The blockade in facts and figures

Source:  Granma
September 24 2018

by   | internet@granma.cu

Granma provides a summary of the latest calculated damages to Cuba caused by the U.S. blockade policy. Cuba will present its annual report on the blockade damages to the UN General Assembly this October

no to the blockade 2

THE U.S. ECONOMIC, COMMERCIAL AND FINANCIAL BLOCKADE AGAINST CUBA IS:

– The most unfair, severe and prolonged system of unilateral sanctions that has been applied against any country.

– The main obstacle to the development of the Cuban economy and the Cuban people’s full enjoyment of all human rights.

– A serious challenge for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

– An unjust, illegal, extraterritorial measure that violates international law.

GENERAL FIGURES:

– The accumulated damages caused by the implementation of the blockade throughout almost six decades have reached the figure of 933,678,000,000 dollars

– At current prices, the blockade has caused quantifiable damages of more than 134,499,800,000 dollars

– From April 2017 to March 2018, the blockade has been tightened and is being strictly applied. In this period it has caused damages in the order of 4,321,200,000 dollars

HEALTH

Unanswered or refused purchase requests:

– The purchase of the drug Temozolamide, at the forefront of chemotherapy treatment, was prevented

– Information was requested on two occasions for the purchase of the da Vinci Surgical System, a robotic surgical system developed by U.S. company Intuitive Surgical

– High-tech equipment known as a mass spectrometer, used for the diagnosis and early detection of metabolic diseases or inborn errors of metabolism

– Cardiac valves of different types, vascular prostheses, electrode extraction devices

– Direct shipments to Cuba of Levofloxacin were refused, a medicine used to treat bacterial infections of the skin, bronchitis and pneumonia, among other ailments

– Nitric oxide, used for the prevention or effective treatment of acute pulmonary hypertension

EDUCATION, SPORTS AND CULTURE

– Increased freight costs for transportation of products from distant markets

– Lack of teaching and research resources, due to their higher costs in other markets

– Limited access to scientific information and computer tools

– Obstacles to receiving payments for professional services abroad

– Not all the necessary equipment for the learning of minors with special needs can be accessed

– Reduction in academic exchanges between universities

– Reduced imports of sports equipment made by U.S. brands, many of mandatory use

– Cuban sports schools’ ability to acquire medicines and state-of-the-art equipment is restricted

– Exchanges between Cuban artists and their U.S. counterparts have diminished

– The materials necessary for arts education are acquired at high prices in the international market

FOOD INDUSTRY AND AGRICULTURE

– During the period analyzed in this report, losses in this sector amount to 413,793,100 dollars

– The impossibility of placing our products in the U.S. market continues

TOURISM

– From January through March 13, 2018, the arrival of U.S. visitors decreased by 43%, which means 51,677 fewer travelers than in the same period of 2017

– A total of 240 tourist groups made cancellations with travel agencies as a result of alerts issued by the State Department

– Online sales of 99% of Gaviota Hotel Group hotels were affected

TELECOMUNICATIONS

Etecsa (Cuba’s telecommunications company) suffered damages of 60,143,000 dollars

– Reduction in Roaming Services contracts

– The OFAC imposed a fine of 1.19 million dollars on an Asian company, manufacturer of one of the most used pieces of equipment in the Cuban communications system

– It is impossible to access certain brands and/or high performance and leading equipment in the infocommunications market

– Free access from Cuba to some Internet content and information downloading services is prevented

ENERGY AND MINES

– The Energoimport Business Group was denied the purchase of spare parts to guarantee the maintenance and operation of the Gibara II Wind Farm

– The Geominsal Business Group has been attempting to acquire an ICP-MS, a necessary instrument for carrying out geological investigations, since 2015

PHARMACEUTICAL SECTOR

– Sales of the Cuban drug Heberprot-P in the U.S. market is prohibited

– The Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology has seen losses on the order of 392,085 dollars, due to the need to use intermediaries in third countries for the purchase of basic production supplies

– Farmacuba saw monetary losses of 4,457,374 dollars, due to not being able to carry out its operations in U.S. dollars

INDUSTRY

From April 2017 to March 2018, the impact on this sector has amounted to 50,004,400 dollars, especially to:

– The Chemical Industry Enterprise Group

– The Cuban recycling industry, which cannot access multiple technological equipment

– The Metal Productions Company (Cometal)

TRANSPORT

From April 2017 to March 2018, damages caused by the blockade to the transport sector amounted to 101,550,000 dollars:

– Accumulative damages of 63,640,000 dollars for the flight cancellations of four U.S. airlines

– The Cuban Aviation Company (Cubana de Aviacion S.A.) has experienced difficulties on attempting to buy or lease aircraft with technical components of virtually any type of technology. It is also totally impossible to access aircraft produced by companies such as Airbus, Dassault, and Boeing

– The maintenance of aircraft by specialized agencies of virtually any country is impossible

– The Selecmar Enterprise saw losses of 13,420,000 dollars in merchant ship and cruise ship activities, mainly due to the prohibition of enlisting Cuban sailors with the U.S. companies that arrive to the island

– The tourist transportation of the Cuba Taxis Enterprise Group and the National Bus Company is also affected

FINANCES

Monetary damages amounted to 538,300,000 dollars. The Cuban banking system was damaged by incidents reported in 128 foreign banks, due to:

– The impossibility of using the U.S. dollar in Cuban commercial and financial transactions abroad

– Difficulties related to accessing new technologies

– Cancellation of SWIFT RMA keys by 20 foreign banks

– Application to close Cuban accounts by four foreign banking entities

– Closure of and refusal to open accounts for Cuban embassies and diplomats abroad, as well as the offices of Cuban entities

– Refusal of 14 entities to transfer funds to or from Cuba and to provide other banking services

– Retention of funds and uncertainty about their destination

– Refusal to process and/or report matters related to credit card transactions to Cuba

