EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA TO NEW ZEALAND
Press release20 October 2013
For the twenty-second consecutive occasion, next October 29th, 2013, Cuba will submit to the consideration of the UN General Assembly the draft resolution entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”.
For 53 years now, the cruel policy of economic strangulation against Cuba has been guided by the rationale of a memorandum submitted by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Lester Mallory dated April 6, 1960, the text of which states:
“The majority of Cubans support Castro […] There is no effective political opposition. […] The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. […] every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba. […] denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”
The blockade has been and is a flagrant violation of International Law, is contrary to the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and constitutes a violation of the right to peace, development and security of a sovereign State.
At the beginning of his Administration in 2009, President Obama announced a fresh start with Cuba and expressed his conviction that relations between Cuba and the United States could follow a new direction. Five years later, all we have seen is a reinforcement of the extraterritorial nature of the blockade and an intensified persecution of Cuba’s international financial transactions.
The blockade has proven to be the main obstacle for Cuban economic and social development, the largest hindrance for expanding Cuba’s commercial ties with the rest of the world, and has become a serious restraint for the international cooperation that the country both provides and receives.
The Cuban people endures severe economic losses, which till April 2013 –after five decades of blockade- amount to 1 157 327 000 000 US Dollars, if depreciation of the dollar against gold value in the international market is taken into consideration.
Cuba cannot freely export and import goods and services to and from the United States, nor uses the dollar in its international financial transactions or open accounts in that currency in third-country banks.
Assistance provided by international financial institutions is also prohibited for Cuba.
The obsessive persecution of and harassment against those establishing or trying to establish normal relations with Cuba by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department, is an outstanding feature of the extraterritorial scope of the blockade.
From January, 2009 to September, 9, 2013, the Obama Administration had forced 30 American and foreign entities to pay over 2.4 billion dollars for having relations with Cuba and other countries under sanction.
An editorial published on March 3, 2013 by the Bloomberg agency revealed that between 2000 and 2006 alone, the US Administration had filed 11,000 investigation proceedings for alleged infringement of sanctions against Cuba. The same information also indicated that 7,000 investigation proceedings had been filed for the remaining countries.
All this in a context in which US authorities themselves have acknowledged that Cuba poses no threat to the national security of that country, still they insist in including it in the infamous list of countries sponsoring terrorism to justify the fierce persecution of Cuba’s financial transactions and the reinforcement of the blockade.
The blockade against Cuba remains the most unjust, far-reaching, severe and prolonged system of unilateral coercive sanctions ever applied to any country in the world for half a century.
It is a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of a whole people. It causes shortages and needless suffering to the Cuban population, limits and restrains the development of the country and seriously damages the Cuban economy.
The major effects of the blockade are felt in the most sensitive areas of Cuban people’s life. The decision by the Zurich Canton Bank to suspend, under US pressure, all transfers to Cuba, affected the cooperation that MediCuba-Suisse –a non-governmental organization- has maintained with Cuban public health authorities in such areas as fighting cancer, pediatrics, and HIV/AIDS prevention.
In an unprecedented event in the work carried out by the office of the World Health Organization/Pan-American Health Organization in Cuba, a Canadian Bank –also under US pressure—withhold the funds for the purchase of influenza vaccines intended for the immunization program for the elderly.
The blockade policy is increasingly rejected both within the United States and by the international community. The United States must lift it immediately and unconditionally.