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Cuban Ambassador: Cuba is facing two pandemics at once due to the US economic embargo

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Posted: Wednesday, June 23, 2021. 6:13 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: Today, the majority of United Nations countries voted for the 29th time to end the United States embargo on Cuba, which the Cuban Ambassador to Belize, Her Excellency Lissette Perez Perez, describes as a “second pandemic” for the country to fight.

There were 184 countries of a total of 193, that voted to end the embargo which has been in place since 1958; however, the US voted against the resolution of the General Assembly to end the embargo, maintaining the stance of the former Trump administration, as opposed to abstaining which was done under the Obama Administration.

H.E. Perez said that the overwhelming support from the international community stands as a testament that the embargo is wrong and that the level of support is even more important in the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“What is happening with this policy is immoral and is against international law,” Perez said. “Cuba is suffering a pandemic and also it’s suffering another virus, that is the blockade.”

She stressed that the embargo, which had an additional 214 measures placed against the country at the end of the Trump administration, not only limits Cuba’s ability to do business with the world but also limits access to essentials such as medicines and food that can help the country in its national pandemic response.

She went on to say that the embargo is the greatest obstacle for the development of Cuba and that the international community’s show of support today sends a clear message that other countries are also being affected by not being able to do business with Cuba due to the possibility of sanctions by the US.

“They included Cuba in a lot of unilateral lists that they created to prevent others to trade and have business with Cuba,” Perez said. “They included Cuba in a list (that says we) cosponsored terrorism, that is immoral and illegal…and this is not the only one (list) there are several.”

Explaining the “no” vote, the US Mission’s political coordinator, Rodney Hunter said that sanctions are a legitimate way to achieve the US’s foreign policy, national security, and other national and international objectives.

Hunter added that the sanctions are “one set of tools in our broader effort toward Cuba to advance democracy, promote respect for human rights, and help the Cuban people exercise the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

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