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Cuba wants U.S. blockage ended

The Chargé d’Affaires at the Cuban Embassy in Monrovia Mr. YordenisDespaigne Vera says economic, commercial and financial blockadeimposed on the people of Cuba by the United States of America is unnecessary, lamenting “Theblockade damages the Cuban people and is a massive, flagrant andsystematic violation of human rights of the Cuban people.” 

Addressing a group of Journalists in Monrovia Thursday, 29 September he said inthe last 21 months, since the historic announcements of both Presidents Raul Castros of Cuba and Barack Obama of the United States, some results have been achieved in thebilateral relations between the two governments.

However, he noted that some of those achievements are the re-establishment ofdiplomatic relations and re-opening of embassies that werepreceded by the just action of taking Cuba off the spurious list ofStates sponsoring terrorism, a list on which Cuba should never havebeen in the first place.

Mr. Vera noted that in March 2016, during his visit to Cuba,President Barack Obama acknowledgedonce more that the “embargo” policy towards the island is obsolete andmust be eliminated, noting that in his speech in Cuba, President Obama stressed inreference to the “embargo” that it “only harms the Cuban people instead of helping them” and again called on the U.S. Congress toput an end to this policy.

“President Obama acknowledged that the blockade against Cuba isolatedUnited States and meant an insurmountable obstacle to its links withLatin America and the Caribbean. He said that the blockade did not work, it has not been working and there is time to put it to an end”, headded.

The Cuban envoy said despite the new scenario, on 13 September this year President Obama renewed once more sanctions againstCuba under the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, which constitutesthe basis for the laws and regulations that make up the blockade,alleging foreign policy interests.

According to him, the Trading with the Enemy Act is only imposed againstCuba in this moment and is counterproductive in the currentcircumstances of bilateral relations between the two Governments that the United States continues to regard Cuba as an enemy.

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He explained that until today, the blockade still remains with all itseffects and keeps damaging Cuban people, saying that the policy hascontinued to be toughened in its financial and extraterritorialdimensions, which violates the sovereignty of the rest of the Statesof the world.

“President Obama and his government have facilitated travel to Cubafor U.S. citizens under general license, and it is true that travelershave grown; but the ban on travel to Cuba as tourists to U.S. citizensremains until now. Cuba is the only country currently prohibited forAmerican tourists. This shows that the blockade is a U.S. policy whichalso affects American citizens and American business sectors”, Mr. Vera added.

He said Cuba recognizes that there has been progress in some areasof bilateral relations, including hotel management contracts withAmerican companies, the resumption of direct commercial flights, establishment of some service contracts in the field oftelecommunications, and the fact that there are levels of dialogue andcooperation in areas of mutual interest, but there has been nofundamental change in the blockade.

He said similarly, although U.S. announced the authorization for Cuba to use thedollar in international transactions, so far thismeasure has not been effective, which is another demonstration thatthe blockade also persists in the finance sector.

The blockade touches all fields of the Cuban society and its impact incurrent lives for Cubans is undeniable. The economic repercussions onthe Cuban people due to the application of the economic, commercialand financial blockade of the United States of America against Cubaduring the last 50 years amount for over USD 125, 873, 000, 000 atcurrent prices, the Cuban envoy disclosed.

“Cuba will preserve its achievements and willcontinue moving forward on the path of Socialism”, he maintained. Cuba and America resumed diplomatic relations this year following more than 50 years of poor relationship that was sometimes characterized by acrimonious verbal exchanges, particularly during the regime of ex-Cuban President Fidel Castros, leader of the Cuban revolution.

By Ethel A. Tweh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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