Let Cuba live without a blockade!


Distinguished Delegates:

The blockade violates the right to life, health, education and well-being of all Cuban men and women. It is felt by our families who endure the shortages in our stores, long queues, skyrocketing prices or devalued salaries.

The Cuban government makes great efforts to guarantee the rationed family food basket, which barely satisfies all needs, but attends to those that are indispensable in all households, without exception, at heavily subsidized prices.

For this purpose, this year the government will require to invest more than1.6 billion dollars this year. With only one third of the value of the losses caused by the blockade between March, 2022, and February, 2023, those expenses would have been comfortably covered.

The blockade deprives the national industry from the funds needed to procure agricultural machinery, animal fodder, parts and spare parts for the equipment and the industry, as well as other necessary inputs destined to food production, which is being seriously affected.

Under strict licenses, Cuba is allowed to purchase agricultural products in the United States, but this is subject to Draconian and discriminatory impositions that violate the universally accepted rules of international trade and freedom of travel and navigation. Cuba is forced to buy those products by paying in advance and ship them on board of vessels belonging to that nation, which are required to return empty to their ports of origin.

While trade is a two-way operation in the whole world, Cuba is prevented from exporting to the United States and has no access to credits, whether from private sources or multilateral financial institutions.

Cuban families suffer blackouts that have at times been overwhelming. In the case of the energy and mining sectors, damages during that same period surpass 491 million dollars. The most serious of all these damages is found precisely in the national power generation sector, and it amounts to more than 239 million dollars.

With that money, Cuba would have been able to guarantee supplies and scheduled maintenance for power stations, as well as the indispensable spare parts to avoid blackouts and ensure the proper functioning of our power industry.

Sick persons, including children senior citizens and pregnant women are hurt by the lack or instability of hospital medicines stocks even for therapies to treat cancer and cardiopathies. Persons have to cope with difficulties, on a daily basis to acquire insulin, antibiotics, painkillers hypotensive medications and other essential medicines.

Our country is capable of producing more than 60 per cent of its essential medicines’ programs. However, during this period of an extremely tightened blockade, it has been impossible to guarantee this coverage due to the cunning blow dealt to our finances.

With the appropriate family consent, I will share with you, with deep sorrow, the situation facing Maria, a Cuban girl of hardly 6 years of age, who had to undergo a surgery for the partial removal of an intracranial grade 4 tumor, and has received the alternative chemotherapy treatment to combat the tumor, but it has been impossible to treat her with Lomustine, a US-manufactured pharmaceutical which Cuba cannot have access to due to the blockade. This and other first-line treatment for these high-grade tumors that affect the central nervous system is the most efficient therapy.

Right now, this young patient is going through a relapse and is currently submitted to a rescue chemotherapy treatment. For her as well as for other Cuban children, the blockade continues to make the difference between life and death.

Yadier and Abel are two 14-year-old teens. They suffer from cerebral palsy. This condition causes spasticity, which impairs their motor function and causes involuntary movements they can’t control, thus affecting their everyday life.

The dedication of their teachers and other professionals who have accompanied them throughout all these years, has allowed these teenagers to recover, as much as possible, their motor, intellectual and communication skills as well as their full integration into society.

However, the lives of Yadier and Abel would have been quite different if Cuba had been allowed to buy, directly from the US market, the Type-A Botulinum Toxin, an injectable medicine with encouraging results in this type of patients, that would have prevented their spasms.

As it occurs with many other similar cases, they become direct victims of the ruthless harassment against Cuba.

The US government is lying when it asserts that the blockade does not prevent the access to medicines or medical equipment.

At the most difficult times during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the number of cases peaked and our intensive care units exceeded their capacities, Cuba was not allowed to import ventilators, under the pretext that the European supplying companies were subsidiaries of US companies, which is, without any doubt, a cruel and inhumane act and also a gross violation of the rules of commerce and International Law.

Cuba had to develop its national production of ventilators with prototypes of its own making.

The extreme cruelty of the blockade was brutally demonstrated when our main medical oxygen plant went out of order at a moment when there was a peak number of cases as a result of the virus.

The attempt made by two US companies to supply medical oxygen to Cuba was an evidence of the requirement to ask for a special license, even during the pandemic.

Cuba also has evidence of the maneuverings by US government agencies to prevent foreign companies of two Latin American countries from selling medical oxygen to our country.

The blockade created difficulties and delays for the import and arrival in Cuba of other inputs and medical equipment indispensable to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for scaling up the production of Cuban vaccines.

During the pandemic, the US government applied temporary humanitarian exemptions to countries that are victims of its unilateral coercive measures and other sanctions.

And I wonder, why was Cuba excluded from this temporary humanitarian relief?

