Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla gave a press conference yesterday to present the country’s report to the United Nations General Assembly outlining the full impact of the United States embargo against Cuba over the last year.
The meeting with national and foreign media was broadcast live on the Ministry’s YouTube channel and the Cubaminrex Facebook page. The resolution entitled “The need to end the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” will be presented for the 28th time to the UN General Assembly, where the international community has repeatedly expressed its support for the island and condemnation of the hostile U.S. policy.
The economic, commercial and financial embargo/blockade imposed by the US against Cuba for nearly six decades is the most unjust, severe, and prolonged system of unilateral sanctions ever levied on any country.
In this past year, tightening the blockade has continued to be the central driver of U.S. government policy toward Cuba, with increasing effects in its extraterritorial application.
The U.S. State Department has on three occasions expanded the “Restricted List of Cuban Entities and Sub-Entities”, subject to additional sanctions. This measure has caused considerable damage to the country’s economy by intimidating the international business community.
April 17, 2019, the U.S. State Department announced its decision to activate Title III of the Helms-Burton Act to permit the filing of claims in U.S. courts against enterprises and individuals, both Cuban and of other nationalities, doing business with properties nationalized in the 1960s. This decision ended the practice of suspending this option for a six month period, assumed since 1996 by earlier U.S. administrations and President Trump himself in the first two years in office.
Since the implementation of this decision, Cuba’s economic activities have been severely affected, especially Cuban relations with international partners and investors. No citizen or sector of the economy escapes the negative effects of this unilateral policy which hinders development, to which every country is entitled, constructed in a sovereign manner.
Added to the foregoing are provisions of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department and the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Commerce Department to eliminate, as of June 5, 2019, general licenses for “people to people” group educational travel, and prohibiting temporary stays in Cuba by non-commercial aircraft, passenger and recreational boats, including cruise ships. This measure, beyond severely limiting travel by U.S. citizens to our country, directly impacts the emerging Cuban private sector.
All of these actions were taken for the deliberate and declared objective of causing economic harm and depriving Cuba of financial resources.
The behavior of the current United States government is an insult to the international community which has for 27 consecutive years condemned the blockade of Cuba within the framework of the United Nations. It ignores successive resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly and declarations by heads of state or government of the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean, the African Union, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Group of 77 and China and the Non-Aligned Movement, among other organizations which have demanded an end to the blockade of Cuba.
The policy of blockade against Cuba continues to represent an impediment to the development of the Cuban economy’s potential; to the implementation of the National Economic and Social Development Plan; and attaining Agenda 2030 and its objectives for Sustainable Development.
The blockade is a massive, flagrant, and systematic violation of the human rights of all Cuban men and women. Because of its declared goal and the political, legal, and administrative framework upon which it is sustained, these sanctions qualify as an act of genocide according to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 and as an act of economic warfare according to the Naval Conference of London of 1909. Moreover, it is in violation of the United Nations Charter and international law.
The United States must, without any conditions whatsoever, put an end to the unjust blockade which for nearly 60 years has caused the Cuban people suffering.
Cuba hall not renounce its principles nor cease in its demands for the complete elimination of the blockade. Therefore, on the 6th and 7th of November, 2019, the government of Cuba will once again present to the United Nations General Assembly the draft resolution entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the government of the United States of America against Cuba.”
Cuba reiterates its permanent gratitude to the international community for demanding the end to this illegal, genocidal, and extraterritorial policy.
Within the particularly difficult current situation, Cuba and its people hope to once again count on the valuable contribution of your countries to lifting the U.S. blockade.
This article was first published in Granma.Cu