– Rejection of banking operations

– Cancellation of banking operations and signed agreements

FOREIGN TRADE

Losses amount to 3,343,400,000 dollars

– Revenues foregone for exports of goods amount to 2,475,900,000 dollars

– Cuba lost 867,500,000 dollars due to geographic relocation

– The cost of financing based on “country-risk rates” increased, which is estimated at 54,326,250 dollars

– The lack of access to bank or soft loans forced Cuban companies to work with commercial loans granted by the suppliers themselves under more disadvantaged conditions

– The damages due to the use of intermediaries and the consequent increase in the cost of goods reached 59,825,479 dollars

– It is estimated that the impossibility of placing Habanos S.A. products in the U.S. market has caused losses of 134,500,000 dollars

– The Food Marketing Company (Alimport) saw losses of 3,533,271 dollars, as a result of having to purchase products in more distant markets

LATEST EXAMPLES OF THE EXTRATERRITORIAL NATURE OF THE BLOCKADE:

September 18, 2017

The French branch of the company Forax informed the Cuban Mission to UNESCO that it would cancel all fuel cards linked to the Mission.

October 28, 2017

Australian private banks Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ),

Commonwealth, Saint George, Bendigo and Westpac, continued to hamper transactions related to Cuba.

October 28, 2017

It was learned that the bank Anz told the New Zealand travel agency World

Journeys that it should suspend its direct or indirect operations with Cuba or it would be required to close its corporate account with the banking institution.

November 27, 2017

Chilean private banks Banco de Credito de Inversiones de Chile, Banco

Edwards, Banco de Chile, ITAN, BBVA Chile and the governmental Banco Estado, refused to transfer the funds raised by the Chilean Solidarity with Cuba Movement for the recovery from the damages caused by Hurricane Irma.

August 18, 2017

It was learned that a branch of the Westpac bank in New Zealand temporarily stopped a transfer from the New Zealand company Havana Coffee Works, for the payment of an purchase of coffee in Vanuatu, due to the company name containing the word “Havana.”

February 2018

The Sheraton Addis Hotel, in Ethiopia, following indications received from its headquarters in the United States, refused to reserve rooms for a Cuban delegation visiting the country, under the pretext of the blockade regulations.

April 27, 2018

FedEx Express canceled the Embassy of Cuba in Antigua and Barbuda’s account, arguing that the company and its international subsidiaries are subject to the laws of the United States.

May 21, 2018

It was learned that the Argentine online payment company Prisma (Todo Pago), withdrew its services from the subsidiary of Havanatur S.A. in Argentina, claiming that this entity is included on the OFAC sanctions list.

OPPOSITION TO THE BLOCKADE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY:

September 13, 2017

The negative effects of the blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba were denounced and a call for its elimination was heard in the 36th session of the Human Rights Council.

September 14, 2017

The biennial debate on unilateral coercive measures was held. In addition to the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of African States, the Group of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Cuba, on behalf of a group of countries, 15 other developing countries voiced opposition to the blockade.

September 22, 2017

The Ministerial Declaration of the Group of 77 and China once again condemned the blockade of Cuba and the imposition of unilateral coercive measures against developing countries. The text was adopted at the 41st Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Group.

September 2017

During the seventy-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly, 37 heads of delegations spoke in favor of lifting the blockade on Cuba.

November 1st, 2017

Forty-one speakers from all regions of the world participated in the debate on the Report presented by Cuba, which called for the immediate lifting of the blockade. The representatives of the Group of 77 and China, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Caribbean Community, the Group of African States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, stood out in their remarks.

RESULTS OF THE 2017 UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY VOTE ON THE RESOLUTION AGAINST THE BLOCKADE:

191 in FAVOR or ending the blockade

2 AGAINST

0 ABSTENTIONS

Venezuela – President Maduro Addresses UN General Assembly (Sept 2018)

Transcript of the speech, courtesy of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry

Ambassadors, heads of delegations of the countries members of the United Nations Organization, President-elect of the General Assembly, Mrs. Maria Fernanda Espinoza, may I extend to you the congratulations on behalf of the delegation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela – our government – on assuming the presidency of the 73rd session of the General Assembly as the first Latin-American woman to be president of a General Assembly session. In this occasion, we have been invited to work and address an important and vital issue, entitled as follows: “Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies”. So we are here to make the United Nations relevant for all people.

This is precisely a noble purpose up to what the United Nations system has to build in light of the 21st century: a century of great opportunities and certainly a century that will make the difference regarding the human liberation processes – political liberation, peoples’ liberation – that, sooner or later, will impact significantly on the future of the United Nations Organization.

The current United Nations Organization was born at the end of Second World War (1945). During the 20th century, its configuration expressed the conflicts and forms of actions by the bipolar world of the postwar years and, after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 90s, we moved to a unipolar world.

The correlation of forces in the world, regarding the world system, has always influenced the United Nations Organization, directly. However, in order to be relevant – according to the purpose of this 73rd General Assembly – this organization has to express the wishes, the way of being, the culture, the political thinking, the strength and the hopes of the majorities in the world.

That is why Venezuela is here today; to say its truth; I bring the truth of a combative, heroic and revolutionary world; I bring the voice of a homeland that, throughout history, has refused to surrender to injustice, to the empires of the past – slaver and colonialist – and the empires of today – equally slaver and neocolonialist. I bring the voice of a heroic people that arose from the heroic resistance of the aborigines, from the indigenous peoples that for centuries resisted the domination by colonial empires. I bring the voice of the people having the honor of being the great Liberator Simon Bolivar’s home, the most important leader of a generation of liberators of the Americas, who accomplished, 200 years ago, the heroic feat of founding a continent, a region, a dream: The independent republics of this world region.

Venezuela is a historic people which is both a home and a school of republican values; a home and a school of rebelliousness; a home and a school of dignity and values such as equality; such is our obstinate homeland that for centuries has searched its Independence and sovereignty.

