[News] Cuba - Statement by Felipe Perez Roque in United Nations

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Fri Nov 2 12:34:58 EDT 2007



Statement by Felipe Perez Roque in United 
Nations, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba

http://www.juventudrebelde.co.cu/cuba/2007-10-31/statement-by-felipe-perez-roque-in-united-nations-minister-of-foreign-affairs-of-the-republic-of-cuba/

Statement by Felipe Perez Roque in United 
Nations, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the 
Republic of Cuba, under agenda item "Necessity of 
Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial 
Embargo Imposed by the United States of America 
Against Cuba". New York, 30 October 2007

By:
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2007-10-31 | 16:32:23 EST

Mr. President:

Delegates:

The economic, commercial and financial blockade 
imposed by the United States of America against 
Cuba, and also against the rights of the peoples 
that you represent in this Assembly, has already 
lasted for nearly half a century.

According to conservative estimates, it has 
caused losses to Cuba in the order of over US$ 89 
billion. At the dollar’s current value, that 
accounts for no less than US$ 222 billion. Anyone 
can understand the level of socio-economic 
development that Cuba would have attained had it 
not been subjected to this unrelenting and obsessive economic war.

The blockade is today the main obstacle to the 
development and well-being of the Cubans, and a 
blatant, massive and systematic violation of the rights of our people.

The blockade attempts to subdue the Cuban people 
through starvation and disease.

This is how the essence of the blockade on Cuba 
was explained at a meeting led by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1960:

“...there is no effective political opposition in 
Cuba; therefore, the only foreseeable means that 
we have today to estrange the internal support 
for the Revolution is through disillusion and 
discouragement, based on dissatisfaction and 
economic difficulties. Any conceivable means must 
be promptly used to weaken Cuba’s economic life. 
Money and supplies to Cuba must be denied in 
order to decrease the real and monetary wages 
with a view to causing hunger, despair and the overthrow of the government.”

Forty-seven years later, President George W. Bush has repeated it like this:

“...I urge our Congress to show signs of its 
support and solidarity for fundamental change in 
Cuba by maintaining our embargo...”

Seven in every ten Cubans, distinguished 
delegates, have only known the perennial threat 
of aggression against our Homeland and the 
economic hardships caused by the relentless persecution of the blockade.

The United States has ignored, with both 
arrogance and political blindness, the fifteen 
resolutions adopted by this General Assembly 
calling for the lifting of the blockade against 
Cuba. What is more, over the last year they have 
adopted new measures, bordering on madness and 
fanaticism, which further tighten the sanctions 
and the extraterritorial persecution of our 
relations with the countries that you represent.

The blockade had never been enforced with such 
viciousness as over the last year.

On 14 August 2006, the US Government went as far 
as penalizing the Alliance of Baptist Churches, 
claiming that some of its faithful “did tourism” 
during a visit to Cuba with religious purposes.

In December 2006, the US Government prevented 
American companies from providing Internet 
services to Cuba. Then, if you try to access the 
services of Google Earth, as done by millions of 
users around the world every day, you get the 
response that: “This service is not available in your country.”

Cuban children have been particularly harmed by 
the blockade that President Bush has promised to strengthen.

Cuban children cannot receive Sevorane, an 
inhalation anesthetic manufactured by the 
American company Abbott, which is the best for 
children’s general anesthesia. We have to use 
lower-quality substitutes. President Bush will 
certainly explain it by saying that those Cuban 
children are “collateral victims” of his war against Cuba.

The Cuban children suffering from arrhythmias can 
no longer receive the pacemakers that the 
American company Saint-Jude used to sell to us. 
There was extreme pressure from OFAC, the Office 
for Foreign Assets Control, and Saint-Jude was forced to part with Cuba.

The US delegation should explain to this Assembly 
why the Cuban children suffering from cardiac 
arrhythmias are enemies of the US Government.

The Cuban delegation cannot explain – perhaps the 
US can – why culture has been one of the main 
targets in the persecution of the blockade.

