Necessity of Ending the U.S. Blockade Against Cuba

October 14, 2003

Below we reprint excerpts from the report presented last month by Cuba to the U.N. Secretary General on the General Assembly's Resolution 57/11.

Introduction

For more than 40 years, the Cuban people have confronted the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the government of the United States of America, one of the most cruel, inhuman and prolonged policies of hostility endured by any people in the history of human civilization.

From the very moment of the triumph of the Revolution, when the people of Cuba made a reality of the enjoyment of their right to self-determination by destroying the foundations of the neocolonial regime maintained on the island by the United States, the U.S. authorities imposed various economic sanctions against Cuba with the express goal of causing "hunger, despair and the overthrow of government," as stated in an official U.S. State Department document dated April 6, 1960.

Throughout these last 44 years, a total of 10 different U.S. administrations have merely reinforced and expanded the complex system of laws and measures that make up the blockade established by the U.S. government against the people of Cuba. This policy has inflicted and continues to inflict serious and onerous damages on the Cuban people's material, psychological and spiritual welfare, while seriously hindering its economic, cultural and social development.

It is enough to remember that six in every ten Cubans have been born and have lived their whole lives under the system of sanctions described, which has been further accompanied by military aggression, biological warfare, illegal radio and television broadcasting, terrorist activities, attempts on the lives of the country's leaders, the encouragement of illegal emigration, and other hostile acts promoted, financed, supported or permitted by successive U.S. administrations. The primary goal of the blockade is quite simply that of effecting the economic and social asphyxiation of the Cuban nation, by depriving it of the basic means of survival. The prohibitions and restrictions imposed on the Cuban people by the blockade are totally lacking in any legal, moral or ethical basis. In accordance with Item C of Article II of the Geneva Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, of 9 December 1948, the blockade imposed by the U.S. government against Cuba qualifies as an act of genocide and therefore a crime under international law.

The current Republican administration of President George W. Bush has stepped up the measures and prohibitions of the blockade against Cuba to unprecedented levels. . . .

Those who promote such aggression as a means of bringing an end to the process of revolutionary transformations sovereignly undertaken by the Cuban people have continued to fabricate, one after another, successive and false pretexts to promote their plans.

Consequently, Cuba is maintained, with no justification whatsoever, on the list illegitimately drawn up by the U.S. State Department of countries that allegedly promote or protect terrorism in the world. In addition, officials from the Bush administration have repeated false accusations regarding Cuba's alleged capacity for the production of biological weapons.

At the same time, the U.S. government - the same one that has assumed the right to limit the self-determination of any people in the world through its so-called "preemptive strikes", and is holding thousands of individuals in legal limbo and subhuman conditions at the Guant namo Naval Base and on its own continental territory - uses blackmail and coercion year after year to impose a resolution that manipulates the issue of human rights, so as to fabricate an illegitimate pretext for its policy of hostility towards Cuba.

In the meantime, the Migration Accords signed between the two countries in 1994 and 1995 have been a particular target for attack by the enemies of the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba. The basic goal is to put an end to the orderly migratory flow established in these agreements and thereby incite massive illegal emigration from the island, as a result of the difficult conditions imposed on the Cuban people by the blockade and the encouragement of illegal emigration entailed by the absurd and murderous "Cuban Adjustment Act". Unprecedented in history, this legislation stipulates special guarantees and rights, including residence in the United States, exclusively for Cubans who arrive on U.S. soil illegally. This treatment contrasts sharply with the way in which millions of citizens of other countries who reach the territory of the superpower in the same way are hunted down, physically and psychologically abused, incarcerated and deported.

The response of the U.S. government to the adoption of General Assembly resolution 57/11, which received the votes of 173 states in favor of demanding that the U.S. government put an end to its policy of blockade against Cuba, has simply been an intensification of its illegal sanctions against the island. . . .

Preliminary studies show that the damages resulting from the application of this genocidal policy against Cuba now surpass 72 billion U.S. dollars. This is a conservative figure, and does not include the more than 54 billion dollars in direct damages caused to Cuban economic and social targets through acts of sabotage and terrorism promoted, organized and financed from the United States. . ... .

While these economic sanctions and restrictions have been accompanied throughout more than four decades by initiatives to create, finance and direct internal subversion on the island, this particular administration has increased open support for the subversion of Cuban constitutional order to unprecedented levels. The U.S. Interests Section in Havana has been used to provide resources and financing and issue instructions to groups of mercenaries paid by and working for the superpower, with the aim of fomenting subversive and pro-annexation activities within Cuba. This is a clear violation and challenge to Cuban institutionality and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Added to all of this is the decision by President George W. Bush to designate and promote officials with an openly anti-Cuban stance to key positions in the U.S. government. The consistently threatening discourse of President Bush and these officials with regard to Cuba is clear evidence of the dangers facing the Cuban people. Some of them have gone so far as to state that military aggression against Cuba has not been definitively ruled out.

The escalation of anti-Cuban propaganda and the United States' violation of the bilateral Migration Accords - including, among other serious aspects, a drastic reduction in the granting of visas for both emigrants and temporary visitors to the United States from our country - are aimed at provoking a migratory crisis that could be used as a pretext for intervention in Cuba.

This past March 26, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announced the granting of significant federal funds to support illegal radio and television broadcasting aimed at Cuba, which contravenes the regulations established by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The violation of our radio space with over 2,200 hours of broadcasting against Cuba weekly is aimed at fomenting internal subversion, acts of sabotage, illegal emigration, and the dissemination of outrageous lies and hoaxes against our country. . . ...

On March 24, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), one of the U.S. government agencies that ensure the implementation of the blockade, had issued new regulations that reinforced the blockade policy. Even further restrictions were placed on travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens, and the granting of licenses for people-to-people educational exchange was completely eliminated. At the same time, in keeping with this escalation of aggression, steps were adopted to facilitate travel to Cuba for those who want to come to our country in order to supply the mercenary groups who conspire to subvert the Cuban constitutional order. These new regulations joined with a toughening of sanctions against U.S. citizens who travel to Cuba. . ... .

Conclusions

The intensification of the policy of blockade and the growing escalation of U.S. aggression towards the Cuban people - including the threat of an armed invasion - irrefutably demonstrate the refusal of the government of President George W. Bush to respect the will of the overwhelming majority of the international community, expressed in successive resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly.

The maintenance and reinforcement of the illegal policy of blockade against Cuba serve to prove once again the current Republican administration's contempt for international law and multilateralism.

Not a single sector within the economic and social activities of the Cuban people has been spared the destructive and destabilizing effect of the web of actions and measures encompassed by the United States' policy of blockade. Preliminary studies have shown that the total amount of economic losses incurred by Cuba during the more than four decades that the blockade has been in force could already surpass 72 billion dollars.

The extraterritorial application of the U.S. government's blockade against Cuba, institutionalized and systematized through the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts, in addition to violating international law, has provoked serious additional damages to the national economy over the last decade. . . .

Cuba has the right and the duty to continue to denounce the damages and violations that the policy of blockade has imposed on its people and on international law. At the same time, Cuba reiterates its determination to defend above all, with the power of the truth and of ideas - its people's full enjoyment of the right to sovereignly establish its own political, economic and social system. Neither threats nor aggressions will bend the will of the Cuban people to defend the profound process of revolutionary transformations that have brought it so much dignity and so many benefits in these last 44 years.

For all of the above, Cuba calls upon the international community once again to unequivocally express its support for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba. In this way, it will be defending the ideal of a better world, where justice and the rule of law prevail for everyone equally.

(For the full text of this report see the Anti-Imperialist News Service: www.anti-imperialist.org).