The United States blockade of Cuba turns 60: "It’s an act of genocide"

The Cuban government demanded this Thursday the end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against the island on its 60th anniversary since the then president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, decreed the total embargo of trade with the Latin American country, giving official status to the measures that had already been applied since the triumph of the revolution in 1959.

From the signing of Proclamation 3,447, “the policy of siege and economic suffocation was consolidated as the central axis of the strategy aimed at restricting the legitimate right of Cubans to defend their sovereignty and forge an emancipatory project, alien to imperialist domination,” the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a note it released.

“An essentially extraterritorial policy, in violation of International Law”

The main justification that the United States then used to apply this measure was Cuba’s relationship with the socialist countries, arguing that it violated “the principles of the inter-American system” and against US and hemispheric security.

However, the document recalled that the objective was to “provoke disappointment and discouragement through economic dissatisfaction and hardship (…) weaken economic life by denying Cuba money and supplies in order to reduce nominal and real wages, cause hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government”, as stated by the Assistant Secretary of State, Lester D. Mallory, on April 6, 1960 in a memorandum.

Havana pointed out that it is a “essentially extraterritorial policy, in violation of international law” which aims to “isolate Cuba and punish those who establish any economic, commercial and financial link with the country” through “pressure, blackmail and penalties.”

The last turn of the screw was given by former US President Donald Trump in 2019, when according to Havana, “aggressiveness” reached a “qualitatively higher” degree.

“Act of War”

Over the years Cuba has denounced that the blockade has become “the most complex, prolonged and inhumane act of economic warfare committed against any Nation.”

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“Its effects have limited the possibilities of economic development, as it is designed to prevent trade relations with third countries, hinder banking-financial operations to the maximum, curb foreign investment and cut off all sources of income,” added the note, quoted by Granma newspaper.

In this sense, the Foreign Ministry denounced that the blockade constitutes “a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of all Cuban men and women” and that qualifies as an act of “genocide” under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Likewise, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced that the accumulated damages in these six decades are around 150,000 million dollars, and added that in the midst of a pandemic “cruelty” reached unsuspected limits by hindering solidarity donations and trying to hinder the development of vaccines or limit the possibility of accessing medicines.

“Unconventional war measures are applied, inappropriate for times of peace,” highlighted the note, which criticized the limitations on the importation of fuel or medical supplies needed in the confrontation of the pandemic.

However, thanks to the “strength of the Cuban socialist system and the unity of the people,” economic and social collapse has been avoided and “outstanding human development” has been achieved, according to United Nations standards, the official statement said.

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