Pan-African and International Solidarity will Break Sanctions

Image of protests against sanctions in Zimbabwe

Not one European colonizer or settler-colonist brought land to the African continent. They stole it when they arrived. Consequently, it is not only logical but just, that Africans take the land back. Because British settlers stole Zimbabwe territory and called it “Rhodesia” as a tribute to racist Cecil Rhodes, Africans fought a long, fierce armed struggle. After seizing state power in 1980, Africans re-named the country Zimbabwe. For the next 20 years, the Zimbabwean government under the leadership of the heroic Robert Mugabe was widely praised by the west. However, all of that changed when, in the year 2000, the Zimbabwean government began a land reform program that involved reclaiming land seized by European settlers. The program gave hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwe citizens access to land, while also creating large scale farms for commercial development. Nevertheless, Mugabe was immediately and falsely branded a tyrannical terrorist and anti-white autocrat. The United Kingdom came down on the country like a ton of bricks. In 2001, the U.S. got in on the action and imposed sanctions by way of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) along with a subsequent series of executive orders.

The sanctions choked Zimbabwe’s economy nearly to death and resulted in widespread hardship for the people of that country. Imperialists exploited the hardships by fomenting political conflict and otherwise destabilizing the country through acts of harassment and disinformation. These conditions existed for years. But as a testament to the strength and resilience of Zimbabwe’s people, the country produced record corn and tobacco crops from 2017 through 2019 despite the continued strangulation of U.S. and European Union sanctions that have caused immense suffering and death.

Zimbabwe’s land reform was a monumental step forward in the struggle against imperialism in Africa. This fact has not been missed by revolutionary forces throughout the world that have stood firm in their solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe. These forces include, among many others: Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania, Azanian People’s Organization, Socialist People’s Organization of Azania, The December 12th Movement, Zimbabwe-Cuba Solidarity Organization (U.S.), North Korea, China, Cuba, and of course the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP).

On August 19, 2019 the 16 member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) declared October 25 as “A Day of Solidarity to Lift the Illegal Sanctions Imposed on Zimbabwe.” Historically, this kind of Pan-African and global revolutionary solidarity created the conditions for Africa’s successful armed anti-colonial victories throughout the African continent. Even while Cuba was under its own imperialist embargo, that country showed unwavering Internationalist solidarity during the anti-colonial period with material aid and more than 65,000 troops. Solidarity was also shown when the African Liberation Support Committee inside the OAU was setup to aid the liberation forces throughout the continent.

The All-African People’s Revolutionary Party sees working with our fellow Pan-African revolutionary formations to build an All-African Committee for Political Coordination as a priority task that will facilitate united action against all forms of imperialist attacks on Africa and Africans, including western imperialist sanctions on countries throughout Africa and the Socialist World.

Cuban Solidarity and People’s Power

Cuba has been under an embargo since 1960 and a full blockade since 1962. The United States not only bars trade by U.S. companies but it also punishes other countries that trade with Cuba. How has Cuba survived the U.S. imperial blockade? By building self-reliant internal and international solidarity. In 1960 the Cuban socialist government formed two critical organizations “Committees for Defense of the Revolution (CDRs)” and “The Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP).” The CDR organizations claimed membership of 8.4 million people in 2010. ICAP’s people -to-people solidarity has built relationships with 2,045 Cuban solidarity organizations in 152 countries.

After Cuba lost most of their trading partners in 1991 following the breakup of the former Soviet Union, the effects of the blockade were intense. The Cuban people pulled together and not once in these lean years did the Cuban socialist system suspend free health care and education. The crises were met by the people, the Cuban Communist Party, and their friends and allies. They grew food everywhere – on porches, raised beds, parking lots and throughout the countryside.

There was also international support. IFCO Pastors for Peace challenged the U.S. blockade by taking shipments of supplies to Cuba through Mexico. IFCO continues solidarity annually with a travel challenge, coordinated with Cuba solidarity organizations Venceremos Brigade and African Awareness Association. The A-APRP is in solidarity with Cuba globally but in the U.S., the A-APRP chapters work with the National Network on Cuba, a network of more than 35 solidarity organizations in the U.S. challenging the blockade.

The 1996 revolution in Venezuela led to solidarity with Cuba and became the nucleus of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), and eventually the formation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

Venezuela’s Solidarity

Venezuela demonstrated solidarity by creating Petro-Caribe to help ease the cost of fuel for Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Bermuda, Dominica, and other countries in the region. Venezuela even

donated heating oil to underserved communities in New York and Baltimore. The country financed cataract surgeries for people throughout the region.

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) created solidarity among masses of workers and indigenous and African-descended people in Venezuela, first by using 80 percent of oil revenues for education, health care and housing. College was made available for the children of the working classes. The PSUV led a campaign to politically educate the people and they later changed their constitution to put more power in the hands of the people.

Since its unsuccessful attempt to stage an unpopular coup in 2002, imperialism has been trying to use economic sabotage against Venezuela to crush the people’s revolution. The U.S. disputed the 2018 re-election of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and proceeded to back the self-appointed President Juan Guaido. In the face of support by the majority of the members the Organization American States (OAS) and many members of European Union (EU), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the ALBA countries in the Americas stood firm with President Maduro. U.S. resolutions in the United Nations to invade and overturn the elections failed.

Trump’s regime stepped up sanctions started by the Obama regime which declared Venezuela a security threat. The current administration has frozen Venezuela’s oil assets, and those of PSUV members. As in the case of Cuba the embargo has become a blockade, and not only are U.S. companies restricted from doing business with Venezuela but other countries doing business with Venezuela are sanctioned. Venezuela’s indigenous and African communities have benefited most from the revolution and they show their solidarity with PSUV. Extreme poverty was reduced by 70 percent after the party came to power and over 2.5 million houses have been built by the government.

The A-APRP stands with PSUV and the people of Venezuela.

These three countries and many others are on the frontline of struggle against imperialism and we must give them all the support and solidarity they need. The A-APRP calls on all Africans around the world to join the fight.