Report on the effects of the US blockade to the United Nations

Campaign News | Sunday, 11 July 2010

Report by Cuba on Resolution 64/6 of the United Nations General Assembly

The historical conflict that has characterized US-Cuban relations for more than 200 years has its genesis in the desire of the various US governments to control Cuba’s destiny and the permanent determination of Cubans to defend their right to be a free and independent sovereign nation.

This desire reached its maximum expression with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Since that time, successive US governments have used the same policy instruments, with different nuances, to destroy the Cuban Revolution. The economic, commercial and financial embargo, subversion and psychological and propaganda warfare have been the permanent instruments of a policy systematically directed to such effect.

Because of its nature, the US embargo against Cuba qualifies as genocide by virtue of Section c of Article II of the Geneva Convention of 1948 on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and as an act of economic war according to the stipulations of the declaration regarding Maritime War adopted by the 1909 London Naval Conference. The embargo continues having a markedly extra-territorial nature while the unilateral sanctions against Cuba have an extended effect outside of US territory on companies and citizens from third countries.

Strictly speaking, not even a new Democratic government in the US, presumably in the mood for a philosophy for change, has meant any essential change in the embargo policy.

Cuba still cannot freely export and import products and services to or from the United States; it cannot use the US dollar in its international transactions or have accounts in that currency in third country banks if it is a national or Cuban company; nor can it have access to loans from American banks, their affiliates in third countries and international institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF or the Inter-American Development Bank.

The Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts in force and their extra-territorial applications continue to discourage Cuban trade with subsidiaries of US companies in third countries, as well as threaten and apply sanctions on businessmen who wish to invest in Cuba, at the same time as they make the maritime transport of goods between Cuba and third countries difficult and more expensive, by prohibiting vessels that have stopped in Cuban ports or transported goods on behalf of Cuba from entering US ports for 6 months or preventing access by vessels with Cuba crews even though they have been sailing under the flags of third countries.

Also, the current American government, in violation of elementary international norms, continues to use political subversion as a weapon in its confrontation with Cuba. With the aim of promoting subversive programs, a total of 40 million dollars was approved for the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years.

From October 28, 2009, when the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 64/6, until today, the principal actions of the embargo against Cuba have been kept in place and reinforced, manifested by greater economic sanctions and persecution of business activities and Cuban financial transactions.

The direct economic toll on the people of Cuba due to the application of the economic, commercial and financial embargo of the US against Cuba until December 2009, at current prices, calculated very conservatively, reaches a figure that surpasses 100 thousand 154 million dollars.

This amount would increase to 239 thousand 533 million dollars if the calculations were made taking the inflation rate of US retail prices as a base, using the CPI Calculator of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (

If we take into consideration that the value of the dollar, measured in terms of the gold prices on the international financial market has been decreasing by more than 30 times since 1961 when the gold price was set at $35.00 per Troy ounce until the close of 2009, when it surpassed the thousand dollar mark, total repercussions on the Cuban economy would be to the order of 751 thousand 363 million dollars.

To obtain this figure, the series of total repercussions from the embargo since 1961 were used and the annual totals in dollars each year were determined. Gold prices in force on the world market at the close of each year, taken from the statistical series published on the website USA Gold ( were used. To determine the number of times the dollar lost value in terms of gold, we divided the price of gold at the close of 2009 between the prices each year, and it was established that the dollar has depreciated 31.1 times since 1971 up to 2009.


On March 28, 2009, US Vice President Joseph Biden, in the framework of the Summit of Progressive Leaders in Chile, made a press statement that the government of that country would not lift the embargo on Cuba. On April 7th of the same year, Robert Wood, the State Department spokesperson declared at a press conference: “I think that we have been very clear that we do not consider this is the right time to lift the embargo”.

On April 19, 2009, David Axelrod, Obama’s advisor, replied in an interview on CBS-TV when asked if the White House had any thoughts about lifting the “embargo”: “...we are far from that”.

That same day, President Obama’s economic advisor Lawrence Summers declared on an NBC-TV interview when referring to the lifting of the embargo: “That is not something for tomorrow and it will depend on what Cuba is going to do, Cuba knows what it should be doing for some time now, and it depends on them in terms of their policies, their democratization and all the steps they might take (...) it is a topic that will be decided on the basis of Cuba’s conduct”.

It is evident then that the US government does not harbour any intention of producing a change in its policy towards Cuba, or of complying with the reiterated resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly that ask the government of that country to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba. On the contrary, the US government continues holding on to inacceptable interfering conditions and demands as a condition for a change of policy towards Cuba.

Despite having considerable support in Congress, the press, public opinion and the business sector, that transcended any preceding consensus in American society regarding policy towards Cuba, something that would have allowed him to act with a high level of autonomy, President Obama has stayed well below the expectations created by his speech about the claims from different sectors in American society and the international community, as well as his prerogatives to change significant policy aspects, even without intervention from Congress.

By virtue of those prerogatives and if such political will for that were to exist, President Obama would have had sufficient authority to significantly make the embargo against Cuba more flexible. In that sense, and without the need for mediating congressional approval, the President would have been able to issue a broad range of permits to authorize the following measures:

Substantially expand travel by Americans and foreigners residing in the US by a broad interpretation of the 12 categories for travel established by law (for example, expansion of educational travel, permits to participate in professional conferences, academic, scientific, student, cultural, sports, religious exchanges and authorization of humanitarian projects, just to name a few).