The US Government prevents Cuba from 
participating in the Puerto Rico Book Fair. 
Blocking the participation of Cuban writers and 
publishers in a Book Fair is a barbaric deed.
Starting in December 2006, the hotels from the 
American chains Ritz, Carlton, Hilton and 
Marriott received instructions from the US 
Government to cancel the contracts of the Cuban 
musicians working on a temporary basis in their 
hotels around the world. Only if they move to 
Miami, declare to admire the policy of President 
Bush and regret having ever lived in Cuba will they be able to be hired again.

Today, I would like to reiterate our solidarity 
to the American filmmakers Oliver Stone and 
Michael Moore. The former was already fined by 
the US Government, in the name of freedom, for 
traveling to Cuba to shoot the documentaries 
“Comandante” and “Looking for Fidel.” I really do 
not know how President Bush thought that Oliver 
Stone could find Fidel unless he traveled to 
Cuba. The latter, Michael Moore, is being 
investigated for the trip that he made to our 
country last March to shoot his documentary 
“Sicko.” It is, distinguished delegates, 21st-century McCarthyism.

With this grotesque persecution of the honest 
word and independent art, the President of the 
United States is emulating the Inquisition of the 
Middle Ages. Just that this modern-day 
Inquisition is a lot more barbaric and deadly: it 
organized the looting of the fabulous Baghdad 
Library and the burning of over one million volumes.

I would now like to recall the words sent by 
Cuban and world artist Alicia Alonso in her 
recent letter to American intellectuals and artists:

“Let us work together so that the Cuban artists 
and writers can take their talent to the United 
States, and for you not to be prevented from 
coming to our Island to share your knowledge and 
values; for a song, a book, a scientific study or 
a performance not to be considered, in an irrational fashion, as a crime.”

The blockade persecutes the human exchanges and 
relations between the peoples of Cuba and the 
United States. It also prevents normal relations 
between the Cuban families on both sides of the 
Florida Straits. Fines of up to a million dollars 
for companies and US$ 250,000 for individuals and 
prison penalties of up to 10 years for the 
offenders is the price to be risked by an 
American visiting our country as a tourist or by 
a Cuban residing in the United States who wants 
to visit a sick relative in Cuba.

Delegates:

More than once, this Assembly has heard the US 
representatives say that the issue that we are 
now discussing is a bilateral matter, which 
should not be dealt with by this forum. They will 
probably repeat this false argument during their explanation of vote.

However, as you are very well aware, the ruthless 
economic war imposed on Cuba not only affects the 
Cubans. If that were just the case, it would be 
extremely serious. But it is even worse. It is an 
effrontery to International Law, to the purposes 
and principles enshrined in the Charter of the 
United Nations and to the right of any country to 
engage in free and sovereign trade with whom it chooses to.

The extraterritorial enforcement of American 
laws, scorning the legitimate interests of third 
countries – the countries that you represent, 
distinguished delegates, in this Assembly – in 
investing and developing normal economic and 
trading relations with Cuba, is an issue 
concerning all the States gathered here.

In the period spanning between May 2006 and May 
2007 alone, at least 30 countries were affected 
by the extraterritorial provisions of the blockade policy against Cuba.

Let us take a look at a few examples:

- On 28 July 2006, the Netherlands Caribbean 
Bank, from the Netherlands Antilles, experienced 
the enforcement of the blockade regulations, 
including the freezing of US-held accounts and 
the prohibition of any transactions by American 
citizens or entities with such Bank.

- On 4 May 2007, England’s PSL Energy Services 
was fined with US$ 164,000 for exporting to Cuba 
equipment and services for the oil industry.

- Nor could Sabroe compressors be exported to 
Cuba after the Danish company that manufactures 
them was taken over by an American corporation.

- The US multinational General Electric took over 
Finland’s Datex-Ohmeda. Only until that day was 
Cuba able to continue purchasing the excellent 
Finland-made anesthesia and multi-purpose 
monitoring equipment that we traditionally purchased.

