Unilaterally imposed US sanctions on any countries are flagrantly illegal. Washington weaponized them to wage war by other means.
In 1996, the Vienna-based International Progress Organization called sanctions as “an illegitimate form of collective punishment of the weakest and poorest members of society, the infants, the children, the chronically ill, and the elderly.”
That’s what US harshness is largely about, aiming to turn the people of targeted nations against governments Washington wants deposed.
It’s been a failed policy every time imposed. Decades of US political and economic harshness against Iran achieved nothing strategically—nor against any other countries.
Yet the same policies persist, tough new sanctions against Iran the latest example, along with others on Cuba and Venezuela.
On Thursday, John Bolton announced them on Havana and Caracas.
The Bolivarian Republic’s gold trade is targeted, barring US companies and individuals from dealing with the country’s sector. Other Venezuelan entities and officials will likely be sanctioned, escalating efforts to make the economy scream more than already.
Over two dozen Cuban entities connected to its government were added to the Trump regime’s target list. Illegally imposed sanctions prohibit financial and other business dealings with them.
Since taking office, Trump hardened travel restrictions and financial transactions by Americans with Havana.
In July, his regime imposed illegal sanctions on Nicaragua. Bolton warned the country “will feel the full weight of America’s robust sanctions regime,” targeting the nation’s sovereign independence, its opposition to US imperial wars of aggression.
On Friday, Cuban Foreign Ministry’s Director General for US Affairs Carlos Fernandez de Cassio said the following: “They will not change our country’s obligations of solidarity to other peoples but will harm the people of Cuba, Cubans living abroad and those who want constructive relations between the two countries. Cuba will continue defending its sovereign right to choose its own political system and its future.”
The illegal US embargo on Cuba was imposed in October 1960. It excluded food and medicines, expanded in February 1962 to include nearly all imports—enforced by the following statutes:
(1) The 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act
(2) 1961 Foreign Assistance Act
(3) 1963 Cuba Assets Control Regulations
(4) 1992 Cuban Democracy Act (encouraging pro-opposition groups)
(5) 1996 Helms-Burton Act (hardening earlier legislation)
(6) 2000 Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (authorizing sale of humanitarian products)
Obama’s December 2014 pledge about “charting a new course on Cuba” concealed dirty business as usual. Strategy and tactics changed, not regime change objectives.
Embargo, limited US travel, and other restrictions remain in place. So does longstanding hostility toward Cuban sovereign independence—US policy from Dwight Eisenhower to Trump.
Normalized relations are unattainable without ending over half a century of lawless embargo. US presidents can do it by executive order, congressional authorization not needed.
Cuba isn’t a US enemy as explained under the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA)—defined as “any individual (or) government of any nation” at war with America.
Neither country declared war on the other. No legal authority exists for applying TWEA to US/Cuban relations. The same applies to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran and other countries illegally sanctioned by Washington.
Instead of normalizing US relations with these and other sovereign independent countries, Trump hardened them—including against Russia, China, and Iran, illegal sanctions imposed on these countries, more likely coming.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.