Thursday, October 29, 2009

Translated excerpts of the speech of Cuba's Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, before the U.N. General Assembly on October 28, 2009


Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez

Since the election of President Obama, there has been no changes in the application of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba. It remains intact.

It continues to be an absurd policy which provokes scarcity and suffering. It is a violation, massive, flagrant, and systematic of human rights. In the 1948 Geneva Convention it is typified as a genocidal act. Ethically, it is unacceptable.

The blockade is an arrogant and uncultured act. Recently, the government of the United States blocked a performance of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in Cuba. Cuban artists can not receive renumeration for their performances before the American public. How can an artistic creation be considered a crime?

The representatives of the United States lie when they affirm that the blockade is a bilateral matter. The extraterritorial application of the laws of the blockade, like the “Helms-Burton Act” and the “Torricelli Act” against the states represented here, is a grave violation of International Rights, of the Charter of the United Nations, of free commerce and navigation. In this last period, measures of the Cuban blockade have been applied against at least 56 nations. It therefore corresponds to the General Assembly to occupy itself with this matter.

76% of North Americans, according to recent public opinion polls of this country, are opposed to the blockade. To ignore the desire for change and to continue to maintain the blockade is undemocratic.

Mr. President:

We all applauded, a few days ago, when President Obama said at this podium: “International Rights are not an empty promise (...) No nation has the right to try to dominate another nation.”

It is not and it can not be acceptable to the international community that those who govern in Washington, D.C. feel free that they have the authority to apply coercive economic measures and extraterritorial laws against sovereign states.

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Complete Text In Spanish

Desde la elección del Presidente Obama, no ha habido cambio alguno en la aplicación del bloqueo

Discurso del Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla en la Asamblea General de Naciones Unidas, bajo el tema "Necesidad de poner fin al Bloqueo Económico, Comercial y Financiero impuesto por los Estados Unidos de América contra Cuba (Nueva York, 28 de octubre del 2009)".


Señor Presidente, señores Representantes Permanentes y Delegados:

Alexis García Iribar nació en Cuba, en la provincia de Guantánamo, con una cardiopatía congénita. Ya con 6 años de edad, después de sucesivos aplazamientos y ante complicaciones, tuvo que ser operado el 9 de marzo del 2009, a corazón abierto, porque el gobierno de los Estados Unidos prohíbe a las compañías norteamericanas NUMED, AGA y Boston Scientific vender a Cuba los dispositivos Amplatzer y Embolization Coil para el cateterismo pediátrico que sustituye la cirugía. Podría citar otros 12 casos, en edades entre 5 meses y 13 años, todos atendidos con similar proceder en el último año y medio, de ellos 2 posteriores al pasado 20 de enero.

Los niños cubanos que padecen de leucemia linfoblástica y rechazan los medicamentos habituales no pueden ser tratados con el producto norteamericano "Elspar", creado precisamente para casos de intolerancia. Como consecuencia, su expectativa de vida se reduce y aumentan sus sufrimientos. El gobierno norteamericano prohíbe a la compañía Merck and Co. suministrarlo a Cuba.

No se ha podido adquirir un Equipo Analizador de Genes, imprescindible para el estudio del origen del cáncer de mama, de colon y de próstata, que produce Applied Biosystem (ABI).

Lactalis USA, suministrador de lácteos, fue multada con 20 mil dólares por el gobierno norteamericano.

Desde la elección del Presidente Obama, no ha habido cambio alguno en la aplicación del bloqueo económico, comercial y financiero contra Cuba. Permanece intacto.

Continúa siendo una política absurda que provoca carencias y sufrimientos. Es una violación masiva, flagrante y sistemática de los derechos humanos. En la Convención de Ginebra de 1948, aparece tipificado como un acto de genocidio. Es éticamente inaceptable.

El bloqueo es un acto soberbio e inculto. Recientemente, el gobierno norteamericano impidió que la Orquesta Filarmónica de Nueva York se presentara en Cuba. Los artistas cubanos no pueden recibir remuneración por sus presentaciones ante el público norteamericano. ¿Cómo la creación artística puede ser considerada un crimen?

Microsoft bloqueó el acceso de Windows Live a Cuba porque, según se lee al abrir la herramienta, así es "para los usuarios de los países sometidos a embargo de los Estados Unidos". Igual ocurre con las páginas Web "Cisco System", "SolidWorks" y "Symantec".

El bloqueo restringe el ancho de banda y la conectividad de Cuba. Se prohíbe nuestra conexión a cables marítimos de fibra óptica que pasan junto a nuestras costas.

¿Por qué el gobierno de los Estados Unidos impide el libre flujo de la información y el acceso a las nuevas tecnologías?

Pero estas prohibiciones, inhumanas e impropias de esta época, se aplican no sólo a Cuba, sino también a los países que Ustedes representan.

Philips Medical incumplió el suministro de piezas de repuesto contratado para equipos médicos comprados por valor de 72,7 millones de dólares, instalados en Cuba y Venezuela. Fue, además, multada con doscientos mil dólares. Es una compañía de Países Bajos a la que el gobierno estadounidense aplica, extraterritorialmente, el bloqueo.

Hitachi declara que no puede vender a Cuba un Microscopio de Transmisión Electrónica, indispensable en estudios de anatomía patológica, y Toshiba refiere lo mismo acerca de una Cámara Gamma, equipos de Resonancia Magnética y de Ultrasonido de Alta Precisión. Estas son compañías japonesas a las que Estados Unidos aplica también el bloqueo.

A Sensient Flavors, del sector alimentario, el gobierno norteamericano le prohibió exportar a Cuba, aunque es una subsidiaria registrada y radicada en Canadá.

Siemens, compañía alemana, rehusó vendernos un transformador de 125 MVA, según dijo, debido a "su obligación de seguir algunas reglas de los Estados Unidos". Una filial suya radicada en Dinamarca, no pudo suministrar equipamiento para una fábrica de cemento en Cuba bajo prohibición norteamericana.

Al Australia & New Zealand Bank Group (ANZ), con sede en Australia, se le aplicó una multa millonaria por realizar operaciones con Cuba.

A 1941 buques que atracaron en Cuba, entre julio del 2008 y del 2009, se les prohibió entrar a puertos norteamericanos durante ciento ochenta días.

En el Informe del Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas, que incluye el presentado por Cuba, hay otros muchos ejemplos.

Los representantes de Estados Unidos mienten cuando afirman que el bloqueo es un asunto bilateral. La aplicación extraterritorial de las leyes del bloqueo, como la "Helms-Burton" y la "Torricelli", contra los Estados aquí representados, es una grave violación del Derecho Internacional, de la Carta de las Naciones Unidas, de la libertad de comercio y de navegación. En el último periodo, se han aplicado medidas del bloqueo, al menos, contra 56 países. Corresponde, pues, a la Asamblea General ocuparse de este asunto.

El 76% de los norteamericanos, según recientes encuestas de instituciones de este país, se opone al bloqueo. Ignorar la voluntad de cambio y mantenerlo es antidemocrático.

En época de desempleo y crisis económica, los empresarios estadounidenses tienen vedado el mercado cubano. Se les prohíbe invertir en Cuba. Las compañías del mundo no tienen competencia norteamericana en Cuba porque el gobierno de Estados Unidos lo prohíbe.

¿Qué tendría de malo que los norteamericanos puedan acceder a los productos cubanos? ¿A quién dañaría que se abran nuevos puestos de trabajos en los puertos norteamericanos como resultado del desarrollo de relaciones comerciales normales entre ambos países? ¿Por qué los norteamericanos no pueden acceder a medicamentos cubanos de última generación para el cáncer o la diabetes y a tecnologías para producirlos sólo disponibles en Cuba?¿Por qué la empresa Bacardí, que pagó el lobby que impuso la Ley Helms-Burton, evade la competencia y obliga a los norteamericanos a comprar, más cara, una mala imitación de ron cubano? ¿Por qué un habano debe ser inalcanzable y exótico en este país?

El Presidente de los Estados Unidos pareció atrapado en el pasado cuando el 11 de septiembre prorrogó otro año la aplicación del bloqueo basándose "en el interés nacional de los Estados Unidos" y con fundamento en la Ley de Comercio con el Enemigo de 1917, aplicable sólo a situaciones de guerra y vigente únicamente para Cuba.

Ninguna persona seria puede sostener que Cuba es una amenaza a la seguridad nacional de la única superpotencia. Toda nuestra fuerza es la del derecho, la verdad y la razón. Cese la inclusión de Cuba en la lista espuria de supuestos Estados patrocinadores del terrorismo, que es el soporte de algunas medidas de bloqueo, y fírmese ya la libertad de nuestros Cinco Héroes antiterroristas injustamente encarcelados en este país.

Cuba abrió sus cielos y aeropuertos el 11 de septiembre de 2001, para que cualquier avión norteamericano tuviera un lugar donde aterrizar y ofreció plasma y personal de la salud; luego antibióticos y equipos contra el ántrax y volvió a realizar una oferta generosa de médicos cuando el huracán Katrina azotó Nueva Orleáns.

Cuba es la nación hospitalaria que invita a los norteamericanos a visitarla, a sus intelectuales, académicos y científicos a la cooperación y al debate enriquecedor, a sus artistas a tender puentes y a las compañías norteamericanas a comerciar e invertir.

Señor Presidente:

Todos aplaudimos, hace pocos días, al Presidente Obama cuando dijo en este podio: "El Derecho Internacional no es una promesa vacía (¼ ) Ninguna nación puede tratar de dominar otra nación".

No es ni puede ser aceptable para la comunidad internacional que quienes gobiernan en Washington se sientan con autoridad para aplicar medidas económicas coercitivas y leyes extraterritoriales contra Estados soberanos.

El Presidente Obama tiene la oportunidad histórica de liderar el cambio de política hacia Cuba y la eliminación del bloqueo. Tiene, incluso, las facultades ejecutivas que le permitirían, ahora y por sí mismo, modificar sustancialmente la aplicación de las medidas de bloqueo mediante "licencias generales", dispensas o waivers, excepciones humanitarias o en razón de interés nacional, aun sin que fueran modificadas las leyes que establecen las prohibiciones.

