Declaration from the International Relations Committee of the Cuban National Assembly
Campaign News | Friday, 13 October 2006
Cuba releases report to UN General Assembly on effects of Blockade
FOR 47 years the United States has systematically and uninterruptedly applied a ferocious blockade on Cuba; in fact a real economic war designed to plunge the Cuban people in hunger and desperation and whose objective, since the initial moment, has always been the overthrow of the Cuban Revolution.
Never before in the history of humanity has any nation been submitted to such a cruel and hostile policy as that of successive U.S. governments against the Cuban people. From the first day of the revolutionary triumph in 1959, those governments have not hesitated in applying measures with a clearly defined objective: to cause hunger and desperation.
To date that policy of economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba - from all possible angles, including pressure on third countries, has not only been constant but has been increased and reinforced despite the virtually unanimous opposition of the entire world. Today, just like the last close to 50 years, the imperial government is still lavishing fruitless efforts on causing suffering for all the people and achieving the destruction of the Cuban Revolution.
The Cuban people and government have constantly denounced before the world the unjust and cruel nature of this policy, whose effects are not only economic but also social and psychological and have forced us to make a superhuman effort throughout all these years.
The National Assembly of People's Power of the Republic of Cuba has stated that the economic blockade imposed by the U.S. government on Cuba constitutes an international crime of genocide, as understood in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1948. The blockade has precisely been an “act perpetrated with the intention of totally or partially destroying a national, ethnic or religious group,” as defined in the Convention.
The blockade has not only deprived Cuba of essential supplies coming from abroad, but also of markets for its products, of credits indispensable for normal commerce; it has impeded its access to food and medicines, medical equipment, sanitary means to combat blights and diseases. In general terms it has obstructed economic development in all contexts and has generated damage that, according to conservative estimates, totals more than $86 billion.
And it is precisely this act of genocide against the Cuban people, cynically described by the United States with the sweetened and apparently innocuous term of “embargo,” which has steadily been strengthened and extended over 47 years.
On November 8, the General Assembly of the United Nations is preparing itself for the 15th occasion to pass a resolution calling for the immediate end to the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, which last year received the support of 182 countries.
The International Relations Commission of the National Assembly of People's Power of the Republic of Cuba, as part of the Cuban people, joins what already constitutes a world demand for a halt to the brutal policy of blockade and calls on parliamentarians and Parliaments of the world and the international community to take concrete and effective action to that end, thus supporting our fight to defend the most elemental principles of justice, the right to life, peace and freedom of all the peoples.
International Relations Commission of the National Assembly of People's Power of the Republic of Cuba.
Report catalogues the damage caused by successive US administrations
Cuba has released its annual report to the United Nations on the effects of the US trade and economic blockade.
In advance of the vote on the Cuban resolution condemning the blockade, expected on November 8th, the Cuban government has detailed in the most comprehensive manner the cumulative and specific effects of a policy that is in breach of international law and the Geneva Convention.
It shows how the US policy is tantamount to genocide.
Below is the introduction. The full report is available to download in English at:
Report by Cuba on Resolution 60/12 of the United Nations General Assembly
“Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”
The genocidal blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States, which has spanned four decades and has been intensified over recent years, has been condemned by the United Nations General Assembly on 14 consecutive occasions by a practically unanimous vote. Last year, 182 States demanded that it be put to an end and rejected its extraterritorial nature, thus defending the principals and rules of International Law.
The United States Government continues to ignore these demands and reinforces the web of measures and laws aimed at destroying the Cuban Revolution and denying its people their right to self rule. It is worth remembering that the United States has harbored a desire and longing to control Cuba since the very beginning of the American Union.
Since then they have made innumerable attempts to annex Cuba, with the most varied array of methods: from failed purchase attempts to the encouragement and support of annexationist forces within the Spanish colony, and even intervention and direct military occupation.
In the 19th century successive US government failed to acknowledge the Republic of Cuba in arms. On the contrary, they hindered and interrupted whenever possible the support that their people and the Cubans living in that country gave to the redeeming cause.
