About the Embargoes

We have just observed once again the overwhelming vote in the United Nations condemning the U.S. Commercial Embargo against Cuba. An overwhelming vote for others because they also voted against the third party effects at the heart of the extra-territoriality of the Helms-Burton Law. The intense campaign being run by the government this year was exhausting, particularly in the fortnight prior to the U.N. vote. Neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, let alone the mainstream media. For those born after the Embargo was imposed — who are now the majority — in Washington, they woke up one day furious by the things being done against the little island in the south, and the application of the Blockade that lasted until today. This fraudulent simplification caused my son to ask me what was different from everything he’d heard since elementary school. My first explanation left him more confused.

“So is it a good law?”

It was such a mess I confused myself.

I recapitulated but didn’t capitulate. Recap to not capitulate. Rafael is no longer a child and deserves an explanation that is not based solely on the statistics of what the blockade against Cuba costs, which is what he knows. I had to go back to that it was a lawyer [Fidel Castro] who decided to nationalize American property by forfeiture, leading to the existing legislation, because he said the Revolution was the source of law, then the consequences would have been foreseeable to him versus a layman.

This measure with its political, more than economic, character, could not go unanswered: in the context of the Cold War diplomacy was not proactive, and the U.S. responded with legal action. I had to explain to him the difference between a blockade and an embargo, something these kids never hear in all this barrage of “information”(?). And they end up reacting like someone listening to the rain.

He understood, but he had more questions. Those anyone who lives in Cuba would have. The leaders don’t lack for gas, medications, nothing. Even if there were a real blockade they would be the last effected. We would be left on our own.

Without a doubt. But here comes the other blockade. The one that inflicts the most damage. The internal blockade. Which has ruined the national economy, which encourages rampant corruption. Our civic capacity seems to have undergone a genetic mutation in opposite directions: In those who suck the honey of power, it has sublimated self-criticism more than resignation. And in those who suck the gall of power — the people — the castration of our rights to freely express ourselves without risk.

No foreign law will change the course of national events, to condition the lifting of the Embargo Act on this or that requirement, only empowers the government, as it has for so long.

“Then, Mom, are you for the Blockade?”

“No, son, I’m against it.”

November 4 2011

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