By Juan Diego Nusa Peñalver
"THERE is nothing worse than a blind man who does not want to see," is a popular expression among Cubans, and can be perfectly applied to recently reelected U.S. President Barack Obama. During his first term in office, Obama has not strayed an inch from the policy of economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba which he inherited from successive previous administrations and is directed at destroying the Cuban Revolution.
On November 13, 1991, the UN General Assembly made the decision to include on the agenda of its next session a Cuban resolution entitled, "The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States."
Those were the times when the U.S. was opportunistically tightening its blockade of Cuba, which was struggling given the collapse of the USSR. The Torricelli Act was being implemented, limiting sales of medicine and food to the country by subsidiaries of U.S. companies established in other nations. It was this official act which exposed the notorious extraterritorial nature of the U.S. blockade.
As if this weren’t enough, in 1996, the Helms-Burton Act was approved, further extending the extraterritorial application of blockade regulations and explicitly citing the goal of "regime change" and plans for subsequent U.S. intervention in Cuba. Moreover, no one in the current U.S. administration has indicated whether the 2004 Bush plan for Cuba, intended to re-colonize the country, remains in effect.
Thus two decades have transpired and the UN General Assembly continues to condemn the genocidal White House policy, recognizing the issue as one of respect for national self-determination, international law and established trade norms, all of which are fundamental to the United Nations.
The blockade is now one of the traditional issues addressed by the General Assembly. Calls to end the policy are reiterated again and again, and while Cuba’s resolution receives overwhelming majority support, the isolation and shameful behavior of an aggressive nation is exposed. The U.S. is publicly reminded every year of the heroic resistance of the Cuban people who will not surrender our right to sovereignty.
Shortly after the announcement of Obama’s reelection, Bolivian President Evo Morales called on him to change U.S. policy toward Cuba, saying, "Thanks to the Latino vote, he is the President-elect. I would say that the least he could do would be to lift or end the economic blockade of Cuba. That’s the best thing he can do to acknowledge the votes of Latin Americans in the United States," Morales said during a speech in Potosí.
Nevertheless, with its customary arrogance and increasingly absurd arguments, Washington is totally ignoring international demands, preferring to rely on force rather than the moral strength of its policies.
In the 21st UN vote, taken on November 13, 188 nations supported the Cuban resolution, expressing a practically unanimous international opinion in opposition to a unilateral policy, the reprehensible goal of which is to force the Cuban people to surrender because of hunger and illness and not, as alleged, to promote human rights and democracy. In this vendetta, the U.S. is accompanied only by Israel and Palau, while the Marshall Islands and Micronesia abstained.
The Obama administration has maintained the principal elements of the longstanding U.S. economic war on Cuba; in fact, there have been more extensive attacks on international companies which had commercial relations with Cuba or processed related financial transactions.
According to the annual report published by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), at the close of 2011, the value of Cuban funds frozen in that country amounted to $245 million.
Washington has even created obstacles to Cuba’s attempts to pay its contributions to UN organizations, supported the theft of Cuban trademarks by U.S. companies and taken reprisals against those who have chosen to do business with the country.
According to conservative estimates, the Obama administration’s anti-Cuban crusade, just this last year, has cost Cuba $3,553,602,645, 15% more than in 2010.
Over the same period, the fact that blockade regulations prohibit Cuba from using U.S. dollars in financial transactions with other countries has cost the country 57% more this year. Financial losses caused by frozen funds, the breaking of contracts and litigation have all increased.
In the tourist sector alone, damages were estimated to have been 2.3 billion dollars.
Over the course of 50 years, through 11 U.S. federal administrations, the blockade has caused enormous human suffering and extensive economic damage, reaching the astronomical figure of $1.066 trillion, considering the devaluation of the U.S. dollar as compared to gold on the international market.
In Fidel’s Reflection of April 21, 2009, entitled ‘Obama and the Blockade,’ Cuba’s historical leader wrote, "Do we have to wait many more years for him to end the blockade? He didn’t invent it, but he has made it his own, just as 10 other United States Presidents have. He can expect sure failure following this route, just like all his predecessors. This was not the dream of Martin Luther King, whose role in the struggle for human rights will increasingly illuminate the path forward for the U.S. people."
Thus Cuba stands firm, continuing its political, economic and social project, despite this uncivilized policy. The vast majority of the world’s people support the country, recognizing that it has reason and truth on its side. •
November 15, 2012
The table below shows the actual UN General Assembly vote on “the need to end the embargo against Cuba” ...as it was cast year by year.
Year by Year Count of the UN General Assembly Vote on the Need to End the Embargo against Cuba