US blockade continues to hurt Cuba's economic, social development

Fors Fernandez

Monday, September 24, 2018

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The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the Government of the United States of America against Cuba for almost six decades is the most unfair, severe and extended system of unilateral sanctions ever applied against any country.

The Government of the United States has imposed a serious setback to the bilateral relations with Cuba based on President Donald Trump's signing of the 'National Security Presidential Memorandum on Strengthening the Policy of the United States toward Cuba' on June 16, 2017, thereby renewing the tightening of the blockade.

Last November, 2017, the departments of Commerce, Treasury and State issued new regulations and provisions to put into effect the aforementioned memorandum. The measures applied further restricted the right of US citizens to travel to Cuba and it imposed additional obstacles on the limited opportunities of US business community in Cuba by setting up a list of 179 Cuban entities with which US natural and juridical persons are prohibited from carrying out transactions.

The new sanctions against Cuba have caused a notable decrease in visits from the US and they have generated greater obstacles on Cuban companies' economic and commercial relations with potential US and third-country partners. These measures not only affect the Cuban state economy but also the country's private sector.

The strengthening of the extra-territorial application of the blockade has been another distinctive manifestation of the tightening of this policy, with marked effects on Cuba's international financial and loan relations. The permanent persecution of Cuban financial transactions and bank and loan operations with Cuba have intensified on a world scale.

The economic, commercial and financial blockade constitutes the principal obstacle for the development of all the potentials for the Cuban economy. It hinders the implementation of the country's National Plan for Economic and Social Development as well as the Agenda 2030 and its sustainable development goals. It is the principal hurdle for the development of Cuba's economic, commercial and financial relations with the US and the rest of the world.

The accumulated damage resulting from the blockade's application for almost six decades reaches the figure of US$933,678,000,000 taking into account the depreciation of the dollar as compared to the price of gold on the international market. At today's prices, the blockade has caused damage that can be calculated at over US$134,499,800,000.

This policy of economic aggression, along with the promotion of internal subversion corroborates the aim of the US Government to destroy the economic, political and social system that has been freely chosen by the Cuban people.

The blockade constitutes a massive, blatant and systematic violation of the human rights of all the Cuban people and qualifies as an act of genocide, according to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948. It violates the United Nations Charter and International Law and constitutes an obstacle for international cooperation.

It is imperative that the United States comply with the 26 resolutions adopted by the international community within the framework of the United Nations General Assembly in the framework of the General Assembly of the United Nations and put an end, without any conditioning, to its policy of blockade.

The blockade violates international law. It is contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. It constitutes a transgression on the right to peace, development, and the free determination of sovereign states. In its essence, and by its objectives, it is an act of unilateral aggression and it is a permanent threat to the stability of a country.

Cuba and its people trust on the continued support of the international community in their legitimate claim to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the Government of the United States of America.

Ines Fors Fernandez is ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Jamaica.

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