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What Cuban boycott?

26 November 2013

Since everybody’s been talking about the Kennedy Administration this last week, here’s another ghost from that era that still haunts Latin America… the Cuban boycott.

October 1962 Meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council . Photo:  Cecil Stoughton, White House / John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston

October 1962
Meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council . Photo: Cecil Stoughton, White House / John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston

In the annual U.N. vote condemning the boycott, three “countries” abstained (Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Palau:  all “Associated States” of the United States) and every other country (including countries at war with each other, like North and South Korea) voted to end the blockade.  Except the United States, of course.  And one other…

Support for Washington in 2013 was technically the lowest ever, with only Israel in its now impossible-to-be-smaller corner. (Notably, Israel has significant two-way economic trade and commercial relations with Cuba and there is fully legal travel from each country to the other. “We assume that at least 10,000 Israelis have already visited Cuba,” said Daniel Faians, president and CEO of Polaris Group, a large travel wholesaler and airline agent based in Tel Aviv. That would be the equivalent, in an Israeli population of just under 8 million, of around 400,000 US visitors. Faians has found no anti-Semitism in Cuba and no personal hostility towards Israelis even though the Cuban government is a strong supporter of Palestinian self-determination and has normal or friendly diplomatic relations with all the Arab countries as well as Iran. Faians emphasized, “And we don’t have any problems with the authorities. If you arrive with an Israeli passport, you get the same treatment as anybody else.” Fifty-six Cuban Jewish athletes participated in the 2013 Maccabiah Games — the so-called Jewish Olympics — in Jerusalem with no incidents or problems. There has been significant Israeli-based capital investment in numerous Cuban projects and industries including irrigation technology, office towers, and agricultural production.)

Ike Nahem, “Another Vote on Washington’s Anti-Cuba Policy at the United Nations” (Counterpunch, 24 November 2013)

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