Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Delegate Statements UN Cuba Embargo Debate

62nd General Assembly of the United Nations

FARUKH AMIL ( Pakistan), on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said those Governments had condemned the use of economic sanctions at the Second South Summit held in Qatar in June 2005. Further, they had recognized that the embargo had caused a high degree of economic and financial damage that had impacted the well-being of the Cuban people, and called on the United States to end its embargo. At the annual Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 held in New York in September, the ministers once again firmly rejected the imposition of laws and regulations with extraterritorial impact, emphasizing that such actions undermined the principles of the United Nations Charter and threatened trade. They had, therefore, called on the global community neither to recognize nor apply those measures.

The Group was committed to working towards a better world in which all nations -– large and small -– could coexist peacefully, he continued. The achievement of such coexistence required an adherence to the rule of law, including international law. In conformity with the fundamental norms of international law, the United Nations Charter and the principles governing peaceful relations among States, he supported the need to eliminate coercive economic measures. Further, the continued imposition of the embargo against Cuba violated the principles of sovereign equality of States and non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs. Replacing the embargo with greater dialogue and cooperation would contribute greatly to removing tensions. The Group would again support the draft resolution to end the embargo.

MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that he opposed the adoption and implementation of extraterritorial or unilateral coercive measures or legislation, including unilateral economic sanctions, other intimidating measures and arbitrary travel restrictions, that sought to exert pressure on non-aligned countries, threatening their sovereignty and independence, their freedom of trade and investment, and preventing them from exercising their right to decide their own political and economic systems. Those actions were flagrant violations of the United Nations Charter, international law, the multilateral trading system and the norms and principles governing friendly relations among States.

He called upon the United States to end the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba, expressed concern over its widening extraterritorial nature and rejected measures by the United States Government to reinforce the embargo and other measures against the people of Cuba. He urged strict compliance with all resolutions calling for the end to the embargo.

PAULETTE A. BETHEL ( Bahamas), on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), aligned herself with Pakistan’s statement on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China. She said CARICOM had always recognized the importance of mutually beneficial relations among Caribbean countries, as they faced globalization challenges from a unified perspective. Recalling the communiqué from the Second Meeting of the CARICOM/Cuba Ministers of Foreign Affairs last May, she said those principles had embodied the conduct of CARICOM international relations. CARICOM reiterated its complete opposition to the punitive embargo, which had gone on for far too long. Further, her delegation maintained its opposition to the imposition of extraterritorial laws on third States, which was contrary to the Charter.

The significant impact of the embargo on the Cuban economy was of great concern to her delegation, as was the humanitarian impact on the Cuban people, particularly in the area of health care and food. Cuba was an integral part of the Pan-Caribbean process, and CARICOM’s links with Cuba remained strong. Noting that Bahamanian Prime Minister Denzil Douglas had expressed CARICOM’s deep appreciation for the technical and other assistance that Cuba had provided to the Caribbean, she said it was no small feat that Cuban assistance in the field of health was considerable, even as the impact of the embargo was systematically stiffened.

Through its actions, Cuba had shown it was an integral part of the Caribbean, she said. The country had not threatened any Member State, but rather, had sought to assist its neighbours in the quest for human development. The embargo against Cuba was an anachronism, and served no useful purpose in the twenty-first century, which was also facing the climate change challenge. As CARICOM enjoyed friendly relations with Cuba and the United States, she called for a “new beginning” between those countries, akin to initiatives undertaken for negotiations of far more difficult international issues. Within that context, CARICOM States supported the draft resolution.

JORGE VALERO, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela , said the embargo against Cuba was genocidal and unilateral, and had flagrantly violated both the Charter and the norms of international law. His country categorically rejected the application of laws with extraterritorial effects, which intervened in States’ internal affairs. The embargo was an “anachronism of failed imperial policies”, which had been rejected by the peoples and Governments of the world. The United Nations had repeatedly rejected the embargo.

He recalled that, a few days ago, United States President George W. Bush had threatened to intensify the embargo against Cuba and urged the deepening isolation of the country. In those actions, the President had hoped to undermine Cuban institutions. It was a new attempt to reacquire Cuba. Venezuela was against such “irrational purposes” and urged all States to reject them. The inhuman measures imposed by the United States for more than 45 years had had a terrible impact. Yet, despite the embargo, Cuba had maintained its solidarity with peoples in the South, and Venezuela appreciated that solidarity.

Venezuela firmly demanded the end of the cruel and punitive embargo, he said, adding that human rights were repeatedly violated by such genocidal actions. Indeed, the embargo had impeded the necessary dialogue and cooperation that must prevail among States. He said the Assembly had rejected the United States’ unilateral act and it was time to repeat that determination. His delegation subscribed to Egypt’s statement, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, and Uruguay’s statement on behalf of Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR). Venezuela would vote in favour of the resolution to end the embargo.

CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) once again expressed his Government’s disapproval of the economic, commercial and financial embargo of the United States against Cuba and said the use of such coercive actions was not supported by the United Nations Charter. Such unilateral mechanisms could result in severe humanitarian consequences and signified a refusal to use diplomacy and dialogue as the ideal path to solving controversies between States. Some of the consequences of the embargo included, among others: alterations of foreign bank transactions with Cuba; greater difficulty in attracting foreign investment to Cuba; greater difficulty integrating the country into the world trade system; limitations to Cuban access to credits; and greater difficulty in obtaining necessary procurement and supplies for Cuba.

He said his Government was continuing bilateral and multilateral relations with Cuba, based on the general principles of international law. Mexico remained fully opposed to the exercise of national norms on other countries that went against international law. For 16 years Mexico had supported an end to the embargo, and in order to favour economic and commercial exchange, as well as regional cooperation and development, his country had assisted Cuba in its incorporation into all regional integration mechanisms. The observance of international law and principles was necessary to overcome the differences among States and to guarantee an environment of international peace. Societies evolved according to their own circumstances and not as a result of externally imposed mechanisms. As such, his Government reaffirmed its support for the resolution.

HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam) said the economic, commercial and financial embargo, imposed for nearly 50 years against Cuba by the United States, had caused huge economic damages and untold suffering to the Cuban people. It had severely hindered Cuba’s economic and social development and undermined its efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Direct economic damages exceeded $89 billion over the last half-century, while last year’s damages to Cuba’s foreign trade alone were worth over $1.4 billion. The embargo had been not just sustained over the years, but rather tightened, through the enforcement of laws and provisions of a distinctly extraterritorial character.

That embargo ran counter to the fundamental principles of international law, the United Nations Charter and the regulations of the World Trade Organization, he said. Continuing such coercive economic measures would only cause further tension in bilateral relations between the United States and Cuba and further damage vulnerable groups within Cuba. It was no surprise that the embargo had been repeatedly rejected by a growing number of Member States, to a point where opposition to it was almost unanimous. Every nation had the inalienable right to determine its own political system and path of development and differences between the United States and Cuba should be settled through dialogue and negotiations, based on mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. Normalization and development of friendly relations between the two neighbours would serve the interests of both countries, as well as those of regional and international peace and security. He reaffirmed his Government’s friendship and solidarity with the Cuban people and called upon the United States to put an immediate end to its policy.

FELIPE PÉREZ ROQUE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, recalled that the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed against Cuba had lasted nearly half a century, causing losses of over $89 billion. At the current dollar value, those losses accounted for no less than $222 billion. As such, anyone could understand that the blockade was the main obstacle to the well-being of the Cuban people, and constituted a systematic, blatant and massive violation of rights.

He said the document outlining the purpose of the embargo, initiated by United States President Dwight Eisenhower in 1960, had sought to estrange internal support for the political opposition in Cuba. It worked on the basis that money must be denied, with a view to causing hunger, despair and the overthrow of the Government.

Today, President George W. Bush had urged Congress to maintain the embargo, he continued. Indeed, 7 in 10 Cubans had lived their lives only knowing such aggression against the country. The United States had ignored “with arrogance and political blindness” the 15 resolutions calling for the lifting of the blockade. It had adopted new measures that “bordered on madness and fanaticism” to deepen the blockade, which had never been enforced with such viciousness as in the past year. For example, the United States had penalized the alliance of Baptist churches that had claimed to have been tourists with religious purposes. In 2006, the United States had forbidden American companies from providing Internet services to Cuba, and thus today, if one tried to access Google Earth in Cuba, a screen would appear: “This service is not available in your country.”

Children, in particular, had been impacted by the embargo, as they could not receive high-quality anaesthesia. The United States delegation should explain why Cuban children suffering from cardiac arrhythmia were enemies of its Government. He reiterated his solidarity with American filmmakers Oliver Stone and Michael Moore who had shot documentaries in Cuba. The fact that Mr. Moore was being investigated for a trip to Cuba constituted “twenty-first century McCarthyism”.

He said the Assembly had heard United States representatives say that the issue was a bilateral matter. However, the ruthless economic war imposed on Cuba was an affront to international law and the United Nations Charter. The extraterritorial enforcement of American law, scorning the legitimate interests of third countries to develop normal trade relations with Cuba, concerned all States. From May 2006 to May 2007, 30 countries had been impacted by the extraterritorial provisions of the blockade. PSL Energy Services, for example, had been fined in 2007 for exporting equipment and services to Cuba for the oil industry. BASF AG also had been prevented from selling an herbicide-related product from Germany or its Latin American subsidiaries, while the Hilton Group had announced it would ban bookings of Cubans in all its hotels around the world, as it would be subject to fines.