The truth is that the US government, in a very opportunistic way, used the COVID-19 pandemic as an ally in its hostile policy against Cuba.

The blockade qualifies as a crime of genocide under the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of this offence, as clearly established under Articles II (b) and (c).

The wicked decision to tighten the blockade to unprecedented levels at this particular juncture and take advantage of the global economic recession resulting from the pandemic to promote destabilization in the country, clearly reveals the profoundly cruel and inhumane nature of that policy.

The feat of saving and preserving the life of our compatriots under such difficult circumstances was only possible thanks to the efforts made by the government and the whole people, throughout decades, to build a robust, profoundly humanistic, high quality science and health system, accessible to all Cuban men and women at absolutely no cost.

Despite the fact that caring for human beings has been and will continue to be the highest priority of the Cuban government, the impact of the blockade on the quality of life and the services offered to our population is undeniable painful.

Mr. President;

For more than six decades Cuba has resisted a ruthless economic, commercial and financial blockade. More than 80 per cent of our current population has only known a blockaded Cuba.

The US government has not ceased in its efforts to deprive our country from indispensable financial revenues, depress the living standards of the population, impose a continued shortage of foodstuffs, medicines and other basic inputs and bring about an economic collapse.

In a vicious way and with a surgical precision, the US is attacking the most sensitive sectors of the economy. It deliberately intends to cause the highest possible damage to Cuban families.

The blockade is an act of economic warfare in times of peace, aimed at annulling the government’s capability to attend to the needs of the people, create a situation of ungovernability and destroy the constitutional order.

These objectives were clearly described in the infamous memorandum written by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Lester Mallory, on April 6, 1960, which was declassified several years later. And I quote:

“…Every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba (…) denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government”. End of quote.

That is the nature of and those are the purposes pursued by the economic coercion and maximum pressure policy, that is being applied by the current US administration against Cuba.

The US behavior is absolutely unilateral and unjustified. There isn’t any single measure or action that our country has ever taken to damage the United States or harm its powerful economy or its commercial activity.

There isn’t a single action ever taken by Cuba intended to jeopardize the independence or national security of the United States, or harm its sovereign rights; interfere in its internal affairs or damage the well-being of its citizens.

It is neither ethical nor legal for the government of a superpower to submit a small nation, for decades, to a ceaseless economic warfare in the interest of imposing a political system alien to it and take hold again of its resources. Depriving an entire people of the right to peace, self-determination, development and human progress is unacceptable.

On behalf of the Cuban people, Rodríguez Parrilla expressed his gratitude for the declarations of rejection of the blockade made by 44 countries during the general debate of this session. Photo: TAKEN FROM THE CUBAN CHANCELLOR’S X-ACCOUNT Photo: Granma

The Cuban people is not the only one suffering the terrible consequences of an illegal, cruel and inhumane policy. There are many others in this world who are victims of these injustices and the “philosophy of dispossession”, which leads to the “philosophy of war”, as was denounced by our Commander in Chief, from this rostrum, in 1960.

At this tragic moment I reiterate Cuba’s full support to and solidarity with the brother people of Palestine who is currently being massacred in their own illegally occupied land. It is necessary to stop this act of barbarism.

Mr. President;

The US authorities have tried to sow the idea of the ineffectiveness of the Cuban government and the failure of our system.

They have cynically claimed that they “support the Cuban people” and intend to make others believe that the unilateral coercive measures do not affect families nor are they a significant factor in the difficulties faced by Cuba’s national economy.

As president Miguel Díaz-Canel has stated, the blockade is not responsible for all the problems facing our country today. But those who ignore its very serious effects or fail to recognize it as the main cause of the deprivations, scarcities and hardships of Cuban families, would be failing to tell the truth.

Those who deny that the blockade is a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of our people as well as the biggest obstacle to our development, would be untruthful.

Let us look at facts and review some data:

Between March 1, 2022, and February 28 this year, the damages caused by the blockade, according to conservative calculations, have been estimated at 4.867 billion dollars.

Such figure accounts for damages that are worth more than 405 million dollars per month; or more than13 million dollars per day. Had the blockade not existed, Cuba’s GDP would have grown by 9 per cent in 2022.

At current prices, the accumulated effects of the blockade, after more than 60 years, surpass the figure of 159 billion dollars. If calculations are based on the value of gold, then the figure will amount to 1 trillion 337 billion dollars.

These would be extraordinary figures for any economy in the world, even more so for a small island developing nation like ours.

How would Cuba be like today, had it been able to use these resources?

As from the second semester of 2019, the US government has strengthened the siege around our country to an extreme dimension that is more perverse and harmful and adopted wartime measures to try to prevent fuel supplies from arriving in Cuba; it strengthened the attacks against Cuba’s international medical cooperation; it increased the persecution of Cuba’s commercial and financial transactions in other markets and intended to threaten investors and commercial entities from third countries with the extraterritorial implementation, before US courts, of Title III of the Helms Burton Act.

