Op-EdOpinion

The US embargo against Cuba is a failed policy and must end

Each year, the General Assembly of the United Nations votes a resolution that urges the government of the United States of America to remove the policies and regulations which lay down the embargo against Cuba. As a prelude, during the high-level segment of the assembly, an important number of heads of states mention and denounce that policy which has lasted almost 60 years.

From the CARICOM countries to those located in Africa, Europe, Asia and in Latin America, presidents and prime ministers advocate to get rid of the economic, commercial and financial measures against Cuba, which impede the development of the economy and impose obstacles to guarantee the basic needs of our population in many aspects of its life.

Food and health sectors, the rural development and the small and medium private business, are routinely damaged by an extensive set of prohibitions and barriers that caused, just between April 2018 and March 2019, losses of more than $4,340 million.

Between 2019 and 2020, the Trump administration harassed the Cuban financial sector, activated the Title III of the Helms-Burton Law and intimidated and sanctioned foreign companies that send oil and diesel supplies to Cuba.

Just in 2019, the US agencies imposed sanctions against 27 companies, 54 vessels and three people linked to the energy sector, none of them American or subject to US jurisdiction. ‘

In addition to that, 13 fines were imposed by the Departments of Treasury and Commerce against American and third countries companies for doing business with the Caribbean island.

The embargo or the blockade has a lot of extraterritorial effects in the Caribbean countries, Latin America and all over the world.

Here, Bahamians with Cuban relatives or parents who want to send money to their children studying medicine, nursing or other careers there, face obstacles because banks located here deny that possibility, many times to prevent being punished by the US agencies.

One of the hurdles faced by Bahamian trade and business sectors to diversify and increase trade relations between our two archipelagos is the complexity to set direct banking links among the Cuban banks and the ones located in The Bahamas.

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US government prevented sales to Cuba of mechanical lung ventilators, face masks, test kits, protective glasses, gloves, reagents and other necessary supplies to deal with this pandemic.

In addition, and despite a smear and lies campaign against Cuban medical collaboration, our doctors, nurses and other health personnel have provided and assisted in more than 45 countries around the world since the start of the deadly disease.

Despite harsh working conditions, the health risks and language barriers they face, they have acted with solidarity to defend health as a true human right.

In this 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the world will advocate again for lifting the embargo.

In May 2021, the vast majority of the international community will support the resolution urging the government of the United States of America to revoke that failed and indefensible policy against Cuba.

• Alejandro García del Toro Ambassador, Republic of Cuba

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