June 23, 2023 Peoples Dispatch
The City Council vote comes ahead of a weekend of action calling for US President Joe Biden to take Cuba off the State Sponsors of Terrorism list.
The New York City Council passed a resolution on June 22 calling for an end to the US political and economic blockade on Cuba. The resolution, which passed with a majority vote in the 25-member city council, represents a decisive step in the initiative to end the US led blockade and remove Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list, a designation that has been shown to be unfounded and cruel since its inception in 1982. From Washington D.C. to Chicago, Illinois, other resolutions have been passed throughout the country, representing the next step toward ending the 63-year-old sanction policy against Cuba.
The NYC resolution, titled Res #0285-A: Resolution calling upon the United States Congress and President to end the Cuban embargo and Cuban travel ban and to remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list due to the unjust harm it causes to the Cuban people, was originally introduced by City Council member Charles Barron.
The resolution notes the negative effect of the 60+ years of sanctions and the shifting public opinion to our island neighbor, stating, “The US, in the hope of isolating Cuba and starving the Cuban people into rebellion, has maintained an economic blockade, or embargo, of Cuba, which was first imposed in 1960 during the Eisenhower administration and which is the longest economic embargo in history…Every year since 1992, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly has adopted a resolution declaring the embargo a violation of the both the Charter of the United Nations and international law”. This legislation is important for the fact that it does not only denounce Cuba’s placement on the State Sponsor of Terrorism (SSoT) list but acknowledges the US blockade as a cruel punishment that continues to hurt the Cuban people.
The passing of Resolution 0285 opens the possibility of dialogue
One important aspect of Resolution 0285-A is the intention to bridge the gap between people and institutions of both countries, resulting in an exchange of essential supplies, knowledge, and cultural ideas, leading to joint cooperation. As Resolution 0285 states, “Ending both the Cuban embargo and the travel ban would be of great benefit to the US and Cuba, particularly in the areas of medical and biotechnological research, economic opportunities, education, health care, the arts, music, sports, and tourism…New York City (NYC) would greatly benefit from the restoration of trade with Cuba both through the exportation of products and services to this neighboring country of over 11 million people and through the importation of Cuban products useful to NYC, such as life-saving medicines and vaccines”.
This resolution states that an ongoing dialogue between the United States and Cuba is not only possible but essential. The United States fears an exchange of ideas because it could undermine the 63-year-old sanction campaign, a stranglehold the United States has used to denounce the political path of Cuba since the 1959 revolution. The people of the United States can benefit from Cuban medical knowledge in the area of lung cancer and diabetes research, as well as take political inspiration from Cuba’s political system, looking toward their advancement LGBTQ rights through the passing of the 2021 Family Code. For Cuba, opening relations would mean accessing essential medical equipment currently inaccessible because of the blockade, as well as important industrial equipment for developing infrastructure to properly care for its citizens.
#OFFTHELIST: Cuba is not a state sponsor of Terrorism!
The passing of NYC’s resolution 0285-A also carries implications for the national campaign to remove Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list. It takes place just days ahead of the weekend of action organized by the National Network on Cuba (NNOC) to demand the Biden Administration remove Cuba from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list. From June 23-25, NNOC together with CODEPINK , IFCO Pastors for Peace, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, New Jersey-New York Cuba Si Coalition, Claudia Jones School for Political Education, the People’s Forum, Amazon Labor Union (ALU) Canadian Network on Cuba, and Puentes de Amor, will hold a series of activities in the US capital Washington DC, and in cities across the country to raise this demand. This will culminate in a mass march and rally on June 25 in Washington DC.
-PHOTO CREDIT: City Councillor Charles Barron introduced the resolution calling for an end to the US blockade against Cuba.