In 1898 US military intervention robbed the Cuban people of their right to be free. They were denied their sovereignty, something they so deserved after 30 years of unequal battle against Spanish colonialism, when a cartoon republic was established, under the humiliating tutelage of a constitutional appendix, known as the Platt Amendment, through which the nascent US Empire acknowledged their authority to invade and occupy Cuba militarily whenever Washington deemed it appropriate.
For more than half a century, US administrations subjected the Cuban people to colonial rule, while their monopolies exploited their national heritage with the assent and complicity of successive governments and the imposition of brutal military dictatorships, each time that it became necessary to use violence to silence the just demands and the anti-imperialist convictions of the Cuban people.
With the profound social revolution that began in 1959 as a result of the work of the Cuban people, the circles of power in the United States rapidly came to regard the Cuban Revolution as a blatant defiance of their attempts to dominate the hemisphere and the world as a whole. Successive administrations of republicans and democrats have maintained and, with the passing of the years, intensified an undeclared war, aimed at reimposing their iron grip on the fate of Cuba.
As early as 12 February 1959, action aimed at this end was set in motion. The first example was the decision not to return to Cuba the 424 million dollars of National Bank reserves, stolen by the ringleaders of the Batista dictatorship when they fled and deposited in banks based in the country that gave them protection and impunity.
A few weeks later, in a memorandum from the Department of State dated 24 June, the Secretary of State, Christian Herter, defined these “initial acts” as “economic war measures”.
In another document dated 6 April 1960, the imperialist resolve to destroy the revolutionary movement in Cuba was made more explicit. In this it is stated that any conceivable method must be used promptly in order “to withhold funds and supplies to Cuba (?) thereby causing starvation, desperation and the overthrow of the government”.
This has always been the declared aim and the outline of the genocidal policy applied to Cuba by successive US governments and imposed on three generations of Cubans. Two thirds of the current population of Cuba were born under this policy and have never known any other. The Cuban people have had to suffer, survive and grow under very difficult conditions imposed by the one and only superpower, which with this policy seeks to destroy the resistance and the example of dignity and sovereignty set by Cuba.
Ten administrations have waged this economic war in violation of rights and morals and have forced other States to submit to this policy. They have threatened and repressed US citizens and foreign countries.
One of the consequences of the blockade is that Cuba cannot export any product to the United States, nor can they import any merchandise from this country; Cuba cannot trade with subsidiaries of US companies in third countries; it cannot receive US tourists; it cannot use the dollar in its transactions with foreign nations; it does not have access to credit from multilateral, regional or US financial institutions, and cannot operate with them; its ships and aircrafts cannot touch US soil.
It is with increasing severity that the US government has applied the extraterritorial provisions of the blockade, imposing strict restrictions to international trade, the framework in which the harassment of the commercial operations that could in any way be linked to Cuba is intensified.
It would be impossible to list all of the examples of this long-standing aim, which has been the motivating force behind all regulations, laws or plans approved by the US government regarding Cuba, notable illustrations of which include the Torricelli Law (1992) the Helms-Burton Law (1996) and the successive and complementary versions of the Plan to Annex Cuba, formulated by the ill titled “Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba”, which was created by President Bush with the aim of destroying the political, economic and social system endorsed by the Cuban people.
When asked about the policy towards Cuba, former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, first president of the aforementioned Commission, said that the use of tactics such as “isolation, sanctions and pressure” preceded military options, although he explained that, sometimes, there is no other appropriate solution other than the use of military force.
The brutal and merciless harassment of Cuba’s economy and society at the hands of the United States affects each and every of the country’s areas and spheres of activity. This report analyses the main effects that this has had on Cuba between the second half of 2005 and the first half of 2006.
Many of these effects are the result of the strict application of the aggressive and additional measures presented in the aforementioned Plan to Annex Cuba, including the threat to use military force and the persecution of citizens and companies, not only from Cuba but also from the United States and other countries around the world.
The incidents in which companies and citizens from the United States and other countries have been persecuted or reprisals have been taken against them are copious. The financial harassment of any Cuban economic or commercial operation has been stepped up in a wide range of markets; the bans and restrictions placed on travel, the sending of remittances and academic exchanges in the various spheres have been reinforced and punitive measures against investments and tourism in Cuba have been increased.