I speak on their behalf before this scenario which has witnessed the most evil and embarrassing attacks in the last years; for our country is a harassed and attacked country. Yesterday, in this same place, the President of the United States of North America once again attacked the noble people of Venezuela and supported, as he said, the doctrine founded by the empire of the United States 200 years ago, which determined their interventionist role, their intended role of judge, party and police of the world: the Monroe Doctrine. Yes, the president of the most powerful imperial nation, the United States of North America, was in this same place, supporting James Monroe’s doctrine, who, at that time, said “America for Americans”, meaning that the rest of America had to belong to them as the backyard for the interests of Washington elite groups that already conducted the configuration of that nation as a former colony of the British empire.

He supported the Monroe Doctrine. And you may be wondering about the reason for such fierce attack by the American power, expressed at all levels by President Donald Trump. It is a historic conflict as we have said to the world many times, as our people well knows. It is the conflict between the interventionist imperial, neocolonialist Monroe Doctrine against the historic, Independence, republican, Simon Bolivar’s doctrine, of rebelliousness, dignity, justice, liberty and equality. It is an old conflict; an old contradiction due to an imperial doctrine aimed at dominating our region. During the 19th century, it was aimed at dominating our region only; however, in the 20th century, it was intended to dominate the world and in the 21st century it tries to continue governing, conducting, blackmailing and arranging the world as if it were their property. In our region, it is a 200-year contradiction between the republican libertarian flags which, in the 19th century – the time of Simon Bolivar and the liberators – advocated for a world of equilibrium and respect and the pro imperialist and interventionist flags that promoted the domination of the region by an elite group that already had the control of the power in Washington.

It is an old conflict we know very well. Today, Venezuela is a victim of a permanent aggression in the economic, political, diplomatic and media fields by those who govern the United States of North America and support the Monroe Doctrine to justify the ideological, political and diplomatic aggression against our beloved homeland.

Our reason for being here is the reason. Why is Venezuela being politically, economically and diplomatically attacked? First of all, Venezuela has built an autonomous project of democratic revolution, social vindication, and construction of a self and new model of society, which is based on the historical roots of our nation, on the identity of our country and on the own culture of our Latin-American region.

For 20 years, they have been intended to stop the course of our history, the development of a revolutionary project that arose from the own struggle root of our people and region. Secondly – and perhaps more understandable- for global geopolitical reasons, Venezuela is the nation with the largest oil reserve of the world, internationally certified. Venezuela as founder of OPEC, Venezuela a country with 100 years of oil production, discovered and certified internationally the largest oil richness of the world; Venezuela has also significant natural and mining richness. Today, according to international standards, our country is certifying the potentially biggest gold reserve of the world.

The world must know that currently, apart from being the biggest international oil reserve, Venezuela is certifying, under international standards, the biggest gold reserve of the world and the fourth gas reserve of the world as well. The significant natural resources, important geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-strategic position have lead the oligarchies of the continent and those who dominate from Washington, to consider dominating and controlling the political power in Venezuela. In the present, Venezuela is victim of a permanent aggression.

In the economic sphere, during the last two years, Venezuela has been subjected to a set of illegal unilateral measures of economic persecution and blockade; we have been restrained from using the international currency, –the dollar- via positions of use of dominion by the authorities of the US Department of Treasury. Currently, Venezuela cannot negotiate any international transaction in dollars. Did the world know that Venezuela is persecuted from an economic, commercial and monetary point of view? Today, Venezuela is target of a set of illegal and unilateral mechanisms of economic sanctions.

Yesterday, the President of the United States announced, precisely on this same platform, new and alleged economic and financial sanctions against our country in the sanctuary of the law and international legality. Did the United Nations System know that the unilateral sanctions, using the dominion, the status of the currency and the financial persecution are considered illegal from the standpoint of international law? Venezuela is subjected to a permanent media aggression as well; attempts to forge a file have been made to justify an international intervention. We know that it is an intended international intervention, a military intervention to control our country. At global level, a file has been forged through the media against our country to pretend a humanitarian crisis that uses the United Nations concepts to justify a coalition of countries led by the Government of the United States, and their satellite governments in Latin America, to get its hands on our country. A migration crisis, that goes without saying, has been forged by several means, aimed at diverting the attention from the real migration crises in the world that show the disadvantages of the southern countries. The migratory crisis in Central America, Mexico, and Latin America arising due to the announcement of a retaining wall against our peoples, a dividing wall against them. Nobody wants to talk about this situation. A double-standard treatment has been intended over the real status of the Caribbean and Latin American migrants who have been persecuted along the border with Mexico; they have been separated from their families, their kids have been kidnapped; and no response is given about this issue or about the serious migration crisis caused by the destruction in Libya by NATO and the war against Syria, resulting in the migration of thousands of African and Middle-East brothers. It is an issue that is intentionally masked.

A global media campaign about an alleged migratory crisis in Venezuela has been deployed to justify a humanitarian intervention, as announced for years. It is a plan similar to the weapon-of mass-destruction plan used in Iraq; it is the same plan that justified the intervention in other countries, this time under a form of a great brutal psychological warfare campaign. Today, Venezuela is also the victim of a diplomatic nature aggression. Yesterday – dear brothers and sisters of the governments of the world – we witnessed direct threats to cut aid, to withdraw aid or blockade aid from the international support and aid systems for the governments and peoples of the world on the need of it by the President of the United States.

We have listened to the statements issued by several governments demanding better mechanisms to access financing, to access development to which our peoples are entitled to. Yesterday, the President of the United States, in this very platform, threatened the governments of the world to submit to its designs, to its orders and to cooperate with its policies in the United Nations system, or he would act accordingly. Venezuela has been attacked with a fierce diplomatic offensive at all of the United Nations system bodies, supported by satellite kneeled governments blackening the honor of the peoples that they are called to represent.