Eliminate limits on travel associated expenses such as accomodations, food and local transportation that Americans and Cubans residing in the US can make when they visit Cuba (Americans, including Cuban-Americans, after the amendment to the Budget Act for the 2009 fiscal year, cannot spend more than the limit set for travel expenses abroad for US government officials, today set at 179 USD per day).

Eliminate the prohibition on use of credit and debit cards, personal cheques, travellers’ cheques, issued by both US and third country banks.

Broaden the list of US airports authorized to operate charter flights to Cuba (at the present time, there are only three approved: Miami, New York and Los Angeles).

Permit ferry service between the US and Cuba.

Authorize all US travel agencies to organize trips to Cuba, or make the requisites and procedures in force more flexible so that travel agencies may obtain the necessary permits for this activity (today there are some 150 agencies authorized to do so, via specific licences).

Authorize travellers visiting Cuba to buy Cuban products and take them to the US for personal use or as gifts, and eliminate the limit on their value (up to the present time they can only take information materials, including art objects).

Eliminate the prohibition on Cuban companies to participate in the transportation of US visitors to and from Cuba, or Cuban visitors to and from the US.

Permit certain bank relations, such as correspondent banks and the opening of accounts by Cuban entities in US banks to facilitate agricultural exports.

Eliminate the prohibition that prevents vessels transporting agricultural products to Cuba from carrying goods in our country even though their destination may be a third country.

Expand the list of products that may be exported to Cuba to include, for example, insecticides, pesticides, herbicides, agricultural equipment and even wooden furniture and objects manufactured with materials having animal or vegetal origins.

Permit broader forms of collaboration in the development, marketing and supply of medicines and biomedical products originating in Cuba.

Authorize the importing of medicines and medical products of Cuban origin and the payments corresponding to the Cuban exporters.

Authorize the export of medicines and medical equipment that may be used in the manufacture of Cuban biotechnological products.

Instruct US representatives in international financial institutions not to block the authorization of loans or other financial facilities to Cuba.

Loosen up or eliminate the prohibition on using the dollar for Cuba’s international transactions.

Permit foreign subsidiaries of US companies to carry out certain transactions with Cuba, such as financial services, insurance, services and investments (The Torricelli Act prohibits commerce in goods but not the mentioned transactions).

Lift the two prohibitions established in the Torricelli Act regarding vessels: the one forbidding entry to US ports for 180 days by vessels from third countries that have carried goods to Cuba; and the one making it impossible for vessels carrying goods or passengers to or from Cuba to enter US ports (the Torricelli Act and regulations for its implementation authorize the president to issue licences for that).

Exclude Cuba from the list of states sponsoring international terrorism. This list was first published in 1982 under the Reagan administration and has remained in effect until today. It involves the application of certain sanctions .

These categories are: travel for official government business, foreign governments or international organizations; family travel; educational travel; religious; for public presentations, sports competitions and exhibitions; travel for activities in support of the Cuban people; for humanitarian projects; trips for private foundation, research institute or educational activities; travel for export, import or transmission of information or informative materials activities; and travel for activities relating to the export of agricultural products.

Among the sanctions being applied to a State sponsoring terrorism, according to the list drawn up by the US, are: the prohibition on financial transactions without a permit, the prohibition on financial and direct technical aid by the US government, the prohibition on exports of certain goods such as heavy industrial products, high tech equipment, and products having dual usage, the prohibition on transfer of munitions, and the prohibition on granting temporary visas to nationals of the country without special decision of the Secretary of State.


2.1 Repercussions on health and food

The sectors of public health and food have been prioritized objectives of the embargo policy.


Between May 2009 and April 2010 repercussions on the public health sector totalled 15 million 200 thousand dollars.

The economic toll is due basically to the necessity of acquiring medicines, reactives, spare parts for medical equipment, instruments and other consumables in far away markets and on many occasions with the use of intermediaries, thus increasing the prices.

Added to the above is the suffering and desperation that this situation caused on patients and their families, seeing that they cannot count on having the best medicine for an illness and on many occasions, at the moment it is needed, in order to save a life. This pain can never receive be given a dollar value.

Among the many examples describing the damage caused in the sphere of health during the period referred to, we include the following:

The Institute of Oncology and Radiobiology cannot use Radioactive Iodine plates for the treatment of children and adults suffering from retinoblastoma (congenital tumors growing on the retina) since they cannot acquire these since they can only be bought in the US. This technology is mostly used for the treatment of children since it permits treatment of the tumor on the retina, saving vision in the affected eye and the appearance of the face. Faced with this shortage, the only alternative is to remove the eye and in some cases both eyes, a procedure which, besides being invasive, carries with it severe limitations for the lives of the patients.

This institute has approximately 1600 patients per year who are affected by the impossibility of acquiring the refills for Philips Tomography. Of these patients, 250 face serious difficulties in the planning of their radiotherapies. Not having this technology means that the imprecision rate of the treatment increases from 3 to 5 % and the radiotherapy services are adversely affected since the limits and forms of the tumors cannot be precisely determined.