The ill titled “Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba”, the first report of which was approved by the US president on 6 May 2004, has been accompanied by an uncontrolled and irrational escalation of the policy of the economic, commercial and financial blockade on Cuba. The persecution and repression of all those around the world who have any link with Cuba have reached unprecedented heights.
In December 2005, Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, who took over from Colin Powell as head of the anti-Cuban commission created by President Bush, announced additional measures aimed at intensifying the negative impact of the action carried out by reason of the first version of the Plan to Annex Cuba.
On 10 July 2006 the second version of the anti-Cuban plan produced by the Commission was presented by the Bush Administration. In it new measures are identified which imply more economic sanctions, more persecution of Cuban companies, more reprisals against those who trade with Cuba and an unprecedented escalation in the financial and material support of action aimed at destroying constitutional order in Cuba.
The Commission’s new report, which confirms and amplifies the 2004 version, recommends measures including the creation of an Interagency Task Force specifically aimed at persecuting the Cuban nickel industry; the reinforcement of the Persecution Group of Cuban Assets; the ban on sales to Cuba of medical products to be used for the large-scale treatment of foreigners, such as the international cooperation program that offers ophthalmologic surgery, known as Operación Milagro (Miracle Operation), to be used to train doctors, or to offer aid to other countries when natural disasters hit; the imposition of sanctions on companies that collaborate on the work to drill for and produce oil; and the commencement of sanctions on countries that supposedly support Cuba in accordance with Title III of the Helms-Burton Law, which would permit suits to be brought in US courts against companies and citizens from third countries.
This time the report includes a secret clause which contains recommendations that have not been published, supposedly due to reasons of “national security and effective implementation”. The Cuban people are no strangers to this type of “undercover” measures and actions that the anti-Cuban commission attempts to conceal, and have suffered their brutal effects for more than four decades. These proposed “secrets” have ranged from mercenary military attacks and terrorist acts to hundreds of plots to assassinate President Fidel Castro and other Cuban leaders.
As demonstrated on repeated occasions, by virtue of chapter (c) of article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, of 9 December 1948, Geneva Convention, the blockade is defined as a genocidal act, and in accordance with the elements established in the London Naval Conference in 1909, is an act of economic war. It is thus an essential component of the policy of State Terrorism, implemented in a systematic and inhumane manner by the US government against the Cuban people regardless of sex, age, race, religious creed or social standing.
According to extremely conservative analyses the direct economic damage to Cuba caused by the blockade exceeds 86 108 million dollars: an annual average of 1 832 million dollars. This figure does not include the direct damage to the country’s economic and social objectives through the use of sabotage and terrorist acts encouraged, organized and financed in the United States, which totals more than 54 billion dollars, nor does it include the value of the products that it was not possible to produce or the damage caused by the onerous credit conditions imposed on Cuba.
In the last year, the direct economic damage to Cuba caused by the blockade exceeded 4 108 million dollars.
Damage and harm caused to the Cuban economy by the United States blockade
(Cumulative figures up to 2005)
- In millions of US Dollars -
Income not earned for exports and services 39 427.5
Losses arising from geographical relocation of trade 19 592.0
Damage to production and services 2 866.2
Technological blockade 8 483.2
Damage to services for the population 1 565.3
Monetary and financial damage 8 640.2
Impact of the brain drain 5 533.8
Total impact of United States embargo 86 108.2
In 2005 at least 38 countries were affected by the extraterritorial provisions of the blockade on Cuba.
The fines handed down by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to US citizens for visiting Cuba and purchasing Cuban goods increased by 54%. Last year the number of Cubans residing in the US who traveled to Cuba directly from this country fell by 54% in relation to 2003, when the additional restrictions established on 30 June 2004 were not in place.
In the first semester of 2006, 73% of the requests for visas made by Cuban officials to visit the US for various work-related reasons were denied by the Department of State.
For the fiscal year of 2006 alone the US government set aside more than
37 million dollars on illegal radio and television transmissions to Cuba with the aim of stimulating internal subversion. This figure represents an increase of around 10 million dollars with relation to the amount approved under the same heading for 2004 and could be increased as a result of the action proposed for the second version of the Plan to Annex Cuba