Cuba Politics

IberoAmerican countries call for end of US Cuba embargo

Posted October 18, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

By CIARAN GILES | Associated Press Writer

Leaders of the world’s Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries demanded on Saturday that the United States abide by U.N. resolutions to end its “blockade” against Cuba, in a resolution that earlier drew criticism from the U.S. government.

The U.S. Embassy in Madrid objected to the use of the word “blockade” instead of “embargo” in the statement by the 17 leaders present at the annual Iberoamerican summit. Spanish officials countered that “blockade” had been used in U.N. resolutions as well.

“We call on the United States of America to comply with that laid down in 13 successive resolutions approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations, and to bring an end to the economic, trade and financial blockade it maintains against Cuba,” one of a set of final statements said.


Foreign ministers from Latin America, Spain and Portugal at the summit had drawn up a similarly worded draft Thursday, irking the U.S. Embassy, which said it could be interpreted as a “kind of support for the dictatorship in Cuba.”

The final statement on the embargo differed only in the title and final phrase by qualifying the word “blockade” with the adjectives “economic, trade and financial.”

Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said similar wording had been used by the United Nations and nothing should be read into any change in the final phrasing.

Hours before the summit’s end, the U.S. Embassy issued a statement saying Spain had excellent relations with the U.S. government.

Relations between Madrid and Washington suffered when Zapatero withdrew troops from
Iraq shortly after being elected in March 2004. Those relations have yet to fully recover.

The most notable absence at the summit was Cuban leader
Fidel Castro, who reportedly stayed home to coordinate relief aid for Hurricane Stan.

Member Comments

On October 18, 2005, redwood wrote:

The significant diffence between an Embargo and a Blockade is that blockades are acts of war.  It’ not insignificant that the Summit held the line on this vocabulary.  Indeed, it may be a signal that they do not intend ratchet-up the HR sanctions against Cuba without seeing the USG cut some slack of its own. 

On the other hand, the US Government does not want to accept to responsibility for its beligerence, even though the economic, trade, and financial sanctions are residue from the Kennedy blockade.  Hereís a sulking McCormack at a news conference refusing to address the question about the language:

  Mr. McCormack, can I follow up? It is on the last summit on Spain. The Latin American countries speak opposition against the U.S. policy toward Cuba toward the embargo to Cuba. Do you have any answer, any position on that?

  Well, I think that if you look back over the history of such statements from these kinds of summits, this is a common statement. It’ one that you’ll find if you go back over the years, a common position that they have held.

  But I think, also, if you look back over that same period of time over the past few years, the Cuban government shouldn’t take any comfort in terms of the statements that have been coming out from our European friends and allies about <Cuba>’ human rights record and the importance of promoting democracy in Cuba.

  So I think while you have seen this same type of statement concerning the embargo and differences—policy differences over the embargo—you have also seen during that period of time over recent years, increasingly pointed statements about European concerns about Cuba’ human rights records and the importance of democratic reforms in Cuba.

  Two things. One, apparently, there’ a reference to the blockade of Cuba as opposed to the embargo.

  So I wonder if you have a reaction to that.

  The second one is also a reference to the extradition case, the Cuban extradition case. I was wondering if you…

  On the first point, no particular comment. On the second, the extradition case is a sort of process that is unfolding according to American laws and the applicable regulations.

  I don’t think we have to add anything beyond that this is a case that is unfolding strictly according to those laws, the applicable laws and regulations.

On October 19, 2005, waldo wrote: