Cuba: Lift the blockade!

Statement from the National Assembly of People’s Power

Calling on parliamentarians worldwide to demand that the USA unconditionally lift the blockade

Havana, October 13, 2008 -- The United Nations General Assembly on October 29 will discuss and put to the vote the draft resolution "Necessity to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba".

For 16 consecutive years, this same General Assembly has approved similar resolutions by a growing and overwhelming majority. The last of these, which was put to the vote on October 30, 2007, was supported by 184 countries.

However, as was irrefutably demonstrated in the report presented by Cuba to the General Assembly on the resolution adopted last year, the government of the United States, with its customary arrogance, has ignored the express mandate of the international community and, far from ending that genocidal policy, is intensifying it in an attempt to kill our people by means of hunger and sickness.

In the course of last year, the main targets of the blockade have been maintained and reinforced, evidenced by the systematic persecution and application of sanctions against companies and financial institutions that have or could have business with Cuba, while organizing or increasing subversive operations which, by virtue of the Bush Plan, are pursuing the goal of overthrowing the legitimate constitutional order that has been established and endorsed by the Cuban people and initiating the re-colonization of our country.

As the international community knows full well, Cuba has recently suffered from the destruction unleashed by Hurricanes Ike and Gustav. According to preliminary figures, losses are estimated at more than five billion dollars, basically in highly sensitive areas for the population such as housing, agriculture, energy and the infrastructure.

The Cuban government, alongside the determined and selfless efforts of the vast majority of our people, is deploying all its energy so that, in the shortest time possible, we may recover from the damage inflicted, attend to the enormous needs of Cuban families, construct or reconstruct tens of thousands of houses and increase the production of foodstuffs. All of this has to be done in the middle of the difficult conditions currently facing the world, which has been plunged into a financial crisis of unforeseeable effects for the entire planet.

In that titanic battle we are waging, we have experienced the solidarity of many contributed with donations and aid of inestimable moral and material value, despite their own shortages in some cases. The Cuban people, the exceptional protagonists of the systematic practice of solidarity, understand in their entire dimension and convey their appreciation of these selfless actions.

However, we cannot say the same about the government of the United States. First, it offered supposed aid worth $100,000, accompanied by an in situ inspection of the damage caused by both hurricanes. The only answer we could give was that of not accepting any damage assessment commission, since our experience accumulated during all these years has enabled us to rigorously and objectively evaluate the ravages of this kind of meteorological phenomena.

As a matter of principle, neither could Cuba accept any supposed aid from the government that has perpetuated the criminal blockade that has already lasted almost 50 years.

Cuba did not ask for help from anybody, much less the United States. Cuba did ask the government of that country to allow us to buy from American companies, under the same conditions in which these companies sell on the world market, resources needed for the country’s reconstruction. Many were the voices in the United States, including those of presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican members of Congress, influential newspapers, NGOs and humanitarian organizations, that asked the American administration not just to lift the blockade, but something simpler: to relax its Draconian measures for a few months, including the travel ban on Cubans living in that country and the ban on remittances to their relatives in Cuba, something that, in their opinion, could have an impact on aid to the Cuban people.

Meanwhile, the government of the United States reiterated that under no circumstances would it relax the application of its criminal policy. There is no more eloquent example of the real objective of the blockade: an attempt to destroy the Revolution by causing "hunger and despair" and to undermine the support of the people, as recognized by that government on April 6, 1960. That policy, which clearly typifies the international crime of genocide, will soon observe half a century of existence.

In the face of the stubbornness and arrogance of the United States government, Cuba will continue moving forward. Fifty years of aggression and economic warfare inflicted by the greatest power known to history will never crush the will of our people. In the harsh circumstances in which we are struggling today, we shall continue working for the country's recovery so that we may conquer, as Martí desired, all justice.

The National Assembly of the Peoples’ Power of the Republic of Cuba calls on parliamentarians throughout the world to demand that the Congress and the government of the United States unconditionally lift the genocidal blockade and respect the legitimate and sovereign right of the Cuban people to build their own destiny.

Presidency of the National Assembly of People’s Power, Havana, October 13, 2008.

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