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CUBA | US Sanctions cost the Cuban people US$5.6 billion last year

Featured Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodrigues Parrilla Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodrigues Parrilla
HAVANA, October 23, 2020  —  Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla has condemned what he said was a progressive tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against his country by the United States, resulting in a gradual suffocation of the island’s economy.

Between April 2019 and March 2020, the blockade has accounted for losses to Cuba estimated to be US$5.6 billion dollars, an increase of US$1.2 billion over the previous year.

The Cuban Foreign Minister lamented that for the first time, the total amount of damages caused by this policy in one year has exceeded the barrier of five billion dollars barrier, which illustrates the extent to which the blockade has intensified at this stage.

He said at current prices, the accumulated damage over almost six decades of United States economic embargo against Cuba has amounted to US$ 144,413,400,000.

Taking into account the depreciation of the dollar against the value of gold on the international market, the blockade has caused quantifiable damages of over US$ 1,098,008,000,000. “This value represents a growth of 19 percent over the previous period, as a result of the increase in the price of gold by 18.3 percent,” Rodríguez said.

He pointed out that as part of the aggressive escalation of its economic embargo, the U.S. government has also pressured countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a view towards reducing support for the draft resolution against the blockade submitted by Cuba to the United Nations General Assembly.

Despite these manoeuvres the international community has shown support for the Cuban cause, by adopting  28 resolutions in the UN General Assembly condemning the blockade, as well as the numerous voices inside and outside U.S. territory that advocate the end of this policy, the Cuban Foreign Minister said.

He noted that the sanctions, coupled with a sluggish economy, the pandemic, and increasingly active hurricane seasons, has led to a growing shortage of food and occasional fuel scarcity on the island.

“It’s cynical to express supposed concern that this policy affects only some Cubans, but it’s even more cynical to try and justify it,” Rodríguez said.

“The genocidal nature of this policy has been reinforced in the midst of the confrontation with the new coronavirus, since the U.S. government has used it, and in particular its extraterritorial component, to deliberately deprive the Cuban people of mechanical ventilators, masks, diagnostic kits, protective glasses, suits, gloves, reagents and other inputs necessary for the management of this disease,” he pointed out.

He added that “the availability of these resources can make the difference between life and death for patients who are carriers of the virus, as well as for the health personnel who care for them.”

He went on to point out that  the “U.S. government, has also launched a crusade to try to discredit and hinder the international medical cooperation that Cuba offers, spreading slanders and going so far as to require other countries to refrain from requesting it, even in the midst of the health emergency created by COVID-19 in the world.”

“In the current situation, in which humanity is facing an economic and social crisis accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, whose dimensions nobody is able to predict with certainty, it is more necessary than ever that the international community demands the lifting of the blockade imposed by the government of the United States against Cuba, which constitutes the most complex and prolonged system of unilateral coercive measures ever imposed against any country,” Rodrigues concluded.

Trump recently added to the sanctions by barring US travellers to Cuba from bringing back Cuban cigars and rum or staying in government-owned hotels here as he courts the Cuban-American vote in Florida ahead of the election.

Trump said the sanctions would remain in place until Cuba releases all political prisoners, legalises political parties, holds free elections and respects the rights to free assembly and expression.

Cuba has rejected any interference into the country’s affairs.

  • Countries: Cuba