Quien se duele, y desafía con razón al egoísmo y la insensibilidad de la derecha conservadora, como ha hecho el Presidente Obama en el Congreso, porque "¼ un hombre de Illinois pierda su cobertura (de seguro) en medio de la quimioterapia¼ y muera a causa de ello (¼ ) Otra mujer de Texas quedara sin seguro a punto de sufrir una doble radical de mama", no podría, sin faltar a una ética elemental, impedir a los niños cubanos enfermos de cáncer o del corazón recibir medicamentos y equipos médicos.

El bloqueo a Cuba es también, usando palabras del senador Edward Kennedy sobre la reforma de salud, "un asunto moral" que pone a prueba "el carácter" de los Estados Unidos de América.

Señor Presidente:

Es cierto que Cuba adquiere importantes volúmenes de producciones agrícolas en los Estados Unidos. Sin embargo, los representantes de Estados Unidos mienten cuando dicen que ese país es un socio comercial de Cuba y callan que esas operaciones se realizan en violación de las normas del sistema internacional de comercio, con pagos en efectivo y por adelantado, sin acceso a créditos privados, bajo prohibición de transportar las cargas en barcos cubanos, con procedimientos onerosos y discriminatorios y enfrentando constantes maniobras para embargar las cargas. No puede llamársele comercio a operaciones que carecen de la más mínima reciprocidad para que Cuba pueda exportar sus productos a los Estados Unidos. Un país que bloquea a otro no puede ser un socio comercial.

Es una vergüenza que los representantes del gobierno de los Estados Unidos mientan al afirmar que ese país es el principal donante de ayuda humanitaria a Cuba. Los datos que usan son falsos. Mezclan, en cifras fantasiosas y malintencionadas, el monto de supuestas licencias para operaciones que no se producen, con la ayuda que los emigrados cubanos residentes aquí envían, por su propio esfuerzo, a sus familias. Los sucesivos gobiernos norteamericanos han perseguido y hostigado a las Organizaciones No Gubernamentales que envían ayuda humanitaria a Cuba y, como resultado, la mitad de ellas han dejado de hacerlo.

Ni siquiera hace un año, cuando Cuba fue devastada por tres huracanes que provocaron pérdidas equivalentes al 20% de nuestro PIB, el gobierno de Bush respondió a nuestra solicitud de que las compañías norteamericanas nos vendieran excepcionalmente materiales de construcción, cubiertas para los techos destrozados, y otorgaran créditos privados.

Señor Presidente:

Los delegados de los Estados Unidos, en diversas reuniones, han aludido a los pasos que ha dado su Gobierno para desmontar las más brutales restricciones que aplicó George W. Bush a los viajes de los emigrados cubanos y el envío de ayuda a sus familiares, así como al reinicio de conversaciones bilaterales en materia migratoria y de correo postal directo.

Estas acciones son positivas pero extremadamente limitadas e insuficientes. La realidad es que ni siquiera se ha regresado a la situación que prevaleció hasta principios de 2004, cuando los Estados Unidos permitían cierto nivel de intercambios académicos, culturales, científicos, deportivos con contrapartes cubanas, que hoy siguen prohibidos.

Algunas vagas propuestas en el área de las telecomunicaciones son simplemente inaplicables, mientras no se eliminen otras restricciones en vigor y no cese la práctica de robar fondos cubanos provenientes de operaciones en ese terreno, congelados en bancos norteamericanos, en ejecución de decisiones de jueces venales que violan sus propias leyes.

Al restablecer el derecho de viajar a la isla a los residentes de origen cubano, resulta más evidente el absurdo de prohibir a los norteamericanos viajar a Cuba, único lugar vedado para ellos en el planeta. Los ciudadanos norteamericanos, quienes pagan los impuestos, no tienen la libertad de viajar a Cuba a pesar de que la Constitución de este país, supuestamente, la garantiza. Los norteamericanos no tienen derecho a recibir información de primera mano sobre Cuba.

Los representantes de Estados Unidos han mencionado también un declarado nuevo espíritu en la relación con nuestro país.

Cuba ha respondido en plena coherencia con su disposición histórica a conversar directamente con los Estados Unidos. El Presidente Raúl Castro Ruz, como hizo antes el Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, ha reiterado su disposición a dialogar sobre todos los asuntos y a negociar todos los problemas bilaterales, sobre bases de respeto e igualdad soberana y sin menoscabo para nuestra independencia y autodeterminación. Hemos dicho claramente que no negociaremos nuestros asuntos internos ni nuestro ordenamiento constitucional. Estamos en espera de respuesta del gobierno de los Estados Unidos acerca de la propuesta de agenda, presentada por Cuba el pasado mes de julio, para iniciar un diálogo bilateral, que hice pública el 28 de septiembre en esta sala.

Señor Presidente:

El bloqueo económico no ha cumplido ni cumplirá el propósito de doblegar la decisión patriótica del pueblo cubano. Pero genera carencias, limita nuestras potencialidades de desarrollo y daña seriamente nuestra economía. Es, sin lugar a dudas, el obstáculo fundamental para el desarrollo económico del país.

Su costo es muy difícil de calcular. Sólo en daños económicos registrados de manera rigurosa y conservadora, alcanza los cientos de miles de millones de dólares, al valor actual y decreciente de esa moneda.

Los representantes norteamericanos han dicho que nuestras carencias se deben al fracaso de nuestro sistema. Mienten, quizás más por ignorancia que por mala fe. Gracias a nuestro sistema hemos resistido 50 años y nos hemos desarrollado, sobrepasando el bloqueo. Si tienen la convicción de que nuestro sistema no funciona, ¿para qué necesitan entonces el bloqueo?

En condiciones de una verdadera guerra económica y una virulenta manipulación mediática, bajo los efectos del cambio climático y de la crisis económica global, Cuba construye una obra social y cultural de hondo humanismo y solidaridad.

Nuestro pueblo se propone seguir adelante, soberanamente, para resolver nuestros problemas y perfeccionar nuestro modelo político, económico y social dentro del socialismo. Los cubanos tenemos todo el derecho de hacerlo sin bloqueos ni presiones foráneas, sin los millonarios fondos que el gobierno norteamericano paga a la subversión, sin injerencia externa en las decisiones que sólo a nosotros corresponde tomar.

Ese es el propósito de la resolución que nos proponemos adoptar y que tengo el honor de presentar. Apoyarlo es un acto contra la agresión y el uso de la fuerza. Es un acto a favor de la paz, el derecho y la esperanza. Es un acto de justicia con el heroico pueblo de Cuba que hoy rinde homenaje a Camilo Cienfuegos, joven y alegre Comandante de la Sierra Maestra, de quien aprendimos que la lealtad a nuestras sagradas conquistas y a nuestras convicciones profundas es el único camino a la victoria.

Muchas gracias.

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Cuba's Foreign Minister replies to the speech of the Ambassador of the United States

Réplica del canciller Rodríguez Parrilla al discurso de la embajadora de EE.UU.

Me siento obligado a responder a las intervenciones de Estados Unidos, la Unión Europea y Noruega.

Debo decir a la Unión Europea que Cuba no le reconoce absolutamente ninguna autoridad moral para dictar modelos o dar consejos en materia de democracia. Deseo recordarle su complicidad con los actos de tortura que se produjeron en Guantánamo y Abu Ghraib, y reiterar que mientras mantenga una posición de doble rasero e hipocresía no gozará de credibilidad alguna.

La señora Susan Rice, que lamentablemente no está aquí en la sala en este momento, empezó diciendo "aquí vamos otra vez". Con esa frase reconoce que ha venido a hacer lo que 17 representantes de Estados Unidos hicieron en el pasado.

Respeto sus opiniones y reconozco que su trayectoria es totalmente distinta a la de un neoconservador como Bolton; pero ha tenido la triste tarea de defender aquí la política de bloqueo que empezó, según un memorando clasificado, el 6 de abril de 1960, con el propósito declarado de causar hambre, desesperación y desaliento al pueblo cubano.

El único remanente de la guerra fría de que se ha hablado aquí, es, precisamente, el bloqueo. Levántese el bloqueo y habrá desaparecido ese remanente.

Señor Presidente:

Cuba es una democracia, que se parece más a los principios de Lincoln, de un gobierno del pueblo, con el pueblo y para el pueblo, que la plutocracia o gobierno de los ricos que funciona en este país.

Aquí, la Embajadora norteamericana llamó disidentes o presos políticos a quienes en realidad son agentes de una potencia extranjera, mercenarios pagados por el gobierno de Estados Unidos. Si de presos políticos se quiere hablar, libérese a los cinco héroes antiterroristas cubanos, sometidos a tratamiento cruel, inhumano y degradante en cárceles norteamericanas.

Señor Presidente:

La señora Rice ha dicho que se fuerza la palabra genocidio cuando se califica así al bloqueo. Cito el Artículo 2, incisos b) y c) de la Convención contra el crimen de genocidio, de Ginebra, de 1948.

Inciso b) "Genocidio es lesión grave a la integridad física o mental de los miembros del grupo", referido a un grupo humano.

Inciso c) "Genocidio es sometimiento intencional del grupo humano a condiciones de existencia que hayan de acarrear su destrucción física total o parcial."

Recomiendo al Departamento de Estado que estudie mejor esa Convención.

El bloqueo a Cuba es una política unilateral y criminal que ha de ser levantada también unilateralmente. No es razonable, justo ni posible esperar gestos de Cuba para que cese la aplicación criminal de medidas contra el pueblo cubano, incluidos sus niños y ancianos, a partir de los ejemplos que he aquí descrito.

Estados Unidos debe levantar el bloqueo, y debe levantarlo ya; primero, porque Cuba no bloquea a Estados Unidos ni ocupa una porción de su territorio con una base militar, ni discrimina a sus ciudadanos ni empresas, y, en segundo lugar, debe hacerlo porque está en el mejor interés de los propios Estados Unidos y en la voluntad del pueblo norteamericano.

