Cuba's Deputy Foreign Minister Speaks Out Against U.S. Imperialism

September 15, 2014

Obama's administration has refined U.S. imperialism's trade embargo and economic blockade against Cuba. Before Obama, for example, there were very few fines levied on foreign businesses engaging in trade with Cuba. Today, that has changed.

During a recent interview with the Cuban press, Cuba's Deputy Foreign Minister focused on the dramatic change for the worse in the U.S. blockade of Cuba. He characterized U.S. policy towards Cuba as financial persecution and called the situation a “financial war.”

Below we reprint a report of his interview.

The Blockade Has Become a Financial War

“The U.S. blockade of Cuba is increasingly damaging. It has become a financial war,” asserted Cuba’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno, during a meeting with the press to present the country’s report regarding United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/8, entitled “The necessity of putting an end to the economic, commercial, financial blockade of Cuba by the United States.”

Moreno reported that the economic harm caused to the country “has reached more than a trillion, considering the depreciation of the dollar, as compared to the value of gold on the international market.” The exact total he presented: $1,112,534,000,000, despite a reduction in the price of gold last year.

“At current prices, over all of these years, the blockade has caused damages totaling more than 116.8 billion dollars,” Moreno added, speaking at the Solidaridad con Panamá Special Education School, attended by hundreds of physically disabled children.

The Deputy Minister recalled that, for example, Cuba’s Special Education system includes 982 educational workshops which serve to integrate these children into the social and productive lives of their communities.

Restrictions imposed by the blockade, however, impede the acquisition of materials, supplies and technology for these workshops, impacting 22,872 students with special needs.

He explained that, as a result of the hostile U.S. policy, Cuban children facing retinal cancer can not benefit from Brachytherapy radiation treatment, because the radioactive iodine plates needed are only produced by the U.S. corporation 3M.

Just as the report states, “The blockade, in addition to being illegal, is morally unjustifiable," and "No similar system of unilateral sanctions exists, enforced against any other country in the world, for such a prolonged period of time.”

Moreno asserted, “Not a single aspect of the Cuban people’s social life exists, in which the destructive, destabilizing effects of the blockade have not had an impact.”

The Deputy Minister recalled that the blockade is not a single law, but rather a legislative package which has an extra-territorial reach, adding, "Not a single aspect of the country’s economic or social life exists which escapes the destabilizing effects of the hostile policy imposed on the island for more than half a century."

He emphasized that the blockade dictates that Cuba can not import or export anything to or from U.S. territory, or use the U.S. dollar in transactions. Cuba can not access credit for any purchases, and according to the Helms Burton Law, any ship which docks in Cuba to do business must wait 180 days before returning to U.S. territory.

“It has a brutal impact on Cuba’s economy and society,” Moreno reiterated.

He emphasized that a fallacy has emerged with some analysts saying the blockade has become more “flexible,” but the facts clearly indicate on a daily basis that the hostile U.S. policy remains in full force. The U.S. government is currently focusing on sanctioning third countries which have relations with Cuba, enforcing the absurd pretension that U.S. law is universally applicable when it comes to the issue of Cuba.”

He presented, as an example of this strategy, the case of an Australian company with headquarters in the U.S. which was forced to comply with blockade regulations.

Moreno described the financial persecution of Cuba by quoting the UN report which states, “Since January of 2009 through June 2 of this year alone, the Obama administration has forced 36 U.S. and international entities to pay almost 2.6 billion dollars [in fines] for maintaining ties with Cuba.”

A relentless campaign to disrupt Cuba’s financial transactions is currently one of the most visible reflections of U.S. efforts to strangle the country’s economy. The Deputy Minister recalled, as an example, the exorbitant fine recently levied on the French bank Paribas for handling Cuban transactions, and those of other U.S. sanctioned countries.

Granma International / September 10, 2014