HAVANA – Cuba’s National Association of Small Farmers, or ANAP, said on Thursday that the U.S. government’s announcement last month authorizing independent producers to export coffee and additional textiles was a clear attempt to sever their ties to the state.
The statement by the ANAP, a state-run organization that represents Cuban small farmers, referred to the U.S. State Department’s decision on April 22 to add coffee and additional textiles to its Section 515.582 list of allowable imports from “independent Cuban entrepreneurs.”
That list had previously only included jewelry, ceramics and works of art.
“We’re aware that the goal of these types of measures is to exert influence over Cuban small farmers and separate them from our state,” says the statement, published in the Communist Party daily Granma.
That association, established in 1961, said the objective of U.S. “imperialist policy” was to “promote division and the disintegration of Cuban society.”
“We Cuban small farmers are members of socialist civil society and we exist as part of the state and not in opposition to the state, which represents the power of the people,” the statement read.
The ANAP said if the U.S. government was truly concerned with contributing to Cubans’ wellbeing it would lift the embargo it imposed more than 50 years ago, which is the “main obstacle to the development of Cuba.”
U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban counterpart Raul Castro announced a process of normalization in December 2014 that led last July to the re-establishment of diplomatic relations after a breach of more than 50 years.
The White House has taken measures to relax Washington’s 54-year-old economic embargo against the island, but only Congress can repeal it entirely.