10/30/13 - GRANMA INTERNATIONAL (Havana) - The blockade is aggressively extraterritorial and a violation of international law
Speech by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the
68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. New York, October 29,
The United States Department of Commerce has imposed as conditions for the
issuing of a license authorizing any supplies of equipment, devices or
medications to Havana's William Soler Pediatric Cardiology Center, the
exclusive use of these on Cuban patients, monitoring their final
destination to ensure that they will not be utilized for acts of torture,
for human rights violations, for biotechnology products, or re-exported.
Appendix E of the license requests countless details in order to ensure
that the Cardiology Center has no links with the production of chemical or
biological weapons, with missile technology, or nuclear weapons.
Dozens of eminent specialists, at least five recognized U.S. hospitals and
many others on the planet are well informed of this institution
specializing in pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery which, since 2010,
has performed heart operations on 1,101 children and has treated tens of
thousands of young patients.
However, the Cardiology Center continues to be classified by the Department
of Commerce as a "Denied Hospital."
As a consequence, Cuban girls and boys cannot be treated with the Amplatzer
device to cure inter-auricular communication or close vascular short
circuits in the heart arterial canal, not even with devices used in
interventionist catheterism, or receive high quality medications for the
treatment of cardiac insufficiency, antiarrithymic agents and latest
For this reason, dozens of minors have had to undergo thoracic surgery
which could have been avoided. Another 102 children with pulmonary
hypertension who have undergone surgery could not be treated with nitric
oxide gas, one of the best therapeutic treatments available.
Similarly, the Cardiovascular Surgery Institute lacks spare parts, contrast
and advanced software needed for echo-cardiographs.
The Frank País Orthopedic Hospital was unable to replace the SOPHA Gamma
Chamber, necessary for the diagnosis of malignant tumors, bone and joint
The Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute could not access the children's
anti-viral solution Kalestra, given that it does not have a license from
the Department of the Treasury for its import. This medication inhibits the
replication of the virus in children born with AIDS, increases their
immunity and prevents opportunistic illnesses.
The human damage resulting from the United States economic, commercial and
financial blockade imposed on Cuba is incalculable. It causes suffering and
constitutes a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of human rights.
Seventy-six percent of Cubans have lived under its effects from birth.
The blockade can be classified as an act of genocide, in accordance with
Article II of the 1948 Geneva Convention on the Prevention and Punishment
of the Crime of Genocide; and also as an act of economic warfare, in
accordance with the Declaration concerning the Laws of Naval War, adopted
The State Department is lying and manipulating data concerning remittances
from the [Cuban] émigré community and small donations from non-governmental
organizations, which this very department blocks, in order to present its
government as a donor of humanitarian aid to our nation.
The memorandum written by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for
Inter-American Affairs Lestor Mallory on April 6.1960 and declassified 30
years later, states, and I quote:
"The majority of Cubans support Castro [.] An effective political
opposition does not exist [.] 'the only foreseeable means of alienating
internal support [to the government] is through disenchantment and
disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship [.] all
possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of
Cuba [.] denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real
wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government." End
It is barbaric and unprecedented that, 53 years later, the same policy
The economic damage accumulated over half a century due to the blockade
amounts to $1.16 trillion, more than one billion billion.
We have attained undeniable results in the elimination of poverty and
hunger, in health and education indicators which are of global reference;
in the promotion of gender equality; in equitable freedom and well-being:
in social consensus; in the democratic participation of citizens in
government decisions; in the reversal of environmental degradation; and in
the development of international cooperation with a hundred Third World
countries. How much more could we have done without this colossal obstacle
to our development and the enormous human and financial costs which they
have imposed on us?
During the government of President Obama, the blockade has been
intensified, particularly in the financial sector.
Historically, the United States has employed in the prosecution and
vigilance of our financial transactions and economic relations the enormous
technological might of its recently exposed massive espionage system.
>From January 2009 through September 2013, 30 U.S. and foreign entities have
been fined to a total of more than $2.45 billion for their relations with
Cuba and other countries.
In December of 2012, the British HSBC bank was fined, for the same reason,
a total of $375 million and the Japanese Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, $8.6
In March 2013, the Reuters agency suspended its banking and financial
The economic siege has been tightened and its impact is felt in the
shortages and difficulties suffered by Cuban families in all aspects of
The United States is not a trade partner of Cuba, as its representatives
shamelessly affirm, because it cannot be, being a state to which Cuba
cannot export or buy goods or services from, or use the dollar in
transactions; a state whose subsidiaries in third countries cannot allow us
to acquire medicines or food due to the Torricelli Act, which also
prohibits the entry into U.S. ports for 180 days of all ships which dock in
Cuba; a state which prevents other nations from selling us any product
which has more than 10% U.S. components, or from exporting to the United
States any product which contains Cuban raw materials. It is no partner as
a state where the Helms-Burton Act is in effect, legislation which extended
in an unprecedented manner the extraterritorial dimensions of the blockade
and fully codified a "regime change" strategy and subsequent intervention
in Cuba; or the state which invoked the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917,
only applicable in situations of war and only enforced in relation to Cuba.
Our small island is not a threat to the national security of the
superpower. Why, therefore, is it that U.S. citizens cannot have access to
prime quality Cuban products, to our latest generation medications? Why are
its businesspeople losing opportunities? Why are businesses not opening
which would create jobs in times of crisis? Why is it that U.S. companies
cannot have access to the new Mariel Special Development Zone?