Venezuela has been subjected to permanent political aggression. On September 8th, the New York Times published an article evidencing the participation of officials of the White House and the government of the United States, in meetings to bring about a military coup and cause a change of government, a change of regime in Venezuela. The investigation published by the New York Times – replicated by the Times magazine, the Washington Post and the world press – simply confirmed the conspiracy, the permanent aggression by factors of the government of the United States against a constitutional and strengthened democracy; a democracy supported by the people, such as the Venezuelan democracy. We had already denounced in due course, the attempts of violence against the Constitution, the attempts of disturbances and military coups against the constitutional and revolutionary government over which I preside in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, by popular will and popular vote.

After announcing and publishing the failed attempts of disturbances and military violence – the New York Times published details on how US officials in Colombia, supported by the Colombian government and Colombian institutions, met and offered their encouragement and support for this attempted change of regime. Should the United Nations system, Should the union – I am addressing my Latin American and Caribbean brothers – Should Latin America and the Caribbean accept these methods that so hurt our region in the entire 20th century? How many military interventions? How many coup d’états? How many dictatorships were imposed during the long and dark 20th century in Latin America and the Caribbean, and who did it favor? Did it favor the Peoples? What interests did they represent? The interests of the transnational companies, the unpopular interests; long dictatorships, like Augusto Pinochet’s in Chile, were faced by our peoples due to the stubbornness of the American elites and the Monroe Doctrine to deny the right earned by ourselves to govern our countries the way we need, and build specific economic, political and cultural systems of the region.

That is why I come here, to bring the truth of a fighting people; Venezuela has been targeted by a seemingly never-ending political and media campaign. That is why we bring our homeland’s truth to this honorable UN General Assembly; after the failure published and announced by the New York Times of these illegal, unconstitutional and criminal attempts of regime change, after the democratic presidential election, last May 20th, when I, Nicolas Maduro Moros, obtained 68% of the popular votes through free elections – the 24th election in 19 years, of which 22 have been won by the revolutionary forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, at different levels of approval, against the opposition forces of our country; after the failure of the attempted military coups, candidacies and electoral tactics supported by Washington, with the huge electoral victory attained by the People, last August 4th, I was a victim of a terrorist attack with drones that tried to kill me in a military event on one of the main avenues in Caracas. If it had been executed as planned, it would have been a massacre, an assassination of the institutional, political and military high command of our nation, Venezuela.

On August 4th, the perpetrators, the terrorists, those who attacked me with drones – this is the first attack with drones known in the world history of terrorist violence – were captured by the security bodies and State police agencies. The 28 perpetrators were captured thanks to different investigation procedures. They are convicted and sentenced. As I informed to different governments of the world, all the investigations about that terrorist attack indicate that it was prepared, financed and planned in the territory of United States of America. I have informed to the Government of United States – by diplomatic means – the name, the responsibility and the evidences of the intellectual perpetrators, financers and planners of this serious terrorist attack. According to investigations, this attempt and the actual perpetrators – as they have admitted – were trained and prepared for months in Colombian territory under the protection and support of Colombian authorities; and according to the latest investigations and captures – as unveiled to the media – the perpetrators mentioned some of the diplomatic members of the Government of Chile, Colombia and Mexico who would help them to escape after the terrorist attack.

I would like to ask the United Nations system to appoint a special delegate of the Secretariat of the United Nations to conduct an independent investigation internationally about the implications and responsibilities of this terrorist attack perpetrated in our country. Venezuela is opened; the doors of our country and our judicial system are opened in order to determine the direct responsibilities of this aggression, the most serious in the political history of our country for its implications. They tried to provoke a chaos in our homeland, they tried to rip the State’s head off to justify a domestic struggle, a domestic violence and justify the activation of mechanisms beyond the United Nations multilateral system, of a military intervention as occurred in other countries in the past.

Officially, Venezuela proposes -Ambassador, Minister for Foreign Relations – to conduct an independent international investigation to determine the truth about these events. I have expressed to the Government of United States – who has denied its participation in the preparation and execution of these attempts -, that it will be great if they heed my call to include high-level FBI professionals and scientists in this investigation to clarify and help the Venezuelan justice to find the truth.

When I arrived in New York this the afternoon, I heard that some journalists had asked President Donald Trump if he was willing to meet with Maduro (that’s how people call me) with Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela. Apparently, President Donald Trump in one of his today’s interventions said that if it helps Venezuela, he was willing to do so. Well, I ratify on this platform, that despite the great historical differences, ideological and social differences – since I am a worker, a bus driver, a man of the people, I am not a rich man, I am not a millionaire – despite all the differences deemed as enormous, the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro Moros, is willing to shake hands with the U.S President. I am willing to sit and talk about the bilateral differences and the matters of our region.

I believe so. Venezuela is a friendly country. Venezuelans do not hate the United States; on the contrary, we appreciate the United States, their culture, their arts, their society. We differ from the imperial concepts that took over the political power in Washington since the foundation of that nation.
In 1826, our Liberator Simon Bolivar said prophetically: “The United States appear to be destined by Providence to plague America with hunger and misery in the name of liberty”.

It was a prophetic vision. It was hard to see at early times the future in the 20th century. Do we have differences President Donald Trump? Of course we do. But differences lead to dialogue. Those who are different are called to put their good will and words on the table. President Donald Trump said he is worried about Venezuela, that he wants to help Venezuela.

Well, I am willing to talk, with an open agenda about the topics that the United States Government wants to discuss, with humility, frankness and honesty. As president of the Non-Aligned Movement, Venezuela raises the flags of dialogue among civilizations. As president of the Non-Aligned Movement, Venezuela permanently promotes and practices the political and international dialogue, the solution of the international conflicts through the dialogue, the understanding and the pacific uses of politics and not by force.

Venezuela is significantly experienced in bodies such as OPEC, to manage situations of divergence and build consensus and agreements. Recently, in Algeria, we attended the meeting of the OPEC monitoring committee. It was an extraordinary meeting with the representatives of the monitoring committee, since we are part of it, and the representatives of 24 States with the greatest oil reserves and producers of the world. And despite the cultural, political, geostrategic and geopolitical differences, we reached an agreement, a single voice to continue stabilizing the oil market at fair, reasonable and stable prices.