Se ha hablado de libre circulación de información. Levántese la prohibición a los ciudadanos norteamericanos de viajar libremente a Cuba, respétese su derecho a la libertad de viajar. Levántese el bloqueo contra Cuba en el área de las tecnologías y la información; permítase una mejor conectividad de nuestro país; expórtese software y tecnología de la información a Cuba y se podrá avanzar en ese terreno.

La señora Rice ha mencionado avances constructivos. Es cierto que ha habido algunos pasos en la dirección correcta, estrictamente limitados a las relaciones de los cubanos que residen en Estados Unidos con su país de origen, pero que no tienen nada que ver ni significan ninguna flexibilización del bloqueo. Son pasos correctos, pero extremadamente limitados e insuficientes.

El bloqueo no es una cuestión bilateral, ha quedado claramente demostrado, con los muchos ejemplos presentados, de su aplicación extraterritorial.

La señora Rice ha mencionado la propuesta de continuar manteniendo intercambios o diálogo entre los dos países, la cual ha sido presentada hace muchos años por el Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro y reiterada públicamente varias veces por el presidente Raúl Castro. Si Estados Unidos desea hacerlo, debe responder a la propuesta de una agenda para el diálogo bilateral, presentada por Cuba a ese gobierno el 17 de julio del 2009.

Señor Presidente:

La señora Susan Rice, en la Universidad de Nueva York, el pasado mes de agosto, dijo: "Los Estados Unidos lideran con su ejemplo, reconocen sus errores, corrigen el curso cuando es necesario, tratan a otros con respeto, forjan estrategias de cooperación".

Dijo ella también en ese discurso: "Nosotros estamos demostrando que los Estados Unidos están listos para escuchar, respetar las diferencias y considerar nuevas ideas." Me sorprende profundamente que la señora Rice haya tenido que decir esta mañana todo lo contrario.

Muchas gracias.

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Texts in Spanish as published in Granma, official organ of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.

The arrogance of the Obama administration in defending the Cuba embargo

Yesterday was a historical day of enourmous proportions. There are 194 countries in the United Nations. 187 of those countries meeting at the General Assembly, where the imperialists do not have veto powers, unequivocally and categorically condemned the arrogant continuation of the Cuba embargo by U.S. president Barack Obama.

What a big fraud this Democratic president has turned out to be on the Cuba issue. In the spring he promised us a "new beginning" with Cuba. While he was campaigning for the presidency in 2008 he promised us "change you can believe in." He has not delivered on any of those two things. He is runnig a game with loaded dice and the American people are the victims.

His popularity is going down. Those of us who said "anything is better than George W. Bush" last Noverember of 2008 were totally mistaken. On domestic policy, he serves the interests of Big Capital. On foreign policy he is a carbon copy of George W. Bush. Very little difference between tweeddledee and tweddledum.

I predict that in 2012, if Obama runs again, millions of Americans will not vote for him, and he could very well be a one term president.

Below is an article from the mouthpiece of Yankee imperialism, The Voice of America.

US Defends Cuba Policy Amid UN Condemnation
By David Gollust
The State Department
28 October 2009

The Obama administration on Wednesday defended the long-running U.S. economic embargo against Cuba in the face of another overwhelming U.N. General Assembly vote condemning American policy toward the island nation. But administration officials also stressed efforts to reach out to the Cuba's communist government.

The Obama administration says it has broken with its predecessors in opening dialogue with Cuba on several fronts. But it also says it does not intend to reward Havana by lifting sanctions until it improves human rights conditions.

The comments followed an overwhelming vote in the U.N. General Assembly on a non-binding resolution condemning the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and urging Washington lift the restrictions.

This is the 18th consecutive year that the assembly has gone on record against U.S. Cuba policy. The number of countries supporting the United States on the matter has dwindled over the years.

Wednesday's resolution was 187 votes in favor, three against and two abstentions. Only Israel and the Pacific island state of Palau sided with the United States. Two other Pacific states, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, abstained.

Addressing the assembly, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez called the embargo an "act of arrogance" and said it has cost the Cuban economy tens-of-billions of dollars over the years and deprived children of needed medical care.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said it is wrong to blame U.S. sanctions for deprivation in Cuba. While calling the Cuban statement hostile and reminiscent of the Cold War, Susan Rice said the Obama administration is committed to trying to write a new chapter in relations with Cuba by engaging the Havana government.

Briefing reporters here, State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly said the "annual exercise" in the General Assembly obscures the fact that the United States is a leading source of food and humanitarian relief aid to Cuba.

He said that since taking office in January, the Obama administration has eased various restrictions and opened new dialogue on migration and postal links.

But Kelly said the administration wants to see improvement in human rights conditions and respect for fundamental freedoms in Cuba before it will consider normalized relations.

"The suggestion that were not assisting Cuba is just false. We are one of the major providers of humanitarian assistance to Cuba. But we don't believe that while there are repressive measures in place in Cuba that we should reward the government of Cuba by lifting the economic sanctions that could assist the government of Cuba in its repression of its own citizens."

Amid pressure from U.S. farm states, the Bush administration eased restrictions on sales of agricultural goods to Cuba. Spokesman Kelly said U.S. exports of food, lumber and medical items to Cuba exceeded $700 million last year.

The Obama administration has lifted limits on travel and remittances to Cuba by Cuban-Americans and initiated talks on reinstating direct postal service between the two countries for the first time since 1963.

Last month, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Bisa Williams became the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Cuba in several years. Her trip to Havana was ostensibly to discuss the postal issue, but she extended her mission and had broader talks with Cuban officials.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

U.N. General Assembly rebuffs Barack Obama's continuation of the Cuba embargo by a record vote of 187-3

Barack Obama has suffered his first major and resounding defeat in the international arena. This afternoon, by a 187-3 vote, the General Assembly of the United Nations has overwhelmingly approved a Cuban resolution which asks the United States government to end the genocidal Cuba embargo, which was put in place by Uncle Sam more than 45 years ago.

Only Palau and the Zionist entity, supported the United States.

Cuba's foreign minister declared from the podium of the General Assembly, "the blockade is an uncultured act of arrogance." He likened the policy to "an act of genocide" that is "ethically unacceptable." He should not be surprised; honesty and good ethics are two traits which capitalists have never practiced, since their only pursuit is the accumulation of more and more money.

This is the 19th consecutive year that the U.N. General Assembly has asked that the American embargo of Cuba be ended. In their eternal arrogance, the Yankee imperialists continue to ignore the wishes of the civilized world.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I will say it one more time: there is no difference between George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama on the Cuba issue. There is little difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party on the embargo. Their policy toward Cuba is based on pure capitalist hatred toward the socially responsible policies of the Cuban government. The imperialists would like to turn the clock back to the pre-1959 era, when they looted the Caribbean island with impunity. They have failed miserably and they will continue to fail in the future.

Eternal shame on Barack H. Obama and his administration.

Barack Obama’s con job and his defense of the indefensible

Barak Obama’s “new begginning” with Cuba is nothing but a con job and a clever political marketing ploy by the Democratic Party to try to convince the gullible U.S. masses that he is doing something positive in regards to Cuba.

He is not! He has become a Dubya Junior when it comes to continuing the failed policies of his ten predecesors. In October, he did not send a message to the U.S. Congress asking them that the failed economic embargo of Cuba be lifted. On the contrary, he continues what is an indefensible and failed policy. He continues the genocide, predatory actions and the typical arrogance of Yankee imperialism toward the Caribbean island.

Today, in the afternoon probably, the civilized community of nations will tell Barack Obama what do they think of his continuation of the Cuba embargo.

I think that Obama is not going to like what the United Nations General Assembly will tell him.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cuba Readies for UN Slam of USA

October 27, 2009

Havana Times

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 26 - Every year since 1991 the United Nations General Assembly has said that Cuba is right to demand the US end its now nearly half century blockade. The full body is set to vote on the same resolution on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The policy rebuff has fallen on deaf ears despite a heavily lopsided vote each year.

In 2008, a record 185 countries of the 192 UN member states voted to tell Washington it should end its unilateral blockade of the Cuban economy. Only Israel and the tiny Palau supported the US position to continue the status quo.

On Sept. 14, President Obama followed his predecessors by extending the blockade for another year. He has also maintained the prohibition on travel by US citizens to Cuba without special US Treasury Department permission.

While never accomplishing its goal to bring the Revolution to its knees, the blockade has served a dual purpose. On the one hand it has kept Cuba from reaching anywhere near its development potential. On the other, it provides a catch all excuse for shortages and poor management in the nation’s economy.

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez was quoted Monday by the Cuban press as saying Cuba is willing to normalize relations with the United States and hold a respectful dialogue between equals, “without any shadow over our independence, sovereignty and self-determination.”

U.N. Vote to Condemn (Obama's?) Embargo on Cuba

Sarah Stevens

Director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas

Posted: October 26, 2009 10:58 AM

On October 28th, the United Nations General Assembly is expected to vote on a resolution condemning the United States embargo against Cuba.

If past is prologue, it will pass resoundingly. The General Assembly has adopted similar measures in each of the last seventeen years; in 2008, by a margin of 185-3. But that was a condemnation of an embargo enforced, energetically and unapologetically, by the administration of George W. Bush. The vote this year takes place for the first time on President Obama's watch, and so has special significance.

The Secretary-General has prepared a public report that catalogues what UN members and UN organizations say about the embargo.

This document is a powerful reminder that the U.S. embargo is viewed internationally with great seriousness and in ways that are deeply damaging to U.S. interests and our image overseas.

Lest anyone think this policy is only provocative to nations in the non-aligned world, its opponents include Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, the European Union, India, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Russia.

They are plain-spoken in their opposition. Australia reminds us it votes "consistently" against the embargo. Brazil says it is the "Cuban people who suffer the most from the blockade." China says the embargo "serves no purpose other than to keep tensions high between two neighboring countries and inflict tremendous hardship and suffering on the people of Cuba, especially women and children." Egypt and India condemn the extra-territorial reach of our sanctions, which Japan says run "counter to the provisions of international law." Mexico calls these measures coercive. Russia "rejects" the embargo. Nations across the planet have enacted laws making it illegal for their companies to comply.

