At its 2019 convention, Democratic Socialists of America voted that its International Committee (IC) should produce for members a quarterly newsletter of news and analysis about international events. In our final newsletter of 2021, we discuss vaccine apartheid, sanctions on Afghanistan, and US meddling in Latin America.
IC Quarterly Analysis – Q4 2021
Period: October–December 2021
Volume 2, Issue 2
It has been over a year since the governments of South Africa and India first proposed that the World Trade Organization waive its restrictive patent monopoly rules and instead share lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine and treatment technology for the good of humanity. Since that time, more than four million people have died from the virus. Countless more have suffered.
Although President Biden has announced his support for waiving patent monopolies to enable all countries with the technical capacity to mass produce vaccines—the result of organized pressure from a global grassroots movement, of which DSA was a part—the United States has fallen far short of what is needed to truly dismantle vaccine apartheid. The United States has failed to mandate much-needed technology transfer and drastically underinvested in global production. And while Germany, the UK and a handful of other countries have continued to formally block the lifesaving TRIPS waiver, the US has not endorsed the specific waiver proposal made by India and South Africa, has failed to bring adequate diplomatic pressure against holdouts and has even obstructed negotiations—all while the virus has continued to mutate and spread.
Millions of human lives are at risk from our policy of vaccine extortion—across the entire world. As deadly new variants reveal, what goes around comes around. Not only elementary human decency, but the interest of people in the United States demands that vaccine apartheid be ended NOW.
US Withdraws from Afghanistan, but Cruel Sanctions Continue to Inflict Misery on Afghan People
The United States should never have invaded Afghanistan. The Afghan people suffered from U.S. violence for decades and now will face further hardship under the Taliban. The United States is right to withdraw as it has no right to occupy any country and the Taliban draws legitimacy from the U.S. occupation. At the same time, U.S. actions continue to demonstrate a clear lack of regard for the lives of Afghans. President Biden blames Afghans, framing the conflict as a “civil war” that the U.S. somehow stumbled into, obscuring the direct role the United States has played in starting and prolonging the bloodshed.
More than half of Afghanistan’s population faces life-threatening food insecurity this winter in large part because the United States and other Western countries are engaging in economic warfare against the Afghan people.
The Biden administration has criminally frozen $9.5 billion in central bank assets that rightfully belong to Afghanistan. After decades of disastrous imperial intervention and occupation, this policy threatens to derail Afghanistan’s fragile economy, fueling an acute crisis that threatens poverty, starvation and death. Millions of Afghans, including one million children, could die this winter from starvation if the economic policies devastating Afghanistan are not reversed.
End Us Meddling in Latin America
The Democratic Socialists of America International Committee (DSA IC) believes that anti-imperialism and self-determination of all peoples are fundamental and non-negotiable principles in the fight for socialism and workers’ liberation around the globe. In this sense, DSA condemns the Biden administration’s decision to intensify illegal economic sanctions and other punitive measures against the Nicaraguan government through its signing of the RENACER Act on November 10, 2021, as part of a long history of ongoing US interference in Latin America. In the wake of polemics surrounding the November 2021 presidential elections, DSA denounces the US government’s attempts at legitimizing further sanctions in an effort to expand its political and economic interests in the region, using the familiar refrain of “protecting freedom and democracy” through the use of punitive measures of economic coercion. Time and again, we have seen that these types of violent measures only serve to further polarize the national and international political arenas and negatively impact the livelihoods of ordinary working class people.
The RENACER Act builds on the NICA Act of 2018 aiming to further destabilize the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) led government of Daniel Ortega through “targeted” sanctions and visa restrictions against government officials, “state-controlled” enterprises, and members of national security forces, and pushes for the European Union and Canada to take similar measures. In addition, the legislation will expand US oversight over international financial institutions lending to Nicaragua and will condition the continued participation of Nicaragua in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) on periodic reviews by the Executive branch of the US government. These provisions will undoubtedly serve to further weaken Nicaragua’s economy, highly dependent on the US market and already battered by the COVID-19 crisis, and in particular will have a disproportionate impact on Nicaraguan workers employed in export-oriented sectors such as textiles, apparel, meatpacking, coffee production and other agroindustries.
Similarly, DSA International Committee (DSA IC) calls for an end to the US embargo on Cuba, beginning with immediate executive actions from the Biden administration to reverse Trump-era policies and lift restrictions on COVID-19 aid to Cuba.
Cuba, a longtime target of US interference, faces a moment of crisis in the wake of COVID-19. Through media campaigns, unsubstantiated allegations of so-called “Havana Syndrome,” and antagonizing legislation like the recent HR 760, the present US administration has chosen to exploit this crisis, inflicting greater harm on both the Cuban people and Cuban-American families.
The US embargo has profoundly hindered Cuba’s ability to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, creating shortages of critical medical materials. While Cuba has now secured enough syringes to vaccinate 90% of their population, they have a shortage of raw materials to produce more vaccines to help the struggling Global South. They intended on sending vaccines to Vietnam, Venezuela, Mexico and Nicaragua, but this is all being actively prevented by the Biden administration.
See DSA IC opposes the RENACER Act and all sanctions against Nicaragua and denounces ongoing US Government meddling in Latin America
DSA IC demands an end to the US embargo on Cuba, and calls on President Biden to immediately lift the blockade on COVID aid to Cuba