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Opinions of Monday, 3 December 2012

Columnist: Kusi, Isaac

Lift The Embargo On Cuba Now!

One of the prolific Ghanaian storytellers of all time is Nana Kwame Ampadu. His stories were conveyed in his music. I remember one song “Ebi te Yie” literally means “Some are well seated” where he tells the story of a meeting of all the animals in the Animal Kingdom. Each was present and the antelope was unfortunate to have taken its seat in front of the leopard. The leopard made the life of the antelope miserable. First the leopard pinned the antelope’s tail to the floor with its claws. Antelope was in pain but could not say it. Whenever the antelope wanted to speak, leopard would hit him on the head, telling the antelope that he was making noise and the meeting was not for juveniles. So antelope mustered courage and got up shouting “Petition please, point of order”. He was given time to talk and he requested postponement of the meeting because at the meeting some animals were not well seated. The animals had seen what was going on and eventually postponed the meeting.

That is what’s happening in the western hemisphere between the mighty United States of America and comparatively tiny Cuba, about ninety-eight miles away from Florida. Cuba’s retired leader Fidel Castro has lived through the reign of at least ten US presidents who have kept an imposed economic embargo on this island nation for the past fifty years. At the height of the Cuban revolution, American properties were nationalized in Cuba leading to the embargo. American nationals cannot travel to Cuba unless they go through Canada, Mexico or Panama. Some American companies cannot do business with Cuba. This does not speak well of a country that claims to be a champion of democracy while trading with China, the most populous communist country. Cuba has been supportive of “Third World” causes, sending two hundred medical doctors to Ghana every year to work in the remote towns and villages, besides training other medical personnel.

In the documentary movie, The Cuba Africa Revolution, we saw how Fidel Castro and Cuba sent about fifty thousand soldiers to Angola, ten thousand of whom died, to fight the South African army which led to a stalemate and negotiated release of Nelson Mandela from jail, to end apartheid.

As we say in Ghana, one hand washes the other. We African immigrants in America, although not counted as a block, voted overwhelmingly for President Barack Obama, second time around. Since he has created a website “We the People”, to solicit petitions, I am embarking on this quest for his administration to lift the embargo on Cuba. It is the right thing to do and will be one of the strings of legacies he will leave behind.
This was also mentioned by President John Mahama during his speech at the UN General Assembly this year.
I therefore call on all well meaning people worldwide to sign this petition at

It takes a minute to register and sign freely without fear of intimidation or reprisals.

Isaac Kusi
Bronx, NY.