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The archaic blockade

Published: 2017.10.09 - 16:29:22   /  /  Dra. Ana Teresa Badía Valdés  /  translated by  Enma Santos Pérez  /

The latest news from the UN headquarters in New York are revealing: presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers are calling for an end to the US blockade against Cuba.

And it is that in the annual debate of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), the dignitaries of Bolivia, Evo Morales; Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís; El Salvador, Salvador Sánchez Cerén; South Africa, Jacob Zuma; Namibia, Hage Geingob; Ecuador, Lenín Moreno; Guyana, David Granger; São Tomé and Príncipe, Evaristo Carvalho; Nauru, Baron Waqa; Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, and Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Kaboré, established clear positions against the blockade.

In addition, the foreign ministers of Vietnam, Pham Binh Minh; Cambodia, Prak Sokhonn; Belize, Wilfred Elrington; and Barbados, Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean, as well as Deputy Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Louis Straker, called for an end to the hostile policy of economic, commercial and financial siege.

Sokhonn rebuked unilateral sanctions against the largest archipelago in the West Indies while saying that they constitute a violation of international law. For his part, Straker spoke of them as an anachronistic retreat to the Cold War. Meanwhile, Elrington recalled that it is a "flagrant, illegal and unilateral" policy.

Russian Chancellor Serguei Lavrov and Vanuatu Prime Ministers Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas and Tuvalu Enele Sopoaga also spoke against the blockade. At the UN there were also allegations about the decision announced on June 16 by the President of the United States, the Republican Donald Trump, to boost unilateral sanctions against Cuba.

In total, at least 15 countries, in addressing the plenary of the 193 Member States of the UN, demanded the lifting of the blockade, which has been implemented and intensified by the successive eleven US administrations.

A backward and selfish policy in numbers

• A report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX) estimates that between April 2015 and March 2016, direct damages caused by the economic, financial and commercial blockade exceeded $ 4.86 billion.

• During the years of the blockade, losses amount to 753 billion dollars.

• Cuba can neither export nor import food freely from the United States. Since 2000, restrictions in this area have increased.

• The investment of US companies in Cuba remains prohibited.

• Imports of medicines have been conditioned since 1992 by United States law.

• Companies such as the Columbiana Boiler Company of North America prevent the export of cylinders that are necessary to package the chlorine destined to the potabilization of water of the country.

• US companies such as SIGMA Aldrich and General Electric deny the supply of products, services and technical information indispensable for the Cuban chemical industry.

• Cancer patients suffer from shortages of medical equipment that are sold from the United States because US companies are prohibited from supplying these supplies to Cuban hospitals and institutes.

• Americans cannot travel freely to Cuba.

Support for Cuba at the UN since 1992

Since 1992, Cuba has received support from almost all member countries. In 2016, there was a historic vote on the Cuban resolution against the blockade at the UN, since the United States and Israel abstained. These two countries traditionally had been those who had opposed the request of Cuba.

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