On November 13, 2012 for the 21st year in a row the United Nations General Assembly condemned the United States blockade against Cuba. It was a landslide victory for Cuba as usual, with resolution achieving 188 votes in favour, 3 against (the United States, Israel and Palau) and only 2 abstentions (Marshall Islands and Micronesia). This resolution annually calls on the United States government to end its over 50 years of immoral blockade against Cuba.
The United States blockade prevents Cuba from importing and exporting many products, goods and medicines to and from the US. It also prevents Cuba from trading with other countries due to extraterritorial measures which state that for example if any product has a component that makes up 10% of its whole made in the US it is illegal (according to US law) that company trade that product with Cuba. For over 50 years now, the US blockade has stopped Cuba from acquiring many necessities from medicines, to text books, to building supplies and many other items. This policy was meant to crush Cuba’s economy and while the effects of the blockade on the people of Cuba have been severe, people have refused to bow down to the US government and its attacks on Cuba’s dignity and sovereignty.
In his “Explanation of Vote” on the Cuba Resolution, Ambassador Mr. Ronald Godard, US Senior Area Advisor for Western Hemisphere Affairs made the US government’s case for keeping the blockade: "Cuba’s resolution seeks to identify an external scapegoat for the island’s economic problems, when they are principally caused by the economic policies that the Cuban government has pursued for the past half century. […] Irrespective of U.S. policy, it is unrealistic to expect the Cuban economy to thrive until the Cuban government opens state monopolies to private competition, fully empowers Cuban entrepreneurs, respects intellectual property rights, allows unfettered access to the Internet, and adopts the sound macro-economic policies that have contributed to the economic success of many of Cuba’s neighboring countries in Latin America." One need only look to Cuba’s closest neighbours – Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica to see what the US government regards as “success”.
However, if we look at the United Nations own “Human Development Index” Cuba is ahead. The Human Development Index rates countries of the world based on different indicators of Human Development such as: GDP per capita, poverty rate, life expectancy, carbon dioxide emissions per capita, adult literacy rate, expenditures on public health & public education, education levels, poverty, female-male ratios in parliament, and infant mortality & under-five mortality rate. Cuba sits at 51st country in the world, while its neighbour Haiti is 158th, the Dominican Republic is 98th and Jamaica is 80th. Even Brazil, one of the economically mighty BRICS countries sits at 85th place in the world. What does economic success mean if Human Development is low? In depends on which side of the fence you sit.
What “fence” are we speaking of? Cuba likes to call it “the Battle of Ideas”. By this, Cuba means the battle between two opposing views for the future of humanity; one is based on economy and profit before people and the other is based on putting people and human development before economy and profit. This alternative future and example that Cuba is demonstrating is one of the reasons the US government has been trying to use its blockade to destroy the Cuban revolution. So far they have not been successful; however Cubans have paid a deep and daily price. It is time for the US to end this unjust policy against the Cuban people and their government. Below and the next four pages is the case made in favor of the resolution to end the blockade by Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.
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