The simultaneous statements by U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro Ruiz are of great historic significance. The comprehensive package of measures aimed at improving the economic, political and diplomatic relations between these two countries signals the beginning of the end to one of the darkest periods in the history of this hemisphere – the 50-plus years of U.S. aggression and blockade against socialist Cuba and her people.
The negotiated agreement calls for the immediate mutual release of Alan Gross (convicted and imprisoned on the charge of espionage by a Cuban court in 2011) and the three remaining imprisoned members of the Cuban Five – Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero – who have been unjustly jailed in the U.S. since 1998. It also includes the release of another CIA spy held by Cuban authorities, and some other Cuban ‘political prisoners’ at the request of the U.S.
The agreement also calls for the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two countries, including the reopening of embassies in Washington and Havana; the easing of business and travel restrictions, making it easier for Americans to obtain licenses to do business in Cuba and to travel to the island; the removal of certain banking restrictions so that U.S. citizens can use credit and debit cards while in Cuba; and the scrapping of other trade, travel and investment irritants and sanctions imposed by the U.S. over more than a half a century.
This settlement is a tremendous victory for the Cuban government and people, and for all those around the world who have fought for the release of the Cuban Five from U.S. jails for over 15 years. But it is also an important victory for the American people who have been prevented from visiting Cuba, from having people-to-people social and cultural exchanges, and from conducting trade and other business activities with Cuba due to the hostile and aggressive U.S. policy toward its southern neighbour.
It is also a major victory for the peoples of Latin America, and for progressive and democratic-minded people around the world who have opposed the economic blockade of Cuba, and championed the cause of the Cuban Five. By opening the door to the full normalization of relations between these two countries, this agreement constitutes a victory for regional and world peace.
While unreservedly welcoming this agreement, the Communist Party of Canada notes that there are still powerful anti-Cuban forces within U.S. ruling circles who have financed and organized terrorist actions against Cuba in the past, and who pose a serious threat to the normalization of relations today. This danger calls for the utmost vigilance by all those in Canada and around the world who support this historic advance toward peaceful reconciliation between the U.S. and Cuba.
We are also under no illusions that U.S. imperialism will abandon its efforts to overthrow the Cuban Revolution, restore capitalism, and return Cuba to its former neo-colonial status as an obedient client-state of Washington. It would be wrong to conclude that the US corporate and political elite – by conceding that the half-century of economic blockade and subversion have failed to achieve these ends – have abandoned their main objectives of subduing Cuba; it only means that they will now change their tack.
The Communist Party of Canada will continue to stand with the Cuban people in their choice to build socialism on their island, and will oppose any and all threats or actions aimed at undermining the sovereign right of the Cuban people to determine their own future.
Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada ~ December 17, 2014