[News] UN Statement about the US blockade against Cuba.

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Fri Oct 29 12:14:14 EDT 2004



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STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. FELIPE PÉREZ ROQUE, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF 
THE <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = 
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />REPUBLIC OF CUBA, UNDER 
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY AGENDA ITEM 28 “NECESSITY OF ENDING THE 
ECONOMIC, COMMERCIAL AND FINANCIAL EMBARGO IMPOSED BY THE UNITED STATES OF 
AMERICA AGAINST CUBA”



NEW YORK, 28 OCTOBER 2004





Excellencies:



Millions of Cubans are now closely following what happens in this hall.



Some 70% of them have had to endure all their lives the longest blockade in 
history, imposed by the Government of the United States on our homeland 
right from the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.



However, in voting today on draft resolution “Necessity of Ending the 
Economic, Commercial and Financial Embargo Imposed by the United States of 
America against Cuba,” the 191 UN Member States will not only be making a 
decision on an issue of interest to Cuba. They will also be voting in favor 
of the respect for the Charter of the United Nations, in favor of the 
respect for International Law, in favor of the sovereign equality of States 
and the self-determination of the peoples, so that no government, mighty as 
it may be, can punish not only Cuba but also any other country for trading 
with and investing in ours.



Today, we will cast a vote against the extraterritorial enforcement of 
laws; a vote against haughtiness and the disdain for the rights of others.



I have an odd document here, distributed by the United States to all 
delegations – except Cuba, of course.



It lies so much, and so many times, that it deserves to be commented on.



Let us see:



“The United States maintains that the embargo is a bilateral issue that 
should not come before the General Assembly. It is clearly not a blockade, 
as we do not interfere with the trade between Cuba and other nations.”



But this General Assembly knows that there is a different truth to it. Well 
does it know that it is not just an embargo; it knows that the US 
Government has unleashed a worldwide genocidal economic war against Cuba. 
Cuba is prevented from exporting to the United States; Cuba is prevented 
from receiving American tourism; we are prevented from gaining access to 
the technologies produced in this country; Cuba is prevented from importing 
any US product, equipment or raw material.



The Assembly knows that the Torricelli Act, which prevents the subsidiaries 
of US companies in third countries from trading with Cuba, has been in 
force since 1992 and is meticulously enforced. I will just mention a few 
examples:



-          The Canadian subsidiary of US Picker International could not 
sell spare parts for X-ray equipment to Cuba because it is a branch of an 
American company.

-          France’s Bull could not complete the sale of ATMs to Cuba 
because it was bought by America’s Diebold.

-          Refractarios Mexicanos, a company from Mexico, was purchased by 
US Harbison Walker Refractory – and thereinafter it could not continue 
selling to Cuba heat-resistant bricks used in furnaces for cement production.



The US representative is well aware, even with expressions to the contrary, 
that nobody in the world can sell a product or piece of equipment to Cuba 
if containing more than 10% of US components.



-          The import of a quadruple veterinary vaccine, which should have 
been supplied to our country by the Netherlands’ Intervet, was curtailed 
when the US Government informed the aforementioned company that it could 
not sell the product to Cuba because it contained 10% of an antigen made in 
the United States.



On the other hand, the US Government prevents any company in the world from 
exporting a product or piece of equipment to the United States if 
containing Cuban raw materials. A Japanese car manufacturer has to certify 
to the US Government that the metals used to make the automobile do not 
contain any Cuban nickel. A European confectioner has to prove that no 
Cuban sugar was used.



The US document also says the following:



“The embargo regulations apply only to persons or entities subject to US 
jurisdiction.”



If so, then why, after seven years of investigations, was Canadian citizen 
James Sabzali sentenced last February by a Philadelphia Federal Court to a 
year’s probation and a US$ 10,000 fine for having sold to Cuba some resins 
that purify the drinking water supplied to the Cuban population?



Why does the Torricelli Act prevent vessels of the rest of the world from 
calling at Cuban ports under the threat of being “blacklisted” and denying 
their access to American ports for a period of six months?



Why does the Helms-Burton Act, in force since 1996, penalize the 
businesspeople from the rest of the world who attempt to engage in business 
deals with Cuba?



The General Assembly has been informed that last 4 May the US State 
Department sent a letter to the Chairman of Jamaica’s SuperClubs, warning 
him that if his business with Cuba did not terminate within 45 days he 
would be penalized under the Helms-Burton Act – which involved the denial 
of visas for him and his family to travel to the United States and the 
threat of facing a lawsuit in the future in US courts.



The Government of the United States prevents Cuba from using the dollar as 
currency for trading operations with the rest of the world. Our charges or 
payments in that currency are confiscated.



Is it true or not, Mr. US representative, that your Government imposed a 
US$ 100 million fine on Switzerland’s banking entity UBS for the latter’s 
reception of dollar transfers from Cuba following the accrual of absolutely 
legal earnings in our tourism and trade?



As of last June, the media controlled by the Miami-based terrorist groups 
of Cuban origin unleashed a gross campaign aimed at frightening the banks 
that may have financial relations with Cuba.