We believe in the political dialogue as a way to find solutions and solve conflicts. They have tried to demonize the Bolivarian Revolution through an unprecedented brutal campaign. First, against Commander Hugo Chavez Frias, founder of our Revolution and eternal commander in the heart of Venezuelans, and then against this humble man who is standing here, bringing the voice of a people that supports its Revolution and democratically supports its actions.

Therefore, I reaffirm the desire for international and national political dialogue. I know that governments represented in this room are interested in reaching peace with sovereignty, independence and justice in Venezuela. I welcome all those from Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America who wish to help respecting the country’s sovereignty, without interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs so that they can support us, join us in a process of sovereign dialogue for Venezuela’s peace, democracy, justice, future and prosperity; a noble nation which deserves peace, a future and the best.

We bring good news from a country that has not given up and shall not do so. Good news from a nation that is consolidating its democracy; good news from a country that is building its own social model, its own welfare state by means of new formulas to protect its elders, its pensioners, its children, its young people, its women, the neediest sectors, its working class. We also bring good news regarding the efforts for an economic recovery; in fact, I activated, in August, an Economic Recovery, Growth and Prosperity Program which is succeeding in placing the bases of a new economy, not dependent on oil revenues, a diversified economy, of sustainable growth and prosperity building, heading towards a new kind of social model.

We believe in a different world; our generation witnessed the so-called bipolar world, the so-called Cold War which some apparently want to bring back again through attacks against China, Russia and modest countries like Venezuela. However, provoking a fight against countries like Russia and China is a contradiction of what a humanitarian international policy should be, meaning one which recognizes the emergence of new poles of power and the need to build a multipolar world.

Venezuela is a country which advocates for and is committed to the construction of a pluripolar and multicentric world, where all the different regions (Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, Europe, and North America) can live together in balance and peace, respecting our cultures, religions, idiosyncrasies, identities and economic and political models. There is not a unique economic model; we must not allow the imposition of a single cultural model, a single political model; they intend to impose a single thought for humanity. I say no. We vindicate the cultural, religious and political diversity of humanity of this world. Therefore, in the Non-aligned Movement, we advocate for the emergence of such a world of justice.
We assume and declare our solidarity with the Arab people of Palestine; justice shall arrive to Palestine so that their historic territories, established in 1967 by this United Nations Organization, are respected.

We carry with us the flag of the Palestinian people. We support the UN call for an end to the infamous and criminal 50-year-blockade against the Cuban people. We have had enough of anachronistic methods that they intend to continue imposing against the Cuban people, and now against other peoples like Venezuela.

So we raise our two hands to vote on the United Nations Resolution, which in the next few days will be carried out to reject the blockade and economic-financial persecution against Cuba, and demand its immediate lifting, in a world to be built, in a world to be made.

200 years ago, our region was plagued by colonies, slavery and injustice. 100 years ago, as peoples, we struggled for freedom. Today, in the 21st century, the moment has come, the opportunity has come. Undoubtedly, in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, with Simon Bolivar’s revolutionary ideas, with the example and legacy of Commander Hugo Chavez – whose voice still resonates here in this room demanding justice and justice for the world, demanding the cessation of the imperial practices of threats, coercion and extortion against peoples – we can say that in 20 years of revolution, the last 3 have been the hardest years: years of harassment, aggressions and attacks.

Today, on September 26th, 2018, I can say that we have faced political, media, diplomatic, economic and financial persecutions, but I also can say that today Venezuela is stronger than ever. We have learnt how to resist and draw the strength from our historic roots to stand up, victorious and willing to continue advancing in the construction of our own social model, which it is the Socialist Revolution of the 21st century; we say it to the four winds, it is a new revolution, of independence, dignity and justice.

Today, we are stronger than ever. Yes, I was a witness, we were witnesses two days ago of the tribute to Nelson Mandela; speaking about Mandela is speaking about rebellion. Many people have tried to create a wrong picture of Mandela like a dump person, somebody who did not fight. Mandela is synonym of rebellion against injustice, bravery, courage and the challenge to the oppressors. We are followers of Nelson Mandela’s legacy and the great African leaders who have raised the struggle for equality, justice and against slavery, racism and colonialism in all its forms.

We saw the tribute to Nelson Mandela and we thought how much this world has changed. Just 30 years ago Mandela was considered a terrorist by the United States Congress and the North American governments. Just a few years ago Nelson Mandela was still on the list of sanctioned people. It may sound familiar to you: Nelson Mandela, the terrorist, the sanctioned, the persecuted, and the abandoned. The world has changed a lot since then. Currently, Nelson Mandela is a flag that we embrace with love, with conviction. He is a symbol of what it is possible to do if the rebellion, the struggle, and justice are able to conquer the noble hearts and minds of the peoples.

I trust in the future of humanity, in the destiny of my country, in the common future of this community represented here in the United Nations Organization, and I must say, after having resisted coup d’état attempts, terrorist attacks, that: I trust the human being, the future of humanity. Venezuela says to the United Nations: We trust in the noble ideals of the Venezuelan people that do not give up, and will not surrender. Thank you very much, dear compatriots of the world. Count on Venezuela for the great causes of the future of this organization, and the future of a multipolar world! Good evening to all of you, thank you.

Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez addresses the UN General Assembly

President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez addresses the UN General Assembly Photo: Cubadebate

Madam President:

Mister Secretary-General:

It is impossible to be here, speak from this rostrum on behalf of Cuba, and not recall historic moments of the General Assembly which are also part of our dearest memories: Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Raúl Castro and the “Chancellor of Dignity”, Raúl Roa, just to mention the most significant, have brought here not only the voice of our people but also the voice of other Latin American and Caribbean, African, Asian, non-aligned peoples, with whom we have shared more than half a century of struggles for a fair international order, which is still far off being attained.

