Mr Biden, tear down this wall!
Updated 20:00, 09-Sep-2022
Keith Lamb
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., September 6, 2022. /CFP

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, D.C., September 6, 2022. /CFP

Editor's note: Keith Lamb is a University of Oxford graduate with a Master of Science in Contemporary Chinese Studies. His primary research interests are China's international relations and "socialism with Chinese characteristics." The article reflects the author's opinions and are not necessarily the views of CGTN.

In 1987, standing on the West German side of the Berlin wall, U.S. President Ronald Reagan made a speech where he uttered his famous line, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" It was a call for greater economic liberalization as Cold War tensions warmed in the background of stagnating living conditions on the eastern side of the wall.

In contrast, today, in the midst of Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev's passing and as a new Cold War likely comes into being, it is Western Europe, at the behest of the U.S., that is building walls and cutting itself off from Eurasia. Consequently, living standards are predicted to plummet as fuel shortages will lead to a cold winter and even possible de-industrialization.

However, this is not a new phenomenon. The building of U.S. walls was common during the Cold War and their shameful miserable legacy persists to this day. The use of unilateral embargoes is one such example of a "wall" used in the U.S. hegemon's toolkit. They are used to impoverish a nation that seeks to democratically choose its own sovereign development path.

Ironically, as a nation's economic lifeline is cut off, the chaos that ensues is used to set an example not only to other states that might seek independence but as an illustration, to Western populaces, to justify why their liberal-capitalist system is innately superior.

The six-decade continuing embargo on Cuba represents a David and Goliath struggle of U.S. hegemony versus Cuban sovereignty. Amongst Cuba's "sins" was its overthrow of the brutal dictator Fulgencio Batista, which was backed by U.S. conglomerates, as well as Cuba's nationalizing of foreign assets which allowed economic decisions to be made for the democratic whole rather than a minority comprador class and foreign interests.

Cuba presents no military threat to the U.S. and the U.S. embargo has not had the desired impact of destroying the Cuban system. Nevertheless, Biden, stubbornly, in "the national interest of the United States" is extending the "Trading with the Enemy Act" for another year which will continue the embargo against Cuba.

It is these sanctions that have long prevented Cuba from accessing basic consumer products and enjoying the rightful fruits of the modern world. The embargo against Cuba is a stain on the American political consciousness, serving as a constant reminder that the U.S. stands as a hypocrite and global bully when it comes to human rights, democracy, and international law.

The U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, May 18, 2022. /CFP

The U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, May 18, 2022. /CFP

International democracy, as dictated by the United Nations General Assembly on 29 occasions, has adopted the resolution for the U.S. to end its economic, commercial, and financial embargo against Cuba. Thus, Biden, who was never a fan of Trump's "Mexican wall," cannot in good conscience support the injustice of this "made in America" Cuban wall that goes against the right of the Cuban people to pursue sovereign development.

When the international community calls out, "Mr. Biden tear down this wall," why does he fortify it? Can he not sympathize why a state, such as Cuba – despite the depravations caused by the U.S. embargo – continues to resist U.S. imperialism?

It is not just the memory of the Batista regime that fires on the Cuban revolution today. U.S. actions in the Caribbean prove to the Cuban people that it is either socialism or barbarism. No matter what the depravations the U.S. embargo against Cuba brings, the jewel of real independence pales in comparison to neighboring U.S. invasions and coups.

Cuba's neighbor Haiti highlights this principle well. It stands out as not only the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere but, as pointed out by the Haitian-American anthropologist Gina Athena Ulysse, the country with one of the highest number of billionaires per capita with ninety percent of the country's wealth held by only two percent of the population.

Haiti's predatory oligarchy and Haiti's poverty cannot be separated from U.S. meddling. In 1915, the U.S. invaded Haiti, seized all its gold, and put all Haitian banks under the control of U.S. banks. From the 1950s to the 1980s, under the veneer of democracy, the U.S. backed the Duvalier Dynasty. Popular Resistance details how when Haitians voted in Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who sought to raise the minimum wage from $1 to $2.50, the CIA orchestrated a coup to remove him from power and U.S.-backed forces massacred hundreds of unarmed protesters. Jacobin details how Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, in 2021, was assassinated by foreign mercenaries to advance both Haiti's oligarchy and U.S. interests.

Despite the U.S. embargo, Cuba still stands out as a shining example in the Caribbean and throughout the world. Its social healthcare system is first-rate and its life expectancy, as stated in Worldometer, in 2020 stood at 79.2 years while the U.S. stood at 76.6 and Haiti stood at 65. According to data from the World Bank, infant mortality per 1000 live births in 2020 stood at four in Cuba, while the infant mortality rate in the U.S. and Haiti stood at five and 47 respectfully.

These figures illustrate precisely why the U.S. will not tear down the "wall of embargoes." A liberated Cuba would undoubtedly surpass the U.S. in many more fields and provide an even brighter example to U.S. citizens who wish to gain democratic control over their own economic system that is walled off to them by their own globalist oligarchy. Simply put, Cuba's development is held back by sanctions while U.S. development is held back by a lack of socialism.

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