US blockade has cost Cuba US$4.3 billion since Trump reversed Obama’s warming policy

THE US blockade has caused Cuba losses of around US$4.3 billion in just one year since President Donald Trump reversed his predecessor Barack Obama’s warming policy towards the communist island.

According to the Resolution 72/4 of the United Nations General Assembly entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”, for the almost 60 years of its application, the blockade has caused damages that can be calculated at over $134.4 billion.

“It constitutes a transgression on the right to peace, development and the free determination of sovereign States. In its essence and by its objectives, it is an act of unilateral aggression and it is a permanent threat to the stability of a country. It also violates the constitutional rights of the American people by destroying their freedom to travel to Cuba. Moreover, it transgresses on the sovereign rights of many other States because of its extra-territorial nature,” the report reads in part. “The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba constitutes the principal obstacle for the development of all the potentials for the Cuban economy. It represents a brake for the implementation of the country’s National Plan for Economic and Social Development as well as for Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. It is the principal hurdle for the development of Cuba’s economic, commercial and financial relations with the US and, because of its extra-territorial nature, with the rest of the world. The accumulated harm because of the blockade being applied for almost six decades reaches the figure of $933,678,000,000 taking into account the depreciation of the dollar as compared to the price of gold on the international market. At today’s prices, the blockade has caused damages that can be calculated at over $134,499,800,000. In the period considered by this report, the blockade has caused losses to Cuba for around $4,321,200,000.”

Cuba argues that the policy of economic aggression, along with the promotion of internal subversion corroborated the aim of the US government to destroy the economic, political and social system that had been freely chosen by the Cuban people.

“The blockade constitutes a massive, blatant and systematic violation of the human rights of all the Cuban people and qualifies as an act of genocide, according to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948,” it states. “It is imperative that the United States comply with the 26 resolutions adopted by the international community within the framework of the United Nations General Assembly in the framework of the General Assembly of the United Nations and put an end, without any conditioning, to its policy of blockade.”

Cuba observed that “the arrival of Donald Trump’s presidency represented the beginning of a process of moving backwards on bilateral relations and of intensifying the blockade against Cuba. Amendments to the regulations about the application of the blockade, implemented by Barack Obama and his stand in favour of eliminating this policy, were drastically turned around by today’s government.”

The island stated that the decisions taken by President Trump, preceded by negative messages and declarations during his electoral campaign, determined a process of completely revising the policy towards Cuba, ordered by the Executive in February of 2017.

“President Trump’s policy of economic and financial harassment seeks to satisfy his political commitments with the extreme anti-Cuban right-wing in Florida and it ignores the support of the majority in American public opinion, in the international community and among Cuban immigrants in the US, to lift the blockade and normalise relations between the two countries,” Cuba notes. “The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the government of the United States of America against Cuba for almost six decades is the most unfair, severe and extended system of unilateral sanctions ever applied against any country. From April of 2017 until March of 2018, the period with which this report deals, the blockade policy has intensified and it continues to be applied with all rigour. The government of the United States has imposed a serious setback to the bilateral relations with Cuba based on President Donald Trump’s signing of the ‘Presidential Memorandum for National Security about the Tightening of US Policy against Cuba’ on 16 June 2017, thereby renewing, among its aims, the tightening of the blockade against the Island. In November of that same year, the departments of commerce, the Treasury and State of the US issued new regulations and provisions to put into effect the aforementioned Memorandum. The measures applied restricted even further the right of Americans to travel to Cuba and it imposed additional obstacles on the limited opportunities of the American business community in Cuba, by setting up a list of 179 Cuban entities with which American natural and juridical persons are prohibited from carrying out transactions.”

Cuba says the new sanctions against the island have caused a notable decrease in visits from the US and that they had generated greater obstacles on Cuban companies’ economic and commercial relations with potential American and third country partners.

“These measures not only affect the Cuban State economy but they also affect the country’s private sector. The strengthening of the extra-territorial application of the blockade has been another of the distinctive manifestations of the tightening of this policy, with marked effects on Cuba’s international financial and loan relations,” says Cuba. “In recent months, the permanent persecution of Cuban financial transactions and bank and loan operations with Cuba has intensified on a world scale. This has caused severe harm to the country’s economy, especially on the commercial activities of companies and national banks in their links with international banking. The tightening of the blockade on Cuba has been accompanied by aggressive, menacing, disrespectful rhetoric and conditions coming from the most senior levels of the US government; this generates greater mistrust and uncertainty among American financial institutions, companies and suppliers due to the very real fear of being penalized for their relations with Cuba.”

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