Our policy is especially controversial in our own hemisphere, where the U.S. alone is without diplomatic relations with Cuba, and where forum after forum -- including the Rio Group, the Ibero-American Summit, the Heads of State of Latin America and the Caribbean, and CARICOM -- has rejected the embargo and called for its repeal.

Beyond our diplomatic interests, the report forces us to move beyond the stale, political debate in which the embargo is most often framed (where every problem on the island is blamed on either Cuba's system or U.S. policy) and to confront the significant injuries this policy inflicts on ordinary Cubans.

It reminds us:

• The embargo stops Cuba from obtaining diagnostic equipment or replacement parts for equipment used in the detection of breast, colon, and prostate cancer.
• The embargo stops Cuba from obtaining patented materials that are needed for pediatric cardiac surgery and the diagnosis of pediatric illnesses.
• The embargo prevents Cuba from purchasing antiretroviral drugs for the treatment of HIV-AIDS from U.S. sources of the medication.
• The embargo stops Cuba from obtaining needed supplies for the diagnosis of Downs' Syndrome.
• Under the embargo, Cuba cannot buy construction materials from the nearby U.S. market to assist in its hurricane recovery.
• While food sales are legal, regulatory impediments drive up the costs of commodities that Cuba wants to buy from U.S. suppliers, and forces them in many cases to turn to other more expensive and distant sources of nutrition for their people.
• Because our market is closed to their goods, Cuba cannot sell products like coffee, honey, tobacco, live lobsters and other items that would provide jobs and opportunities for average Cubans.

This list, abbreviated for space, is actually much longer, more vivid and troubling, as the report documents case after case of how our embargo affects daily life in Cuba. And for what reason? Because it will someday force the Cuban government to dismantle its system? As a bargaining chip? These arguments have proven false and futile over the decades and what the UN has been trying to tell us since 1992 is that they should be abandoned along with a policy that has so outlived its usefulness.

And yet, it is now the Obama administration supporting and enforcing the embargo -- still following Bush-era rules that thwart U.S. agriculture sales; still levying stiff penalties for violations of the regulations; still stopping prominent Cubans from visiting the United States; still refusing to use its executive authority to allow American artists, the faith community, academics, and other proponents of engagement and exchange to visit Cuba as representatives of our country and its ideals.

To his credit, President Obama has taken some useful steps to change U.S. policy toward Cuba. He repealed the cruel Bush administration rules on family travel that divided Cuban families. He joined efforts by the OAS to lift Cuba's suspension from that organization. He has opened a direct channel of negotiations with Cuba's government on matters that include migration, resuming direct mail service, and relaxing the restrictions that Cuban and U.S. diplomats face in doing their jobs in each of our nation's capitals.

This is a start, but more -- much more -- needs to be done. Not because the UN says so, but because our country needs to embrace the world not as we found it in 1959 -- or in 2008 -- but as it exists today. President Obama can do this. Our times demand that he do so.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Logic and reason are not traits of U.S. policy toward Cuba

JG: Sal Landau is, as it is usually the case, right on target when he describes U.S. policies toward Cuba. Fidel, Landau and other extreme left liberals are still "in love" with Barack Obama. How wrong they are! Obama has continued the genocidal Cuba embargo. Barack Obama is not a person who can be trusted when it comes to U.S. policy toward Cuba. He is 100% capitalist, and like his Secretary of State and his Vice President, hates Cuban socialism with a passion. Barack Obama continues to travel the failed trails followed by his ten predecessors in the Oval Office. They failed to "recapture" Cuba for the minions of American imperialism. Barack Obama will fail too.

I do not trust Barack Obama because recently he revealed his true intensions toward Cuba. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Let Fidel and Raul continue their infatuation with Barack Obama and one day they will wake up in the morning to find out that Cuba was stolen from under them.


------

Counterpunch

Weekend Edition
October 23-25, 2009

Castro in Retirement
Fidel on Obama and Consumerism
By SAUL LANDAU

After Fidel Castro’s abdominal surgery in the summer of 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice assured Cubans in Bush’s name: “You must know that you have no greater friend than the United States of America.” This great pal showed amity by not allowing Cubans to see relatives and limiting the amount of remittances their families could send. By increasing the hardships, Bush’s logic presumes, Cubans would feel motivated to rebel against their government and not direct their anger at US cruelty. With friends like Bush and Rice, Cubans don’t need enemies.

This US policy line has endured since 1960, when a State Department memo insisted, “The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship.” US measures should “bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”

After announcing his harsh measures that reduced the Cuban standard of living and kept relatives apart, Bush extolled the islanders: “You [the Cuban people] have the power to shape your own destiny.” He did not make clear how Cubans would accomplish this, except that the president also addressed the Cuban armed forces, and suggested portentously: “Cubans rise up to demand their liberty ... You’ve got to make a choice.” (October 24, 2007, address to State Department)

Fidel had retired in February 2007 and Cuba had already made its presidential transition to Raul Castro, but Washington seemed not to notice – or care. Every four years, Cubans await US presidential elections, to see if sanity and logic will magically find their way into the White House. In the 2008 campaign, Hillary had sworn not to even talk to Cuba until she sees “progress.” Obama said he would talk to the Cuban government.

He has not. But Fidel talked about Obama. Chuckling as we stood around him, he said “We can talk at closer range standing up. I’m not tired, are you [referring to the US visitors]?” Fidel, his head close to mine, giving me a gentle poke in the chest for emphasis, his facial expression becoming dramatic, waved his underlined and annotated copy of Dreams from My Father (in Spanish). “He writes about when he was told ‘Your father has died’ and when he first actually met his father.” He gestured his enthusiasm over the book. “Obama is moving and also can be ironic. He writes about unions and a book by Paul Krugman who won the Nobel Prize in economics and how he learned from him about the number of millionaires which grew from about 30, in the days of Rockefellers, and just a few who decided the destiny of the United States.”

This led him to discuss the ways US Parties chose presidential candidates and how they run campaigns. He talked of the immense role of the multinational corporations and their financial contributions and how Obama artfully used the internet to mobilize supporters. “He understood that the society had changed. Hillary underestimated him. And he won the nomination almost by a miracle.”

Fidel paused as if he had made a comment of the strange course of human history. “Obama must feel quite frustrated now. Think about how he’ll feel if he loses the health care battle!”

As we sat down, he leaned forward in his comfortable, but not expensive, chair to comment on US politics. The United States had acquired “the image of the country with machine guns. A country with armed racists.” He sighed. Since times had changed, “Obama will not become a Martin Luther King.”

He talked with pride about Cuba now having scientists who test children for eye diseases and other congenital infirmities in Cuba and in Venezuela. 50,000 Cuban students attend “special schools” after specialists diagnosed them with forms of learning disorders or vision and hearing problems.

I took a brief rest room break and saw the dining room en route, tastefully furnished, but with no signs of pomp or luxury. The house looked and felt like a comfortable place to live and not difficult to maintain.

When I returned Fidel was talking about the foolishness of trying to promote consumer societies for third world countries. “If we sought a consumer society, we would never solve our problems. Look at your country. After people get a car, they then want another one and then a boat and a plane. Consumerism can’t coexist with planetary survival,” he emphasized

“The next generation will have to face this issue. It will not be easy. What an immense inventory of critical issues,” he laughed with relief – the tone befitting an elder statesman.

“Come back soon,” he urged. His youngest son and scads of grandchildren, his wife and two aides all waved. As we said goodbye, he chuckled that he could now watch the end of the Korea-Cuba baseball game.

Saul Landau won Chile’s Bernardo O’Higgins award for human rights. Counterpunch published his A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD. He is an Institute for Policy Studies fellow whose films on DVD are available. (roundworldproductions@gmail.com)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Poll: 59% of Cuban Americans Support Open Travel to Cuba for All

Miami New Times

By Kyle Munzenrieder

Tue., Oct. 20 2009 @ 12:33PM

​In a stunning turn around, a new poll from Miami firm Bendixen & Associates shows that a strong majority of Cuban Americans now support open travel to Cuba for all US citizens.

59% support opening travel to all, while only 29% still oppose it. That's a turn around from a 2002 Bendixen poll that showed 47% of Cuban Americans oppose open travel, with 46% supporting it.

"What is most surprising is that this shift in Cuban American public opinion is being driven mainly by the older, 'historic exile' segment of the community, which has traditionally only supported confrontational policies toward the Cuban regime," said Sergio Bendixen, President of Bendixen & Associates, in a statement.

Indeed, 48% of Cubans who arrived in the US prior to 1980 support it, while only 36% oppose. In 2002, a strong 64% majority of early Cuban exiles opposed lifting the travel ban. 69% of Cubans who arrived after 1980% support open travel, again a noticeable change from 54% in 2002.

62% of Cubans Americans between the age of 18 and 64 support open travel, while 49% of those 65 and older also support it. The poll found no demographic where the majority was opposed to open travel.

The poll conducted in late September by telephone of 400 Cuban Americans throug out the country has a margin of error of +/- 5%.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A call to all

Dear Cuba Journal brothers and sisters:

I urge all of you to participate in the 'one answer' public opinion poll which I am including on the right column of Cuba Journal.

Stand up and be counted. Repudiate and condemn the continuation of the genocidal Cuba blockade/embargo by President Barack Obama.

Go to the website of the White House and tell him: “This does not constitute 'change I can believe in' “ in regards our failed Cuba policies. Inconsequential and timid measures won't change anything.

Write to your U.S. Senators and Congressmen and tell them that you are in favor of lifting the genocidal Cuba blockade/embargo.

Thank You!

Cuba solicits worldwide support against U.S. embargo

www.chinaview.cn 2009-10-14 10:19:49

HAVANA, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- The National Assembly of People's Power, Cuba's parliament, called for worldwide support on Tuesday to pressure the United States into lifting its economic, commercial and financial embargo against the country.

In a statement published by local press, the International Affairs Commission of the Assembly appealed to governments of all countries for their support of a UN resolution that demands the United States lift its embargo which has been in place since 1962.

The document will be discussed at the UN General Assembly on Oct. 28.