The United States President had said Cuba’s regime used the embargo as a “scapegoat” for its miseries, he continued. However, the Secretary-General’s report clearly proved that United States actions over the last year to reinforce the blockade had had serious consequences in Cuba. Today, the Cuban people were following with hope the Assembly’s decision. “Never had a nation such profound convictions to fight,” he said. Cuba would fight with the conviction that defending its rights today was tantamount to fighting for the rights of all peoples. He requested voting in favour of the resolution to end the embargo against Cuba. He had the legitimate right to say “long live Cuba”.

DUMISANI S. KUMALO ( South Africa) said that for 47 years the people of Cuba had lived under a unilateral economic, commercial and financial embargo by the United States, which meant that the majority of Cuban citizens had known no other life. Even so, the Cuban people had survived. Cuba offered assistance to many developing countries in the areas of health, education and biotechnology. “The embargo that was designed to stifle the everyday lives of the Cuban people has instead produced a contribution by Cuba to the betterment of the lives of other people around the world.” He particularly noted Cuba’s contributions to his own country’s freedom and democracy in the fight against apartheid.

He opposed the United States embargo against Cuba as a violation of the principles of the sovereign equality of States and of non-intervention and non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs. Guided by the norms of international law and conduct, South Africa believed that constructive dialogue would foster mutual trust and understanding and was committed to working towards a better world for all, including the Cuban people, and one in which all nations could coexist peacefully. He also expressed opposition to the use of coercive measures to pressure developing countries as contrary to international law, international humanitarian law, the United Nations Charter and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States. He believed the overwhelming majority of Member States present today would join South Africa in its support for the Cuban people.

LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said that, for 15 years, the General Assembly had adopted a resolution urging all countries to comply with the United Nations Charter and the principles of international law by repealing all laws and measures that compromised the sovereignty of other States. Despite those resolutions, the long-term economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba imposed by the United States continued. Normal economic, commercial and financial ties among countries were in the global interest and, as such, the international community had the right to raise serious concerns over the embargo and sanctions suffered by Cuba over the years. Not only did those sanctions harm the interests of Cuba and many other countries, they also went against the principles of democracy, freedom, rule of law and human rights.

Forcing another country, through embargo and sanctions, to give up its right to independently choose its path of development constituted a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, he continued. Such practices had nothing to do with promoting democracy or freedom since they were extraterritorial in nature and thus in violation of international law. The sanctions against Cuba were opposed by all countries and ran counter to the principle of trade liberalization. They also seriously obstructed the efforts of the Cuban people to eradicate poverty, improve their living standard, pursue economic and social development, and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Countries should develop State-to-State relations based on equality and in compliance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, and they should be allowed to choose their own political, economic, and social systems and their mode of development. As such, he requested the ending of the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed against Cuba and expressed hope that a spirit of dialogue and exchange would take its place.

A.A. PANKIN ( Russian Federation) said that Russia shared the position of the majority of Member States in opposing the United States embargo against Cuba and calling for its end. Normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States would help to integrate Cuba into the region and internationally. The State Duma of the Russian Federation issued an appeal to Member States and international parliamentary organizations in which it noted the suffering to the Cuban people caused by the United States embargo, called that blockade a holdover from the cold war period and called for its end.

He said that the continued commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba by the United States was counterproductive and unresponsive to the spirit of the times. Further, it was an impediment to building a just world order in keeping with the United Nations Charter and international law. It also ignored the universal opinion of Member States with regard to the principles of replacing confrontation with cooperation and the right of people to choose their political, economic and social systems.

MOHAMMAD SALIM ( India) said the international community had categorically opposed the extraterritorial aspect of the embargo imposed against Cuba by the United States. His Government joined that opposition and the General Assembly’s repeated rejection of the imposition of laws and regulations with extraterritorial impact and all other forms of coercive economic measures. Through its resolutions, the Assembly had called upon Member States to respect their obligations under the United Nations Charter and international law by repealing and invalidating laws and measures that went against the Charter’s principles. The continuation of the embargo on Cuba had hampered that country’s ability to pursue development initiatives and had caused severe humanitarian damage, particularly in terms of medical care and access to medical equipment, medicines and diagnostic aids. Other areas affected included nutrition, education, international trade and investment, and transportation.

Cuba’s efforts to provide assistance under South-South cooperation in the field of medicine were also hindered due to the embargo, he continued. As well, there had been an adverse impact on gross domestic product (GDP) growth, export revenues, industrial and agricultural production and trade. Embargoes and economic blockades were against the spirit of unhindered trade and commerce without barriers. The embargo had done nothing but delay Cuba’s progress towards development and the continuation of such a policy was nothing “but a desire to continue an age old unjust arrangement”. In an age of globalization, that was especially unacceptable.

He said the United States and Cuba should be natural partners in trade, commerce and investment, and a considerable part of the business sector in the United States could benefit from greater contact with Cuba. Limited United States exports of agricultural and medical products to Cuba were testimony to the interest and potential of trade, and various legislative attempts in the United States to relax the embargo also supported that view. In conclusion, he reiterated his Government’s opposition to unilateral measures that impinged upon the sovereignty of another country and his support for the resolution under consideration.

FRANCIS K. BUTAGIRA ( Uganda) supported the lifting of the embargo against Cuba and, quoting the World Summit Outcome 2005, said democracy was “a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.” The people of Cuba had the right to determine how they were to be governed, who would govern them, and for how long. The attempt to impose sanctions on Cuba was an attempt to impose regime change. The embargo hurt the Cuban people and crippled their economic development. The international community had consistently called for the lifting of the embargo and that “universal voice” should be heeded.

Isolationism did not do any country any good, he said. Even in the United States there were elements of support for lifting the embargo, including one of the presidential candidates for the 2008 elections. It was high time the concerned authorities in the United States heeded the call of those overwhelming voices to lift the embargo, which was against the principles of international law and free trade, and contrary to the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

E. Hugo Siles-Alvarado ( Bolivia) said, after 47 years of a relentless blockade against Cuba and after 15 resolutions of the General Assembly requesting the lifting of the unilateral embargo by the United States, the international community could see the “clear failure of this commercial, economic and financial embargo as a mechanism to impose foreign ideologies on a sovereign nation”. The Viet Nam War had demonstrated that no brute force was capable of oppressing the “fearless will of sovereign nations” in their struggle for the right to self-determination. On the contrary, such actions only served to unite a people against their oppressors.

The embargo policy of the United States against Cuba was a clear violation of the human rights of the Cuban people, he said. Such actions warranted corresponding sanctions by the General Assembly. However, the Assembly could not impose such sanctions, since it had established and continued to follow the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The Assembly resolutions adopted year after year did not have any implications for the countries involved, because the Assembly did not have the power to apply them. It was imperative, therefore, to give the General Assembly the power to make binding decisions -- for instances, such as in the current instance, where there was a violation of human rights. He called on the international community to build a genuine peace based on mutual respect and non-interference in other countries’ sovereign affairs. It was now time to impose reason and lift the “inhuman embargo” on Cuba.

HINDI ABDELLATIF ( Libya), supporting Pakistan’s statement on behalf of the Group of 77, said that for over 40 years, the economic, commercial and financial embargo had impeded the economic and social development of Cuba. That situation had arisen despite the fact that the Assembly had called for ending the embargo, which had been tightened by extraterritorial laws and provisions. Indeed, the embargo ran counter to international law and the United Nations Charter, and promulgation would only lead to further tension in bilateral relations, and have a particularly serious impact women and children.

His delegation was strongly opposed to unilateral measures imposed for political reasons, he explained. Libya was extremely concerned at the imposition of the coercive economic embargo, particularly as it was against the principles of equal rights of States and non-interference in internal affairs of other countries. It impinged on Cuba’s right to development, food and medical care. The imposition of the embargo had never been the appropriate means for solving problems among States. Negotiation, reconciliation, arbitration and transparent settlements were the necessary methods. States had repeated that fact through the General Assembly resolutions, which embodied logic and justice. Furthermore, those resolutions had sent the clear message that a comprehensive peace could not be achieved without international cooperation based on respect for State sovereignty.

AUGUSTINE P. MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) expressed sympathy for the people and Government of Cuba and joined the call for ending the embargo against that country and its people. Over the years, it had become evident that the wide-ranging embargo was specifically targeted to inflict the maximum amount of suffering on the people of Cuba and, in that way, undermine the Government. The victims came from every social group, but the young, old, and people with disabilities were particularly affected. Those actions were “morally reprehensible” and were outside the values espoused by the General Assembly, in particular the protection of civilians irrespective of race, colour or citizenship. The heroic resilience of the Cuban people had made the embargo futile and now, at a time when international peace and security was a common and major goal of the international community, it was time to review that strategy.

