KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The St. Vincent and the Grenadines government says it rejects “completely the attempts by certain unprincipled forces” to reverse the Cuban Revolution and urged calm and peace in the Caribbean country following protests there last weekend.
The government said that it was against any attempt to Cuba and its people “prisoners of Presidential and Senatorial politics of Florida” and that the “Cuban government and people (should) seek to address in a focused way their current difficulties and challenges.
“We urge imperialism, the monopoly capitalists, and their allies in and out of Cuba to cease their nefarious activities against the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban people,” according to a statement issued by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
Several people have been arrested in Cuba after thousands joined in the biggest protests for decades complaining about the collapse of the economy, food and medicine shortages, price hikes and the government’s handling of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Unauthorized public gatherings are illegal in Cuba and protests are rare. And President Miguel Díaz-Canel described those protesting “mercenaries”.
In a four-hour-long televised address, Díaz-Canel said the protestors were “counter-revolutionaries” while his foreign minister alleged the demonstrations had been financed and instigated by the United States.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to Cuba, Ellsworth John, in a preliminary report to Kingstown, said that “living conditions have deteriorated significantly in the last year as all of the restrictions imposed by President Trump continues under the President Biden.
“These include the closure of the Western Union facility for persons to receive financial assistance from relatives overseas. Movement of goods and persons both in and out of Cuba is extremely difficult, a consequence of both the embargo and the pandemic, so there is little commercial activity in private sector.
“Food is in short supply and even the diplomatic community, within which there is some financial security, it is difficult to get supplies,” John reported.
In his statement, Prime Minister Gonsalves said the protests are a purely internal matter for the Cuban authorities and the people of Cuba and that “foreign interference in this internal affair is entirely unacceptable and is to be rejected.
“In the context of the inhumane, harsh, unilateral, externally-imposed, and illegal sanctions, no reasonable person can ever accept the pious, hypocritical, and self-serving imperial advocacy of “humanitarian intervention” in Cuba.”
Gonsalves, one of the longest serving prime ministers in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) said that it is well-known that the Cuban Revolution, “has accomplished an immense socio-economic transformation of their country, for the better, since 1959”.
He said that Havana has been able to accomplish the feat “through their internationalist solidarity, contributed selflessly to the global struggle for liberation, the defense of sovereignty and independence, and all-round social and material development of dozens of countries world-wide, particularly those in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.
“The Cuban people, in affirming their right to pursue a socio-economic and political path of their choice, in their own interest and on their own terms, have been subjected relentlessly to an ongoing criminal destabilization, terror, sabotage, and harsh economic sanctions, inclusive of an economic blockade which was again recently denounced by an overwhelming majority of the United Nations General Assembly as contrary to international law — only two countries out of 193 voted in favor of this criminal and imperialist blockade.”
Gonsalves said that the world ought to be reminded of the decision of the Trump administration to tighten the embargo against Cuba with 243 specific measures which rolled back the partial easings under President Obama.
“The Trump measures are still in place and are causing real hardship for the Cuban people. International law and elemental justice demand their removal,” he said, adding “despite the concerted attempts, historically and currently, by imperialist and neo-colonialist forces to subvert the Cuban Revolution, to harm the Cuban people, and even to assassinate their principal leaders, the Cuban people and their Revolution have prevailed for 62 years, thus far”.
Gonsalves said that the cOVID-19 pandemic, the sharp down-turn in the global economy, and the devastating knock-on effects for developing countries, including tourism-dependent economies such as Cuba, coupled with the criminal economic sanctions and blockade against Cuba, have caused real hardship to the Cuban people and economy.
“All this the Cuban government has made plain to the people of Cuba and the world. The Cuban leaders have spoken honestly to their people about this.
“The government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines stand in solidarity at this difficult and challenging time with the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban people. We understand the pain and anxiety of the people concerning the shortages of some commodities. The Cuban government has repeatedly acknowledged these difficulties and has advanced credible steps to address the attendant challenges.”
He said Kingstown is “unalterably opposed to the further attempts by imperialism to take advantage of the current difficulties of the Cuban people so as to destroy the Cuban Revolution and roll back the gains of this very Revolution.
“Imperialism’s quest to enthrone its hegemony in Cuba, to impose monopoly capitalism under the guise of hypocritical talk of “freedom”, and to bring war, intervention, and suffering to the Cuban people, must be resisted by all persons who uphold peace, justice, sovereignty, independence, and the people’s right to choose their own path of development,”
Gonsalves praised Cuba “on its extraordinary achievement of producing at least two vaccines in the fight against COVID-19 and on its selfless commitment to share these vaccines with the developing world on their approved roll-out”
He said that St. Vincent and the Grenadines have benefited considerably, particularly over the last 20 years, from its collaboration and partnership with Cuba “in a wide range of areas touching and concerning our people’s lives, living, and production.
“We thank yet again the Cuba Revolution for its selfless generosity. We remain steadfast in our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Cuba, in this our Caribbean civilization,” Gonsalves said, adding “we reject completely the attempts by certain unprincipled forces who seek to make the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban people prisoners of Presidential and Senatorial politics of Florida”.