- When Cuba’s Institute for Food Nutrition and 
Hygiene tried to buy an infra-red 
spectrophotometer from the Japanese company 
Shimadzu, it found that it was forbidden under 
the blockade because such equipment has more than 10% of American components.

- The German company Basf AG could not sell a 
herbicide-related product to Cuba, either from 
Germany or from its subsidiaries in Latin 
America, because the active ingredient is of US origin.

- In late 2006, the Spanish cruise ship company 
Pullmantur was bought by America’s Royal 
Caribbean – and Holiday Dream, a cruise ship 
owned by the former, had to suspend its operations in Cuba.
- In December 2006, the management of Norway’s 
Scandic Hotel, which had been bought in March 
2006 by the American hotel chain Hilton, 
cancelled the reservations of a Cuban delegation 
that was supposed to attend an international 
tourism trade show. That caused a large scandal 
and widespread rejection from the Norwegian 
public opinion. But the most incredible element 
was yet to happen: the spokeswoman of the Hilton 
Group in London made a public announcement – 
listen carefully to this, distinguished delegates 
– that such chain would ban the bookings by 
Cubans in all its hotels around the world – 
because if done otherwise, they would be subject 
to fines or could even go to prison according to the blockade laws.

But the most notorious episode to take place this 
year in the US blockade against Cuba was, without 
a doubt, the pitched battle waged by the US 
Treasury Department against Cuba’s relations with 
third-country financial and banking institutions.

That was particularly possible after the US 
Government and its special services gained access 
to the confidential information of SWIFT, Society 
for Worldwide Interbank Financial 
Telecommunication, an institution that deals with 
nearly the totality of payments and the exchanges 
of messages among the financial institutions from around the world.

Over the last year, more than a score of banks 
from various countries have been grossly 
threatened in order to disrupt any kind of 
relation or transaction with Cuba. For logical 
reasons, I cannot give more information to this 
Assembly on such a sensitive issue, for that 
would facilitate the obsessive persecution of the 
American agencies fully entrusted with this ignoble task.

Mr. President:

Delegates:

A few days ago, the President of the United 
States said that “Cuba’s regime uses the US 
embargo as a scapegoat for Cuba’s miseries.”

However, the Secretary-General’s Report contained 
in document A/62/92, with the information 
provided by 118 countries and 21 international 
agencies, clearly and thoroughly proves the 
actions undertaken by the US Administration in 
the course of the last year to reinforce the 
blockade and its serious consequences to Cuba.

Today, this General Assembly is provided with the 
opportunity to freely and openly voice the 
opinion of the international community on the 
policy of blockade and aggressions that the 
United States has imposed on the Cubans for nearly 50 years.

As we speak, back in Cuba our people are 
following with both intent and hope the decision 
that you will make. They do so recalling Fidel’s 
remarks: “Never had a nation such sacred things 
to defend or such profound convictions for which to fight.”

Cuba, delegates, will not surrender. It fights 
and it will fight with the conviction that 
defending our rights today is tantamount to 
defending the right of all the peoples represented in this Assembly.

On behalf of Cuba, I ask you to vote in favor of 
the draft resolution entitled “Necessity of 
Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial 
Embargo Imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”

I ask you, distinguished delegates, to vote in 
favor of the draft resolution presented by Cuba, 
despite the lies that have been uttered by the US 
delegation and the threats that have been made in previous days.

We ask you to vote in favor of Cuba’s draft 
resolution, which is also to vote in favor of the 
rights of all the peoples on the planet.

I will now conclude recalling the words by José 
Martí, Apostle of Cuba’s Independence: “He who 
rises with Cuba today will be rising for all time to come.”

Freedom to the Five Cuban Heroes, fighters 
against terrorism and political prisoners in US jails!

Freedom to the Five Cuban Heroes!

I do have the legitimate right, distinguished delegates, to say:

¡Viva Cuba Libre! (Long live Cuba!)
¡Viva Cuba Libre! (Long live Cuba!)
¡Viva Cuba Libre! (Long live Cuba!)




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