The Cuban people had stood firm against the embargo and subsequent tightening through the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts, he said. Embargoes and blockades were an antiquated means of warfare and there was currently a multitude of options for peacefully resolving differences in the international community in a humane way. The Assembly had overwhelmingly called for the lifting of the embargo and it was necessary for countries to heed that call to avoid adopting a double standard where some resolutions of the Assembly were heeded but others weren’t. Wisdom should prevail in reviewing and progressively easing an embargo against a people whose only crime was to live on their sovereign soil. The people of Cuba were currently bracing for the onslaught of yet another tropical storm. Such natural calamities should “prick the conscience” of Governments and help them recognize, value and respect human life and the suffering of innocent people. He expressed hope that the Assembly’s appeals would not go in vain and would be heeded by all peace-loving people and their Governments in the future.

LAZAROUS KAPAMBWE ( Zambia) said the Helms-Burton legislation violated the sovereignty of Cuba and constituted a breach of international law not in line with the principles of the United Nations Charter, particularly “the sovereign equality of States, non-interference in their internal affairs and freedom of international trade and navigation.”

He continued, saying the report of the Secretary-General, once again, vindicated the position consistently held by the Assembly over the years -- that the embargo against Cuba hurt the innocent people of Cuba, particularly women and children, the most vulnerable. Additionally, despite the hardship caused for four decades by the embargo, the Cuban people had become more determined and united in defence of their country’s sovereignty. Zambia would, once again, vote in favour of the draft resolution.

MARIA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO ( Nicaragua) said Cuba had heroically resisted for almost 50 years the most aggressive imperialist policy of the United States. Under the inhuman and illegal blockade, the United States had undertaken every effort to thwart the dreams of the Cuban people. Nicaragua had also been the victim of such a blockade, and experienced the effects of such inhuman measures. It was a source of pride for her country to join with Latin America and the Caribbean in favour of the draft resolution.

International trade relations had been affected by the illegal blockade imposed against Cuba, and the complementary Helms-Burton Act, she continued. Such plans were interventionist violations of international law and should be condemned. She extended solidarity to the five Cuban heroes who remained in United States prisons. The cold war had ended and had given rise to new forms of relations among nations. Why had the global community’s will been ignored, she asked. Cuba was sparing no effort to fight against the blockade. Recalling that Cuban doctors provided help to countries around the world, she said Cuba was ready to share what it had achieved with other developing countries.

Nicaragua welcomed Cuba’s initiatives to achieve an unconditional dialogue to find a political solution, and regretted the imposition of new measures, which sought to deepen the blockade. She was, however, encouraged by the business, religious, scientific and academic communities that had joined States in calling for an end to the blockade. The United States Government must end its blockade, and problems between the two countries must be settled through dialogue, on the basis of mutual respect. Nicaragua reiterated its unconditional support to the Cuban people in its titanic struggle against the empire.

BONIFACE G. CHIDYAUSIKU ( Zimbabwe) reiterated his country’s firm commitment to the fundamental principles of sovereign equality of States, non-interference in their internal affairs and freedom of international trade. For over four decades, all debates at the United Nations had protested against unilateral economic measures applied in order to achieve certain political objectives. However, numerous resolutions had failed to convince successive United States administrations to end unilateral measures. The United States’ extension of territorial jurisdiction to all countries was contrary to the principle of national sovereignty and non-interference in States’ internal affairs recognized under international law. United States policy undermined the Cuban people’s right to development and contradicted freedom of trade.

He said Cubans, like their Zimbabwean counterparts, had been bombarded by propaganda broadcasts by radio, the aim of which had been to incite the population to effect regime change. The doctrine of regime change contradicted the principle of sovereignty, and there was no justification for continuing such cruel and immoral United States policies. As a current victim of domestic laws that had extraterritorial impact, Zimbabwe fully understood the need to end the unilateral embargo on Cuba. His country stood firm with Cuba in the fight to end the embargo.

In explanation of the vote before the vote, RONALD GODDARD (United States) pointed out that the decision to trade with other countries was a bilateral issue not appropriate for discussion by the General Assembly and that, from time to time Member States had undertaken similar measures with regard to other countries. He asked Member States if they wanted to set a precedent and whether they would like such a resolution in another context. He said that the embargo was caused by Cuba in its denial of freedoms to its people. The purpose of the embargo was to end the grip of the Cuban Government on the Cuban people.

He noted that the United States was one of Cuba’s largest trading partners, accounting for more than $2 billion in medical and agricultural commerce, he said, noting that the United States was the largest provider of humanitarian aid to the Cuban people. He urged Member States and non-governmental organizations to support Internet access and full access to libraries for all young people in Cuba and called for the release of all political prisoners and the restoration of basic human rights. Rather than voting for the resolution against the United States, he urged Member States to oppose the resolution and oppose the Cuban Government’s embargo on freedom, which was the real cause of the embargo.

The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on the necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba by a recorded vote of 184 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 1 abstention (Micronesia).

Latin America's New Petro-Politics

October 31st 2007, by Nadia Martinez - Multinational Monitor

JG: This is a lengthy and interesting article about petroleum and politics in South America. That region is increasingly electing leftist leaders to head their countries. Not a very good prospect for Uncle Sam, who many say, is reaching peak oil production.

Article at Venezuela Analysis.


Speech of Cuba's Foreign Minister before the UN General Assembly on October 30, 2007

Yo sí tengo legítimo derecho a decir: ¡Viva Cuba libre!



Señor Presidente:

Señores delegados:

El bloqueo económico, comercial y financiero impuesto por los Estados Unidos contra Cuba, y también contra los derechos de los pueblos que ustedes representan en esta Asamblea, dura ya casi medio siglo.

Según cálculos conservadores, ha provocado a Cuba pérdidas por más de 89 mil millones de dólares. Eso significa, al valor actual del dólar, no menos de 222 mil millones de dólares. Cualquiera puede comprender el nivel de desarrollo económico y social que Cuba habría alcanzado si no hubiera estado sometida a esta guerra económica implacable y obsesiva.

El bloqueo es hoy el principal obstáculo al desarrollo y el bienestar de los cubanos y una violación flagrante, masiva y sistemática de los derechos de nuestro pueblo.

El bloqueo pretende rendir por hambre y enfermedades al pueblo cubano.

Así se explicó la esencia del bloqueo a Cuba en una reunión encabezada por el presidente Dwight Eisenhower en 1960:

"... no existe una oposición política efectiva en Cuba; por tanto, el único medio previsible que tenemos hoy para enajenar el apoyo interno a la Revolución, es a través del desencanto y el desaliento, basados en la insatisfacción y las dificultades económicas. Debe utilizarse prontamente cualquier medio concebible para debilitar la vida económica de Cuba. Negarle dinero y suministros a Cuba, para disminuir los salarios reales y monetarios, a fin de causar hambre, desesperación y el derrocamiento del gobierno."

Cuarenta y siete años después, así lo ha repetido el presidente George W. Bush:

"... insto a nuestro Congreso a que dé muestras de su apoyo y solidaridad a favor de un cambio fundamental en Cuba al mantener nuestro embargo... "

Siete de cada diez cubanos, señores delegados, solo hemos conocido la amenaza perenne de agresión contra nuestra Patria y las penurias económicas causadas por la persecución implacable del bloqueo.

Los Estados Unidos han ignorado, con arrogancia y ceguera política, las quince resoluciones adoptadas por esta Asamblea General pidiendo el levantamiento del bloqueo contra Cuba. Más aún, durante el último año han adoptado nuevas medidas, rayanas en la locura y el fanatismo, que endurecen todavía más las sanciones y la persecución extraterritorial de nuestras relaciones con los países que ustedes representan.

El bloqueo no se había aplicado nunca con tal ensañamiento como en el último año.

El 14 de agosto del 2006, el Gobierno de Estados Unidos llegó al extremo de multar a la Alianza de Iglesias Bautistas, alegando que algunos de sus feligreses "hicieron turismo" durante una visita con fines religiosos a Cuba.

En diciembre del 2006, el Gobierno de Estados Unidos prohibió a las compañías norteamericanas proveer servicios de Internet a Cuba. Por lo tanto, si desde Cuba se intenta acceder a los servicios del Google Earth, como hacen millones de usuarios cada día en todo el mundo, se recibe como respuesta que: "Este producto no se encuentra disponible en su país".

Los niños cubanos han sido especialmente lacerados por el bloqueo que el presidente Bush ha prometido reforzar.

Los niños cubanos no pueden recibir el anestésico inhalatorio Sevorane, de la compañía norteamericana Abbott, que es el mejor para la anestesia general pediátrica. Tenemos que usar sustitutos de menor calidad. El presidente Bush lo explicará seguramente diciendo que esos niños cubanos son "víctimas colaterales" de su guerra contra Cuba.

Los niños cubanos aquejados de arritmias no pueden ya recibir marcapasos que la empresa norteamericana Saint-Jude nos vendía. Fue muy fuerte la presión de la Oficina de Control de Activos Extranjeros, y Saint-Jude se vio obligada a romper con Cuba.

La delegación de Estados Unidos debería explicar a esta Asamblea por qué los niños cubanos que padecen arritmias cardíacas son enemigos del gobierno norteamericano.