It is absurd but consistent with the irrationality of a world in which the richest 0.7% of the population owns 46% of all the wealth, while the poorer 70% of the population can access only 2.7% of it; 3.460 billion people survive in poverty; 815 million go hungry; 758 million are illiterate and 844 million lack basic services of drinking water. All these figures, by the way, are prepared and regularly used by global organizations, but it seems that they have failed to raise sufficient awareness of the so-called international community.

These realities, Madam President, are not the result of socialism, like the President of the United States said yesterday here. They are the consequence of capitalism, especially imperialism and neoliberalism; of the selfishness and exclusion that is inherent to that system, and of an economic, political, social and cultural paradigm that privileges wealth accumulation in the hands of a few at the cost of the exploitation and dire poverty of the large majorities.

Capitalism consolidated colonialism. It gave birth to fascism, terrorism and apartheid and spread wars and conflicts; the breaches of sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples; repression of workers, minorities, refugees and migrants. Capitalism is the opposite of solidarity and democratic participation. The production and consumption patterns that characterize it, promote plundering, militarism, threats to peace; they generate violations of human rights and are the greatest danger to the ecological balance of the planet and the survival of the human being.

No one should be deceived by anybody claiming that humanity lacks enough material, financial and technological resources to eradicate poverty, hunger, preventable diseases and other scourges. What is lacking is the political will of the industrialized countries, who have the moral duty, the historical responsibility and the abundant resources to solve the most pressing global problems.

The truth is that while it is claimed that there is a shortfall in funding to attain the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda or address the increasing impact of climate change, 1.74 trillion dollars were wasted in military expenditure in the year 2017, the highest figure since the end of the Cold War.

Climate change is another unavoidable reality and a matter of survival for the human species, particularly for Small Island Developing States. Some of its effects are already irreversible.

Scientific evidence indicates there is an increase of 1.1° C relative to pre-industrial levels, and that 9 out of 10 persons living in urban areas breathe polluted air.

However, the United States, one of the major polluters of yesteryear and today, refuses to accompany the international community in the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. It thus endangers the lives of future generations and the survival of all species, including humans.

In addition, and as if there were not enough threats to humanity and its dazzling creations, it is a fact that the military and nuclear hegemonism of imperialism is perpetuating itself and expanding to the detriment of the hopes of the majority of peoples for a general and complete disarmament. Cuba shares this ideal and, as testament of its commitment with this goal, on January 31, it became the fifth State to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

In this organization that was born out of the human desire to overcome the destruction left by a terrible war with the dialogue between nations, it is not possible to keep quiet about the danger looming over all of us, with the exacerbation of local conflicts, wars of aggression disguised as “humanitarian interventions”, the forceful overthrow of sovereign governments, the so-called “soft coups” and interference in other States’ internal affairs, recurrent forms of action by some powers, using the most diverse excuses.

The international cooperation for the promotion and protection of all human rights for all is a must. However, its discriminatory and selective manipulation with claims of domination, violates the rights to peace, self-determination and development of the peoples.

Cuba rejects the militarization of outer space and cyberspace, as well as the covert and illegal use of the information and communication technologies to attack other states.

The exercise of multilateralism and full respect for the principles and rules of International Law to advance towards a multipolar, democratic and equitable world, are required in order to ensure peaceful coexistence, preserve international peace and security and find lasting solutions for systemic problems.

Against that logic, the threat or use of force, unilateralism, pressures, retaliations and sanctions which increasingly characterize the behavior and rhetoric of the U.S. government and its abusive use of the veto power in the Security Council in order to impose their political agenda, pose huge challenges and threats within the United Nations itself.

Why don’t we just implement the promised strengthening of the General Assembly as the main organ of deliberation, decision and representation. The reform of the Security Council must not be delayed or prevented, as this organ is in need of adjusting to the times by democratizing its membership and working methods.

Today we have come to reiterate what Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz said on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the UN, which summarizes the most noble aspiration of the majority of humanity, and I quote: “We want a world without hegemonistic practices, without nuclear weapons, without interventionism, without racism, without national or religious hatred, without violations of the sovereignty of any country, with respect for independence and the free self-determination of peoples, without universal models that do not take into account the traditions and cultures of all components of humanity at all. Without cruel blockades that kill men, women, children, the young, and the elderly like silent atomic bombs”.

More than 20 years have elapsed since that demand was made and none of those ills have been cured; in fact, they have exacerbated. We have every right to ask why. And we have the duty to insist on effective and equitable solutions.

Madam President:

Our America is currently undergoing a stage of persistent threats, inconsistent with the “Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace”, signed in Havana by the Heads of States and Government on the occasion of the 2nd Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, in 2014.

The current U.S. administration has proclaimed the relevance of the Monroe Doctrine and, in a new deployment of its imperial policy in the region, is attacking Venezuela with special cruelty.

It is in this threatening context that we wish to reiterate our absolute support to the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution, the civic-military union of the Venezuelan people and its legitimate and democratic government, led by the constitutional President Nicolas Maduros Moros. We reject the intervention attempts and sanctions against Venezuela, aimed at suffocating her economically and hurting Venezuelan families.

We likewise reject the attempts at destabilizing the Nicaraguan government, a country of peace that has made remarkable social, economic and public safety progress in favor of its people.

We denounce the politically-motivated imprisonment of former president Luiz Incicio Lula da Silva, and the decision to prevent the people from voting and electing Brazil’s most popular leader to the Presidency.

We stand in solidarity with the Caribbean nations who demand legitimate reparation for the horrible effects of slavery as well as the fair, special and differential treatment that they deserve.

We reaffirm our historic commitment with the self-determination and independence of our brother people of Puerto Rico.

We support Argentina’s legitimate sovereignty claim over the Malvinas Islands, South Sandwich and South Georgia Islands.

We reiterate our unrestricted support to a comprehensive, just and lasting solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of the creation of two States, allowing the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and to have an independent and sovereign State based upon the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We reject the unilateral action of the United States to establish their diplomatic representation in the city of Jerusalem, which heightens even more the tensions in the region. We condemn the barbarities of the Israeli forces against the civilian population in Gaza.

