A relic of the Cold War, the continued United States of America blockade on Cuba was rejected unanimously at the United Nations General Assembly during the month of November 2018 with 189 countries voting in favour of the annual resolution titled: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”.
Only the United States and Israel voted against the resolution.
Reneging on progress made under the Obama administration the current U.S administration under Donald Trump has backtracked on significant gains made towards the normalization of diplomatic relationships’ between the two countries which included the re-opening of embassies, the release of the remaining 3 of the Cuban 5, cooperation on issues of mutual concern such as climate change, drug trafficking, cultural exchange and response to natural disasters such as oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the U.S. elections that saw Trump being elected as the 45th President of the USA is said to be the architect of the Trump administration foreign policy on Cuba.
In a political trade-off the Senator whose parents once called Cuba home is seen as cozying up to Trump (vice-versa) in an unlikely alliance of erstwhile foes with mutual interests that links US foreign policy to Cuba to Marco Rubio to Russian Interference to Trump.
The U.S blockade undermines the sovereignty of Cuba as a nation state and hampers its ability to trade with other countries.
A member of the World Trade Organisation since 1995 the blockade interferes with Cuba’s right under international law to freedom of trade and navigation.
Cuba is a producer and exporter of Nickel an essential component in the manufacturing of auto-mobiles and industrial parts.
The blockade does not allow subsidiaries of U.S. companies to trade with Cuba and further enforces sanctions that forbid goods containing 15% U.S. components from being traded with Cuba.
Moreover, the extraterritoriality of the blockade also affects the sovereignty of the rest of the countries of the world.
For example, it is difficult for Cuba to trade with 3rd party states like Japan who do not support the sanctions but are subject to it by operation of their functioning.
For countries such as Namibia who have historical ties with Cuba trade between the two countries is hampered because the blockade does not allow for ships that have docked in Cuba to dock in the USA before a period of 6 months has lapsed.
This makes it inefficient on the basis of cost to trade with Cuba and the USA at the same time which is ideal in the above circumstances.
The blockade also doesn’t allow Cuba to use the US Dollar in its international transactions and trade.
This generates a lot of outgoings any time that the Island has to assume banks fees due to currency exchanges in its monetary transactions.
The main bone of contention for the U.S regarding the lifting of sanctions against Cuba according to the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Hayle is the obscure notion of Human Rights and Democracy.
Democracy or rule of the people in Cuba takes the form of a grass roots approach that sees candidates for municipal assemblies nominated on an individual basis at local level by the local population who then nominate candidates for the Provisional and National Assemblies.
The one-party system is grounded in the ideals of Jose Marti, the principles of socialism and the ever present need to remain vigilant of the ever present threat of US expansion into Cuba.
Cuba’s system of democracy stands in contrast to the US version of democracy which is grounded in the ideals of money as the ticket to the political kingdom of more money, where the needs, hopes and aspirations of the American people take a backseat to corporate interest in the name of capitalism and free enterprise.
Cuban dissidents living in America receive funding from the US government to undermine the sovereignty of the Cuban nation and by extension the Cuban people.
Radio Marti and television broadcasts which are blocked by the Cuban airwaves attempt to spread propaganda in order to stir up emotions amongst Cuban exiles based in the USA to achieve their aim of destabilizing and toppling the socialist government of Cuba through the use of mercenaries, spies and paid opposition.
The continued blockade on Cuba and her people is an affront to the sovereignty of the nation and serves no purpose but to undermine Cuba’s right to self-determination as a precursor to improved prosperity as a guarantee for human rights.
To date the monetary cost of the embargo in lost trade between the two nations stands at $130 Billion and counting.
The blockade is the main obstacle for the development of Cuba and the highest violation of the human rights of the Cuban people.
The United Nations adopted the Universal Periodic Review on Human Rights in Cuba which further strengthens Cuba’s case against the ensuing blockade.
It is therefore the hope and wish of all peoples of the free world that the United States of America ends the blockade against the Cuban people and its government and joins the rest of the world in embracing a future of peace, harmony and mutual respect amongst all nations of the world.
To not do so relegates the USA to a nation that finds itself on the wrong side of history when its position in global politics is debated by future generations of citizens of the world.
Vitalio Angula is a Cuban born Namibian. Aldo Fuentes is the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Cuba in Namibia.
The views shared in this article are those of the Revolutionary Namibian and Cuban people.