The U.S. blockade of Cuba is hitting women hardest of all, but too many Democratic leaders are silent. Let’s ask Jill Biden, Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi to help change U.S. policy and help Cuban families!
The U.S. embargo on Cuba is causing great harm to Cuban women who are simply trying to feed and protect their families during a terrible pandemic. A recent report by Oxfam shows that women in Cuba carry the heaviest burden of sustaining daily life and that the U.S. embargo causes material shortages, increases their stress, lowers their quality of life, and limits their opportunities.
Yet instead of working to ease the embargo, the Biden administration and many Democrats seem content to maintain Trump’s cruel policy of maximum pressure, including restrictions on even sending remittances back home. Imagine the U.S. government telling Cuban Americans that they are not allowed to send money to their relatives in Cuba who are coping with a pandemic? It’s disgraceful.
The Trump administration imposed 243 new sanctions on Cuba, and President Biden himself applied even more sanctions on Cuba in the past weeks. These measures have significantly deepened a Covid-induced economic crisis, leading to shortages and long lines to purchase food and everyday goods. The burden is falling on Cuban women to keep their families fed and healthy. We cannot sit by while U.S. policy, whether implemented by Trump or Biden, causes hardship for millions of Cuban families.
Ask First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to tell President Biden to follow Obama, not Trump, by lifting restrictions on remittances, travel and other policies that hurt Cuban families.
Why have we focused on these three Democrats? Dr. Jill Biden visited Cuba at the tail end of the Obama administration to deepen ties with the Cuban people as the two countries enjoyed their closest relations in sixty years. Vice President Harris has been focusing on immigration and one of the key demands of Cuban Americans is being able to reunite their families. Speaker Pelosi controls the agenda in Congress and could introduce a bill to end the Trump sanctions.
Dr. Jill Biden greets the residents of downtown Camaguey, Cuba, Oct. 8, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Since the protests in Cuba on July 11, the White House and many powerful Democrats have been too eager to appease right-wing Cuban Americans. Instead of listening to Trump’s base, they should listen to their own base and the vast majority of Americans who are against the embargo and supported the Obama administration’s approach of normalizing relations with Cuba. Most importantly, they should place the well-being of Cuban women and families above domestic electoral politics.
It’s disappointing that these powerful women haven’t spoken up in defense of Cuban families. In the case of Speaker Pelosi, she actually blocked an amendment that would have lifted the Trump ban on remittances! At CODEPINK, we’re going to keep pushing to end this brutal economic war against the Cuban people.
In radical solidarity,
Medea, Teri, Leonardo and Michelle