We reaffirm our steadfast solidarity with the Saharan people, and support the search for a final solution to the question of Western Sahara, which will allow the exercise of self-determination and to live in peace in their territory.

We support the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the situation imposed in

Syria, without foreign interference and with full respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We reject any direct or indirect intervention, carried out without the legitimate authorities of the country.

The continued expansion of NATO towards Russian borders is causing serious threats, worsened by the imposition of arbitrary sanctions, which we reject.

We demand compliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear deal.

We welcome the process of rapprochement and dialogue among the Koreas. This is the way to achieve a lasting peace, reconciliation and stability in the Korean peninsula. At the same time, we strongly condemn the imposition of unilateral and unfair sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and foreign interference in Korean internal affairs.

The violations of the rules of international trade and the sanctions against China, the European Union and other countries will bring about harmful effects, particularly for developing States.

We favor dialogue and cooperation, thanks to which we can report today that the Cuba-EU Agreement on Political Dialogue and Cooperation has provisionally entered into force and is a good foundation to develop beneficial ties between the Parties.

Madam President:

The government of the U.S. maintains an aggressive rhetoric towards Cuba and a policy aimed at subverting the political, economic, social, and cultural system in my country. Contrary to the interests of both peoples and giving in to the pressures of minority sectors, the new U.S. government has devoted itself to artificially fabricate under false pretexts, scenarios of tension and hostility that serve nobody’s interests.

This in contrast to the fact that we have formal diplomatic relations and mutually beneficial cooperation programs in a limited number of areas.

Our peoples share increasingly closer historic and cultural bonds, which are expressed in the arts, sports, science, the environment, among others. The potential for a fluent business relationship is well known and a genuine and respectful understanding would be in the interest of the entire region.

However, the essential and defining element of the bilateral relationship continues to be the blockade, which seeks to suffocate the Cuban economy in order to generate hardships and disrupt the constitutional order. It is a cruel policy, punishing Cuban families and the entire Nation.

It is the most comprehensive and long-standing system of economic sanctions ever implemented against any country. It has been and continues to be a major obstacle to the country’s development and to the realization of the aspirations to progress and well-being of several generations of Cubans.

As has been said for so many years in this same place, due to its aggressive extraterritorial implementation, the blockade seriously damages the sovereignty and interests of all countries.

On behalf of the Cuban people, I would like to thank this General Assembly for the virtually unanimous rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against my country.

Nevertheless, the actions of the U.S. government against my country go farther. They include public and covert programs of gross interference in Cuba’s internal affairs. To this end, tens of millions of dollars that are officially allocated in its budget are used, in violation of the standards and principles upon which this organization rests, and in particular, of Cuba’s sovereignty as an independent nation.

Cuba stands ready to develop respectful and civilized relations with the U.S. government on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect. This is the will of the Cuban people and we know this is a shared aspiration by most U.S. citizens and, particularly, by Cubans living there.

We shall continue to tirelessly demand the end of the cruel economic, commercial and financial blockade, the return of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base and adequate compensation to our people for the thousands of dead and disabled and for the economic and property damages caused to Cuba over so many years of aggression.

Cuba will always be willing to engage in dialogue and cooperate on the basis of respect and an equal footing. We shall never make concessions affecting our sovereignty and national independence, we shall not negotiate our principles nor shall we accept conditionalities.

In spite of the blockade, the hostility and the actions carried out by the United States to impose a regime change in Cuba, the Cuban Revolution is right here, alive and strong, faithful to her principles!

Madam President:

The generational change in our government should not raise the hopes of the enemies of the Revolution. We are the continuity, not a rupture. Cuba has continued taking steps to improve its model of economic and social development in order to build a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable Nations. This is the path that our people has freely chosen.

The country will not go back to the opprobrious past that it shook off with the greatest sacrifices during 150 years of struggle for independence and full dignity. By the decision of the overwhelming majority of Cubans, we shall continue the work that started almost 60 years ago.

In this conviction, we began a constitutional reform process, a truly participatory and democratic exercise, through popular discussion of the draft which will eventually be approved in a referendum. I am certain that there will be no changes in our strategic objectives and that the irrevocable nature of socialism will be ratified.

The principles of foreign policy will remain unchanged. As the First Secretary of our Party, Raúl Castro Ruz, said in his statement on the occasion of the 70 anniversary of the United Nations, and I quote: “The international community will always be able to count on the Cuba’s sincere voice against injustice, inequality, underdevelopment, discrimination and manipulation; and for the establishment of a fairer and more equitable international order, truly focused on human beings, their dignity and well-being”.

The Cuba on behalf of which I speak today is the proud successor of that independent, sovereign, fraternal and solidarity policy with the poorest of this world, producers of all the wealth on the planet, although the unequal global order has sentenced them with dire poverty on behalf of words like democracy, freedom and human rights, words which the rich have actually emptied of meaning.

It has been exciting and pleasant to take the floor at the same rostrum from which Fidel expressed powerful truths 58 years ago that still continue to shake us, in front of representatives of more than 190 nations who, rejecting extortion and pressures, every year fill the voting screen of worthy green lights of approval for our demand for the end of the blockade.

I bid you farewell in the hope that the noble aspirations of most of Humanity will be achieved before younger generations take this rostrum to demand the same as we do today, and our historic predecessors did in yesteryear.

Thank you very much.

Maduro Might Not Attend UNGA over Security Concerns

Source: TeleSUR
September 19 2018

Venezuela

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro gestures as he talks to the media during
a news conference at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Sept. 18, 2018.
| Photo: Reuters

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he may not attend the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York over fear of his life.

During Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s press conference Tuesday (Sept. 18) he says he is unsure of whether he’ll participate in the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York that starts this week for safety concerns.

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“You know they have me in their sights to kill me … I want to go to New York, but I have to take care of my security,” Maduro said at a news conference, without elaborating.