At the same time, we have been receiving continuous reports that US 
authorities are exerting pressure on an ever-increasing number of banks 
from other countries in order to thwart the transfers originating in Cuba.



Finally, last 9 October, Daniel Fisk, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State 
for Western Hemisphere Affairs, in addition to recognizing the efforts of 
the US Government to boycott tourism to Cuba from Europe, Canada and other 
countries, announced that the United States has set up a Group for the 
Persecution of Cuban Assets with a view to freezing the movements of hard 
currency towards and from Cuba.



As a result of the foregoing, we concluded that all necessary actions had 
to be promptly implemented in order to defend our country from the new 
aggressions that attempt to prevent the use of the dollars that we earn to 
pay for our imports. Therefore, 72 hours ago our President, 
Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro, informed the public opinion of the 
decision to replace the circulation of the dollar with that of the 
convertible Cuban peso all across the national territory. On this new 
episode of the US blockade and about our sovereign measures to defend 
ourselves, the Permanent Mission of Cuba is conveying additional 
information to each delegation.



Would the US delegation explain why Cuba does not receive and has never 
received a credit from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development 
Bank? Because the US Government prevents them from doing so. In 2003, these 
two international banks, which are not American-owned or are legally under 
its control, loaned US$ 14 billion to Latin America. Why was not a single 
dollar lent to Cuba to build houses, roads, hospitals or schools? Is it not 
Cuba in the center of the map of the Americas?



It is true that over the last three years we have been able to purchase 
food from the United States. However, we can still see the draconian 
obstacles imposed on those sales, such as the need for bureaucratic 
licenses, the obligation to pay in advance and in cash without the 
possibility of receiving not even private credits and the prohibition for 
Cuban vessels to carry the goods.



The US delegation also maintains that its Government has introduced 
measures “facilitating greatly the export of (...) medicines and medical 
supplies” to Cuba.



However, the General Assembly knows, once again, that there is a different 
truth to it.



The truth is that this year the US Government prevented Abbott from selling 
to Cuba two essential drugs in the treatment of AIDS patients: Ritonavir 
and Lopinavir+Ritonavir. Therefore, Cuba had to purchase them in another 
country, with a sixfold increase in price.



The truth is that the US Government imposed a fine of US$ 168,500 on Chiron 
Corporation because a European subsidiary of such company had sold – 
reportedly by mistake – two children’s vaccines to Cuba.



The American text distributed to those present here goes on to add that 
“Cuba is using this resolution to justify its own political and economic 
woes.” If the US Government is so sure that Cuba uses the issue of the 
blockade as a pretext, why does it not lift the blockade and leave us 
without a pretext?



I am going to answer that to you: because the US Government is afraid. It 
is afraid of our example. It knows that if the blockade on us is lifted, 
Cuba’s socio-economic development will spiral up. It knows that we will 
further prove the possibilities of the Cuban socialism; the as-yet-untapped 
potential of a country without any discrimination whatsoever, with social 
justice and human rights for all citizens and not only for a few. It is the 
Government of a large and mighty empire, but it is afraid of the example of 
the small rebellious island.





Excellencies:



We are gathered here only five days away from the elections in this 
country, awaited by all with secret hopes. It is true that these four years 
have been terrible for the world.



Cuba, however, awaits and works with optimism and confidence. It knows that 
it is right. It knows that time is in its favor. It sees the 
ever-increasing rejection of the blockade right within the United States. 
It does not forget that the blockade has cost us over US$ 79 billion. Cuba 
knows that if the blockade is lifted, within a few years there will be a 
tremendous improvement in the living standards of its citizens. It knows, 
for example, that in 10 years our country would build 1 million new houses, 
into which some 4 or 5 million Cubans would move.



Cuba also knows, Excellencies, that if the blockade is not lifted and there 
is no end to the hostility that has been in place for over four decades 
now, everything will continue to be difficult but not impossible. Our 
people are sure that there is no human or moral constraint capable of 
hindering their course towards a more prosperous and just country.



It is true that for the last 12 years the US Government has disregarded the 
resolutions adopted by this Assembly with ever-increasing support, which 
demand the end of the blockade against Cuba. But that does not diminish the 
importance and momentousness of the act to be discharged today by each 
delegate on behalf of their people.



Therefore, on behalf of the Cuban people, whose sons and daughters have 
gone to heal, teach, build and fight side by side with every country that 
ever needed the Cubans; on behalf of the memory of the 2,000 Cubans who 
laid down their lives fighting colonialism and apartheid in Africa; on 
behalf of the 22,474 Cuban health cooperators currently rendering services 
in 67 countries of the Third World; on behalf of the Cuban professors who 
are now teaching over 17,000 youths from 110 countries in our schools free 
of charge; on behalf of five young Cuban heroes who are enduring cruel and 
unjust prison terms for fighting terrorism; in sum, on behalf of a small 
country that is harassed for wanting to be free, I would like to ask you, 
once again, to vote in favor of the draft resolution submitted by Cuba.







Thank you very much.







The Freedom Archives
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