Cuba has no access to Temozolamide (Temodar), specific cytostatic medicine for use in tumors of the central nervous system (gliomas and astrocytomas). This disease affects approximately 250 patients every year, and of these around 30 are children. Use of this medicine would significantly increase survival and quality of life for the patients, since the medicine has very few adverse effects and can be relatively easily administered in comparison with other medicines.

Cuba is denied the right to acquire non-ionic iodine contrast, a product that has a bearing on the quality of imaging studies of patients with tumors. Use of this medicine would increase the efficacy of diagnoses and there would be no risk of allergic reactions to the contrast which on occasion has very serious results.

Cuban hospitals are deprived of the possiblilty of obtaining the reactive SILANE, sold by Sigma, which is used to adhere histological sections to slides for special techniques in immunohistochemistry and hybridization. Without this reactive one cannot process malignant tumors and other infectious diseases, something that prevents the application of modern techniques that are necessary for diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of these diseases.

The Hermanos Ameijeiras Hospital, in Havana, cannot make tomographic studies on more than 5,000 patients, particularly the Angio-TAC, something that is vital for the study of cerebrovascular diseases due to the non-compliance of Phillips in supplying the spare parts for two tomographs.

Cuba is also prevented from acquiring consumables and medicines related to organ and tissue transplants. Medicines such as cyclosporine and tacrolimus that prevent rejection by the transplanted organ or tissue cannot be bought by our country.

Cuban children continue to be the innocent victims of the US embargo policy against Cuba.

The “William Soler” Pediatric Cardio-centre was included in the year 2007 by the US Treasury Department into the category of “Rejected Hospital” and so it has conditions placed on it for the sale of products and the acquisition of these is refused unless they comply with the demands placed on them. This situation has involved an endless number of repercussions on carrying out different surgical techniques due to not being able to acquire certain materials suitable for children on the American market, such as better quality vesical and tracheal probes, catheters and stents, etc.

Cuban children are denied the use of the Amplatzer device which is manufactured in the US, made from special materials to avoid organic rejection. This device is used for the percutaneous closure of the intra-auricular communication (closure of the defective opening between the aorta and pulmonary arteries, a procedure known as interventionist catheterism) avoiding open heart surgery which besides being risky frequires intensive care and a three week recovery period.

4 new cases of children waiting for operations have been added to the list from previous years:

María Fernanda Vidal, 5 years old, Havana, HC 680347.

Cyntia Soto Aponte, 3 years old, Havana, HC 668739

Mayuli Pérez Ulboa, 8 years old, Ciego de Avila, HC 691064

Lianet D. Alvarez, 5 years old, Camaguey, HC 04110975335

The American company ABBOT is forbidden to sell Cuba the medicine called Sevofluorane, a general inhaled anaesthesia agent, having rapid induction thus making it ideal and the best product for anaesthesia induction for children, and at the same time, an excellent myocardial protection agent for episodes of ischemia in patients who have been anaesthetized for revascularization. Other generic medicines having inferior quality and adverse effects on the patient such as Levosimendan are manufactured by the same company and so also cannot be acquired by Cuba.


During the period we are analyzing, conditions under which Cuba had to make fundamental purchases of foods from American companies remained onerous and difficult.

The US government continues to set up obstacles for such purchases and there has been no action made to carry out these sales in accordance with the norms, channels and regular practices of international commerce.

In June 2009, the US International Trade Commission published a report on the agricultural sales to Cuba where it was recognized that among the factors limiting commerce between the two countries were: the difficult payment conditions for Cuban importers; additional warehousing costs or extended stay costs affecting Alimport due to bureaucratic roadblocks; the complicated and slow process of obtaining licences for the exporters who need to travel to Cuba; travel restrictions on Cuban negotiators; penalization by US laws of the foreign vessels that dock in Cuban ports and purchases made by the Cuban government from certain countries for geopolitical reasons. The Commission supposes that an eventual lifting of financial restrictions and bans on travel by Americans would cause an increase in US agricultural sales to Cuba that would be between 924 million dollars and one thousand 200 million dollars, something that would signify between 49% and 64% of the total agricultural purchases by Cuba.

The following examples illustrate the situation:

ALIMPORT, the company which imports foods, had repercussions to the effect of 102 million 900 thousand dollars because of “Risk Country”, banking and financial costs dealing with payment instruments. If the funds had been available, we might have acquired 337,000 tons of wheat or 451,000 tons of corn or 109,000 tons of chicken at average prices in 2008.

According to information from the US Department of Agriculture Service of Economic Research, in 2009 this country imported more than 3 million 82 thousand TM of raw sugar, of which 1 million 370 thousand TM was under quota. Since Cuba didn’t have access to the preferential and futures market of New York, during the period we are analyzing it had repercussions of close to 49 million USD, taking into account the current volumes of production and exports of our country.

Without access to the US market, The Union of Beverages and Soft Drinks is forced to import the aging barrels for rum from European markets; for this purpose it had to spend an additional $ 284,700.

The impossibility of access to the US market for Cuban rum, especially the leading brand of Havana Club, means that no less than

2 million 200 thousand crates of rum have not been sold which, calculated at the average invoiced price for Havana Club International in 2009, represents an economic repercussion of 87 million 300 thousand dollars.