La delegación cubana no puede explicar, quizás la de Estados Unidos sí lo haga, por qué la cultura ha sido uno de los objetivos principales de la persecución del bloqueo.

El Gobierno de Estados Unidos impide a Cuba participar en la Feria del Libro de Puerto Rico. Bloquear la participación de escritores y editores cubanos en una Feria del Libro es un acto bárbaro.

A partir de diciembre del 2006, los hoteles de las cadenas norteamericanas Ritz, Carlton, Hilton y Marriott recibieron instrucciones del Gobierno de Estados Unidos de cancelar los contratos a los músicos cubanos que trabajaban temporalmente en sus hoteles en todo el mundo. Solo si se mudan a Miami, se declaran admiradores de la política del presidente Bush y se arrepienten de haber vivido alguna vez en Cuba, podrán volver a ser contratados.

Quisiera hoy reiterar nuestra solidaridad con los cineastas norteamericanos Oliver Stone y Michael Moore. El primero, ya fue multado por el Gobierno de Estados Unidos, en nombre de la libertad, por haber viajado a Cuba a filmar los documentales "Comandante" y "Buscando a Fidel". Realmente no sé cómo el presidente Bush imagina que Oliver Stone podía encontrar a Fidel si no era viajando a Cuba. El segundo, Michael Moore, está siendo investigado por el viaje que hizo a nuestro país, el pasado mes de marzo, para filmar su documental "Sicko". Es, señores delegados, el macartismo del siglo XXI.

Con esta grotesca persecución de la palabra honesta y el arte independiente, el Presidente de los Estados Unidos se convierte en un émulo de la Inquisición medieval. Solo que esta moderna Inquisición es mucho más bárbara y letal: esta organizó el saqueo de la fabulosa Biblioteca de Bagdad y la quema de más de un millón de volúmenes.

Quisiera recordar ahora las palabras de la artista cubana y del mundo, Alicia Alonso, en su carta reciente a los intelectuales y artistas estadounidenses:

"Trabajemos juntos para que los artistas y escritores cubanos puedan llevar su talento a los Estados Unidos, y que a ustedes no les impidan venir a nuestra Isla a compartir sus conocimientos y valores; para que una canción, un libro, un estudio científico o una obra coreográfica no sean considerados, de manera irracional, como un delito".

El bloqueo persigue los intercambios y las relaciones humanas entre los pueblos de Cuba y Estados Unidos. Impide, además, las relaciones normales entre las familias cubanas a uno y otro lado del Estrecho de la Florida. Multas de hasta un millón de dólares para las empresas y 250 mil dólares para los individuos y penas de cárcel de hasta 10 años para los infractores es el precio que tiene que arriesgar un norteamericano por venir de turista a nuestro país o un cubano residente en Estados Unidos si quiere visitar a un familiar enfermo en Cuba.

Señores delegados:

En más de una ocasión esta Asamblea ha escuchado a los representantes de Estados Unidos decir que el tema que hoy discutimos es una cuestión bilateral, que no debe ser tratada en este foro. Probablemente repitan este falaz argumento cuando expliquen después su voto.

Sin embargo, como bien ustedes conocen, la brutal guerra económica que se le impone a Cuba no afecta solamente a los cubanos. Si solo fuere así, sería sumamente grave. Pero es peor aun. Es una afrenta al Derecho Internacional, a los propósitos y principios establecidos en la Carta de las Naciones Unidas y al derecho de cualquier país a comerciar de manera libre y soberana con quien lo desee.

La aplicación extraterritorial de las leyes norteamericanas, en menosprecio de los legítimos intereses de terceros países —los países que ustedes representan, señores delegados, en esta Asamblea— de invertir y desarrollar relaciones económicas y comerciales normales con Cuba, es un tema que concierne a todos los Estados aquí reunidos.

Solo en el periodo comprendido entre mayo del 2006 y mayo del 2007, al menos 30 países se vieron afectados por las disposiciones extraterritoriales de la política de bloqueo contra Cuba.

Veamos solo algunos ejemplos:

- El 28 de julio del 2006 le fueron aplicadas al Banco Netherlands Caribbean Bank, de Antillas Holandesas, las regulaciones del bloqueo, incluidos el congelamiento de cuentas en Estados Unidos y la prohibición de cualquier transacción de ciudadanos y entidades norteamericanos con dicho Banco.

- El 4 de mayo del 2007, la empresa británica PSL Energy Services fue multada con 164 mil dólares por exportar a Cuba equipos y servicios para la industria del petróleo.

- Tampoco los compresores marca Sabroe pudieron ser exportados a Cuba, después que la compañía danesa que los produce fue adquirida por una empresa norteamericana.

- La multinacional norteamericana General Electric adquirió la compañía finlandesa Datex-Ohmeda. Solo hasta ese día Cuba pudo seguir comprando los excelentes equipos de anestesia y monitorización multipropósito, fabricados en Finlandia, que adquiríamos tradicionalmente.

-Cuando el Instituto de Nutrición e Higiene de los Alimentos de Cuba trató de comprar a la compañía japonesa Shimadzu un espectrofotómetro infrarrojo, encontró que ello estaba prohibido por el bloqueo, pues ese equipo tiene más de 10% de componentes norteamericanos.

- La compañía alemana Basf AG no pudo vender un producto herbicida a Cuba, ni desde Alemania ni desde sus sucursales en América Latina, porque el ingrediente activo es de origen norteamericano.

- Desde que, a fines del año 2006, la compañía de cruceros española Pullmantur fue adquirida por la norteamericana Royal Caribbean, el crucero Holiday Dream, propiedad de la primera, tuvo que suspender sus operaciones en Cuba.

- En diciembre del 2006, la gerencia del Hotel Scandic de Noruega, que había sido comprado en marzo del 2006 por la cadena hotelera norteamericana Hilton, canceló las reservaciones que una delegación cubana había hecho para alojarse durante una feria internacional de turismo. Ello provocó un gran escándalo y un generalizado rechazo de la opinión pública noruega. Pero lo más increíble estaba por venir: la vocera del Grupo Hilton en Londres anunció públicamente, oigan bien, señores delegados, que dicha cadena prohibiría la estancia de cubanos en todos sus hoteles alrededor del mundo, pues de lo contrario estarían sujetos a multas o podrían ir a prisión según las leyes del bloqueo.

Pero el episodio más notorio ocurrido este año respecto al bloqueo de Estados Unidos contra Cuba fue, sin dudas, la guerra sin cuartel librada por el Departamento del Tesoro norteamericano contra las relaciones de Cuba con instituciones financieras y bancarias de otros países.

Ello fue posible especialmente después que el Gobierno de Estados Unidos y sus servicios especiales accedieron a la información confidencial de la Sociedad para las Telecomunicaciones Financieras Interbancarias Mundiales (SWIFT), institución a través de la cual se realiza prácticamente la totalidad de los pagos e intercambios de mensajes que se producen entre las instituciones financieras de todo el mundo.

En el último año, más de una veintena de bancos de diversos países han sido groseramente amenazados a fin de interrumpir cualquier tipo de relación o transacción con Cuba. Por comprensibles razones, no puedo dar a esta Asamblea más información sobre un tema tan sensible, pues facilitaría con ello la obsesiva persecución de las agencias norteamericanas dedicadas por entero a esta innoble tarea.

Señor Presidente:

Señores delegados:

Hace apenas unos días, el Presidente de los Estados Unidos declaró: "El régimen cubano utiliza el embargo de los Estados Unidos como chivo expiatorio de todos los suplicios que padece Cuba".

Sin embargo, el Informe del Secretario General contenido en el documento A/62/92, con la información aportada por 118 países y 21 Organizaciones Internacionales, prueba de manera clara y exhaustiva las acciones ejecutadas por la Administración en el transcurso del último año para recrudecer el bloqueo y sus graves consecuencias para Cuba.

Esta Asamblea General tiene hoy la oportunidad de expresar de manera libre y abierta el criterio de la comunidad internacional sobre la política de bloqueo y agresiones que durante casi 50 años Estados Unidos ha impuesto a los cubanos.

Ahora mismo, allá en Cuba, nuestro pueblo sigue con atención y esperanza la decisión que ustedes han de tomar. Lo hace recordando las palabras de Fidel: "Jamás un pueblo tuvo cosas tan sagradas que defender ni convicciones tan profundas por las cuales luchar".

Cuba, señores delegados, no se rendirá. Lucha y luchará con la convicción de que defender hoy nuestros derechos es defender también el derecho de todos los pueblos representados en esta Asamblea.

En nombre de Cuba les solicito votar a favor del proyecto de resolución titulado "Necesidad de poner fin al bloqueo económico, comercial y financiero impuesto por los Estados Unidos de América contra Cuba".

Les pido, señores delegados, votar a favor del proyecto presentado por Cuba, a despecho de las mentiras que se han proferido por la delegación de Estados Unidos y de las amenazas que se han hecho en todos estos días previos.

Les pedimos votar a favor del proyecto de Cuba, que es votar también a favor de los derechos de todos los pueblos del planeta.

