An Act of Genocide

November 11 2007

Below we reprint excerpts from the speech of Felipe Perez Roque, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cuba, given at the U.N. General Assembly, November 8. For the full-text of the speech, visit www.anti-imperialist.org.

For the 15th consecutive time, Cuba is presenting to the General Assembly a resolution entitled, "The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba."

We do so in defense of the rights of the Cuban people, but also in defense of the rights of the people of the United States and the rights of the peoples that you all represent in this Assembly. The economic war unleashed by the United States against Cuba, the longest and cruelest ever known, qualifies as an act of genocide and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations. Over the last 48 years, the U.S. blockade has caused economic damages to Cuba in excess of $86 billion. Seven out of every 10 Cubans have since birth suffered and resisted the effects of the blockade, which attempts to break us through hunger and disease. The blockade prevents Cuba from trading with the United States and receiving tourism from that country. It prohibits Cuba from utilizing the dollar in its external transactions and receiving credits or carrying out operations with U.S. banks or their affiliates in other countries....

But more serious than all of that is the fact that the U.S. blockade imposes its criminal regulations on Cuba's relations with the rest of the countries that make up this General Assembly....

The blockade prohibits companies in your countries from trading with Cuba, ladies and gentleman, not just U.S. companies, but companies from the countries that you represent in this Assembly and that are subsidiaries of U.S. companies. And ships with flags from your countries, ladies and gentlemen, cannot enter U.S. ports if they have previously transported goods to or from Cuba. That is the Torricelli Law, signed by President Bush Sr. in 1992....

I am not going to insist on giving examples that prove what I have said. The secretary general has presented a broad report, with contributions from 96 countries and 20 international agencies and organizations, which unequivocally demonstrates the suffering and shortages that the blockade imposes on the life and development of the Cuban people.

It does seem important to us, ladies and gentlemen, to inform the General Assembly about the plan to re-conquer Cuba approved by President Bush in May 2004 and updated in July 2006. In it, he clearly admits what the U.S. government would do in our country if at some point it was able to put Cuba under its control.

According to the president of the United States, the most important thing would be to return all of the properties in Cuba to their former owners. That would include, for example, snatching away their land from hundreds of thousands of farmers who are the owners of their land in Cuba, individually or via cooperatives, to reestablish the concentration of land ownership in a few hands. It would also imply throwing out of their houses millions of Cuban homeowners, to return those buildings or that land to their former claimants.

President Bush described this as an accelerated process, under the total control of the United States, and for it he would create a so-called Commission for the Restitution of Property Rights.

Another structure would also be created: the Permanent Committee of the U.S. Government for the Economic Reconstruction of Cuba, which would direct the process of imposing in Cuba an extremely harsh program of neoliberal belt-tightening, which would include the brutal privatization of health and education services and the elimination of social security and assistance. Retirements and pensions would be abolished, and retirees would be offered jobs in construction work, in a so-called Cuban Retirees Corps.

President Bush admits that "it won't be easy" to implement this plan in Cuba. That is why he is charging the State Department with creating, "as an immediate priority," a repressive apparatus, that we imagine will be trained in the brutal techniques of suffocation that Vice President Cheney does not consider to be torture, to strangle the unlimited resistance of the Cuban people. It is even acknowledged that the list of Cubans who will be persecuted, tortured and massacred "will be a long one."

They have even thought up a Central Adoption Service for Children, to give away to families in the United States and other countries the children whose parents would die fighting or as victims of repression....

Two years after its proclamation, ladies and gentlemen, a large part of this plan has been carried out.

Thus, new and greater restrictions were imposed on family visits to Cuba by Cubans resident in the United States.

People from the United States who traveled to Cuba were viciously persecuted. In the last two years, more than 800 people accused of traveling to our country have been fined.

Additional restrictions were placed on remittances to Cuba. Academic, cultural, scientific and sports exchanges were practically eliminated....

Millions of Cubans right now are watching to see what decision you will make. We ask you today to respect Cuba's right, which is also respect for the rights of the peoples that you all represent. We ask you to vote in favor of the resolution "The Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba."

We do so with our heads held high, optimistic and sure, with the hope of repeating the verses of the poet of our generation, because in Cuba, ladies and gentlemen,

Nobody is going to die, all of life is our talisman, is our mantle.

Nobody is going to die, least of all now, when the song of the homeland is our song.

And if they impose a war on us, there are not enough U.S. soldiers to cover the casualties that they would suffer in face of a country that has resisted and has prepared for its defense for more than 45 years....