The embargo adversely affected rice production, delaying receiving fertilizers and pesticides in time for the planting of this cereal, and this signified that 6,000 hectares were not sown in the cold campaign of 2009-2010 with a repercussion of 24,700 tons of wet rice, representing 12,400 tons less for consumption. Importing that same amount meant that the country had to spend 7 million 500 thousand dollars Pork production has been adversely affected for approximately

23 million 400 thousand dollars due to geographic relocation of its commerce, transportation, lack of external funding, and the oft-repeated increase in insurance because of risks involved in doing business with Cuba.

Added to the damages for various activities in the agricultural sector due to restrictions on access to the US as the receiving market for its exports as well as supplier and the move towards other distant and less competitive markets, the impossibility of access to cutting-edge technologies for this sector has had unfavourable repercussions on yield and general efficiency of same and along with that, decreased availability of products for the population’s consumption.

Medical History.


3.1 Repercussions on Foreign Trade

Repercussions registered from April 2009 until March 2010 by foreign commerce enterprises total 155 million 500 thousand dollars, lower by almost 87 million dollars, about 36 %, as compared to 242 million 400 thousand dollars registered in the same period of 2008-2009, due to the reduction in world trade and commercial loans because of the world crisis. However this does not mean that the impact of the embargo on the foreign sector has been reduced in its intensity and its persistence; quite the contrary.

The principal repercussions on foreign trade depend on the following factors:

The impossibility of access to the US market forces us to use intermediaries with the subsequent rise in the cost of goods, freight and insurance charges increase because we must use more distant markets such as Asia and because income from exports of goods and services are no longer being earned.

The increase in the cost of funding for the so-called risk country associated with the US embargo.

Prohibition on the use of the dollar and the necessity of using other currencies, thus causing an increase in costs due to rates of exchange and their fluctuations.

Other repercussions due to additional costs for operations via banks in third countries, banking commissions and types of payment instruments.

From March 2009 and in the first months of 2010, directives from President Obama or measures deriving from legislative initiatives introduced in laws approved by the US Congress were announced and implemented; these referred to matters of interest to trade and like issues.

Nevertheless, what was approved did not modify any legislative provision related to the embargo against Cuba. It just meant, basically, a loosening up of some restrictions and not providing funds at the request of the US government for application to the measures adopted under the 2000 The Trade Sanctions Reform And Export Enhancement Act (TSRA) and the extreme measures adopted by the Bush administration.

In the case of modifications on travel regulations for US businessmen in the agricultural sector by granting a general licence, its impact was reduced by the establishment of determinate informative requirements for businessmen, as well as because of the need to adapt to a daily expense in Cuba that was not previously strictly controlled.

Under this general licence, US businessmen must hand over to OFAC two written reports, one 14 days before travelling and the other one 14 days after having returned from the trip. The first report will identify the manufacturer or supplier and the activities to be engaged in. The second report will describe the commercial activities, persons with whom meetings were held and expenses while in Cuba.

Thus these loosening-up measures, in the context of the numerous and strict conditions in existence for the sales of agricultural and health sector products in Cuba, are very limited and clearly insufficient.

In 2009 no purchases were made in the US for products linked to the health sector, such as non-expendable medical equipment and products, given that their sale continues to be conditioned by a series of “in situ” controls and checking requirements that make any negotiation or carrying out of eventual purchases virtually impossible.

Some examples of repercussions of the embargo on foreign trade follow:

CONSUMIMPORT, whose main imports are destined for the health, education and sports sectors, carried out systematic work on the possible subsidiary US firms that manufactured top quality electrical, sports and office articles, who were requested for offers and never answered. Among these, Cooper Wiring Devices (electrical equipment), Office Furniture USA (office articles), and UCS INC (sports equipment) were already mentioned. Consequently, it had to move its purchases to third markets and at times use intermediaries for repercussions of 1 million 900 thousand dollars including the additional costs calculated in the case of sports articles.

CUBACONTROL, an enterprise that imports and provides commercial supervision services for products that are imported and exported to and from Cuba respectively, cannot participate in countries where it is represented as itself in the local market sector related to the US.

It can neither charge in dollars for the services it provides abroad to third parties, nor transfer US dollars for sales remitted by its agents.

METALCUBA made a request for an offer for U-beams and galvanized tubes from the subsidiary company of the US Asif Enterprises, but never received a reply. It also requested an offer from Ipesa, based in Mexico with US participation, also without receiving any answer.


Cuban light industry has also suffered the effects of the embargo.

Its repercussions have negative effects on the improvement of the essential needs of the population. In the period being analyzed the losses are calculated at 12 million 891 thousand dollars, from imports of products from more distant markets and the increase in the cost of freight and insurance, added to which is the additional cost of immobilized resources in inventories.

It is impossible for the Suchel Union to buy their raw materials for the manufacture of products like soaps, detergents and creams in the US market, and this had meant additional expenses of 6 million 716 thousand 600 dollars. With this amount we could have produced 7 thousand 348 tons of soap that would be equivalent to 58 million 700 thousand bars of soap for the population.

The Unión Poligráfica had to acquire their consumables in Asian markets, and this represented an additional expense of 1 million 999 thousand dollars. If we had been able to count on these resources, we would have been able to finance the manufacture of 16 million 700 thousand good quality school notebooks, which accounts for 18% of the notebooks required for one school year.