Termino recordando las palabras de José Martí, Apóstol de la Independencia de Cuba: "Quien se levanta hoy con Cuba se levanta para todos los tiempos".

¡Libertad para los Cinco Héroes cubanos, luchadores contra el terrorismo, presos políticos en cárceles norteamericanas!

¡Libertad para los Cinco Héroes cubanos!

Yo sí tengo legítimo derecho, señores delegados, a decir:

¡Viva Cuba Libre!

¡Viva Cuba Libre!

¡Viva Cuba Libre!

More comments on the UN vote and Bush's speech

Felipe Perez Roque in Reuters: Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, dispelling expectations of change in a post-Castro Cuba, promised "more revolution and more socialism" when the ailing Cuban leader is no longer around.

Georgie Ann Geyer in Yahoo News!: Seldom has one heard a [George W. Bush] speech so insulting to another people -- and, therefore, so incapable of reaching the desired conclusion.

Carl Hiassen in George W. Bush is irrelevant to the future of Cuba, but that didn't stop the lame-duck president with gutter poll ratings from delivering another shopworn, knee-jerk lecture to the communist nation last week. Bush's speech was recycled from his father, who recycled it from Ronald Reagan, who recycled it from Richard Nixon, who recycled it from Lyndon Johnson, who recycled it from John F. Kennedy.

The USA and Cuba: that strange obsession

The Jamaica Observer

Franklin W Knight

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

IN one of the truly poignant scenes of the movie A Lion in Winter, the aging English monarch Henry II looks despairingly at his spurned, imprisoned, and feisty queen, the dazzling, acerbic Eleanor of Aquitaine, and remarks: "How in the name of bleeding Jesus did we, from where we started, arrive at this impasse?" It is, among other things, the doleful tale of a love that had lost its heated passion and political rationale.

The inexplicable and tactless outburst of President George W Bush on Cuba last week reminds one of King Henry. The strange obsession that so many presidents of the United States have had about Cuba, especially since the Castro revolution of 1959, is remarkable indeed. One might reasonably ask how Cuba and the United States arrived at this impasse given the way they started.

Cuba and the United States started out under the best of circumstances. When George Washington and his bold but pathetically overmatched army took on the British monarch in 1776, Cuba was one of their first and strongest allies. That, however, was another George, and a far nobler age. The strong initial links were forged by a wealthy Spanish secret agent, Juan de Miralles of Havana, Cuba, who travelled to the United States in 1777 to assess for Spain the potential success of the fledgling republic. Miralles obviously liked what he saw and immediately hit it off with the inner circle of Washington. He ended up establishing a business relationship with Robert Morris, the Philadelphia merchant who gave his fortune to the revolution and served as Washington's principal finance minister.

Through Miralles' Cuban connections, the American army received regular and desperately needed supplies of sugar, flour, uniforms and arms. Miralles himself lent money to several continental towns as part of the war effort against the British. Unfortunately, in the bitterly cold winter of 1779 he contracted pneumonia in Morristown, New Jersey.

During his illness, Miralles was attended by Washington's personal physician as well as his wife, Martha. When he died in April 1780, Miralles became the first foreigner to be given a full military funeral in the United States, although the country had yet to win the war and be recognised internationally as an independent country. Washington wrote to the Spanish governor of Cuba as well as the widow of Juan Miralles extolling the wonderful qualities of his new-found friend and political supporter. After such an auspicious start, things could only go downhill for the neighbouring countries.

During the nineteenth century, the United States made several offers to purchase Cuba, and the two countries became slowly alienated from each other. Many issues contributed to the mutual alienation, although both Cuba and the United States shared a strong incipient nationalism and a penchant for free trade. Cubans, however, could not share the official sentiments of Manifest Destiny with the United States, the arbiter of all things American. Then in 1898, the United States entered the Cuban war of independence belatedly and without an invitation. Worse, they proceeded to disregard the Cubans and settled matters with Spain, subordinating the Cuban Republic to a colonial status-like control until 1959.

Nevertheless, the alienation remained at the official level only. Cubans and North Americans share a deep and abiding admiration for one another. When permitted by their governments they enthusiastically partake in each other's culture. American consumer brands such as Coca-Cola, Uncle Ben's and Colgate still elicit wild acceptance in Cuba, while Cuban products like rum, cigars, music and art still appeal to North American tastes.

The mutual popular admiration runs counter to an implacable political hostility that under the George Bush administration has demonstrated its nastiest side. Since 1960 the United States has incessantly tried to assassinate Mr Castro and overthrow his government. The United States has mounted military expeditions, supported internal and external anti-Castro factions, maintained an ineffective commercial embargo, and encouraged internal dissent in an expensive and futile campaign undermined not only by the manifest ineptness of its operatives, but also by the devotion of Cubans to their leader.

It was ironic that Mr Bush should describe Cuba as a gulag. After all, the North American president is not noted for accuracy of information or precise use of language. In any case, nothing in Cuba more closely approximates a soviet gulag than the illegally constructed US prison at Guantánamo Bay where the United States has held hundreds of prisoners for years without any formal accusations, charges or trials. Nor have the conditions of incarceration conformed to international standards.

The United States consistently supports terrorists against Cuba - the most egregious example being the case of Luis Posada Carriles who bombed a Cuban airliner off Barbados in 1976 killing all the passengers. Posada was convicted for his crime in Venezuela, escaped from prison, entered the United States illegally and walks about as a free man in Miami. Moreover, Cubans are the only illegal immigrants to the United States who are received with open arms.

The United States has enormous domestic and global problems. At home, the present administration faces a struggling economy, a deplorable deterioration of the national highways, a disastrous health system and a public education system that is failing on many fronts. Abroad interminable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been bleeding the country literally and figuratively. Additionally, serious problems loom with North Korea, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey. Cuba does not present a threat of any kind, either to the United States, or to global politics and the global economy.

Cubans have been good neighbours, generously sharing their slender resources and providing the highest level of per capita foreign aid of any country in the world. It even trains doctors from the United States without cost. During the Cold War, the Cuba card might have served some purpose. The Cold War is over. It is time for the United States to drop the tired language and silly posturing toward Cuba. Moreover, people in glass houses should not throw stones.

UN General Assembly

U.N. General Assembly News Centre

UN once again calls for end to United States embargo against Cuba

30 October 2007 - The United Nations General Assembly today once again urged an end to the commercial, economic and financial embargoes imposed on Cuba by the United States for nearly half a century.

For the 16th year in a row, the Assembly adopted a resolution – with an overwhelming 184 votes in favour – reiterating its call to all States to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures not conforming with their obligations to reaffirm freedom of trade and navigation.

Four States – Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, US – voted against the resolution, while the Federated States of Micronesia abstained.

The 192-member body also called on States to repeal or invalidate such laws and requested the Secretary-General to report on the matter at the Assembly’s 63rd session.

Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque denounced the long-running blockade imposed on his country, calling it the main obstacle to the development and well-being of the Cuban people, and a “blatant, massive and systematic” violation of their rights.

“Anyone can understand the level of socio-economic development that Cuba would have attained had it not been subjected to this unrelenting and obsessive economic war,” he told delegates.

The US has not only ignored, “with both arrogance and political blindness,” the 15 resolutions adopted by the Assembly calling for the lifting of the blockade, but has over the last year adopted new measures, further tightening the sanctions, he added.

Reiterating that the embargo is a bilateral issue between his country and Cuba that should not come before the Assembly, US delegate Ronald Godard said that “Cuba’s problems derive not from any decision of the United States but from the embargo on freedom that the Cuban regime has imposed on its own people.”

Stating that the Cuban people are denied information, access to the outside world, the right to travel and opportunities to better their lives economically, he urged countries to oppose the Cuban government’s embargo on freedom – “the real cause of the suffering of the Cuban people.”

“Now more than ever we invite the Member States considering this resolution to reject the arguments of the Cuban government and focus on effecting a transition in Cuba that would restore its people’s fundamental rights,” he stated.


The U.S. government, this current administration and previous ones, have become international busybodies. You probably know the type if you have lived in a large apartment building with a so called ‘association’ in which a little clique has nothing better to do than stick their noses in the affairs of other people. They think they are important, but are nothing more than worthless pompous asses that the majority laughs at.

Yesterday, at the United Nations, the busybodies of the current regime in Washington D.C. got their comeuppance at the General Assembly. Out of 192 nations, 184 told the little führer of the GOP ultra-right to stick his Cuba policies where the sun doesn’t shine.

On Cuba, the U.S. is an island

The Los Angeles Times

The president's hard-line anti-Castro policy is costing him international support.

By Paolo Spadoni

October 31, 2007

In an emotional speech last week before government officials, prominent Cuban exiles and families of jailed Cuban dissidents, President Bush unveiled new U.S. initiatives aimed at hastening a democratic transition in Cuba. He also ruled out any detente with the communist nation even if interim President Raul Castro were to permanently succeed his brother, Fidel, and enact substantial economic reforms.

Stressing that an eventual transfer of power from Fidel to Raul would simply amount to "exchanging one dictator for another," Bush announced the creation of a multibillion-dollar international "freedom fund" that would help pay for infrastructure improvements and other programs in Cuba after the island's citizens rid themselves of their "tropical gulag." Furthermore, Bush declared that the United States is willing to offer scholarships to students in Cuba and to license religious groups and nongovernmental organizations to provide computers and Internet access to the Cuban people, "but only if the Cuban regime, the ruling class, gets out of the way."

