The economic, financial and commercial blockade of Cuba is still in full force and hurts every Cuban and every aspect of Cuban life.
If you ask a U.S. resident whether they voted against the U.S. blockade of Cuba the likely response would be: “Blockade? Didn’t that end when President Obama traveled to Cuba in March?”
Sadly and painfully, no. The economic, financial and commercial blockade of Cuba is still in full force and hurts every Cuban and every aspect of Cuban life. From April 2015 to April 2016, the blockade has cost Cuba more than US$4 billion. Instead of relief, the cost exacted by the U.S. trade and travel restrictions increased by US$256 million over the prior year.
Obama’s visit to Havana with his family combined with the giddy possibility of long forbidden legal U.S. travel to Cuba overshadowed the fact of the continued blockade for some, particularly in the U.S. If this were high school, the actions of the richest military power in the world against its 11 million Cuban neighbors, the word would be bullying.
Since the joint announcement by Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama on Dec. 17, 2014, broke the ice—less than two years ago—the U.S. government has levied US$2.8 billion in fines against eight entities. Three are outside the U.S. caught up by the international reach of the U.S. unilateral blockade.
In the last year, European delivery companies—recently bought by a U.S. corporation—refused to deliver shipments to Cuban embassies. In countries where diplomatic and trade relations are legal and longstanding, domestic banks bought out by international ones closed the accounts of Cuba solidarity organizations. Corporations and banks exclude Cuban transactions just to be on the safe side. That is why Cuba has not been able to make even a dollar transaction as authorized in March by Obama.