The transportation sector has not escaped the negative effects of the embargo.

The ARIES S.A company’s basic function is attending to cruise ships and passengers that arrive in the country. Its operative capacity varies in an approximate traffic of 1 million 200 thousand cruise passengers and 1092 landings of cruise ships each year. If the Cuban embargo did not exist, and according to indicators drawn up by the Association for Caribbean and Florida Cruise Ships (FCCA), the earnings for our country would be in the range of 125 million 300 thousand 442 dollars per year.

The NAVEGACION CARIBE Company cannot acquire spare parts and other materials necessary for its ships on the American market, and so it has had to seek out European markets with the corresponding increase of freight charges. Between April 2009 and March 2010 the repercussions for this amounted to 525 thousand dollars.

The activity of Harbour Pilots of Cuba has been affected by the delay and increased cost generated by repairs to passenger maritime transportation vessels. Such is the case of the vessel Río “Las Casas” that needed to have its propeller engines replaced. Those engines are manufactured in the US and so it was necessary to transport them from the United States to a third country on another continent and from there to Cuba, with the additional cost of freight involved, causing losses of $ 16,788.

The Informatics and Communications sector has also been severely affected by the application of the embargo. In the period being analyzed, around 61 million 240 thousand 430 dollars of income have been lost.

Despite the talks which began in September 2009 between the Cuban Postal Corporation and the United States Postal Service, with the intention of returning regular service, the embargo policy continues to prevent the sending of direct mail, bringing with it the corresponding repercussions. Should mail traffic between the two countries increase, it is calculated that Cuba would be benefitted by at least

1 million 500 thousand dollars.

During this period, the Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA) has lost around 52 million 868 thousand dollars due to repercussions on production and services, additional freight charges, repercussions because of not being able to access American technology, etc. Acquisition of equipment and spare parts having US patents and which are essential for the development and maintenance of the Cuban telecommunications companies are acquired on the international market under severe control and supervision measures, as well as at a considerable increase in their value.

The Cubaelectrónica Company continues to suffer from the blows of the embargo. No access or no service on the numerous websites is being firmly maintained regardless of the type of site. Cuba is prevented from access to the free services offered on the net. Such is the case of from Argentina which stores code-related solutions that are needed by all software developers for their work.

Cuba is forbidden from importing computers manufactured by the major world manufacturers such as INTEL, HEWLETT PACKARD, IBM and MACINTOSH. In order to obtain one of these, the country must pay up to 30 % above the regular price.

The Cuban National Software Company (DESOFT S.A) has been seriously affected by application of the embargo. Work links with the Costa Rican company MOVIL MULTIMEDIA and the Spanish company OESIA have been interrupted due to the fear of being fined or of receiving reprisals for doing business with Cuba; this has meant that projects have been paralyzed, bringing with it the corresponding monetary repercussions.

In the science and technology sector, crucial for the growth of any country, repercussions remain in effect.

EMIDICT, the Specialized Importing, Exporting and Distribution Company for Science and Technology attempted to acquire the electronic components for the ICIMAF and CEADEN institutes from the distributor Farnell, one of the main worldwide distributors for electronic and electric products. This company which is part of the Premier Farnell group, principal distributor of electronic components in the US with branches in more than 40 countries, refused those electronic components that originate in the US. That caused delays in the production of medical equipment for CEADEN and ICIMAF for the national health system and export and forced us to seek other alternatives.

The Centre for Environmental Engineering of Camagüey (CIAC), whose mission is to obtain, apply and spread knowledge for the management of science, technology and the environment, from the execution of research projects, high aggregate value technical scientific services and specialized productions using nuclear and cutting-edge technologies, faces serious difficulties for the publication of scientific results in leading reviews that are printed in the US and the UK.

In the tourism industry, the effects of the embargo in 2009 were estimated at one thousand 108 million 900 thousand dollars.

These losses are broken down into one thousand 30 million dollars, just for the income lost as a result of forbidding US citizens from travelling to Cuba; 11 million 500 thousand dollars for American yachts and sailboats that cannot visit Cuban marinas; 27 million 400 thousand dollars for the increased purchase expenses for freight, prices, higher taxes and interest, greater inventory and immobilization of financial resources, mainly of the Caracol chain of stores and the Comercializadora ITH, and 40 million for restrictions in electronic business and other online facilities.

Because of the prohibition on trips to Cuba by US citizens, the Cuban tourism industry in 2009 lost one thousand 30 million dollars, starting from the premise that 15 % of Americans who travel to the Caribbean as tourists would have also come to Cuba if the trips were not prohibited.

One can presume, bearing in mind the statistics of the Caribbean Tourism Organization at the end of March 2010, that just like other destinations in the region and as an effect of the crisis, the flow of Americans to Cuba - if one were to eliminate the prohibitions on travel - would also have been affected for around 8 %. Thus, one can estimate that during 2009, approximately 1 million 585 thousand US tourists could have travelled to Cuba.

Also, Cuban hotels can only use the Amadeus system, one of the four great global distribution systems, GDS international, since three of them -Sabre, Galileo and Worldspan- are US companies. Other intermediary suppliers of these services are unable to associate with Cuban tourist entities for fear of being fined and seeing their sales to the US threatened.

