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News > Cuba

World's Plea To Unblock Cuba: UN Assembly Votes Today

  • The United Nations General Assembly votes to lift the U.S. blockade against Cuba in 2020.

    The United Nations General Assembly votes to lift the U.S. blockade against Cuba in 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @DiazCanelB

Published 22 June 2021

The U.S. blockade aims to change the Socialist regime that has managed to have the best education system in Latin America and the fourth most effective COVID-19 vaccine globally to date.

On June 23, Cuba demands for the 29th time a resolution to lift the U.S. blockade on the island, a 59 years-old device that U.S. administrations have kept in place almost since the triumph of the revolution to maintain the country under an economic crisis, hinder its development, and force its population to live under an everlasting scarcity.

All this, to change the Socialist regime that has managed to have the world´s highest rate of doctors per capita, the best education system in Latin America according to the World Bank, and recently, the third most effective COVID-19 vaccine globally to date.


US Blockade of Cuba Denies Right to Alternative Models

However, back in the streets, Cubans struggle to access food, medicines, and raw materials to produce the goods they need. Cuba cannot access any technology with more than 10 percent of a U.S. component, seriously limiting every area of its society.

The harassment of Cuba's trade mechanism has prompted several providers to suddenly cancel their contracts with institutions and enterprises, forcing them to explore other markets and purchase goods at the highest rates in places further away.

"The U.S. government chose to tighten the blockade at a time when Cuba is immersed in the fight against COVID-19 . The decision to maintain criminal policies against our country."

Between 2019 and 2020, Cuba's economy lost over $5.5 billion due to the blockade. Since Donald Trump's administration (2017-2021), the attacks on the island have escalated to unprecedented levels.

The U.S. implemented two fundamental laws to damage Cuba. The Helms-Burton law, by which countries and organizations who promote cooperation with Cuba are denied credits and financial aid by the U.S., and the 1992 Toricelli law, which prohibits the trade of subsidiaries of United States companies established in third countries with Cuba and bans ships entering Cuban ports, for commercial purposes, from touching United States ports or their possessions during the 180 days following the date of leaving the Cuban port.

On top of that,  Trump implemented 243 new measures to reinforce the blockade during his mandate, and president Joe Biden has not lifted these measures. The criminal and extraterritorial character of the blockade has been suffered not only by Cuban institutions or foreign investors, but the blockade has hit the core of the Cuban family and the health of millions.

Thus far, in 2021, Cuba has been unable to produce 120 medicines out of the 359 products the state-owned company Biocubafarma manufactures and distributes at a subsidized price across the country.

Several providers, some of them with 30 years of relations with Cuba, have suddenly stopped supplying raw materials threatened by the blockade. As a result, headache medicine, antibiotics, or asthma sprays are tough to find.

Last year, Cuba lost more than $2 billion to exports and over $92 million to prohibitions of use of the U.S. dollar. One of Cuba's main economic assets, tourism, has been paralyzed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the country into a scarcity of international currencies.

To tackle the crisis, the Cuban government attempted to recover some of the cash from the remittances left by selling essential goods in dollars to the population and use this money to buy raw materials abroad.

Still, the U.S. struck again and harrassed most banks to prevent Cuba from buying goods in dollars or to make any transaction in dollars. The measure has left Cuba with a dollar deposits that cannot buy anything abroad, as most banks refuse to exchange the cash.

The Cuban resolution debated today and titled "The need to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba" details all the attacks in the last year and the hardships the Cuban people are going through because of this unilateral measure.

"U.S. sanctions, beyond the complications they represent for the Cuban government, cause inhuman suffering and shortages to Cubans. Johana Tablada, Deputy Director-General for the United States at the Foreign Ministry."

The resolution has been presented and approved by the United Nations General Assembly for 28 consecutive years. The U.S. and ally Israel voted against it most times, except in 2016 when the U.S. abstained during thawing in the relationship during the Obama administration.

However, the resolution will place the reality endured by the Cuban people at the center of the world stage at a moment when Joe Biden has said the Caribbean country is not among his priorities.

From activists to world leaders, including the European Union, the international community has urged the lifting of the blockade, noticing that it damages their interests as well.

It is yet to be seen whether Biden will distance himself from Trump and listen to a worldwide plea to stop the commercial and humanitarian genocide against Cuba. Still, regardless of his actions, hundreds of voices denounce the crime and demand an immediate response.

As pressure to lift the blockade grows within Biden´s party and among the Cuban diaspora in the U.S., the world will continue to ask to unblock Cuba.


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