Maduro has several times accused Venezuelan ex-military officers of conspiring to overthrow his government with the help of U.S factions based out of Florida. The head of state has also said that Colombian right-wing factions are also to blame for the attempt on his life.

Venezuela’s president survived an attack on his life during a military parade celebrating the 81st anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard in the capital of Caracas on Aug. 4. “They have tried to assassinate me today, and everything points to the Venezuelan ultra-right and the Colombian ultra-right,” Maduro said the same day.

Seven soldiers were injured in the event. Dozens of suspects have been arrested, including several military officials.

The New York Times reported on Sept. 8 that U.S. officials met with Venezuelan military officers as part of an attempt by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to carry out an intervention and a coup against Maduro’s government.

In recent days the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro hinted toward military action against Venezuela. During a three-day visit to Colombia, the secretary general said: “As for a military intervention (in Venezuela) we should not rule out any option. … Diplomatic action is the place to start, but we must not rule out any actions.”

After being denounced by the communist party of his own country of Uruguay, Bolivian President Evo Morales, and even the right-wing Lima Group, Almagro denied saying he made any mention of military action in the South American country. He then compared the economic situation in Venezuela with the Rwandan genocide.

Maduro has not attended a General Assembly since 2015. The 73rd session began Tuesday and will run until Sept. 30.

U.S. blockade overwhelmingly rejected at United Nations

Source:  Granma
September 27 2017

By : International news staff | informacion@granma.cu

Although the world is facing many challenges – climate change, earthquakes, hurricanes, and the threat of nuclear war – rejection of the U.S. blockade of Cuba was heard loud and clear in the UN high level debate, which concluded September 25

us blockade rejected sept 2017.jpgPhoto: TELESUR

U.S. blockade overwhelmingly rejected at United Nations

  • THE UNITED NATIONS.- Although the world is currently facing many challenges – climate change, earthquakes, hurricanes, pandemics, and the threat of nuclear war – rejection of the United States economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba was heard loud and clear in the high level segment of the UN General Assembly, which concluded September 25.
    Several countries expressed their support for Cuba during the plenary session. For example, Jorge Arreaza, Foreign Minister of Venezuela – one of the nations that has been most affected by the United States’ interventionist foreign policy – described as unilateral and illegal the economic measures imposed by Washington on his country and nations like Cuba, which has suffered under the blockade for over 50 years.

Uruguay, Mozambique, Angola, Nicaragua, Timor-Leste, Vietnam

During the same session, Uruguayan Foreign Minister, Rodolfo Nin Novoa; Antonio Gumande, Mozambique’s permanent representative to the UN; Gaspar Ismael Martins, Angolan Ambassador to the UN; Deputy Foreign Minister of Nicaragua and the country’s permanent representative to the UN, María Rubiales; as well as Timor-Leste’s permanent representative, María Helena Pires, all called for an end to the blockade.
Vietnam’s Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minh, stated that the unilateral policy against Cuba is inappropriate and called for its immediate lifting.

Belize, Lao

Likewise, Wilfred Elrington, minister of Foreign Relations of Belize, noted that for over half a century the Cuban people have been the victims of an unjust, flagrant, and illegal unilateral embargo.
Foreign Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Saleumxay Kommasith, described the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States as positive, going on to express the country’s hope that such efforts will intensify and soon lead to the lifting of the blockade, which will not only provide real benefits for both peoples but also the world in general.

Sao Tomé and Príncipe

President of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tomé and Príncipe, Evaristo do Espirito Santo Carvalho, expressed his nations desire to renew the call for the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, as well as the lifting of the blockade, which has inhibited the island’s development for decades.

Dominica

Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, one of the Caribbean islands devastated by recent hurricanes, expressed his solidarity with Cuba and other countries of the region affected by this natural phenomenon.

Cambodia, Barbados, Niger, Tanzania, St. Kitts & Nevis

Other leaders, including Prak Sokhonn, Cambodian Minister of Foreign Relations and Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean, Foreign Minister of Barbados, also expressed their support for Cuba at the UN.

Ibrahim Yacoubou, Niger’s Foreign Minister; Augustine Phillip Mahiga, Minister of Foreign Relations of the United Republic of Tanzania; and Mark Anthony Brantley, Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Foreign Minister, called for an end to the blockade during the plenary session.

Bahamas, Laos, DPRK, Surinam, Granada, Jamaica, Chad, Trinidad & Tobago, Burundi

Some 20 heads of state or government and foreign ministers also called for the lifting of the U.S. blockade of Cuba, prior to the high level segment.
For example, Foreign ministers of the Bahamas, Darren Henfield; Laos, Saleumxay Kommasith; the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ri Yong Ho; Surinam, Yidiz Pollack-Beigle; Grenada, Elvin Nimrod; and Jamaica, Kamina Johnson-Smith, all called on the U.S. to put an end to its inhumane policy; as did ministers of Foreign Affairs of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Mark Anthony Brantley; Chad, Hissein Brahim Taha; Tanzania, Augustine Philip Mahiga; Niger, Ibrahim Yacoubou; Trinidad and Tobago, Dennis Moses; and Burundi, Alain Aimé Nyamitwe.

Meanwhile, Pollack-Beigle, speaking before the forum, recalled that the entire world rejects the sanctions imposed on Cuba by 11 successive U.S. administrations.
During his speech Brantley defended the Cuban people’s right to live in dignity and peace, while Moses warned that the U.S. blockade constitutes a threat to the island’s sustainable development.

For his part, Taha described the over 50 year-long blockade as unjust and counterproductive, especially given the reestablishment of bilateral relations between Havana and Washington.

Johnson-Smith also highlighted the unjust nature of U.S. sanctions “which have limited the capacity of a hard-working people to participate in legitimate trade, travel, and realize international financial transactions.”

Last year, not a single nation voted against the resolution to put an end to the blockade which has proven unproductive from all angles, stated Suriname’s representative, who went on to describe the hostile policy as a violation of international law, sovereignty and self-determination. (PL)