Cuba’s Ambassador to Guyana, Julio Cesar Gonsalves Marchanta, in a press briefing Thursday at the Cuban Embassy in Kingston reiterated his calls for the United States of America (USA) to end its 53-year blockade that is has imposed on his country.
“On October 29, Cuba shall submit to the consideration of the United Nations General Assembly for the 22nd time in a row the draft resolution entitled “Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial, and Financial Embargo Imposed by the United States of America against Cuba,” the Ambassador announced.
Marchanta elucidated that blockade is a “flagrant violation of International Law”. He said, “It is contrary to the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and constitutes a violation of the right to peace, development and security.”
Speaking to the effects that the embargo has had over the years on Cuba, Marchanta said that “the blockade has proven to be the main obstacle for the Cuban economic and social development, the largest hindrance for expanding Cuba’s commercial ties with the rest of the world, and has become a serious restraint for the international cooperation that the country both provides and receives.”
Cuba cannot freely export and import goods and services to and from the United States (US), nor use the dollar in its international financial transactions or open accounts in that currency in third-country banks. Compounding this is the assistance provided by international financial institutions which is also prohibited, he said.
According to the Cuban Ambassador, the Cuban people endured severe economic losses because of the embargo, which until last April, after five decades of blockade amounted to over a trillion US dollars, if depreciation of the dollar against gold value in the international market is taken into consideration.
The consequences have major effects in the most sensitive areas of Cuban people’s life, Marchanta alluded. The ambassador said, “The decision by the Zurich Canton Bank to suspend, under US pressure, all transfers to Cuba, affected the cooperation that MediCuba-Suisse, a Non- Governmental Organization has maintained with Cuban public health authorities in such areas as fighting cancer, paediatrics, and HIV/AIDS prevention.”
“The obsessive persecution and harassment of those establishing or trying to establish normal relations with Cuba by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department, is an outstanding feature of the extra-territorial scope of the blockade.”
According to the Ambassador, “At the beginning of his administration in2009, President Barack Obama announced a fresh start with Cuba and expressed his conviction that relations between Cuba and the United States could follow a new direction. Five years later, all we have seen is a reinforcement of the extra-territorial nature of the blockade and an intensified persecution of Cuba’s international financial transactions.”
The Ambassador expressed confidence in US President Obama, now in his second term, to lift the embargo so that the Cuban people can “preserve their sovereignty, independence and right to self determination.”
“The government and people of Cuba thank the unalterable support received from the authorities and people of Guyana to the Cuban resolution, furthermore the public condemnation to this cruel and genocidal policy, particularly at the general debate of the United Nations General Assembly.”
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