The economic embargo "violates the international law, contravenes the principles of the UN Charter, is an act of aggression and threat, and implies an outrage against the right of people to live in peace," the statement said.

The Cuban Assembly noted that 10 months after U.S. President Barack Obama took office, the embargo still remained "untouched."

According to the Cuban authorities, the embargo had cost Cuba billions of U.S. dollars in losses.

In 2008, the international community condemned the embargo against Cuba with a record vote of 185 in favor of lifting it. There were three votes against it and two abstentions.

Cuba claims the U.S. embargo was aimed to cause "hunger, desperation and suffering" to the Cuban people. Also, Cuba regards it as a means to destabilize the country and undermine the Cuban Revolution.

Editor: Li Xianzhi

Cuba report about Resolution 63/7 at the General Assembly of the United Nations (Section 5) for the year 2009

This is the fifth part (Conclusions) of the new report presented by Cuba this year at the General Assembly of the United Nations. It is expected that this resolution will be voted upon on October 28th, 2009.

It is very likely that the United Nations General Assembly will condemn the continuation of the blockade/embargo against Cuba by U.S. President Barack Obama.


5. Conclusions

The conduct of the United States government since October 2008 – when Resolution 63/7 was adopted – until May 2009, confirms that that country has not taken one step to put an end to the economic, trade and financial embargo it imposes on the Republic of Cuba. Quite the opposite; it has flagrantly not complied with stipulations made by the General Assembly since reports were made about numerous actions reinforcing the embargo policy.

The direct economic repercussions on the Cuban people due to the application of the economic, trade and financial embargo by the US against Cuba until December 2008, calculated on a conservative basis, totals 96 billion dollars, a figure that would reach 236,221 million dollars if calculations were made using the current rate of exchange on the US dollar. That figure does not include direct repercussions on the economic and social goals of the country inflicted by sabotage and terrorist acts that are encouraged, organized and financed from the United States.

The economic, trade and financial embargo, imposed by the government of the United States against Cuba, continues being the prime obstacle to the economic and social growth of the country, as well as for its recovery after the passage of three devastating hurricanes that affected it in 2008.

The embargo violates International Law. It is contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. It constitutes a transgression on the right to peace, development and security of a sovereign state. In its essence and its aims, it is an act of unilateral aggression and a permanent threat against the stability of a country. It constitutes a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the rights of an entire people. It is also in violation of the constitutional rights of the American people since it denies them the freedom to travel to Cuba. Moreover, it violates the sovereign rights of many other states because of its extra-territorial nature.

In spite of the intense and growing complaints by the international community to the new US government to effectuate a change of policy towards Cuba, the lifting of the embargo and the normalization of bilateral relations, the government of President Obama has maintained the embargo policy intact.

Besides being illegal, the embargo is morally unsustainable. There is no like unilateral system of punishments in existence being carried out against any other country in the world for such an extended period of time. Therefore, the United States must lift the embargo, with no more delays or excuses.

Cuba report about Resolution 63/7 at the General Assembly of the United Nations (Section 4) for the year 2009

This is the fourth part (Opposition to The Genocidal Policy of The Embargo Against Cuba) of the new report presented by Cuba this year at the General Assembly of the United Nations. It is expected that this resolution will be voted upon on October 28th, 2009.

It is very likely that the United Nations General Assembly will condemn the continuation of the blockade/embargo against Cuba by U.S. President Barack Obama.

4. Opposition to The Genocidal Policy of The Embargo Against Cuba.


In the last few months, international attention to the subject of bilateral relations between the US and Cuba has increased. Clearly the demand that the embargo against Cuba be eliminated and that the policy of hostility cease against a small country is stronger and firmer than ever before.

Last October 29, for the seventeenth consecutive time, the UN General Assembly adopted, with the overwhelming majority of member states the resolution “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” (63/7), with the highest vote that this resolution has reached in that UN body.

The General Assembly, with the favourable vote of 185 of its members, categorically reiterated the call to discontinue this illegal and genocidal policy being imposed by the government of the United States on the people of Cuba. That backing by the international community is consistent with its rejection of the application of economic, commercial and financial measures with extra-territorial effects and that are contrary to international law and to the principles of the UN Charter.

Many voices in the world were raised in favour of ceasing this inhuman policy. During the period this report is dealing with, numerous statements were made calling for the end of this policy. Among these, the most outstanding are:

1. On May 16, 2008, the declaration of the V Latin America and Caribbean-European Union Summit held in Lima Peru was adopted. In one of its paragraphs the Heads of State and Government in both regions agreed to the following: “(…) We firmly reject all the coercive measures, of a unilateral dimension and extra-territorial effect that are contrary to International Law and the norms generally accepted for free trade. We coincide in the fact that this kind of practice represents a serious threat to resolution A/RES/62/3 of the UNGA, we reaffirm our well-known positions about the application of the extra-territorial regulations of the Helms-Burton Act.”

2. On October 3, 2008, the Heads of State or Government of the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP), meeting at their 6th Summit Conference held in Ghana, approved the Declaration of Accra in which it “condemned the use of coercive unilateral measures such as illegal sanctions adopted against certain developing countries with the purpose of preventing said countries from exercising their right to determine their political, economic and social system and they reject the application of laws and unilateral and extra-territorial measures contrary to international law, such as the Helms-Burton Act.”

3. On December 8, 2008, the Heads of State or Government of Cuba and of states making up CARICOM, meeting on the occasion of the Third Cuba-CARICOM Summit, adopted a declaration where it states that “an end should be put to the economic, commercial and financial embargo against the Republic of Cuba and (where it) urges the government of the United States to listen to the overwhelming call from the immense majority of the members of the United Nations, and to immediately lift the unjust economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed against the Republic of Cuba and the ceasing of the application of the measures adopted on May 6, 2004”.

4. On December 17, 2008, the Heads of State or Government of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, meeting in Brazil, on the occasion of the First Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development, adopted a Special Declaration on the necessity of ending the economic embargo against Cuba in which they rejected “most energetically the application of laws and measures contrary to International Law such as the Helms-Burton Act”; “they urged the government of the United States to end their application “ and “to comply with stipulations in 17 successive resolutions approved in the UN General Assembly and to end the economic, commercial and financial embargo which it maintains against Cuba”.

5. The ALBA countries (the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America) have repeatedly and categorically rejected the embargo imposed against Cuba by the United States. At their summit meeting held in Cumaná, Venezuela on April 17, 2009, the Heads of State or Government of the ALBA member countries reiterated their condemnation of the economic, commercial and financial embargo of the US against Cuba and they decided to reiterate “the declaration that all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean adopted on December 16, 2008, on the necessity to end the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States government on Cuba, including application of the so-called Helms-Burton Act”.

6. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Non-Aligned Movement, on the occasion of the Ministerial Meeting of the Movement Coordination Bureau held in Havana, April 27-30, 2009, “reiterated once again their call on the government of the United States to end the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba that, besides being unilateral and contrary to the UN Charter, international law, as well as the good neighbour principle, causes great material losses and economic damage to the people of Cuba”. Moreover: “once again they urged strict compliance with resolutions 47/19, 48/16, 49/9, 50/10, 51/17, 52/10, 53/4, 54/21, 55/20, 56/9, 57/11, 58/7, 59/11, 60/12, 61/11, 62/3 and 63/7 of the United Nations General Assembly”; “they expressed their profound concern for the growing extra-territorial dimension of the embargo against Cuba”; and “they rejected the reinforcement of measures adopted by the US government in order to toughen the embargo, as well as all the other measures applied by the US government against the people of Cuba”.

7. In the declaration of the VI Extraordinary ALBA Summit – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) held in Maracay, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on June 24, 2009, the Heads of State or Government of the member countries “ratified their absolute condemnation of the economic, commercial and financial embargo of the United States against Cuba and they reiterated their call for this to be eliminated, immediately and unconditionally.”

Opposition to the embargo is also growing significantly in the very United States.

On May 8, 2008, the Committee for Tourism and Trips of the Alabama House of Representatives approved a resolution in which they requested President Bush, the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Congress to lift the restrictions on trips to Cuba, especially from the state of Alabama.

On May 27, 2008, The Washington Post published an article “The Crazy Embargo against Cuba” by Eugene Robinson, in which he described the policy towards our country as “incredibly stupid (…) childish, irresponsible and counter-productive.””

From September 23 to 25, 2008, Zogby International and Inter-American Dialogue carried out a survey of 2,700 US voters about different subjects that affect Latin America. Regarding Cuba, the survey found out that around 60% of the people surveyed were in favour of the US revising its policy towards Cuba and allowing trade between US companies and that country. Also, 68% supported the idea that all Americans should be able to travel to Cuba.

On October 17, 2008, the US magazine Science published an editorial, signed by the Secretary of International Relations of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba and his peer in the National Academy of Sciences in the US in which they advocate the lifting of the restrictions to a bilateral academia exchange.

On October 24, 2008, the representative of the Canadian medical-pharmaceutical company Cari Med Canada Trading Inc., Alberto Rodríguez, during his participation at the VIII Central American and Caribbean Congress for Anaesthesiology, Reanimation and Pain in Havana expressed that “the permits issued by the US Departments of Commerce and the Treasury in order to sell products to Cuba are extremely restricted, with a very high degree of detail”. According to his declarations, some completely absurd information is requested of the applicants. Likewise, he described that act of putting up obstacles for Cuban access to medical equipment and devices needed to save human lives as “criminal, genocidal and barbarian”.

On December 4, 2008, a group of trade, travel and agriculture-related organizations and associations sent a letter to President Obama entitled “Re-examining US policy towards Cuba”; in the letter they requested him to go further than his campaign promises and carry out a broader review of American policy. The letter was signed by the authorized representatives of 12 organizations, among them the US Agriculture Federation, the American Society of Travel Agents, the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Foreign Trade Council and USA Engage. That same day, the US Travel agent association, ASTA, asked the president-elect, Barack Obama, to eliminate all travel restrictions to Cuba.

In November 2008, the Group of Studies on Cuba (GEC) and the Brookings Institution, funded a survey carried out by the International University of Florida (FIU) during the three weeks following the presidential election, with the aim of measuring the opinions of Cuban-Americans about US policy towards Cuba.