Leaving aside Bush's archaic rhetoric and his dangerous message for the Cuban people to "rise up to demand their liberty," one cannot avoid wondering how he can realistically seek financial contributions from other countries to support U.S. pro-democracy efforts in Cuba. These are the same countries that have repeatedly condemned Washington's hostile policy toward Havana and told the U.S. to change its unilateral approach.

Indeed, coming from a leader who has neglected the will of the international community for years, Bush's calls for a Cuba democracy fund will likely fall on deaf ears.

The U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday held its annual vote on U.S. economic sanctions with respect to Cuba, and it overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for an end to the 45-year-old embargo and objecting to U.S. laws and regulations compelling other countries to adhere to it.

Before Congress' passage of the Cuban Democracy Act in 1992, Cuba had not been able to obtain a General Assembly resolution against the U.S. embargo. That law, among other things, prevents cargo vessels from third countries from docking in U.S. ports if they visited Cuba in the previous six months. In November 1992, because of international concern regarding the extraterritorial character of the U.S. legislation, the United Nations condemned the embargo by a vote of 59 to 3 (with 71 countries abstaining). Since then, the vote has become more lopsided. In 1998, 157 governments expressed disapproval of U.S. sanctions (with 12 abstentions).

Bush's tougher stance on Havana and his pressure on other countries to curtail their business relationships with the Castro regime have just galvanized the international community even more and isolated the U.S. further. The number of countries opposing the embargo in the U.N. peaked at 184 this year, with only Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau siding with the United States.

It is worth mentioning that several European and Latin American governments have voted in favor of U.N. resolutions criticizing the human rights situation in Cuba. The reality is that many countries share U.S. hopes for democratic changes on the island, but they disagree with Washington over the best course of action to stimulate those changes.

Even close U.S. allies (and perhaps likely contributors to the proposed freedom fund) such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic -- touted by Bush as "vital sources of support and encouragement to Cuba's brave democratic opposition" -- rejected U.S. sanctions in the United Nations.

In short, if the White House is serious in its attempt to reach out to other countries on Cuba, it needs to devise a foreign policy that is more in line with the position of the rest of the world and less driven by domestic political considerations.

When a billboard war between Cuba and the U.S. broke out in early 2006 in Havana, one of the messages displayed on a huge electronic sign at the U.S. Interest Section was a famous quote by former Polish President Lech Walesa: "Only in totalitarian societies do governments talk and talk at their people and never listen."

As the self-proclaimed leader of the free world, Bush should stop pandering to a shrinking group of Cuban American hard-liners and start listening to that world he claims to represent.

Paolo Spadoni is a visiting assistant professor in the department of political science at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

U.N. Condemns Cuba Embargo/Blockade Resoundingly in Record Vote

The world community of nations has responded today to Bush’s insolent and insulting speech of October 24 by condemning the genocidal embargo/blockade of Cuba for the 16th year in a row.

The vote today at the 62nd General Assembly of the United Nations was 184 in favor of the resolution introduced by the Republic of Cuba, four against (USA, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau) and one abstention, Micronesia.

Those of us who live outside the island and were born there will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the courageous Cuban people as they continue to defend the island’s independence and national sovereignty against the designs of the yankee imperialists.

Cuban Foreign Minister criticizes the United States for impeding bonds between people

“The blockade of the United States against Cuba persecutes the brotherly bonds between the people of both countries,” declared Felipe Perez Roque, Minister of Foreign Relations of the Republic of Cuba before the 62nd General Assembly of the United Nations, reported Prensa Latina. The quotation appeared in Juventud Rebelde.

In his speech today, the chancellor manifested that it additionally impedes the normal relations among Cuban families on either side of the Florida Strait.

Roque reclaimed the theme of “the necessity of putting an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba."

He explained to the participants of the debate, that the United States government has foreseen fines of one million dollars against business offenders and 250 thousand dollars for individuals, in addition to jail terms of up to ten years.

“This is the price that a North American faces for traveling as a tourist to Cuba, or a Cuban who resides in the United States, if he wanted to visit a sick relative in Cuba,” he added.

How the embargo almost killed a Cuban baby


The genocidal blockade that the U.S. government imposes on Cuba to satisfy the sinister designs of the Miami gusanos almost claimed the life of a Cuban baby known with affection as Dieguito, who was being treated in a cardiac hospital of Cuba.

The United States government and its genocidal blockade prohibit from exporting to Cuba two drugs by the names of Anfotericin B and 5Flucitocina.

Dieguito almost died because of the the evil designs of Bush and his neocons and neonazis.

Read the story in Spanish.

Mexican Senate Condemns Cuba Blockade and Bush's Speech

Cuba’s daily newspaper Juventud Rebelde reported today that yesterday the Mexican Senate unanimously condemned the United States blockade against Cuba and the recent threats of George W Bush against the island.

The accord was adopted from the proposal of Senator Yeldekol Polevnskt, a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, who was also supported by the Labor Party of Mexico.

The document reiterates the most vigorous condemnation to the siege imposed unilaterally by the United States against the Cuban people and asks the international community to take definitive measures that will guarantee the lifting of those policies.

It also rejected the extraterritorial application of laws and all coercive policies which inhibit the free commerce and good relations among nations.

Monday, October 29, 2007

2007 62nd UN General Assembly Document



For the fifteenth consecutive time, Cuba submits to the General Assembly the draft resolution entitled “Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Embargo Imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”

The economic war unleashed by the US against Cuba, the longest and most ruthless ever known, qualifies as an act of genocide and constitutes a flagrant violation of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations. Throughout these 48 years, the US blockade has caused economic damage to Cuba of over US$ 86 billion. Seven in every 10 Cubans have lived, right from their birth, suffering from and enduring the effects of the blockade, which attempts to defeat us through hunger and disease.

The blockade prevents Cuba from trading with the US and receiving tourism from this country. It prevents Cuba from using the US dollar in its external transactions and receiving credits or engaging in operations with US banks or their subsidiaries in other countries.

The blockade does not allow the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank to even give a modest credit to Cuba.

But more serious than all that is that the US blockade imposes its criminal provisions on Cuba’s relations with other countries that make up this General Assembly.

The blockade prevents Cuba’s trade with companies based in your countries, delegates, not only US companies but also companies from the countries that you represent in this Assembly and which are subsidiaries of US corporations. Nor can vessels with flags from your countries call at US ports, delegates, if they previously carried goods from or towards Cuba. That is the Torricelli Act, signed by President Bush Sr. in 1992.

The US blockade also prevents the companies from the rest of the world, those of your countries, delegates, from exporting to the US any products containing Cuban raw materials; and it also prevents those companies from exporting to Cuba products or equipment containing more than 10% of American components.

The blockade, delegates, chases after the businesspeople from other countries, not only those from the US but also those from other countries, your fellow countrymen and women, who intend to make investments in Cuba. They and their families are threatened with the refusal of entry into the United States and they can even be taken to trial in US courts. That is the Helms-Burton Act of 1996.

We find it important, to inform the General Assembly on the plan for Cuba’s recolonization approved by President Bush in May 2004 and updated in July 2006. It clearly recognizes what the US Government would do in our country if it ever had it under its control.

According to the President of the United States, what is most important is to return all of the properties in Cuba to their former owners. That would include, for example, taking away the land from the hundreds of thousands of farmers who now own in Cuba their land either individually or in cooperatives, in order to reinstate the landowners’ system. That would also imply evicting millions of Cuban proprietors from their homes in order to return their properties or plots of land to their former claimants.

President Bush described it as an accelerated process and under the complete control of the US Government – which, for those purposes, would set up the so-called Commission for the Restitution of Property Rights.

Another structure would also be put in place, the Permanent Committee of the US Government for Cuba’s Economic Reconstruction, which would run the process of implementing in Cuba a very harsh neoliberal adjustment program, including the unbridled privatization of education and health services and the elimination of social security and welfare. Retirements and pensions would be removed and retirees would be offered the chance to do construction work as part of a so-called Body of Cuban Retirees.

President Bush recognizes in his plan that “it will not be easy” to apply this plan in Cuba. Therefore, he instructs the State Department to create a repressive apparatus “as an immediate priority,” which we imagine will be trained in the brutal techniques of asphyxiation that Vice-President Cheney does not consider as torture, in order to stifle the unrelenting endurance of the Cuban people. It is even recognized that “there will be a long” list of Cubans to be persecuted, tortured and massacred.

In the plan, they are even thinking of a Central Child Adoption Center to hand over to families in the United States and in other countries the children whose parents will lay down their lives fighting or become victims of repression.

All this cynical and brutal recolonization program for a country, after destroying and invading it, would be run by a character who has already been appointed and whose ridiculous post, reminiscent of Paul Bremer, is “Cuba Transition Coordinator.” A man named Caleb McCarry, whose only record of note is his close friendship with the terrorist groups of Cuban origin that are still masterminding and executing from Miami, with complete impunity, new assassination plots and acts of sabotage against Cuba. These are the same groups that are asking President Bush to release terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, the brains behind the explosion of a Cuban commercial airplane, while five courageous Cuban anti-terrorist fighters have been subjected to a ruthless and prolonged imprisonment in the United States since 1998.