The sanctions remain intact and are being applied with total rigor. This is
not a bilateral issue. The blockade is aggressively extraterritorial and a
violation of human rights which violates the sovereignty of all states. It
is a transgression of international trading norms and freedom of
navigation; the cruel inclusion of medicines and food breaks international
humanitarian law. It is a hostile and unilateral act which must cease
The blockade is the principal obstacle to broader Internet access and to
information and communications technologies, by restricting the island's
bandwidth, making connectivity more expensive and preventing connection to
nearby underwater cables.
The sanctions seriously limit contacts between the two peoples and those
which are permitted are conditioned with purposes of "regime change" and
Despite the fact that Washington has very selectively authorized some
cultural, academic and scientific exchanges, these continue to be subject
to severe restrictions and multiple projects of this kind were never
materialized because licenses, visas or other bureaucratic requirements
Cuba is the only destination on the planet to which travel is prohibited
for U.S. citizens. This is a relevant constitutional issue, because, in
this sense, U.S. citizens are not equal before the law, depending on
whether or not they are of Cuban origin.
The [Cuban] national baseball team has not been able to collect payments
owed for its participation in the 2nd or 3rd World Classics, of 2009 and
2013. Licenses were denied 300 U.S. runners to participate in the 2012
More than 300 musicians who participated in dozens of artistic projects in
this country have not been able to receive remuneration.
The Cuban émigré community faces discriminatory measures. The response to
Cuba's January 2013 migratory law reform has been the continuing
application of the Cuban Adjustment Act and the "wet foot/dry foot" policy
which encourage illegal, unsafe emigration and trafficking in persons,
leading to the loss of human life.
Curiously, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) froze the funds of a
British non-governmental organization which were destined to acquire and
distribute, in the UK, the book The Economic War against Cuba, by a
European author, published by Monthly Review Press, based in New York.
For three months, funds belonging to the Latin American Council of
Churches, meant to cover costs of the group's 6th General Assembly in
Havana, were retained.
The humanitarian collaboration we offer dozens of peoples, principally
medical and educational, is the object of repression.
The blockade is an uncivilized action which impedes the free movement of
persons, the flow of information, the exchange of ideas and the development
of cultural, sports and scientific ties.
The U.S. policy toward Cuba suffers absolute isolation and discredit
worldwide and lacks any ethical or legal foundation. This is evidenced by
the more than 180 votes in this General Assembly; the speeches of dozens of
heads of state and government in the General Debate; and the arguments of
member countries and the international organizations listed in the UN
Secretary General's Report.
President Obama can use his broad constitutional authority, without passing
through Congress, to generate a dynamic which could change the situation.
Definitely U.S. citizens say they elected him for change. What is gained
with the inertia of an old, obsolete policy, reflective of a bipolar
confrontation, infirm and ethically unacceptable, which has not worked for
50 years? Why not listen to the growing majority opinion in U.S. society
and the Cuban émigré community, even in Florida, which supports
normalization of bilateral relations and opposes the blockade and the
Why not accept that we are a nation and an independent state, equally
sovereign? Would it not be better to pragmatically renounce ideological
obfuscation inherited from two generations of U.S. politicians, which has
not worked, and stop spending taxpayers' dollars attempting,
unsuccessfully, to change the Cuban government?
The persistence of the State Department in designating Cuba, in an
arbitrary and unfounded fashion, as a state sponsor of international
terrorism calls into question the credibility of the United States,
precisely from whose territory acts of terrorism have been organized,
financed and carried out, leading to 3,478 deaths and 2,099 severe injuries
in Cuba. Known international terrorist Posada Carriles has found a
comfortable refuge in Miami, while still serving unjust and lengthy prison
sentences are four of the Five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters. What prevents
the U.S. government from freeing them in a humanitarian gesture or to
The Cuban government, with broad majority support and active participation
by the people, continues to be immersed in a profound process of economic
change, directed toward making our socialist economy more efficient,
raising the population's standard of living and preserving the social
conquests of the Revolution.
These transformations enjoy broad international recognition and the growing
cooperation of many nations, in particular, those in the Latin American and
Caribbean region, with whom different forms of integration are being
The basic principles of U.S. policy toward Cuba have remained unchanged,
anchored in the Cold War.
The dangers which threaten the existence of our species are serious and
imminent. To preserve human life, peace must be preserved and, to do so, a
profound change is urgently needed in the manner in which the problems and
conflicts of the world are addressed and resolved, through dialogue and
cooperation, without egoism or the philosophy of plunder which leads to
war, the use of force and coercive economic measures, which silently wound
and kill. as well.
It is true that great differences exist between the two governments, but
the only productive path forward is to find a civilized way to relate to
each other, recognizing that we are neighbor states but different, and that
only the peoples have the right to determine their own affairs, their
political system and make economic decisions according to their legitimate
interests. Therefore, what must prevail is dialogue, negotiation and even
cooperation in so far as it is possible and convenient, to the benefit of
both peoples and hemispheric relations.
The recent resumption of migratory and postal service conversations, as
well as the development of contacts about other issues of mutual interest,
such as response to oil spills operations, maritime and aerial search and
rescue procedures, as well as aerial and aircraft security, demonstrate
that this is possible and useful.
The government of Cuba, as the expression of its desire for peace and
respectful coexistence, reiterates its disposition to advance toward the
normalization of bilateral relations and reaffirms its willingness to
establish a serious, constructive dialogue, in conditions of equality and
full respect for our independence.
Once again, in the name of the selfless, heroic and fraternal people of
Cuba, I ask the representatives of member states to vote in favor of the
proposed resolution entitled, "The necessity of putting an end to the
economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on
Thank you very much. o
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