The survey revealed that, on the subject of remittances, 65% of the surveyed people were in favour of a return to the pre-2003 conditions; 66% supported re-establishing trips for Cuba-Americans, while 67% showed that they were in favour of the elimination of the restrictions imposed on American citizens. 79% considered that the embargo was not working and 55% were opposed to the idea that it continues to be applied. 65% favoured re-establishing diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba and 79% were of the opinion that both governments ought to establish a direct dialogue on subjects of mutual interest.

On February 23, 2009, the document titled “Changing the policy towards Cuba in the national interest of the United States” was released, drawn up by the office of Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and circulated in the Senate plenary and, in particular, to the members of the Foreign Relations Committee.

After acknowledging the failure of the US policy towards Cuba, the report presents a series of recommendations. Among these, the outstanding ones are: replace the conditionality of the US approach by a a rapprochement or progressive commitment; lift the restrictions on trips and remittances for Cuba-Americans; and, review the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts, along with the reports of the Commission for Aid to a Free Cuba. Moreover, it proposed to re-establish bilateral conversations, establish cooperation strategies in the area of migration and the war on drugs and to make more flexible the measures being applied in the economic area.

On February 23, fourteen congressmen signed a letter to President Obama in which they supported “free trade between Cuba and the US”, arguing for the economic advantages that could result for both nations.

As it can be appreciated, in a growing spectrum of US public opinion, the perception of the need for a basic change in government policy regarding Cuba is broadened; the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial embargo would constitute an essential variable.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rally at the White House to free the 'Cuban Five'

JG: My apologies to the readers of Cuba Journal for the lateness of this post.

Washington, DC., October 11, 2009 - The Metro DC Free the Cuban Five Committee is organizing a rally to be held on Tuesday, October the 13th, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, in front of the White House, under the title of:

FREE THE FIVE CUBAN ANTI-TERRORIST POLITICAL PRISONERS FROM U.S. JAILS NOW!

The five Cuban patriots came to Miami to successfully unmask cells of anti-Cuban civilian terrorists who have killed close to 4,000 men, women and children m ai nly from Cuba , but also of other nationalities, including Americans, in Cuba and other countries, even the U.S. . . . Cuba gave the evidence gathered by the Cuban Five to the U.S. government, which proceeded to arrest the Cuban anti-terrorist volunteers!. The U.S. government must be denounced as a state harboring terrorists in Miami since 1959, and should compensate Cuba and other countries for the tragedies caused by U.S.-based terrorism, including the hardships imposed on the Cuban people by the ilegal and perverse U.S. total blockade. . . .

Fernando Gonzalez, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero, Gerardo Hernandez and Ramon Labanino were falsely charged with and convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage ag ai nst the U.S. goverment, and -- one of them-- even homicide. . . . They never spied on the U.S. or killed anybody . . . . They were tried in an ostensibly anti-Cuban venue in Miami , in a clear travesty of justice. In 1998 they were sentenced collectivelly to four life terms plus 77 years! . . . . In addition, during their eleven years of wrongful incarceration, they are being constantly abused and their loved ones are not permitted to visit them.

It is clear that they are being punished for their loyalty to the Cuban people and for refusing to compromise the values of peace, dignity, solidarity and humanism under which they grew up in Cuba . By refusing to hear the case of the Cuban Five in June, The Supreme Court of the United States of America ratified the sad reality that in the present time, the Rule of Law in our country is unjust.

Three of the Cuban Five are scheduled to be re-sentenced on Tuesday the 13th . . . . by judge Joan Lenerd, the same one who gave them their original unjust sentences, and . . . . in the same anti-Cuban venue, Miami !

It is not a matter of re-sentencing the Cuban Five. It is a matter of justice. They should be freed now and retried in a significantly different venue, starting at the Grand Jury level. This is the opinion of foreign governments, international organizations, and thousands of U.S. and other citizens -hundreds of them renowned personalities -- including U.S. military and other experts witnesses who gave testimony during the trial of the five anti-terrorist heroes who came to Miami only to unmask anti-Cuban terrorists.

CUBA IS NOT OUR ENEMY! HELP REDRESS THIS VICIOUS INJUSTICE!

DCMETROFREETHECUBANFIVECOMMITTEE@YAHOO.COM

Genocidal, Predatory and Arrogant

The reading of the 2009 Cuba Report in regards to the United States embargo of Cuba is very revealing.

It is not an embargo, as the Yankee imperialists call it. It is the continuation of the torture and barbarism policies started by the Republicans (by George W. Bush) and continued by the Democrats (Barack H. Obama). It is trying to asphyxiate a peaceful country for whom they have the same kind of hatred put into practice by Adolf Hitler against the Jews. The U.S. embargo of Cuba is a crime against humanity, decency and civilized behavior. Those three things do not exist in the United States.

It is pure arrogance on their part. Those two presidents deserve the just condemnation of the civilized community of nations.

The U.S. government should not forget that "what goes around, comes around".

One day they may suffer on their own territory something bigger than an embargo.

Cuba report about Resolution 63/7 at the General Assembly of the United Nations (Section 3.2) for the year 2009

This is the third part (3.2 Repercussions of The Embargo on Other Sectors of the Cuban Economy) of the new report presented by Cuba this year at the General Assembly of the United Nations. It is expected that this resolution will be voted upon on October 28th, 2009.

It is very likely that the United Nations General Assembly will condemn the continuation of the blockade/embargo against Cuba by U.S. President Barack Obama.


3.2 Repercussions of The Embargo on Other Sectors of the Cuban Economy

Construction Industry Sector. From April 2008 until March 2009, this sector has suffered losses on account of the embargo to the total of 47.2 million dollars; these, without a doubt, have had negative repercussions on the country being able to fulfill its projected plans and the recovery after the disasters caused by the passage of three hurricanes in 2008.

* Cuba has had to face up to a complicated situation in the area of the construction of and repairs to the more than 600,000 homes affected by the hurricanes. Of these homes, 90,958 were completely destroyed. However, the embargo prevents us to carry out our plans for construction, conservation and rehabilitation of these homes since it puts up obstacles for the importing of materials, products, tools and construction equipment coming from abroad, as well as raw materials for the national production of materials. Repercussions on the home construction programmes were calculated at 7.3 million dollars.

* In the period between March 2008 and April 2009, the IMECO Construction Company which imports materials and products for home construction suffered losses of 2.3 million dollars because of the difference in prices after having to purchase products in distant markets; risk costs are also added to the price.

* MATCO, a company that imports construction materials, is forced to carry out more than 80% of its business in Europe and Asia because of the embargo; this generates delays in operations and affects all its internal economic activities that depend on this. The time period from the beginning of import procedures until the purchased products enter the country has grown considerably longer. These days, the average time for this is 11 months; it could be reduced to 5 months if only Cuba had access to US markets.

* Faced with the impossibility of importing electrical parts made in the US, Westinghouse and Cuttler Hammer brands, IMECO had to carry out this operation using CONYAL S.A. as intermediary, thus significantly increasing the cost of said products.

* The Cuban companies we have mentioned above have presented offer requests to American companies such as the Ring Power Corporation and Spears Co., including their subsidiaries in third countries, in order to purchase tubes, interior and exterior PVC accessories, construction and parts and components for construction equipment; no reply was ever received in the fear that sanctions would be applied as a consequence of the embargo policy.

An example of the extra-territorial application of the embargo in the construction sector:

* The Siemens Company (Cement Division) – based in Denmark – refused to supply Cuba with equipment for the new Santiago de Cuba cement factory as a result of the embargo. This negative answer forced Cuba to choose a less reliable supplier and lose the standardization of the equipment in all the plants in the country, increasing the financial costs by inventories.

The Cuban sugar industry was affected to a total of 127.5 million dollars during the period under analysis. Just for relocating markets in order to import agricultural consumables, the country had to pay 76.0 million dollars.

* During 2008, production of sugar cane was affected by the embargo for 162.799 tons, equivalent to 44.7 million dollars, according to the market price at that moment. This US policy prevented us from purchasing special roller bearings, packaging, metals, spare industrial parts, lubricants and grease for repairs on production equipment. Added to this are the obstacles for buying trucks, tractor trailers, tires, combines, parts and accessories for locomotives. All these products are essential to the sugar industry.

The Cuban Civil Aeronautical Company has not escaped the effects of the embargo. Some examples from this period:

* The Cuban civil aviation system continues facing serious obstacles in the matter of charging for its aeronautical services provided to US airlines that operate to and from the US, for the use of Cuban air space. An example of this is the penalty of 100,000 dollars imposed on Spirit Airlines of the US for the payment of its instalments to Cuba after its planes used Cuban air space.

* Cubana de Aviación S.A. is not authorized to fly over US territory because of the embargo. Just in the 800 flights this airline makes from Canada to the east-central area of Cuba, the company has accumulated losses of at least 2.4 million dollars.

* Likewise, while the prohibition for US citizens to travel to Cuba remains in place, Cuban and US airlines continue to be forbidden from serving this kind of traffic. In the period we are dealing with here, the income lost because of this prohibition and not being able to provide other airport services totals 193 million 832,538 dollars.

Activities in Science, Technology and the Environment are also affected because of the US embargo.

* The Cuban Office Industrial Property Office (OCPI) faces obstacles when it comes to paying the OMPI Office in Geneva for requests for international patents. The Swiss banks Credit Suisse and UBS refused to make the operations requested of them as a result of the extra-territorial application of the embargo.

The Informatics and Communications sector have also been heavily affected by application of the embargo, including the restrictions imposed by the US on Cuban Internet access.

* Cuba is not able to connect to the Internet at a suitable speed. The current Cuban connection to the so-called network of networks does not permit the adequate band width to satisfy the country’s demand. The embargo forces Cuba to use a band width and connection services via satellite, something that is very expensive and has a limited capacity. The problem could be solved if Cuba would be permitted to connect without conditions or discriminatory requirements to the undersea fibre-optic cables that pass a few kilometres off the coast of Cuba. US authorities have not allowed this.

