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The War on Cuba

by Maité Rizo
Is the Cuba Blockade a Myth?
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Even when I didn't understand what it was to be Cuban, it was clear to me that we struggled because of the blockade. Since I was a child I heard many times at home and at school: "the United States is bad," it was the simplest way for the little ones to understand. I grew up hearing that everything around me was the fault of the blockade. Perhaps, for that reason, when we began to thoroughly investigate the impact of the blockade for the film series “The War on Cuba,” and how we wanted to treat it, for me it was already a worn-out issue.

The Cuban people have lived for almost sixty years with restrictions imposed by the United States government. Many times we do not even notice how much this policy affects us, because in a certain way we get used to so many decades of economic war along with the problems of our country, because no, it is not all the fault of the blockade. But it exists and its impact is real.

When a new leader arrives in the White House, Cubans hold our breath. We live in fear that the next one could be worse. And so it wasn’t until the arrival of Barack Obama, when we finally saw the light. Many blame only the Cuban government for our economic shortcomings, but when bilateral relations improved, our economy also regained its charm.

But we had little time to appreciate this change. Donald Trump arrived, and he ruined everything that both countries had advanced in normalizing their relations.

In the last three years, Cubans have gone through some of the worst crises in our history, affecting all sectors. For example, in September of last year, the United States prevented the country from receiving fuel, and Cuba had to readjust its operation with only 30 percent of the oil it needed. Put like that, they are only figures, but when you live here it is frustrating to see your people wait for hours for public transportation, start cooking with charcoal, and see private businesses, which were just beginning to flourish, go bankrupt.

___________________________________________________________________________________ Maité Rizo is a Cuban journalist based in Havana, and is a producer for the documentary series, The War on Cuba. Her work focuses on social issues through audiovisual production. "The War on Cuba" is a documentary miniseries made by Belly of the Beast, a media outlet made up of various Cuban and foreign professionals. We are a team that aims to show the impact of US policy on the people of the island and the various ways that Cubans find to resolve the situation and survive.

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