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News > U.S.

US Coercion Against Latin America Is Illegal, SSLR Article Says

  • Citizens protest against the U.S. blockade against Cuba, New York, U.S., October 2022.

    Citizens protest against the U.S. blockade against Cuba, New York, U.S., October 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @CpusaB

Published 16 January 2023

The paper published by this University focuses on analyzing the U.S. policy on Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to demonstrate its impact on the lives of these countries people.

Last month, the Sorbonne Student Law Review (SSLR) published a 51-pages research entitled “The U.S. Unilateral Coercive Measures (UCM) Imposed in Latin America," by Geneve University Ph.D. student Andrea Dias, who condemned the consequences of the U.S. sanctions on Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.


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“Although there is still a long way to adopt a universal definition about what constitutes unlawful coercion, it is sure that UCM adds teeth to international diplomacy,” Dias said, arguing that these strategies escalate disputes and increase tensions between countries.

The article focuses on analyzing three study cases, which were carefully selected to demonstrate how the UCM operates as “a tool of foreign policy” that seeks to obtain the subordination of adversaries.

“The most practicable starting point to consider the nature, the scope, and the impact of unilateral coercive measures is the Cuban case,” the article states, stressing that the U.S. blockade has caused accumulated losses to the Island of over US$933 billion.

This UCM prohibits transactions in U.S. currency, trade with American companies, and the export of medical equipment and technologies, which impairs the development of the nation’s agricultural and food processing sectors. Additionally, it blocks Cuba’s access to International Financial Institutions and imposes restrictions on third countries that trade with the Island.

“From 1981 to 1990, the U.S. implemented UCMs against Nicaragua to overthrow the Sandinista government. This strategy comprised mining Nicaraguan ports, conducting military maneuvers, imposing a trade embargo, and arming the Contras far-right military group,” Dias also recalled.

Nevertheless, she considered that the U.S. measures imposed against Venezuela are more extensive given that they have paralyzed the economy, blocked oil exportation, and frozen Venezuelan financial assets abroad while denying access to international financial systems.

The article also explores the contributions of Latin American countries to resisting and condemning the use of these measures. The paper qualifies as “laudable” the efforts made by Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela internationally to counteract UCM.

“Since 1992, Cuba has gained nearly universal consensus to reject the U.S. blockade by presenting several resolutions to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the matter.

In 1986, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) also recognized the U.S. support to the Contras group and a UN Special Rapporteur assessed the impact of UCM measures on the lives of Venezuelan people,” the author stressed.

Dias also highlighted that Latin America is divided on UCM matters. "While some countries in this region reject unilateral practices in their territories, others prove an enthusiasm toward the UCM, supporting the approach defended by the U.S.," the paper reads.

Nevertheless, the author considered that Latin American countries are likely to reach a consensus on the UCM illegality soon thanks to the triumph of leftist governments.

"The international community should continue paving the way to legally qualify coercive practices as 'Internationally Wrongful Acts' and adopt a set of guidelines, a declaration, or a legally binding instrument to regulate the use of UCM in international relations," Dias argued.


Andrea Diaz
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