS cannot get the medications they need to slow the immune-suppressing agent of the virus, nor can they receive adequate testing to determine the need of antiretroviral therapy because the American transnationals who supply the drugs and the essential equipment for its testing refuse to provide them to Cuba, again in order to comply with the regulations of the blockade2.
In light of these distasteful facts it's very hypocritical that our government boasts around the world about how democratic it is and meanwhile denies sick people proper medication and treatment. No truly democratic state in the world today would behave in such a way. That innocent people of a sovereign nation potentially end up dying because our government's foreign policy directly impedes treatments to which they are entitled is just flat-out appalling and totally unacceptable.
The blockade, including its effects on the agricultural and health care sectors, negatively affects the overall development of the country. For example in 2002 Cuba lost roughly 200 million dollars in development aid from loans in the amounts of 4.3658 billion and 4.548 billion dollars that the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank granted for developmental projects in Latin America2. Cuba could have used that money to realize developmental projects throughout the entire country – principally in areas of infrastructure and technology.
As a result of the blockade our government has even violated the rights of us, its own citizens, by denying us the ability to travel freely to Cuba, a right which is guaranteed by the first amendment of the United States constitution. We Americans are officially the only people in the world who are not allowed to travel freely to Cuba. Over two million people around the world travel to Cuba each year for tourism despite the attempts of our government to disseminate a negative false reality of Cuban society. That is significant testimony to world public opinion of Cuba. The vast majority of those 2 million people would not choose to spend their vacation time in a place that is described in such a negative fashion as our government's description of Cuba – a description that is widely disseminated around the world.
Everything about the blockade is just wrong and absurd, but what's even more so is the reasoning on which our government tries to justify this foreign policy – the most prominent justification being Cuba is a state-sponsor of terrorism, which resulted in its placement in 1982 on the US blacklist of such nations, basing this claim on Cuba's alleged ties to “terrorist” groups such as the FARC of Colombia and the ETA of Spain. This is pure nonsense, and the US State Department itself even admits it. In the State Department's August 18, 2011 report on state-sponsors of terrorism, within the first paragraph on Cuba it states that “Available information suggested that the Cuban government maintained limited contact with FARC members, but there was no evidence of direct financial or ongoing material support,” followed by, “In March, the Cuban government allowed Spanish police to travel to Cuba to confirm the presence of suspected ETA members” who found no evidence of any ETA members residing in Cuba3. The report even recognizes Cuba's efforts in preserving border integrity and transnational security by allowing officials from the Transportation Security Administration to carry out airport security checks in November, 2010 in various airports throughout the island3. It also recognizes Cuba's counterterrorism initiatives with the extradition and subsequent conviction of Salvadorean national Francisco Chávez Abarca and the commuting of the death sentences against two other Salvadorean nationals, René Cruz León and Otto René Rodríguez Llerena, all of whom were convicted of terrorism due to their involvements in the bombings of various tourist hotels in the 90's3.
If this list was actually factual and not based on politics then clearly the US would be number one on that list, considering that our government has divulged tax payer funds to the CIA specifically for the purpose of violently destabilizing the Cuban Revolution since 1959. Between 1959 and 1961, the CIA with that money organized, armed and financed over 229 armed counter-revolutionary groups and over 3,995 mercenaries who killed 549 Cuban combatants, farmers, and teachers working in the national literacy campaign4. Many of these mercenaries went on to form groups like Brothers to the Rescue, Alpha-66, Omega-7, and la Rosa Blanca – organizations whom the Cuban American National Foundation finances with annual tax-payer funds it receives, and have effectuated hundreds (over 600) of assassination attempts against former President Fidel Castro, bombings of hotels, schools, homes, farms and other property, assassinations of foreign diplomats, bombings in Miami and New York, among other attacks that in total have killed more than three thousand Cubans and permanently injured over two thousand, and killed dozens of Americans5.
One of the most notorious terrorists in the world, Luis Posada Carriles, was recently acquitted in a trial in El Paso, Texas over the way in which he entered the United States some years ago. There is overwhelming evidence of this man's involvement in the 1976 bombing of the Cuban airliner flying over Barbados that killed 73 people, among them being the Cuban national fencing team – adolescents less than 17 years of age – and his bombings of tourist hotels during the 90's which resulted the death of an Italian national, among other civilian casualties6. The Salvadorean national Chávez Abarca even confessed to being paid and supplied by Carriles to carry out some of those bombings7. All of these crimes were brought to light during his trial, but Carriles currently walks free despite the evidence against him, and Cuba remains on the blacklist, which along with tarnishing Cuba's image negatively affects Cuba's credit rating and it's overall relations with all the nations of the world.
Is this how far our government is willing to go to uphold the blockade? To “make Cuba's economy scream” as an official from the Kennedy administration put it in 1961? To allow terrorists to walk with impunity for the sake of politics? This is absurd. Our government devotes so much time and wasted resources to the “War on Terror” abroad but neglects to fight it here on its own soil. And then when 5 men from Cuba do us a favor by doing the job that our intelligence agencies did not do (or refused to do) the government does something even more irrational: It locks up the those 5 men! The Cuban 5 counterterrorist agents through their actions saved countless lives – both American and Cuban alike; they should be set free and sent home immediately, but instead, because of failed policy, they remain imprisoned (Although René González is set to be released this October 7, he is confined to probation for three years in southern Florida, which constitutes a death sentence for him since the very terrorist organizations he infiltrated now know his identity).
The other widely proclaimed justification for the blockade is Cuba's human rights record in which our government cites a series of alleged human rights abuses the Cuban government has perpetrated against the so-called “dissident” community. This justification, like Cuba's support for terrorism, lacks legitimacy. With respect to the “dissidents,” they are nothing more than mercenaries financed by our government through the divulging of tax payer dollars to the US Interests Section in Havana, who in turn finances these groups to carry out government subversion activities. Your colleague, Senator John Kerry, current head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed the same sentiment during senate deliberations on the matter, and is the main obstacle to the Obama administration's plan to provide 20 million dollars this year to such groups8. According to Senator Kerry, “...there is no evidence these programs could be of any profit to the Cuban people and they have only provoked the Cuban government to arrest a US government contractor (Alan P. Gross)”8. In Cuba's weekly televised series, Las Razones de Cuba, security agents who infiltrated these dissident groups, like Las Damas de Blanco, demonstrated clearly how they are totally fabricated by the USIS, who provides financing, technological equipment, liaisons with the press, and sets up for them fake demonstrations. Consequently they receive very little popular support because the population is aware of these facts (the Revolutionary Police Force actually has to come out during their demonstrations and provide them protection from the general population because they are so widely unpopular)9.
And so I plead to you, Senator Menéndez. I plead to your ability to think rationally, to your compassion towards other human beings, to put a stop to this heinous and irrational blockade, not only for the sake of the Cuban people, but for the conscious of the American public. Is denying people food, obstructing health care, crippling development, violating constitutional rights, letting terrorists walk with impunity, locking up those who fight terrorists and illegally financing subversion a positive and productive way of engaging a country whose people our government has disagreements with concerning their choice of political and socioeconomic system? But irrespective of that, the fact of the matter is who are we to tell another people how to organize their society?
If you truly care about the well-being of the Cuban people and upholding the principles on which our country was founded then you must lift the blockade immediately and put an end to the madness that has arisen as a result of its implementation and continuation.
54 Union St. Apt. 15
Lodi, Bergen County,