In civilian aeronautics in Cuba repercussions from the embargo from

May 1st 2009 to April 23, 2010, are estimated at 265 million 830 thousand 210 dollars.

The US world monopoly on the manufacture of commercial planes and their components, spare parts and aircraft, airport and airplane services technology, as well as their participation in manufacturing and an important percentage of shares in other commercial aviation industry consortiums as in Europe, prohibits Cuban airlines from purchasing aircraft, equipment and parts that are not just American but which also come from other aeronautical industries such as the European industries. For those reasons, Cuba must also lease less efficient aircraft under abnormal and unfavourable conditions.

There are regular charter flights operating to and from Cuba, various US airlines such as Miami Air, American Eagles, Gulf Stream, Sky King and others flying from Miami, Los Angeles and New York to several Cuban airports where the Cuban State provides all the facilities for their operations. Nevertheless, the US government does not authorize Cuban airlines to fly in their territory.

On the other hand, while hundreds of American airline flights are daily flying over Cuban air space en route to Central and South America, because of the limitations on flying over US territory from Canada towards the central-eastern area of Cuba (Cayo Coco, Ciego de Ávila, Camaguey, Holguín and Santiago de Cuba), Cuban aircraft are forced to fly routes that are not direct, at speeds greater than those recommended and during the night in order to adapt to the hours of closure at Canadian airports, with the subsequent additions to flight times of between 14 and 47 minutes, depending upon the destination in Cuba, and increased fuel consumption which all contributes to lesser efficiency and competitiveness of the flights.

Also, Cuban companies dealing in air travel services are affected by not being able to provide, in turn, handling services for passengers, baggage and cargo, on-board catering, fuel sales and services in the navigation area, and the rates for use of airport facilities. Bearing in mind the estimates for US visitors to Cuba, in the period being reported, the losses of income for these reasons ascends to 205 million 484 thousand 638 dollars.

In civil aeronautics, as in all sectors of the economy, the embargo causes over-spending for various reasons.

We had to buy a baggage handling system for the West Hall of Terminal 3 of José Martí International Airport in Havana from a European country at a cost of 3 million 703 thousand 178 dollars. Freight charges from Europe have gone up to 91 thousand 854 dollars and the intermediary’s commercial commission for its acquisition was 17 thousand 530 dollars, to which we must add the cost of 2 European experts for 14 days to look after the set-up, installation and start-up.

If we had been able to acquire this equipment directly from the US it would have cost the country 100 thousand 626 dollars less, bearing in mind referential prices for similar or superior quality equipment on the American market, as well as the considerable reductions for expenses for accomodations and transportation for the installation experts and the 5% commission for the intermediary.

With that amount saved we could have acquired a similar baggage carrousel to be installed in the East Hall of this Terminal to replace equipment that is in poor condition, thus improving the quality of service provided to the passengers who arrive in Cuba by air.

The embargo measures in this sector are in violation of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, signed by 190 States including the United States, especially the precepts that state that international air transportation services must be established on a basis of equal opportunities and be done in a healthy and economic fashion, and its Article 44 that establishes among the aims and objectives of the International Civil Aeronautical Organization (ICAO) that the rights of the contracting states be fully respected and avoid discrimination among them.

In the metal industry the increase in expenses or losses because of the embargo is 36 million 343 thousand 500 dollars, representing 9.6 % of the 377 million 618 thousand dollars of imports in the period being analyzed.

With this amount, we might have acquired or produced:

- 11,162 diesel engines for the change of engine or repairs for heavy vehicles, or

- 382 4 X4 platform trucks for haulage of goods, or

- 1,953 buses to improve transportation, or

- 12,349 motor-pumps to be used in social works or in agriculture, or

- 103 sugar cane harvesters to improve cutting and hoisting of sugar cane, or

- 3,028 growing houses, 800 m2 each, to increase food production.

During this period, The Hotel Engineering Commercial Company which markets raw materials, components, equipment, furnishings and medical instruments, used 40 containers at a cost of $156,000, to move cargo imported from Europe and China. If these purchases had been made in the US the transport of that amount of containers would have cost $36,000, thus saving us $120,000, allowing us to buy some 250 hydraulic hospital beds or 20 universal centrifuges for 24 tubes for the labs at the Cancer Hospital.

The ALCUBA Industrial Group had to spend close to 1 million 274 thousand 700 dollars above what it would have really paid if it could have bought the raw materials for the production of aluminum carpentry for the construction of homes and social works. With that amount we could have bought 700 additional tons of aluminum levers to manufacture 6,375 square metres of carpentry work, equivalent to the amount needed to construct 265 3-bedroom home or 3 400-bed hospitals.

The Metal-working Industrial Group ACINOX suffered repercussions in this period for 9 million 70 thousand dollars with which more than 37,300 tons of corrugated bars could have been manufactured, enough to build some 24,800 apartments in multi-family buildings, representing a benefit for more than 99,200 Cubans.

The metal factory Antillana de Acero cannot obtain spare parts for the engines of the continuous casting machine of the US-based EMERSON group. They have to be purchased through other suppliers and manufacturers. If we had direct access to the manufacturer, the cost of the replacement parts would have been 10,200 Euros, a price that increases to up to 21,000 Euros because intermediaries are being used.

