DOHA: The ambassador of Cuba has highlighted the sufferings of his compatriots back home “due to the economic blockade imposed by Washington 53 years ago”.
Ernesto D Plasencia Escalante (pictured) told a recent news conference that Cubans have suffered economic losses of more than $1.15tr in the over five decades of blockade.
He said that will be the extent of the losses if the depreciation of the US currency against gold in the global market is taken into account. He described the US stance vis-à-vis his country as a “cruel policy of economic strangulation”. Since the very conception, the blockade has been and is a flagrant violation of international law. “It is contrary to the principles and purposes of the UN Charter and constitutes a violation of the right to peace, development and security of a sovereign state.”
At the beginning of his administration in 2009, President Obama announced a fresh start and expressed his conviction that relations between Cuba and the US could follow a new direction.
“However, five years later, all we have seen is a re-enforcement of the extra-territorial nature of the blockade and intensified persecution of Cuba’s international financial transactions,” said Escalante.
Citing reports, he said Britain was preventing the sale of a book in its territory that describes the scope and outcome of the US blockade. “The ridiculousness of the US blockade is illustrated yet again by this case in which they try to prevent British readers from reading a book published by a US publishing house.”
Under pressure from the US, a Canadian bank had withheld funds to purchase influenza vaccines meant for an immunisation programme for the elderly in Cuba, he said. “Washington must immediately and unconditionally lift the blockade.” According to the envoy, Cuba will submit for the consideration of the UN General Assembly, for the 22nd time in a row, a draft resolution on October 29 titled “Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial, and Financial Embargo Imposed by the US against Cuba”.
Last year, 188 member-states voted in favour of the resolution — evidence that almost the entire international community recognises and supports the struggle of the Cuban people to lift the blockade, said the ambassador.