Two years after its enactment, delegates, most of the plan has already been implemented.

Thus, new and greater restrictions were imposed on the family-related visits to Cuba by the Cuban residents in the United States.

The Americans who traveled to Cuba were viciously persecuted. In the course of the last two years, more than 800 people have been fined for traveling to our country.

Additional constraints were imposed on the sending of remittances to Cuba.

Academic, cultural, scientific and sports exchanges have been virtually eliminated.

Since 2004, 85 companies have been penalized for allegedly violating the blockade against Cuba.

The fierce persecution against our country’s financial transactions and trade has been further intensified. And there are tangible results of the demented worldwide tracking conducted by the so-called Group for the Identification of Cuban Assets on everything that appears to be a payment from and towards Cuba.

Along with the strengthening of the blockade, in May 2004 President Bush approved another US$ 59 million to pay his scarce and disheartened mercenaries in Cuba with a view to fabricating a non-existing internal opposition and defraying propaganda campaigns and illegal radio and television broadcasts against Cuba.

But it was all in vain. President Bush realized that time was running out and he could not keep his promise to the extremist Cuban groups in Florida. His domestic and foreign woes were growing and are still growing and socialist Cuba was still there, upright and unrelenting.

Then, on 10 July 2006, President Bush added new measures to his plan.

A significant aspect of this new 93-page concoction is that it contains a secret annex, with actions against Cuba that are not made public and which, as they explain, would not be revealed “in order to achieve their effective realization” and “for national security reasons.”

Will these be new assassination plots against Cuban leaders, more terrorist acts, a military aggression? From this rostrum at the UN General Assembly, we challenge President George W. Bush today to publicly disclose the content of that document, which until today he has not been bold enough to reveal.

The plan includes the allocation of more money, of course. This time around, it is US$ 80 million in two years and no less than US$ 20 million per year until the Cuban Revolution is defeated. In other words, forever.

There is also an increase in the radio and television broadcasts against Cuba, overtly violating the standards of the International Telecommunications Union.

On the other hand, renewed efforts are being made to create a so-called “coalition” of countries to support the alleged “regime change” in Cuba.

The Bush plan is particularly emphatic on the extraterritorial implementation of the economic war against Cuba.

Thus, new mechanisms are established to improve the machinery that enforces the blockade regulations and new sanctions are being adopted. One that stands out for its novelty is the prosecution against the violators.

Under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, the authorization has been announced to file lawsuits in US courts against the foreign investors in Cuba, particularly those from those countries supporting the continuity of the Cuban Revolution.

A more stringent enforcement of Title IV is also envisaged, denying entry into the US to the investors in Cuba and to their families, but aiming the persecution particularly at those investing in oil prospecting and extraction, tourism, nickel, rum and tobacco.

As a tool to track down the sales of Cuban nickel to other markets – not to the American market, but to track down the Cuban sales to companies based in the countries that you represent here in this Assembly – the so-called “Cuban Nickel Inter-Agency Task Force” was created.

Also tightened is the siege on the exchange between American and Cuban churches – and there is a ban on humanitarian donations sent to Cuban religious organizations.

But there is a new blockade measure approved by President Bush that deserves to be elaborated on. The document sets forth that the US will deny all exports of medical equipment that can be used in healthcare programs for foreign patients.

That is, the US Government, which has always gone out of its way to cause the failure of the international medical cooperation programs that Cuba is implementing, now recognizes that its persecution can even get to the point of trying to hamper Cuba’s purchase of the necessary equipment around the world.

I insist on the fact that the blockade has now come to the point of prohibiting the exchanges between churches of the US and Cuban churches; of prohibiting the churches in the US from sending to friendly churches in Cuba humanitarian donations, wheelchairs, medicines or products for humanitarian use. The blockade of President Bush against Cuba even gets to the point of a declaration of war on the US and Cuban churches. It even tries to blockade God’s mandate. And, secondly, it tries to prevent Cuba’s purchase of medical equipment for international medical cooperation programs.

If President Bush succeeded in his cynical plan, Cuba would be prevented from offering to other peoples, many of which you represent here, delegates, its modest and generous effort in a field where nobody questions our development and experience.

If the American offensive managed to curtail this endeavor, an equivalent number of people suffering from more than 20 eye diseases would lose their eyesight. The US Government knows it, but it does not give up on its morbid plan to stifle Cuba. This is just to mention those whose eyesight is taken care of and not the hundreds of millions of people benefiting from the comprehensive healthcare programs conducted by the Cuban internationalist doctors.

The Cuban people will not give up its sovereignty or its right to self determination and, despite the sanctions, will continue to maintain the efforts begun 49 years ago to build a society based on justice and solidarity that disinterestedly offers aid in a spirit of solidarity to other nations, including the United Sates. Neither will it renounce its right to economic development, whose advances have been appreciable despite the repercussions of the economic, trade and financial sanctions to which it is being subjected.

Cuba hopes to enjoy once again the support of the international community in its legitimate demand for an end to the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed on it by the government of the United States of America.

Hillary, Israel and AIPAC

Source: Des Moines Register, Iowa
Posted by: NewHorizons
on Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:53 pm

Hillary's Feb 1, 2007 speech to AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] makes it abundantly clear that she would go to war against Iran for Israel, her recent protestations that she was only signing on for diplomacy notwithstanding. Every statement in that speech parrots AIPAC's talking points about why we should bomb Iran as soon as possible. As Philip Giraldi, former CIA station chief and counter-terrorism expert wrote, "[A]IPAC's formulation that the option of force 'must remain on the table' when dealing with Iran has been repeated like a mantra by numerous politicians and government officials, not too surprisingly as AIPAC writes the briefings and position papers that many Congressmen unfortunately rely on."

How Iowans can even think of ushering in another warmonger like this is beyond me.

She thinks taking positions like this makes her look manly and presidential. Commander-in-Chief-ish. I think it makes her look like she is easy to lead around by the nose. She needs AIPAC's support, so she bows to it, to the detriment of US national interests and our military, which will be caught in the cross-fire as soon as the first nuke hits Iran. The thought that she would even contemplate pre-emptive nuclear war with another country is frightening and ought to terrify anyone even remotely considering her as a candidate.

The Republicans want her as the nominee so badly they can taste it. They are praying that Iowa will stick her out front. Praying. Like the 'Let Mikie do it' commercials. Because Republicans know one thing -- and I used to be one of them: if she is the nominee, she will not win the general election. She will win the NY vote, maybe Miami and LA. But it's a big big country between NY and CA. And people would rather have a solid Democratic Senate and Democratic Congress with a weak Republican President than Hillary running that show. With a Dem Congress and Dem Senate, they dont need Hillary as Prez, because they already have the veto power. And a lot -- a LOT -- of Republicans in both houses are going to lose their races. We responsible ex-Republicans have had it up to our eyeballs with what this Republican admin has done.


JG: Hillary is assuming a more warmongering stance, since she is beholden to AIPAC money contributions. She might lose the election because she is a very polarizing figure with very high negative opinions of her. Obama or Edwards would be better choices.

What a record!

Cuba’s national baseball team departs for Taiwan on Tuesday to participate in the XXVII World Cup. Cuba has won 25 out of 28 World Cups and since its triumph in 1952, has never lost a World Cup. Their first game will be against Australia on November 7.

America’s Hate Brigades

JG: The neocons and the neonazis in the Bush administration came out of the woodwork last week to pour their vitriol and venom on Cuba and on President Fidel Castro. That is the only thing they offer the Cuban people: hate and more hate.

Their policies regarding the largest of the Antilles islands have been a monumental failure, so the storm troopers of the new Fourth Reich gather at their bunker together with the Mad Woman of Foggy Botton, and every other scum of the new fascists of the twenty first century: the two Batistianos Diaz-Balart brothers, La Loba Feroz Ros-Lehtinen and the jew who has abandoned her race to join the new nazis: Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who has received upward of $22,000 dollars from a fascist South Florida PAC in exchange for her anti Cuba votes in the U.S. House of Representatives.

They are extremely upset, because there has been no “transition” in Cuba to the money democracy imposed on the American public by the big corporations which control our political system. Their corruption grows more and more with each passing day.

They are frustrated because they realize that tomorrow, at the 62nd General Assembly of the United Nations, a resolution which overwhelmingly condemns their genocidal blockade of Cuba will pass with big numbers attached to it. The neonazis will sulk because the new fuhrer’s fellow travelers diminish while the friends of Cuba increase.

Eternal shame on America’s new White House hate brigades!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Unthinkable in the United States

I had to smile when I saw a news item from Reuters commenting on the victory of Argentinian First Lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who just won the presidency in Argentina.

An average person was interviewed on the street by the name of Ramon Reggie Quiroga. He is a 50-year-old chauffeur and he said "She is going to be the same as her husband, who has done a lot of things like build houses for the poor."

That is something that you will never see in capitalist United States. Ask the poor people of Louisiana after Katrina.

Fidel Castro pokes fun at George W. Bush


Sun Oct 28, 2007 10:32am EDT

HAVANA (Reuters) - Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro poked fun at President George W. Bush on Sunday for proclaiming "Long Live Free Cuba," likening it to Spain's king saying the same during his colonial rule over the island.

Bush said the transfer of power from the ailing Fidel Castro to his brother Raul as of July 2006 was unacceptable, proclaiming liberty was more important than stability and ending his comments in the speech to the U.S. State Department on Wednesday with "Viva Cuba Libre."

The slogan was first used by Cuban independence fighters, known as Mambisis [sic, JG: You will have to excuse the British; the correct word is Mambises, plural for Mambi], in 1868 as they began their decades-long war against Spain's colonial rule. It was also the battle cry of Fidel Castro's guerrilla fighters in the late 1950s.

Raul Castro often ends speeches with the slogan instead of Fidel Castro's "Motherland or Death."

"I never imagined I would hear the words coming from the mouth of a U.S. president 139 years later," Castro said in an essay titled "Bush, Mambi?" carried by the official media.

"It's as if a king in those times, or his governor, proclaimed 'Viva Cuba Libre,'" Castro said.

Castro, 81, has not appeared in public since undergoing a series of abdominal surgeries and has looked frail in occasional video clips and pictures, although he writes regularly and is said to participate in government decisions.

Bush said on Wednesday he would maintain sanctions against Cuba and called on the Cuban people, military and police to join efforts to open Cuba to multi-party democracy.

Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque accused Bush of encouraging a violent uprising against Cuba's Communist government.

Castro compared the Mambisis, who freed their slaves, with President Abraham Lincoln's abolition of slavery, then quoted Lincoln's famous words in reference to the Bush speech.

"You can fool some of the people all of the time or all of the people part of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time," Castro said.

Cuba on Sunday marked the 48th anniversary of the death of revolutionary hero Camilo Cienfuegos, who disappeared in a plane crash, and earlier this month that of Guerrilla fighter Ernesto Che Guevara.

"For what their names symbolize, we respond to the false Mambi: Viva Lincoln! Viva Che! Viva Camilo!" Castro concluded.

Canción del pirata

De José de Espronceda

Con diez cañones por banda,
viento en popa, a toda vela,
no corta el mar, sino vuela,
un velero bergantín.
Bajel pirata que llaman,
por su bravura, El Temido,
en todo mar conocido,
del uno al otro confín.

La luna en el mar riela,
en la lona gime el viento,
y alza en blando movimiento
olas de plata y azul;
y va el capitán pirata,
cantando alegre en la popa,
Asia a un lado, al otro Europa,
y allá a su frente Istambul:

«Navega, velero mío,
sin temor,
que ni enemigo navío
ni tormenta, ni bonanza
tu rumbo a torcer alcanza,
ni a sujetar tu valor.

Veinte presas
hemos hecho
a despecho
del inglés,
y han rendido
sus pendones
cien naciones
a mis pies.»

Que es mi barco mi tesoro,
que es mi dios la libertad,
mi ley la fuerza y el viento,
mi única patria, la mar.

«Allá muevan feroz guerra,
ciegos reyes
por un palmo más de tierra;
que yo aquí tengo por mío
cuanto abarca el mar bravío,
a quien nadie impuso leyes.

Y no hay playa,
sea cualquiera,
ni bandera
de esplendor,
que no sienta
mi derecho
y dé pecho
a mi valor.»

Que es mi barco mi tesoro,
que es mi dios la libertad,
mi ley, la fuerza y el viento,
mi única patria, la mar.

A la voz de «¡barco viene!»
es de ver
como vira y se previene,
a todo trapo a escapar;
que yo soy el rey del mar,
y mi furia es de temer.

En las presas
yo divido
lo cogido
por igual;
sólo quiero
por riqueza
la belleza
sin rival.

Que es mi barco mi tesoro,
que es mi dios la libertad,
mi ley, la fuerza y el viento,
mi única patria, la mar.

¡Sentenciado estoy a muerte!
Yo me río;
no me abandone la suerte,
y al mismo que me condena,
colgaré de alguna entena,
quizá en su propio navío.

Y si caigo,
¿qué es la vida?
Por perdida
ya la di,
cuando el yugo
del esclavo,
como un bravo,

Que es mi barco mi tesoro,
que es mi dios la libertad,
mi ley, la fuerza y el viento,
mi única patria, la mar.

Son mi música mejor
el estrépito y temblor
de los cables sacudidos,
del negro mar los bramidos
y el rugir de mis cañones.

Y del trueno
al son violento,
y del viento
al rebramar,
yo me duermo
por el mar.

Que es mi barco mi tesoro,
que es mi dios la libertad,
mi ley, la fuerza y el viento,
mi única patria, la mar.

W's out of touch on what's really going on in Cuba

The Daily News, New York

By Albor Ruiz

Sunday, October 28th 2007, 4:00 AM

President Bush's recent speech on U.S. policy toward Cuba was so bad, so misguided, had so little to do with reality that the Havana government thought it was great for its credibility with the people of Cuba.

In an unusual move, most of the President's words were published on Thursday - the day after the speech - on the front page of Granma, the Cuban Communist Party newspaper, as well as on national TV.

"The speech insists again on his passion for controlling Cuba, and disrespects Cubans by trying to dictate to them what they must do," said Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo, a Cuban dissident living in Havana. "Maybe the President forgot he has no right to intervene in matters that concern Cuba."

Gutiérrez Menoyo, not a government sympathizer by any stretch of the imagination, pretty much summarizes the generalized reaction in Cuba.

The arrogant and interventionist tone, the ignorance about the island's reality and its history, the obvious manipulation of facts, the speculation about violence did not make for a great speech.

Hard as it may be to believe, the violent lessons of Iraq have not had any effect on the White House. Asserting that Cuba was going through a transition, Bush practically called on Cuba's armed forces and on its people to rise up.

"When Cubans rise up to demand their liberty, you've got to make a choice," the President said. "Will you defend a disgraced and dying order by using force against your own people? Or will you embrace your people's desire for change?"

It is as if Bush had not found out yet that Fidel Castro relinquished power to his younger brother more than a year ago and that a transition already has taken place in Cuba.

"All of [the speech] was predicated on the false notions that the transition in Cuba has not already occurred, and when it does, there will be a climactic moment where Cubans arise and the world rushes in," said Sarah Stephens, of the Center for Democracy in the Americas. "It made the President appear uninformed about what is happening in Cuba - as if the White House library stopped acquiring new books in the mid-1990s."

EVEN MORE surreal was the President's insistence in the speech that the U.S. "stands by" the Cuban people. Not a very convincing message, given that he himself tightened a trade embargo on the island that for half a century has made the life of ordinary Cubans much more difficult.

Add to this that it was his government that prohibited Cuban-Americans from traveling to the island more than once every three years, and only to visit very close relatives, that humanitarian visas are nonexistent and that remittances to help families were severely curtailed, and you will realize that the President's words of concern for the Cuban people must have sounded to them like so much hot air.

As if to take the absurdity to the extreme, Bush said that his words were addressed to the Cuban people.

He also said that Cubans were taking a great risk to watch him and hear his message on TV Marti, the U.S. station that is supposed to provide an alternative source of information to the island. In reality, though, it is well documented that the Havana government thinks that TV Marti is a violation of Cuba's sovereignty and successfully blocks its signal.

Ironically, the President got his wish and his counterproductive speech did get to the Cuban people through the island's own newspapers and TV stations - and with the blessing of the Communist government. What that says about his message is a different matter.

Obviously, Bush desperately needs new advisers that will tell him the "real truth" about Cuba.

Albor Ruiz has been a columnist for the Daily News since 1997, but joined the paper in 1993 as the first Latino member of its Editorial Board. Ruiz was also the editor-in-chief of El Daily News, the first bilingual newspaper in the country. Throughout his career, Ruiz has never lost sight of the struggles of Latino immigrants. Whether writing for English- or Spanish-language media, Ruiz' journalistic mission has been to provide a voice for those whose stories often go untold by the mainstream media.


JG: This article is one of the better analysis of Bush's disgraceful speech on the 24th of October, where he took up again his obsessive compulsion about Cuba. The American people should start worrying about the actions of the current occupant of the White House. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I will offer my lay opinion that he displays the symptoms of a mentally unbalanced person. Do we have now a Dr. Strangelove in the Oval Office?

His recent performance brings to mind the actions of the guy with the funny mustache during the nineteen thirties of the twentieth century. Millions of people died because of Hitler's and Mussolini's actions. Bush is traveling the same road. He goes around threatening just about every country in the world. Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia. He has threatened more than sixty, some have said. Like a lunatic he raves about his "sanctions."

Wake up America! I will say again that the Democratic Party has spineless pussies for leaders in the U.S. Congress: Reid, Pelosi, Hoyer, Wasserman-Schultz, Levin, etc. What we need are leaders that have the guts to confront the policies of a madman.

Will we see hundreds of millions of human beings perish under the mushroom clouds with the imprimatur of George W. Bush?