Cuba economic crisis—India extending all help, US needs to ‘loosen noose’ : The Tribune India

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Cuba economic crisis—India extending all help, US needs to ‘loosen noose’

'Cuba has the best vaccines for diseases like ovarian cancer and hepatitis but cannot market them for greater good of humanity because of US sanctions'

Cuba economic crisis—India extending all help, US needs to ‘loosen noose’

'You can blame the Cuban government for mismanaging the economy if you want but the damage caused by longstanding US economic sanctions has been equally dilapidating,' says a former diplomat. Reuters file



Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, May 16

Long queues outside banks, ATMs and shopkeepers insisting on cash transactions for essentials, Cuba, one of the more-influential states of the Caribbean region, is in deep economic crisis, in fact, one of the worst in decades, according to economists.

Amid near-day blackouts, food shortages and worsening economic crisis, Cubans have also been taking to the streets.

Triggered by the situation during the Covid pandemic, protests against the Cuban government started in July 2021 and only kept aggravating. In 2024, Cuba’s peso currency lost nearly half its value against the dollar, deeply cutting into the buying power of Cubans, already rattled by power outages, inflation and shortages.

India, which happens to be among the first countries to extend recognition to the new Cuban government following the Cuban revolution in January 1959, has been collaborating and helping Cuba in many ways and areas, including energy. Experts say while India and many other countries are doing their bit, it was time the US started “loosening the noose” of hash sanctions imposed several decades back.

The United States embargo against Cuba prevents US businesses, and businesses organised under US law or majority-owned by US citizens, from conducting trade with Cuban interests.

“The sanctions have been the most enduring trade embargo in modern history. You can blame the Cuban government for mismanaging the economy if you want but the damage caused by longstanding US economic sanctions has been equally dilapidating,” says a former diplomat.

According to Professor Sonya Surabhi Gupta, a Latin American specialist from Jamia Millia Islamia, India has always supported Cuba in various ways and some recent examples are the line of credit and technical support extended in different sectors, especially renewable energy where they are most required by a power-deficient country.

“India has historically supported Cuba and is continuing with its show of solidarity. However, the US is not loosening (on sanctions).

Unfortunately, there has been a total disregard and disrespect for international law and opinion. Cuba has been able to survive all this while only because of international support. The protests happening there may not necessarily be against the government, they are also because of exasperation with harsh conditions forced on the people who just want a better life.  

“Despite all the hardships, Cuba is doing exceedingly well in education, health and pharmaceuticals. In fact, they have the best vaccines for diseases like ovarian cancer and hepatitis but cannot market them for greater good of humanity because of US sanctions,” says Professor Gupta.

Some light at the end of the tunnel was recently perceived when the US removed Cuba from a short list of countries it alleged are “not cooperating fully” in its fight against terrorism as per reports.

According to some geo-political experts, the decision marked “a tepid if symbolically important move” on behalf of the Joe Biden government, which had been carrying on with the Donald Trump-era restrictions on the Communist-run island. 

About The Author

The Tribune Web Desk brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune Wed Desk for not just breaking news stories but wide-ranging coverage of events.

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