* Cuba does not have the right to accede to the services offered by a large number of Websites. This denial of access occurs when the connection is established from an Internet address (IP) authorized for the Cuban domain .cu. As a result, one only has an idea of the effect when one accedes from Cuba. A case has been detected where the negation of all relations with Cuba was produced without consideration of the origin of the connection. This is the case of the travel site AMADEUS (http://www.amadeus.com).

* In May, the American company Microsoft decided to block Windows Live service to Cuba. At the moment of connecting to this tool, this message comes up: “Microsoft has cancelled Windows Live Messenger IM for users in countries embargoed by the United States, therefore Microsoft will not provide Windows Live service to your country”.

Some examples of other web pages that are denied access from the .cu domain follow:

* Cisco Systems http://tools.cisco.com/RPF/register.do technologies for connection, routers for Internet access servers, including equipment in the digital video field.

* SolidWorks http://www.solidworks.com/sw/termsofuse.html automated design systems.

* Symantec http://www.symantec.com/about/profile/policies/legal Virus protection software.

* The Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba S.A. (ETECSA) has lost 53. 7 million dollars in the period being studied. These damages are basically due to the fact that there is no access to the American market to buy specialized equipment, spare parts and other necessary consumables needed for the good functioning of the company’s activities. This forces them to seek out intermediaries, thus making the product more expensive. During this period ETECSA has been forced to pay 96,100 dollars over the forecast amount in order to have the greatest number of spare parts available and to thus guarantee their service.

The Cuban tourism industry has not escaped the adverse effects of the embargo. It is estimated that income lost totalled 1214.5 million dollars.

* OFAC has continued to prevent commercial transactions to Cuba that are related to the Cuban tourist trade, including services offered on the Internet such as reservations, purchases of tickets, accommodations, plane leasing, and operations relating to cruises and boating activities. Last year, OFAC forbade GDS SABRE from continuing to provide global distribution services for Cuban hotel room reservations administered by foreign chains.

* According to projections of ASTA (Association of American Travel Agents) –that coincide with other sources linked to international tourism and in the Caribbean area in particular – the number of US tourists and cruise ship passengers that could have taken vacations in Cuba in 2008 if the prohibition maintained by the US government did not exist is calculated at 1.75 million visitors. For this reason during this period, the Cuban tourism industry lost at least 1,120 million dollars, even considering the variable of a decrease in daily spending of these visitors as a result of the crisis affecting the US economy since last year.

* Canadian airlines must hand over information to the United States on passengers on flights crossing US territory towards Cuba, 72 hours in advance. This new control is being used by OFAC to control US citizens traveling to Cuba without a permit.

* As a result of the US persecution, Cuban tourism companies cannot advertise on the best systems on the net such as Google, Yahoo and MSN, since these are all US owned. During the period covered by this report, the US government has continued to limit and slow up as much as it can Cuba’s access to electronic trade and to transactions via credit cards as a way of paying for Cuban sales.

* The embargo makes it impossible to buy equipment, parts and aggregates on the US market and from their subsidiaries and branches in other countries, as well as technology and services bearing US brands that are well-known to tourists. This makes supplies to the Cuban tourism industry much more expensive through higher prices, greater inventories, increases in freight rates and higher interest rates for credit.

Basic Industry, an important backbone for the national economy, is constantly under siege by the embargo policy. In this sector, the nickel industry continues to be one of the most attacked and persecuted branches. During the stage that we are analyzing, the industry has suffered losses of 62.9 million dollars. Of these, 45.8 million dollars are a result of the effects on exports since the US forbids imports of products manufactured totally or partly with Cuban raw materials even though they may have been made in third countries.

A Cuban body belonging to Basic Industry requested the American company ARMSTRONG EQUIPMENT to supply a micronizer mill or a milling module, something very useful for mining. In fear of application of the embargo, the request never reached them.

Examples of the extra-territorial dimension of the applications of the embargo to this industry:

* Minxia Non-Ferrous Metal Inc., a subsidiary of the China Minmetals Company, was fined by OFAC for 1 million 198 dollars for purchasing Cuban metals (nickel) without a permit between 2003 and 2006.

* The current US government fined the Varel Holdings company 110,000 dollars for exporting technology to Cuba. This company manufactures drills for oil rigs and, according to an OFAC report, between June 2005 and June 2006 “a foreign branch of Varel Holdings made eleven exports of goods in which Cuba or a Cuban citizen had interests”. This company’s fine is the largest of the penalties applied during the present fiscal year.

* On April 30, OFAC informed that the American company EFEX Trade LLC was fined 2,000 dollars for providing services to the sending of remittances without a permit, in which Cuba had an interest.

* In July 2008, Platte River Associates of Boulder, Colorado, was accused of “trading with the enemy” for allegedly having transferred technology to Cuba. It was accused of providing specialized technical computer software and of computer training that was later used to create a model on exploration and the development potential of oil and gas in Cuban territorial waters, without having first obtained a permit from the Treasury Department. The company executives were facing sanctions of up to 10 years in prison.

* The Brazilian branch of Purolite was not able to sell selective cationic resins for nickel and cobalt to the Cuban institute of science and technology (IMRE) so that they could test their use in the processing of laterites. Successful application of these resins could result in important increases in the recovery of nickel and cobalt, along with a decrease in production costs. The regional director for Latin America of Purolite expressed “that since this is an American company it was not possible to establish trade relations with Cuba”.

Effects on the iron and steel industry have reached 38 million 164 thousand dollars. If these losses had not been incurred, it would have been possible to buy 139,284 refrigerators or 1,773,423 galvanized steel roofs that could have roofed 49,261 homes of 70 square metres each.

* The embargo causes the raw materials for the manufacture of some medical equipment to rise in price. For example in the acquisition of steel, losses totalled 96.5 thousand dollars die to the necessity of using markets that were further away. With this amount we could have produced 17 pedal-operated or femoral sinks that are needed by the Neonatal Unit in the Dr. Eusebio Hernández Maternity Hospital which attends a large population; or we could have looked after the Emergency Department needs at the Juan Manuel Márquez Pediatric Hospital. These products are essential for the surgical wards of those hospitals.

* The extra-territorial dimension of the application of the embargo affected ACINOX, a Cuban company, when it needed to buy a 125 MVA transformer for the 220 KV electrical sub-station of Antillana de Acero de Cuba. When they attempted to effectuate the purchase in a Latin American country, Siemens pointed out: “We cannot sell to Cuba since, in spite of the fact that we are a German company, we follow some US rules.”

* Something similar occurred in January 2009. ALCOA- España refused a request from the Cuban commercializing company Alcuba to buy aluminium profiles. ALCOA- España’s answer was: “In response to your request for information about the supplying of aluminium, we must inform you that, as a company with its main office in the USA, we are not allowed to look after your request due to current existing restrictions that affect trade with Cuba”.

Light Industry has also been affected as a direct consequence of the negative impact of the embargo. Between April 2008 and April 2009, losses for this concept were calculated at 18.7 million dollars.

* CETRO, Unión Suchel and TEXORO of the Textile Union have been affected to a total of 1.9 million dollars for delays in the arrival of consumables for the production of bath and laundry soaps, just to mention two of their products. This delay was caused by the embargo restrictions that force us to make purchases in markets that are farther away.

Cuba report about Resolution 63/7 at the General Assembly of the United Nations (Section 3.1) for the year 2009

This is the third part (3.1 Repercussions on the Foreign Sector of the Economy) of the new report presented by Cuba this year at the General Assembly of the United Nations. It is expected that this resolution will be voted upon on October 28th, 2009.

It is very likely that the United Nations General Assembly will condemn the continuation of the blockade/embargo against Cuba by U.S. President Barack Obama.


3.1 Repercussions on the Foreign Sector of the Economy

The US embargo continues to deprive Cuba of important incomes from exports of goods and services; it puts up obstacles to the country’s access to foreign funding sources and creates an onerous increase in prices due to the geographical relocation of trade.

During the period under analysis, repercussions on the foreign sector are calculated at 242.4 million dollars.

In the case of companies in this sector, one of the main repercussions is the rise in the cost of foreign funding due to the increased risk to the country by which Cuban operations are classified. The fact that the chief agencies that classify risk on a global level are, partially or totally, dominated by US capital is a determining factor in this classification.

Funding can only be achieved with interest rates above those that prevail on the international market. Likewise, prohibitions on the use of the US dollar in the transactions of these companies obliged them to buy repayment currencies and with this assume the implicit exchange risks. The amount for effects due to these factors was 164.1 million dollars.

Next, some examples that describe the effects of the embargo on this sector:

1. Cuban companies exporting sugar, coffee and honey are obliged to redirect their business to less advantageous markets because they lack access to the American market. This is calculated at 49.4 million dollars.

2. MAPRINTER, a Cuban company, needs to import significant amounts of plastic resins each year, the main supplier being the United States. Since they do not have access to that market, they must look for alternative markets. During 2008, just for the concept of the price difference, MAPRINTER had to pay approximately 1.9 million dollars above what was anticipated.

The repercussions produced in this sector as a result of the extra-territorial dimensionof the embargo have also been very evident.

1. In August 2008, a European company, a traditional supplier of air compressors, informed MAQUIMPORT, a Cuban company, that its head office had been bought by Gardner Denver Inc., a US company, which had issued instructions to shut down the European company’s branch in Cuba and the ceasing of operations in our country. If indeed the Cuban company managed to carry out the pending contracts before closure, it is certain that during 2009, faced with the necessity to ensure spare parts for around 300 already installed machines in different industries, health centres and laboratories in the Scientific Pole, it was obliged to use intermediaries, thus bringing about an increase of between 20 and 30 % in the price of the product.

2. In November 2008, a Swedish company informed MAQUIMPORT that it would be impossible to honour a contract to supply equipment for the Cuban sugar industry because one of the equipment components came from the US. This contract was cancelled, creating a repercussion on sugar production.

Embargo actions directed against the Cuban banking and financial system have continued to be toughened. In this period, possibilities of using correspondent banks have been decreased; this has made transactions more complicated and has further limited the normal functioning of banking and financial institutions. Added to all this are the limitations created by the impossibility of using the US dollar as the means for payment.