There is also a List of Cuban Restricted Entities and, curiously enough, a List of Prohibited Accommodations, which is unique in this world, among many other prohibitions and restrictions.

In a globalized international economy, it is both absurd and criminal to continue to prohibit the export to Cuba of articles manufactured in any country containing at least 10 per cent of US components; and prevent the import into the United States of products manufactured in third countries if they contain Cuban raw materials, intangibles or components.

What would have happened to other economies, even in rich countries, if they had been submitted to similar conditions?

Mr. President;

The United States is strengthening its harassing mechanisms against Cuba in the banking and financial sectors. It maintains the prohibition to use American dollars as well as a ceaseless and obsessive persecution of financial and commercial transactions in other currencies, in areas such as trade and investments.

This persecution has been further strengthened after the arbitrary inclusion of Cuba in the State Department’s unilateral list of countries that allegedly sponsor terrorism. This was a lethal measure imposed by the former Republican administration only nine days before leaving the White House. The current Democratic President could have amended, or might even amend that, just tomorrow, with only a signature.

The US government lies and severely hampers international efforts to combat terrorism when accusing Cuba, without any grounds.

There isn’t a single valid or reasonable argument to maintain Cuba in that spurious list. This is an inadmissible action, particularly against a nation that has been a victim of terrorism; that is still suffering the unreproved incitement to the perpetration of violent and terrorist actions from the US territory, and whose behavior of firmly rejecting and persecuting all forms or manifestations of terrorism is impeccable and worthy of recognition.

The effects of that are particularly harmful in the context of a global economy that is increasingly interconnected, interdependent and most of all subject to the dictates of powerful financial centers controlled from Washington.

Based on that arbitrary accusation, the US authorities extort hundreds of banking and financial entities all over the world and force them to choose between continuing to maintain relations with the United States or maintaining relations with Cuba.

Between January, 2021, and February, 2023, a total of 909 actions were reported by foreign banks which refused to offer their services to our country.

Tens of Cuban diplomatic missions have lost contact with their traditional banks and currently they have no bank accounts or financial services. This has occurred even in countries that develop friendly and cooperative relations with our country, which have consistently rejected the economic blockade and have become victims of the extraterritorial power and the hostility of the US, its harmful and disproportionate influence on the international financial system and its determination to lay a siege against the Cuban economy.

With that false qualification, the so-called country-risk has increased exponentially, thus forcing Cuba to pay twice as much the price of any commodity in the world market.

Cuban entrepreneurs, whom the United States cynically claims to support, are many a time denied access to e-commerce and payment platforms, such as PayPal and Airbnb. They are not even allowed to open personal bank accounts only for being Cuban. In third countries, they have come up against banking restrictions and have suffered the discrimination resulting from the effects of the blockade.

Not even academic training has escaped from the effects of this absurd policy. Evelio is a 25-year-old Cuban youth who is currently studying the specialty of Information Sciences Engineering.

With the support of his university, he was ready to share with students from other countries the results of ascientific research and decided to attend, in-person, the World Congress on Undergraduate Research (WorldCUR), an international scientific event that was held from April 4 to 6, 2023, at the University of Warwick, in the United Kingdom.

He was admitted as a participant due to the quality of his research. However, shortly afterwards, the organizers of the event informed him that, given Cuba’s inclusion in the list of countries under sanctions, the funding for his in-person attendance would be withdrawn.

Evelio expects to see the end to the blockade because, as it is the case for thousands of Cuban youths, this policy excludes and discriminates against them by preventing them from interacting, on an equal footing, in academic, scientific and students’ communities.

Cuban artists and athletes who suffer discrimination, and are sometimes harassed, should receive their well-deserved revenues that accompany their medals and awards.

Mr. President;

The blockade restricts the rights of Cubans residing in the United States; it hampers family reunification by means of regular mechanisms and visas; it does not allow the granting of traveling visas to Cuba and hinders the sending of remittances. It also provokes uncertainty and encourage persons, including young and highly skilled families, to look for their own personal fulfillment in other countries.

However, the increase of Cuban migration, with a painful cost for families and adverse demographic and economic consequences for our nation, is directly linked to the tightening of the blockade and the strictly politically-motivated privileged treatment given to Cuban migrants arriving in the US borders, regardless of the ways they use for it.

It is impossible to understand the volume and nature of migration flows of Cuban citizens who travel across some countries of the region heading for the United States, without considering the importance of these factors, which are being used for the purpose of causing to cause destabilization, brain-drain and bringing about discredit for Cuba. The unfavorable impact of this phenomenon on some countries of the region when Cuban migrants, after arriving in those countries, become irregular migrants and use unsafe and dangerous routes, or become victims of organized crime, is also evident.