The ALCUBA Industrial Group requested an offer from a branch of Alcoa Brasil to acquire 5 thousand 228.47 tons of 78 and 8-inch aluminum levers to extrude profiles. The company stated: “Since Alcoa is a US company, it is not allowed to do business with Cuba because of the embargo”.

The Cuban nickel industry CUBANIQUEL has been affected in this period for a value of 101 million 300 thousand dollars.

Because of the prohibition in exports to the US of any product which is totally or partially manufactured with Cuban nickel, even if it was manufactured in a third country, Cuba has lost 75 million 700 thousand dollars.

In this phase, repercussions were as follows:

Discounts applied to the price because of risk country with an estimated repercussion of $478 dollars per each ton sold, losing approximately 18 million dollars.

Increased marketing expenses due to payment of high freight rates, handling, supervision, shipping and sales commission charges for the export of nickel. In the phase being analyzed, we spent approximately 11 million. If we had been able to export to nearby markets, we would have saved 4 million 300 thousand dollars.

Repercussions on the increased payment cycle from 30 days to 60 days due to the distant markets, with repercussions for postponed income to be received in the year were 53 million 400 thousand dollars.

Production of oil and natural gas has also suffered numerous repercussions.

Just because it is impossible to import explosive charges to drill oil wells, in 2009 we lost more than 480 thousand barrels of crude valued at 20 million dollars at the average sale price in 2009.

Drilling charges perforate the covering of the well connecting it to the productive layer, facilitating flow and collecting the oil and increasing production levels.

In 2007, supplies of these charges were made by INNICOR Subsurface Technologies, a Canadian manufacturer that was bought by an American company. In 2008, we managed to get offers from another Canadian company, LRI Perforating Systems Inc, but in October of 2009, just before signing the first contract, the LRI supplier was bought by DMC (Dynamic Materials Corporation) of the United States.

From October 2009, until the closing date for this report, we have been trying to find other ways to buy these products in Germany, Canada and Argentina, but without any luck.


5.1 Unprecedented opposition inside the United States

Opposition to the embargo is also growing significantly in the United States itself.

It is impossible to encapsulate in just a few pages the countless statements and articles by important civilian personalities, the military, legislators, press media, NGOs and academic institutions in the United States that, in the past year, have acknowledged the failure of the embargo policy; supporting draft laws to permit travel by Americans to Cuba and/or the normalization of bilateral relations or calling for the embargo to be lifted.

A short list of the most important and representative people and entities calling for the lifting of the embargo is provided below:

Former US President James Carter stated on May 6 2009 in the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, “I would like to see the embargo end right now. There is no reason why the Cuban people should go on suffering.

The influential The New York Times in an editorial on June 4, 2009, entitled “Obama, Cuba and the OAS” described the embargo as “an anachronism from the Cold War that has been maintained by the Florida politicians (?)”.and it added that Mr. Obama has to move forward more and press Congress to lift the embargo.

The Hemispheric Affairs Council published an article on June 12, 2009 acknowledging the failure of the embargo policy and describing the measures adopted by President Obama as insufficient.

The CATO Institute published an article on June 16, 2009 that described the US policy towards Cuba as a failure and proposed that Congress and the president lift the embargo.

On August 7, 2009 George Schultz, Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan, stated to the Peruvian magazine Caretas, that “The decision to keep the embargo doesn’t seem too smart to me. I would not negotiate with Castro on that basis. I would simply lift it (?)”.

On September 2, 2009, the NGO Amnesty International published a report entitled “The US embargo against Cuba: Its impact on economic and social rights”, in which Obama was urged to lift the embargo and to not renew sanctions against Cuba by virtue of the Trading with the Enemy Act.

The powerful American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), which gathers together more than 50 US trade union organizations approved a resolution at its 26th Constitutional Convention on the 13 to the 17th of September 2009, at which, among other things, it urged Congress to approve legislation eliminating the embargo. The organization described the embargo as “the toughest ever maintained by the US against any country in the world”.

On October 29, 2009, the US Green Party demanded that President Obama put an end to the embargo against Cuba. In its declaration it put forth the argument that the US is continuing to impose severe economic sanctions on the Cuban people, mainly to attract a small percentage of voters in Florida. The National Platform of the Green Party supported the immediate cessation of these sanctions and described this policy of “violations on human rights and an obstacle for the sale of food and medicine to a sovereign nation that signifies no threat whatsoever to the United States.”

The Star Journal of April 5, 2010 cited statements by Tom Vilsack the Secretary of Agriculture who said he was anxious for expansion of trade with Cuba “as long as it coincides with the values of the US.” He expressed his wish that commercial barriers be eliminated with all countries.

Former President Bill Clinton, talking with the press on April 17, 2010, at a conference at the University of Miami, expressed that “the embargo” on Cuba had not worked and that he was in favour of lifting the restrictions on Cuba.

The New York Times, on April 18, 2010 printed an editorial on the Obama policy towards Latin America, pointing out: “(?) We believe that the embargo should be completely lifted”.

Within the Federal Congress legislative initiatives have been presented that also have bipartisan support, such as the draft laws about freedom of travel (with 178 and 38 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively) and the report circulated by Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), in which he requests a change in the policy and the end of conditions on Cuba.

