Written 10:21 AM Mar 12, 1995 by peg:jclancy in cdp:reg.carib
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From Granma's Interview with Ramsey Clark, The Starvation Weapon

A February 1995 interview of former Attorney General Ramsey Clark with Granma.

Q. The US Blockade of Cuba?-

As a lawyer, which I am, and considering the many new uses of the concept of blockade, I see the blockade clearly as a crime against humanity, as a weapon of mass destruction. You know, we talk about nuclear weapons as being weapons of mass destruction. The blockade is a weapon for the destruction of the masses, and it attacks those segments of the society that are the most vulnerable. Inherently, it attacks infants and children, the chronically ill, the elderly and emergency medical cases. Like the neutron bomb it takes lives, it kills people, but it protects property, it doesn't destroy property. So when you look at the effect of what we generally call the sanctions on Iraq, you see hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by those sanctions, far more than all the deaths caused by the military assault by the US, which included 110,000 aerial strikes in 42 days; one every 30 seconds night and day that dropped 88,500 tons of bombs the equivalent of seven and a half Hiroshima bombs. But the sanctions have killed more than four times the number of people than the bombings killed.

In Vietnam, the sanctions since 1975 have done more injury, caused more death to the people there, than in all the years of their war against the invading French and the USA. The children born in Vietnam just in the last five years are estimated to have been severely underweight in half of the births, and more than a quarter have been physically or mentally retarded from malnutrition, the lack of medical supplies and all the rest. So you can see that the damage to the people of Vietnam is of enormous magnitude and is a crime against humanity.

The purpose of the blockade against Cuba is to cripple the country, to prove to the world that the Cuban system failed, that there's only one system that works and that all this talk from Cuba about its accomplishments during the Revolution was a mirage, that it wasn't an accomplishment of the Cuban people or the system, but simply the product of the Soviet subsidy. So for instance, your incredible revolution in health, which can offer hope to the poor throughout the world, the tens of millions of poor in the United States who have no health care, and whole countries of people who live short, miserable sick lives. They want to prove that Cuba really accomplished nothing, that the system totally failed, and that now they can't even care for their own sick. So those are my basic feelings about the blockade and from that you can tell that I think that its of the greatest importance that the blockade be ended immediately and prohibited from ever happening again against any people.

During the period after WorldWar 2, when the power of the planet was divided in the main between the Soviet bloc and the West, the sanctions could not be a very meaningful weapon, because if one bloc tried to punish a small country by sanctions or blockade, the other bloc could move in and bring it into their influence.But with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the blockade became an inexpensive weapon of choice. It can punish, yet still protect the property there for future exploitation.

Q.,"Cuba has never been at war with the US, like Viet Nam or Iraq,nor has it ever attacked another country. So why us?"


Sanctions are the new weapon of choice and it takes two things to impose sanctions: it takes wealth, and the military capacity to enforce it. So now, the US policy suddenly shifts. Many say that the US doesn't have a foreign policy anymore, with the Clinton Administration, but they've made very clear what their policy is. The US Chamber of Commerce reopened its offices in 1993 for the first time since 1917, so you can imagine how the Americans there felt. Warren Christopher, the Sec'y of State was there, also Lloyd Benson, Sec'y of the Treasury. Benson said that economics is the foreign policy of the United States and Warren Christopher saidthe foreign policy of the US is economic. So the policy now is to exploit the rest of the world economic-ally. So we come up with NAFTA, which forced the Mayan Indians in Chiapas, Mexico, to either rebel or abandon their Mayan lifestyle and move to the slums of Oaxaca or Mexico City and beg for food -because on 1 January 1994 they could no longer sell their corn for cash. Chiapas was the only state in Mexico that exported corn. The Indians grew that corn.

Q. "In the future what should be changed to make things better for humankind?"


The need we all have for the years ahead is to find ways to share the truth and work together to prohibit the United States government from any use of its military technology against any people anywhere, and to reverse its economic policy, which is designed to enrich the plutocracy, the rich in the US. Otherwise we will see a growing gap between the rich and the poor, which has been growing steadily within both the US and other rich countries against their own poor and against the poor people of all poor countries, and completely reverse that US policy to seek to greatly increase the share available to impoverished peoples. Otherwise we are heading for a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. The United States is not a 'democracy'. It is a plutocracy. It is government by wealth. You can't understand the US unless you understand this. The plutocracy controls the military and the media and that has to be changed. We have to liberate the United States from the control of the plutocracy. We have an enormous number of poor who must be cared for with a fairer wealth distribution.US plutocrats must be prevented from devising means like GATT and NAFTA, which ensure a massive future catastrophe.