Cuba will always advocate a regular, safe and orderly migration. It is up to the US government to modify the structural causes of much of the Cuban migration, whether regular or irregular.

However, paradoxically, the blockade hampers the US citizens’ freedom to travel to Cuba and interferes with their right to freedom of information and conform an opinion of their own.

It also discriminates against, intimidates and deprives citizens from the countries that enjoy the benefits of the automated visa system known as ESTA from this privilege just for having visited Cuba.

Mr. President;

The tightening of the economic siege has been accompanied by a sustained media and information campaign against Cuba.

New information technologies and other digital platforms are being used to try to capitalize on the shortages caused by the blockade and portray an absolutely false image of the Cuban reality; destabilize and discredit the country.

This media crusade, particularly from toxic platforms funded and based in the US territory, is aimed at encouraging disenchantment and discontent; creating the perception of a domestic political crisis; discrediting government institutions and thwart the huge efforts made by the country to cope with the challenges of a blockaded economy.

It is an unconventional, cognitive warfare to which the US government publicly and notoriously allocates funds that are worth millions from the federal budget and, in a covert way, additional large funds.

It pursues a perverse plan that is not compatible with the democracy, freedom and the right to information they allegedly advocate.

Mr. President;

The current US administration ensures the continuity of the inhumane policy established under the administration headed by President Donald Trump and paradoxically, has embraced it.

In fact, the laws and regulations that support this policy and make it effective, including the most hostile and inhumane measures, have remained intact and are being fully implemented.

The blockade, which has been tightened to extreme levels, continues to be the central element defining the US policy towards Cuba.

The extraterritorial impact of the blockade harms the sovereignty of the countries that you represent, distinguished delegates. It infringes upon your national legislations; it submits you to US courts’ rulings; it affects the interests of the companies of your countries; it imposes sanctions on your business people and restricts the freedom of your citizens, and it does all of that in violation of International Law.

More than six decades have elapsed since the time when this Assembly started to call, every year, for the ceasing of the blockade on Cuba.

However, the express will of the international community is disrespected and unheeded by the government of the biggest economic, financial and military power.

Ignoring with impunity the successive resolutions adopted by this forum, the most democratic and representative of the United Nations, is neither admissible nor acceptable.

On behalf of the Cuban people, I appreciate the statements against the blockade made by Heads of State and Government as well as High Dignitaries from 44 countries during the General Debate of this Session. Twenty-one of them explicitly condemned Cuba’s arbitrary inclusion in the unilateral and fraudulent list of States sponsors of terrorism.

Our appreciation and gratitude would also go to the many delegations that have upheld that same standing during yesterday’s and this morning’s sessions.

I likewise deeply appreciate the statements made and the fraternal assistance delivered by our compatriots from the broad and universal movement in solidarity with Cuba as well as our many friends in different latitudes.

We feel encouraged for being able to count on the increasing support of goodwill persons who all over the world are calling for the US government to end the blockade.

Despite the hostility of the US government, we will continue to build bridges with the people of the United States, as we do with all peoples of the world.

We will further strengthen our links with Cuban emigrés residing abroad. We will soon host the Fourth ‘Nation and Emigration’ Conference which will contribute to strengthen the dialogue between the Cuban government and our compatriots.

Mr. President;

The colossal challenges that we face do not frighten us. The Cuban people will never cease in their efforts to honor, exalt and defend their free and sovereign Homeland.

We shall continue carrying out our transformative and revolutionary efforts, looking for way-outs to the siege imposed on us by the US imperialism, as well as ways to achieve prosperity with social justice, support the transformation in our commodities and support and expand social programs.

We will continue to guarantee the increasing participation of our youths and all of our citizens in the political, economic, social and cultural processes of the Nation.

No other people has been forced to engage in a development project under such conditions, subject to a systematic and long-lasting hostility by a superpower.

But Cuba will not stop to renew itself in the construction of a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation.

Mr. President;


Distinguished delegates;

In short, upon exercising your vote, you will not be deciding only on a matter of vital interest for Cuba and for every single Cuban family.

Your vote in favor of the draft resolution that has been presented, will also be an expression in support of reason and justice, to uphold the United Nations Charter and International Law.

On behalf of our noble, dignified and fraternal people, who long ago decided to become the masters of their history and their future;

On behalf of the millions of Cuban men and women who resist and create, on a daily basis, against the cruellest and longest-lasting unilateral coercive measures system ever applied against any country, which should be abolished, once and for all, for the good of all;

I respectfully ask you to vote in favor of draft resolution A/RES/78/L.5 entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”

Better without blockade! Without a genocidal blockade!

Let Cuba live without blockade!

Thank you, very much.

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