Necessity of ending US blockade of Cuba
On November 4, the United Nations General Assembly will be voting on the Resolution titled "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba". Cuba has presented such a resolution for 12 consecutive years. Last year, 173 Member States voted in favour, three against (including the United States) and four abstained. This confirms a near-total rejection by the international community of the US Administration's genocidal policy towards Cuba and of the implementation of the Helms-Burton Act and other extra-territorial legislation that contravene the UN Charter, the principles of International Law and the rules governing economic, trading and financial relations among States. The draft submitted to the Secretary General of the UN points out that the so-called embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States Government has lasted for more than four decades. The so-called blockade has the aim of subjugating through hunger and disease a people that claims nothing more than its full right to self-determination and to defend its sovereignty, well-being and dignity. It is a massive, flagrant and systemic violation of the Cuban people's human rights, particularly of the rights to health and food, which causes serious humanitarian consequences, the Resolution says. Cuba points out that the present, extreme right-wing, Republican government has increased its hostility and prohibitions against Cuba to unprecedented levels, ignoring the demands of the international community. An overwhelming and growing majority within the US society itself supports a change in policy. The Resolution lists as evidence of the US's behaviour: * the repeated and baseless accusations portraying Cuba as a threat: * the increase in illegal radio and television broadcasts to Cuba; * the growth in US funding for internal subversion; * the encouragement of hijackings of vessels and aircraft and the non-compliance with bilateral agreements on migration; * the links of President George W Bush with the Miami-based mafia of Cuban origin which helped him avoid a recount at the elections; * the decision to appoint and promote Cuban-born officials hostile to Cuba to key US government posts in the field of national security; and * the announcement of the review of the policy on Cuba with the aim of tightening restrictions and the consistently threatening discourse implying that military acting against Cuba was not discarded. Despite legislation to the contrary, the White House is determined to veto any legislative attempt to facilitate visits of its citizens to Cuba alleging: "it is essential to maintain sanctions and travel restrictions to deny economic resources to Cuba", it said. The sale of some food products to Cuba should not be seen as a more flexible approach by the US administration. On the contrary, the complex procedures and the enormous structure of restrictions associated to these sales, ignore and run contrary to international trade norms. All purchases have to be paid in cash, as neither private nor public credits are allowed; and transportation of merchandise bought by Cuba has to be made in non-Cuban vessels. Furthermore, US companies are not allowed to purchase Cuban products. The extra-territorial Torricelli and Holmes-Burton Acts, in addition to breaching the sovereignty of third party States and International Law, have caused further severe damage to the Cuban economy over the last ten years. Every sector in the Cuban economy has suffered. The Resolution notes that "Of the US$685 million losses in Cuba's foreign trade in 2002, as a result of the sanctions, US$178.2 million (26%) was directly attributable to the extra-territorial aspect of US policy". "The so-called embargo has seriously affected all Cuba's economic and social sectors. Preliminary studies have proved that, as regards only the economic impact, the total of Cuba's economic losses during more than four decades of embargo, may already exceed US$72 billion. "There are numerous examples of the difficulties faced by the educational system as a result of the so-called embargo. Thus, the nation's purchasing power to import means and resources for Cuban schools has fallen by 25-30% since the early 1990s, as a result of having to be acquired from remote markets and sometimes at higher prices. "Agriculture, a sector whose development is key to food production and, hence, to raise nutritional standards for the Cuban people, suffered losses due to the US so-called embargo totalling US$108.5 million. "For all these reasons, Cuba expects that the international community overwhelmingly reaffirms, once more, its condemnation to this policy and renews its request to put an end to this 'economic, commercial and financial embargo maintained by the United States government against Cuba'".