Key points made by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez in his remarks prior to the United Nations vote condemning the U.S. blockade on October 27, 2016.
Ten key points
1. Advances have been made since President Barack Obama announced on December 17, 2014 his willingness to use his executive powers and work with Congress to lift the blockade.
2. The United States just announced its intention to abstain from the vote on this Resolution Project. It has taken 24 years for the solitary vote of the United States in this room to be rectified. It has been 24 years, as Ambassador Samantha Power said, of isolation and failure.
3. The blockade continues to be a massive, flagrant, systematic violation of the rights of all Cubans and can be described as an act of genocide based on the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It is therefore necessary to judge based on the facts. More than speeches, statements to the press, or even a delegation’s vote in this room, the most important and specific thing is the dismantling of the blockade.
- From April 2015 through April 2016, direct economic losses caused Cuba by the blockade reached 4.68 billion dollars at current prices, according to rigorous and conservative estimates.
- Multinational SIGMA ALDRICH was also prevented from supplying protection equipment and chemical products to Cuban enterprise FARMACUBA to manufacture medicines in the country.
- In May 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission notified the subsidiary of German company Eckert and Ziegler, based in the country that its application for a license to supply Dutch company Philips the calibration source for a medical device purchased by the Cuban Oncology Institute in 2013, impacting a vital service for cancer patients.
- Last September 26, Italian medical equipment supplier EMILDUE notified the Cuban entity MEDICUBA that U.S. company Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC) refused to sell it a COSMAN radiofrequency generator, used for cancer diagnosis.
- U.S. company Medtronic was unable to establish contracts with Cuban entities for the sale of deep brain stimulators which would be used to treat Cuban patients with Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders, recently citing blockade restrictions.
- In September 2016, Pakistan-base banks denied the application by a company from that country, to open a credit account to purchase 100,000 Hepatitis B vaccines, given U.S. sanctions against Cuba. Meanwhile a U.S. citizen is being threatened with a fine of 100,000 USD, for traveling to Cuba with several companions.
4. The majority of executive regulations and laws which make up the blockade remain in force and are rigorously applied up until this very minute by U.S. government bodies.
- In an attempt to access the Norton webpage of the Symatec company, which provides malware protection and removal services, that is to say, computer anti-virus software etc, the message “Embargoed Country. We're sorry that we are unable to process your request for Symantec products” appears.
5. It is important and well-known that the President of the United States possesses broad executive prerogatives which he has not used, and still could, to substantially modify the practical application of the blockade and its humanitarian and economic impact.
IMPACT OF THE BLOCKADE ON EDUCATION:
1,245,000 USD in looses from April 2015-April 2016
6. Except for issuing specific licenses, the new measures do not allow U.S. investments in our country, nor joint ventures, or even the issuing of credits for Cuban pharmaceutical and biotechnological production, marketing and distribution in the United States, which has happily been authorized, once they receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
7. I appreciate and share the touching words of Ambassador Samantha Power regarding the emblematic, symbolic case of Doctor Félix Báez Sarría. It is an example of what can be done when international cooperation prevails. The United States’ change of vote could lead some to ask: Will the measures which threaten the work of Cuban collaborators around the world come to an end?
Cuba offers international health collaboration services in 65 countries.
8. While the Presidential Policy Directive, issued October 14, confirms that the Government of the United States recognizes “sovereignty and self-determination” and that “it is up to the Cuban people to make their own choices about their future,” it does not hide in misleading language its aim of altering Cuba’s constitutional order and promoting changes in its economic, political, social and cultural system, nor does it hide the intention to continue undertaking interventionist programs responding to the interests of the United States, or its intention to involve sectors of Cuban society in them.
- “The United States Government has no intention to alter the existing lease treaty and other arrangements related to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, which enables the United States to enhance and preserve regional security,” reads the Policy Directive.
- The Presidential Policy Directive states, “We anticipate the Cuban government will continue to object to U.S. migration policies and operations, democracy programs, Radio and TV Marti, the U.S. presence at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, and the embargo (blockade).”
- “While the embargo remains in place, our role will be to pursue policies that enable authorized U.S. private sector engagement with Cuba's emerging private sector and with state-owned enterprises that provide goods and services to the Cuban people,” notes the directive.
- In its concept of the Cuban population, The U.S. Presidential Directive disregards the fact that three of every four Cubans work in the public sector and thus do not benefit from practically any of the current changes.
9. It is useful to recognize that changing Cuba is a sovereign matter of the Cuban people alone, and that Cuba is a genuinely independent country; because it won its independence by itself and has known, and will know, how to defend itself at the cost of great sacrifices and risks. You should know that our people won power and “empowered” themselves a long time ago and exercise their sovereign power, popular power every day.
IMPACT OF THE BLOCKADE ON CULTURE:
29,483,800 USD in losses from April 2015-April 2016
10. The Cuban Revolution has been and continues to be made every day, by and for the youth. Cuban youth, who are a reflection of their time, are as patriotic and anti-imperialist as their parents and grandparents.
- 1,767,300 students began the new school year across all levels of education. Cuba has the highest university enrollment rate per capita on the continent.
- 52 young people under the age of 35 are members of the Cuban Parliament.
The President of the Federation of University Students, Jennifer Bello, was elected a member of the Council of State at 23 years of age.
Reprinted from: www.en.granma.cu
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