Cuba rallys support for lifting of US blockade

Mr Pedro Luis Despaigne Gonzalez (inset) addressing the press conference.

Mr Pedro Luis Despaigne Gonzalez (inset) addressing the press conference.

THE Cuban embassy in Ghana is rallying for support for the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on it by the United States of America.

The sanctions, placed on the northern Caribbean country 56 years ago, the Cuban mission in Ghana said, was the main obstacle for the development of the Cuban economy.

Mr  Pedro Luis Despaigne Gonzalez, the Cuban Ambassador to Ghana, at a media briefing in Accra yesterday to present the country’s report on the United Nations resolution 74/2 titled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the USA against Cuba,” said the blockade was having a toll on his country.

The blockade was imposed on Cuba in 1958 by the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration following the Cuban revolution which led to the nationalisation of the Cuban economy.

Over the years, efforts have been made to reestablish relations between the two neighbouring countries with the significant one being the visit by former US President, Barrack Obama to Cuba.

That gain, however, has been derailed by the Donald Trump administration in 2017 by tightening the sanctions with the “Presidential Memorandum for National Security about the Tightening of US Policy against Cuba.”

As of 2018, the Cuban embargo is enforced mainly through six statutes including Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the Cuban Assets Control Regulations of 1963, the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, the Helms–Burton Act of 1996, and the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000.

These sanctions, Ambassador Gonzalez said could be felt upon arrival in the country.

According to him, the world wants the blockade removed by many resolutions but could not understand why the USA was unwilling to lift the ban.

He said from 59 in 1992, the countries which want the sanctions lifted had increased to 191 in 2017; an indication that the world was in support of the lifting of the sanctions.

“We are not anti-America” he said adding that the blockade was “not a bilateral issue between the United States and Cuba” but one that affects the whole world.

“We are not doing anything against the USA” he exclaimed. “It is the most unjust, severe and longest-standing unilateral sanctions system ever imposed against any country.”

The blockade, he said, was “really costing and really hitting hard” but “the new generation of Cuba would fight it with ideas.”

Ambassador Gonzalez dismissed allegations of human rights abuses against his country saying those who accuse Cuba of that were the worst culprits.

He expressed appreciation to the General Assembly of the United Nations, the African Union and all those who have supported Cuba over the years with the hope that they would once again make a case for the lifting of the sanctions when the General Assembly meets again on October 31, 2018.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI                                                                

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