On January 8, 2010, the digital site on energy,, printed an article reproducing the statements of Robert Dillon, spokesperson of Senator Lisa Murkoswki (R-AK), in which he affirms that the Energy Commission voted some 7 months prior in favour of Project S 1517, presented by Murkoswki in July of 2009 which would permit the participation in oil explorations in the Cuban Exclusive Economic Zone and trips associated with this activity.

On February 23 of this year, Collin Peterson (D-MN), chairman of the House Agricultural Committee, together with another 38 cosponsors, presented the draft law HR 4645, to permit freedom of travel to Cuba, to modify the concept of advance payments and to permit the use of American financial institutions for agricultural sales transactions.

This project has the support of the US Chamber of Commerce and state and federal agricultural associations such as the Agricultural Federation, the Rice Federation, the National Federation of Milk Producers, the National Federation of Corn Producers and the Soya Association of America, among others.

In addition, the different surveys made during this period show that most Americans were in favour of travel by Americans to Cuba and the lifting of the embargo. That kind of support, shown by the following results, has never been so broad-based before.

On April 10, 2009, CNN published a survey taken between the 3rd and the 5th of that month, according to which 64% of the people interviewed revealed that they were in favour of lifting travel restrictions to Cuba and 71% supported re-establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.

On April 24, 2009, the Gallup Poll published the results of a survey carried out between the 20th and 21st of that month, showing that 51% of Americans support the end of the embargo against Cuba and 64% would be in favour of ending travel restrictions to Cuba. Among those who support such policy changes, the majority are Democrats and liberals.

Between the 23rd and the 27th of April, 2009, Orbitz Worldwide, the second largest Internet travel agency, took a survey of Americans that revealed that 67% of those interviewed would support a policy that would permit Americans to visit Cuba and 72% affirm that “the expansion of travel and tourism to Cuba would have a positive impact on the daily lives of Cubans”.

On March 3rd, 2010, the New Herald revealed the results of a BBC/Harris Interactive poll taken between the 13th and the 15th of January of this year, of 2,050 Americans according to whom 57% proposed that American companies were losing business opportunities in Cuba, among other things, and 63% stated that the Cuban government is not Washington’s friend, but neither is it its enemy. 75% of those interviewed assured that relations with Cuba are important; while 44% thought that it is too soon to restore normal relations with Cuba and 38% were not in favour of doing so.

On April 15th, 2010, Insider Advantage took a poll for the Cuban Business Bureau (CBB) among 401 Americans across the nation and this survey revealed that 58% of those interviewed advocate re-establishing diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US; 61% are in favor of American travel to Cuba and 57% support American companies doing business with Cuba.


The embargo against Cuba remains intact. The complicated thicket of laws and legal provisions governing this policy has not been taken apart. The embargo on Cuba has been the longest and harshest ever applied by the United States during its history against any other country. Even though it was officially passed in 1962, its application began right at the beginning of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

The embargo violates International Law. It is counter to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. It constitutes a transgression on the right to peace, development and security of a sovereign state. In its essence and its aims, it is an act of unilateral aggression and a permanent threat against the stability of a country. It constitutes a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the rights of an entire people. It is also in violation of the constitutional rights of the American people since it denies them the freedom to travel to Cuba. Moreover, it violates the sovereign rights of many other states because of its extra-territorial nature.

The direct economic damage caused the Cuban people because of the application of the economic, commercial and financial embargo of the United States against Cuba up to December of 2009, at current prices, calculated very conservatively, totals a figure that surpasses 100 thousand 154 million dollars.

This sum would increase to 239 thousand 533 million dollars, if the calculation were to be done taking as its basis the inflation of retail prices in the US, using the CPI Calculator of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (

If one were to take into consideration that the value of the dollar, measured in terms of the price of gold on the international financial market has been decreasing by more than 30 times since 1961 in that the price of this metal was fixed at $35.00 per Troy ounce until the close of 2009, when it surpassed the limit of one thousand dollars, the total repercussions on the Cuban economy would be around 751 thousand 363 million dollars.

The embargo continues to be an absurd, illegal and morally unsustainable policy which has not fulfilled, nor will it ever fulfill, the purpose of breaking down the patriotic decision of the Cuban people to preserve their sovereignty, independence and the right to self-determination; but it generates shortages and suffering for the population, it limits and sets back the development of the country and seriously harms the Cuban economy. It is the principal obstacle to economic development in Cuba.

The president of the United States has sufficient prerogatives to significantly loosen up the embargo against Cuba, without intervention from Congress. However, he doesn’t have the political will to put an end to the embargo.

The embargo is a unilateral measure and must be lifted unilaterally without waiting for any Cuban gesture in exchange. Therefore, the United States should lift it without delay and without excuses.

Once again, Cuba is counting on the support of the international community in its legitimate claim to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the government of the United States.

To obtain this figure, the series of total repercussions from the embargo since 1961 were used and the annual totals in dollars each year were determined. Gold prices in force on the world market at the close of each year, taken from the statistical series published on the website USA Gold ( were used. To determine the number of times the dollar lost value in terms of gold, we divided the price of gold at the close of 2009 between the prices each year, and it was established that the dollar has depreciated 31.1 times since 1971 up to 2009.

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