In presenting on Thursday the annual report on the blockade's impact on the island, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla said that estimates of damages surpass the 5 billion dollars.
"From April 2019 through March 2020, the blockade has inflicted losses to Cuba estimated in 5 500 million dollars. This is the first time that the blockade's damages surpass the 5 billion in a year, and that's a very conservative estimate," said the minister.
The Cuban minister noted that the new report provides irrefutable evidence of the extent of the aggression on all sectors and that the blockade, especially at this time, has become an extraordinary limitation to the island's procurement of medical equipment.
"For all practical purposes, the blockade means the denial to Cuba of access to medical equipment, supplies, and technologies of US origin, or even third countries technologies that may have a 10 percent of US-made components", the Foreign Minister argued.
Rodriguez said that no matter who wins the upcoming US presidential election, the winner will have to confront the reality that the blockade policies harm the Cuban people, families, the Cubans residing abroad, and violate their human rights.
"The extraordinary reinforcement of the blockade over the last two years is an expression of the historical incapacity of the US government of acknowledging that Cuba is an independent nation, which is entitled to enjoy and fully exercise its sovereignty and self-determination, according to international law." stressed the Foreign Minister.
The report has already been sent to the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.
Due to the complicated epidemiological situation at a global level and particularly in the US, the resolution entitled "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba" will be presented for the twenty-ninth time during the resumed session of the 75th session of the General Assembly, in May 2021.
Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.
This report covers the period from April 2019 to March 2020, marked by a serious setback in the bilateral relations between Cuba and the United States and a progressive tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade.
During this period, the numerous regulations and provisions issued by the U.S. government against Cuba reached unprecedented levels of hostility. The possibility of establishing lawsuits under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act; the increased persecution of Cuba's financial and commercial transactions; the ban on flights from the U.S. to all Cuban provinces, except Havana; the persecution and intimidation of companies that send fuel supplies to Cuba; and the campaign to discredit Cuban medical cooperation programs, are some of the most distinctive examples."
During this period, and contrary to the provisions of General Assembly resolution 74/7 and many previous ones, there were around 90 coercive economic actions and measures imposed by the United States Government against Cuba, with the intention of intervening in the country’s internal affairs and in clear violation of the freedom of international trade and navigation. Of this total, about half were concrete actions of blockade, which included fines and other types of sanctions against U.S. or third country entities, insertion of Cuban companies in unilateral lists, extension of laws and proclamations on the blockade, announcements related to the implementation of Titles III and IV of the Helms-Burton Act and regulatory changes. Another group of measures evidenced the extraterritorial implementation of the blockade or corresponded to State Department decisions against our country.
All these measures have a strong impact on Cuba’s economic activities, particularly those related to foreign trade operations and foreign investments. This situation has forced Cuba to adopt temporary emergency measures, which are only possible in an organized country with a united and supportive population, ready to defend itself from foreign aggression and to preserve the social justice achieved. The actions undertaken are aimed at boosting the Cuban economy and mitigating the effects of the blockade. These include more than twenty provisions aimed at strengthening the socialist state enterprise.
No citizen or sector of the Cuban economy escapes the effects of the blockade, which hinders the development that any country has the right to build in a sovereign manner. That is why this unilateral policy is the main obstacle to the implementation of Cuba’s National Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030 (PNDES, in its Spanish acronym), as well as to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
For Cubans living abroad, the blockade regulations are also daily obstacles. They are prevented from opening bank accounts, using certain credit cards or carrying out normal transactions, just because they have Cuban nationality.
As part of its aggressive escalation, the U.S. government also put strong pressure on a group of countries, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the aim of dismembering the support for the draft resolution against the blockade submitted by Cuba to the United Nations General Assembly on 6 and 7 November 2019. Despite these maneuvers and blackmail, the voting demonstrated, once again, the overwhelming support of the international community for the Cuban cause.
The blockade constitutes a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of all Cubans. Because of its express purpose and the political, legal and administrative scaffolding on which it is based, it qualifies as an act of genocide under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
At current prices, the accumulated damage over almost six decades of implementation of this policy amounts to USD 144,413,400,000. Taking into account the depreciation of the dollar against the value of gold on the international market, the blockade has caused quantifiable damages of over USD 1,098,008,000,000. This value represents a growth of 19 percent over the previous period, as a result of the increase in the price of gold by 18.3 percent.
In this context, the scourge of a global pandemic such as the COVID-19 has posed significant challenges for Cuba, and the country’s efforts to combat it have been significantly limited by the regulations of the U.S. blockade. The genocidal nature of this policy has been reinforced in the midst of the confrontation with the new coronavirus, since the U.S. government has used it, and in particular its extraterritorial component, to deliberately deprive the Cuban people of mechanical ventilators, masks, diagnostic kits, protective glasses, suits, gloves, reagents and other inputs necessary for the management of this disease. The availability of these resources can make the difference between life and death for patients who are carriers of the virus, as well as for the health personnel who care for them.
This has not been enough for the U.S. government, which has also launched a crusade to try to discredit and hinder the international medical cooperation that Cuba offers, spreading slanders and going so far as to require other countries to refrain from requesting it, even in the midst of the health emergency created by COVID-19 in the world.
Despite its actions, the U.S. government has not been able to prevent that until July 1st, 2020, more than 3 thousand Cuban collaborators, organized in 38 medical brigades, contribute to the fight against this pandemic in 28 countries and 3 non-autonomous territories. These efforts have also been joined by the more than 28 thousand Cuban health professionals who were already providing their services in 59 nations before COVID-19.
In addition to the above actions, the terrorist attack perpetrated against the Cuban Embassy in the United States on April 30, 2020, is also a case in point. The complicit silence of the U.S. government and its inability to denounce or make a public statement about this terrorist act is evidence of its commitment to inciting violence and messages of hatred against Cuba and its nationals, a conduct that encourages the execution of acts of this nature. The political passivity of the U.S. government in the face of an assault rifle attack on a diplomatic mission in the country’s capital calls into question the fulfillment of its obligations under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
On May 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of State notified Congress of its decision to list a group of countries, including Cuba, among those certified under Section 40A (a) of the Arms Export Control Act as “countries not fully cooperating” with U.S. anti-terrorism efforts during 2019. With this action, the U.S. government intends to hide its record of state terrorism against Cuba, which has been a permanent instrument of its aggressive policy towards the island.
In the current situation, in which humanity is facing an economic and social crisis accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, whose dimensions nobody is able to predict with certainty, it is more necessary than ever that the international community demands the lifting of the blockade imposed by the government of the United States against Cuba, which constitutes the most complex and prolonged system of unilateral coercive measures ever imposed against any country.