A Submitted Request to President Obama from the Cuban Foreign Minister to End the Bloqueo
Posted: 06 December 2011 02:40 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Havana.  October 27, 2011

Cuba will change everything that has to be changed within the Revolution and within socialism
• Statement by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla on the resolution “The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba.” New York, October 25, 2011

Mr. President:

ON November 13, 1991, this General Assembly made the decision of including in the program of its next period of sessions, an examination of the issue, “The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba.”

Those were the times during which the United States decided, with cruel opportunism, to tighten the siege of the island, which was fighting alone. It did so through the so-called Torricelli Act, which cut off our trade in foodstuffs and medicines with subsidiaries of U.S. companies based in third countries. That was the official act which made notorious and public the extraterritorial implementation of the blockade laws against third states.

It would have seemed impossible then that, 20 years later, this Assembly should be considering today the same issue, so closely linked to the right of nations to self-determination, international law, international trade regulations and the raisons d’être of this organization.

It has already become one of the traditional issues of the General Assembly, which calls for the most reiterated statements, with the most categorical and overwhelming support and which demonstrates with the greatest clarity the uncomfortable isolation of the aggressor country and the heroic resistance of a people who refuse to give up their sovereign rights.

For two decades, the international community has unvaryingly and repeatedly demanded an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba by the United States. It has done so through resolutions approved almost unanimously every year, through dozens of appeals by heads of state and delegations referring to the issue in the high-level general debate of this Assembly, and statements by virtually all international agencies and state groupings, in particular those of Latin America and the Caribbean.

In 1996, the Helms-Burton Act extended without precedent the blockade’s extraterritorial dimensions and integrally codified “regime change” and a subsequent direct intervention in Cuba. Nobody knows that the 2004 Bush Plan for Cuba has been left without effect.

The Secretary General’s report on this issue, which includes statements from more than 160 countries and specialized United Nations agencies, illustrates in great detail the persistence of this criminal policy and its direct effects on the Cuban population and economy.

The direct economic damage inflicted on the Cuban people through the implementation of the blockade is already in excess of $975 billion, calculated at the depreciated value of the dollar against the gold index.

Article II, Paragraph b) of the 1948 Convention against Genocide typifies as an act of genocide, and I quote, “…serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group” and in Paragraph c), and I quote, “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

According to the United States government memorandum of April 6, 1960, the objectives of the blockade are “…disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship […] to weaken the economic life of Cuba […] denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”

The United States has never concealed the fact that its objective is to defeat the revolutionary government and destroy the constitutional order which the people defend with sovereignty, what former President George W. Bush called “a regime change” and which is now reaching new dimensions.

Mr. President:

Despite the false image of flexibility that the current government of the United States is trying to convey, the blockade and sanctions remain intact, in total implementation and their extraterritorial nature has been accentuated in recent years. As a distinctive feature of the period of President Obama, the persecution of Cuban financial transactions throughout the world has been reinforced, with no respect for the laws of third countries or the opposition of their governments.

Cuba remains powerless to freely export and import goods and services of any kind to or from the United States. It cannot use the U.S. dollar in its transactions, including those paid to the United Nations Organization and other international agencies. Neither can it have accounts in this currency in third country banks or access to credits from banks in the United States, their subsidiaries in third countries or in international institutions such as the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank.

The prohibition on trading with United States subsidiaries in third countries remains unchanged. Business executives from other nations interested in investing in my country continue being sanctioned, threatened or included on blacklists. International agencies, UN programs and agencies have not escaped this policy, due to the government of the United States blocking the cooperation given by these bodies to Cuba, including cooperation directed at areas of extreme sensitivity.

The seizure, in January of 2011, of $4.207 millions of funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, for the implementation of cooperation projects with Cuba aimed at combating AIDS and tuberculosis, demonstrates this.

As a result of Cuba’s exposé, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a general license in May of this year to release those funds, which expires June 30, 2015. But the very fact that resources from this humanitarian organization require a license from the United States government in order to reach Cuba, in addition to utilizing these highly sensitive programs as hostages of its policy of aggression towards my country, shows a flagrant disrespect of the United Nations and the institutions comprising it.

Various cooperation projects undertaken by the International Atomic Energy Agency have also fallen victim to the blockade.

In the midst of the supposed relaxation allowing certain groups of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba, very recently the Department of the Treasury also refused to issue travel licenses to Cuba to two important U.S. non-governmental organizations which have cooperated with Cuban institutions in the health sphere for a number of years. This decision could prevent the arrival of donations of medicine to which our country does not have access because of the blockade.

The truth is that U.S. citizens’ freedom of travel remains encroached upon and that Cuba continues being the only forbidden destination.

[ Edited: 06 December 2011 04:59 PM by mscarde ]