One of the manifestations of the embargo on the banking sector has been seen in the cancellation of the BKE codes used to authenticate SWIFT messages to Cuba. During the period, one European and one Canadian bank along with two other banks located in Latin American countries have applied this measure against Cuba.

Section 211 of the US Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999 and new aggressions on the subject of brands.

The US government has continued to carry out actions to consummate the theft of Havana Club, a Cuban brand which is internationally recognized. Section 211 of the US Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999 prevents Cuban holders or their successors (among these, foreign companies in Cuba) from having recognition on US territory for their rights on brands or business names that are registered and protected in Cuba.

This legislation has implications not just on bilateral Cuba-United States relations but it also affects multilateral agreements, of which both states are parties. For that reason, since 2002, the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) decided that Section 211 was in violation of the obligations of the national treatment and the most-favoured-nation treatment in the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement (TRIPs). Said body requested the US government to adjust said legislation so that it would be compatible with its international obligations.

In spite of this decision by the WTO and the reiterated later calls made by the same body, the US government continues to ignore its fulfillment. This way of behaving confirms the lack of political will on the part of US authorities to provide a solution to this dispute and to comply with the norms of international commerce. The lack of commitment by the US government with international law in its relations with Cuba was proven last March 30 when the federal judge of the Court in Washington D.C., Royce C. Lambert, threw out a lawsuit by the Cuban company CUBAEXPORT (the legitimate holder of the Havana Club trademark) against the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Treasury Department (OFAC) which refused the licence that was requested in 2006. Rejection of this lawsuit is based on Section 211.

On this same matter, Patricia Neal, spokesperson for Bacardi USA, declared to the EFE news agency that her company applauded the decision of the court, adding that this judgement confirms the decision that “the Cuban government has no rights over the Havana Club trademark in the United States.”

One would merely have to wonder what would happen if a country were to proceed to arbitrarily cancel the registrations of valuable American trademarks and a company would deliberately use them in that market.

The international community cannot permit the United States to ignore trade laws and international industrial property rights and the judgements of the WTO Appellate Body with impunity.

By acting in this manner, the US has established a precedent having unpredictable consequences in the area of trade-related intellectual property rights.

Cuba report about Resolution 63/7 at the General Assembly of the United Nations (Section 2) for the year 2009

This is the second part (2. The New US Administration. Measures Adopted.) of the new report presented by Cuba this year at the General Assembly of the United Nations. It is expected that this resolution will be voted upon on October 28th, 2009.

It is very likely that the United Nations General Assembly will condemn the continuation of the blockade/embargo against Cuba by U.S. President Barack Obama.


2. The New US Administration. Measures Adopted.

The media and diplomatic offensive unleashed by the US government could erroneously lead one to the belief that the embargo against Cuba has started to be dismantled. However, nothing is further from the truth, as we shall demonstrate:

What measures have been adopted by the White House?

* Elimination of restrictions on family visits –to the limit of third degree of consanguinity – for Cuban residents in the United States.

* Elimination of restrictions on Cuban-Americans sending remittances to relatives in Cuba with the limit of up to the third degree of consanguinity and excluding “members of the government of Cuba” and “members of the Communist Party of Cuba”.

* Widening the range of articles that may be sent in packages as gifts.

* Granting of licences so that American companies can broaden certain telecommunications operations with Cuba.

These measures, if they indeed make good in part for a serious injustice, by returning to Cuban residents in the US their right to visit family in Cuba – have been taken away from them by the George W. Bush government – they are insufficient and have a very limited scope since they go no further than the intention of returning to the situation family relations existed in the year 2004 when the economic embargo was already fully in effect and being applied.

Likewise, even though the limitations on frequency and duration of visits mentioned above are taken away, that a broader concept of family members who may be visited be restored even with restrictions, and that the limit on daily expenditures be increased for the visitors, the prohibition on Cuban residents in the US who do not have family in Cuba travelling to Cuba still remains.

The measures referred to also do not at all look after the restitution of the constitutional right of American citizens to travel freely to Cuba, the only country in the world that they are forbidden from visiting.

As for the eventual granting of licences so that American companies can broaden certain telecommunications operations with Cuba, we must emphasize that this measure is not a new one. The Torricelli Act established a legal framework that allows, since 1962, telecommunications services to be provided to Cuba. However, from that same era, the different administrations limited that possibility to telephone communications and they even restricted the type of service that the American companies were able to provide. None of the recently announced measures indicates that those limitations or restrictions are going to be modified. Until the present moment, its nature is essentially a media gimmick. There has been absolutely no announcement about the regulations that ought to accompany the measure.

Cuba report about Resolution 63/7 at the General Assembly of the United Nations (Section 1) for the year 2009

This is the first part (1. Introduction) of the new report presented by Cuba this year at the General Assembly of the United Nations. It is expected that this resolution will be voted upon on October 28th, 2009.

It is very likely that the United Nations General Assembly will condemn the continuation of the blockade/embargo against Cuba by U.S. President Barack Obama.


1. Introduction

The economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba 50 years ago is the most elevated expression of a cruel and inhuman policy, lacking in legality and legitimacy and deliberately designed to create hunger, illnesses and desperation within the Cuban populace. Nothing has changed through ten successive US governments other than a tightening of this policy. Nothing essential has changed either since the new US government was inaugurated in January 2009.

With the absolute compliance with Resolution 63/7, adopted by the UN General Assembly on October 29, 2008, in a vote of 185 nations in favour and only 3 opposed, the government of the United States, far from lifting the economic, commercial and financial embargo it had imposed on the Republic of Cuba, has maintained in effect the laws, regulations and practices that sustain it. It has continued to reinforce the political, administrative and repressive mechanisms for it’s more efficacious and deliberate implementation.

The present US government has continued to rigorously apply the embargo against Cuba. It has made no declarations, not to mention taken any steps, directed towards the removal of the complex maze of laws and administrative regulations that make up the legal bases and the regulations of the embargo. Neither have the foundations upon which that policy has been erected been modified. This can be demonstrated by the laws and regulations described below.

* Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA). It was enacted as a war measure in 1917 in order to restrict trade with nations considered to be hostile. Subsequently, its application was expanded to authorize the president to regulate ownership transactions that involved any of its nationals in a foreign country, both in time of war as “during any period of national emergency declared by the president”. The first regulations of the embargo against Cuba in 1962 are based on this act.

* Foreign Aid Act. By means of this act, enacted in 1967, the United States Congress authorized the president of that country to establish and maintain “a total embargo on trade between the United States and Cuba”. It also prohibited the granting of any aid to the government of Cuba.

* Export Administration Act (EAA). Adopted in 1979 as the result of the review of controls over exports. It authorized the president to control, en general, the export and re-export of goods and technology and, in particular, to restrict those exports that would contribute to the military potential of any country, detrimental to US national security.

* Cuban Democracy Act (CDA). More widely known as the Torricelli Act, it was signed into law by President Bush (father) in October 1992. With it, the US government reinforced economic measures against Cuba and provided normative support to the extra-territorial dimensionof the embargo. It prohibited companies that were subsidiaries of US companies in third countries from carrying out transactions with Cuba or Cuban nationals and the entry into US territory, during a term of 180 days, of vessels from third countries that had put into Cuban ports, just to name a few of the restrictions.

* Cuban Liberty and Solidarity Act. Known as the Helms-Burton Act, it was approved by President Clinton in March 1996. It sought to discourage foreign investment and to internationalize the Cuban embargo. It codified the regulations of the embargo, limited the presidential prerogatives to suspend this policy and broadened its extra-territorial scope. It refused entry into the United States of executives of foreign companies (and their families) who had invested in “confiscated” property in Cuba and established the possibility of taking them to trial in US courts.

* Export Administration Act (EAA). Adopted in 1979 as the result of the review of controls over exports. It authorized the president to control, in general, the export and re-export of goods and technology and, in particular, to restrict those exports that would contribute to the military potential of any country detrimental to US national security.

* Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Among these, there is the prohibition on exports from the US to Cuba, other than exceptions that are specified in the regulation itself or those that are authorized by licences issued by the US Bureau of Industry and Security of the Department of Commerce. Said regulations are protected by the Trading with the Enemy Act and the Export Administration Act.

The extent of legislation and regulations mentioned above demonstrates, moreover, that there has never been such a wide-ranging and brutal embargo against a people like the one the US is maintaining against Cuba. On the one hand, this classifies as genocide by virtue of Section c of Article II of the Geneva Convention of 1948 on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and, on the other hand, as an act of economic war, according to the stipulations of the declaration regarding Maritime War adopted by the 1909 London Naval Conferencedeclaration regarding Maritime War adopted by the 1909 London Naval Conference.

The embargo against Cuba is not a bilateral issue between our country and the United States. The repeated extra-territorial application of US laws and the persecution against the legitimate interests of companies and citizens of third countries significantly have repercussions on the sovereignty of many other States.

Protected by this policy, sanctions continue to be applied on US and European companies that do business with Cuba. Persons who are ill in Cuba cannot in many instances benefit from new diagnostics, technologies or drugs, even though their lives depend on it because independently of the fact that these were products or were available in a third country, the embargo laws forbid that Cuba acquires even just one single component or program that comes from the United States.

According to very conservative figures, the direct harm inflicted on Cuba as a result of the embargo, until December 2008, surpasses 96 billion dollars, a figure that would reach 236 thousand 221 million dollars, if the calculation were to be made using today’s value of the US dollar. It is not difficult to imagine the progress Cuba would have been able to achieve and how much progress has been denied it if it hadn’t been for these 50 years of being submitted to this brutal economic war.

In open defiance of the growing demands both inside and outside the US that this policy be eliminated, the new American government has reiterated gain and again its intention to maintain the embargo against Cuba. US Vice President Joseph Biden declared: “The US will maintain the embargo as a tool to apply pressure on Cuba”.

In the chapters of this report, the real scope of the measures regarding Cuba adopted by the new US administration are sketched out and the repercussions of the embargo on Cuba between March of 2008 and April of 2009 are recorded.

Declarations made in the framework of the Summit of Progressive Leaders in Chile, March 28, 2009.