Economic, commercial and financial sanctions, as a means to exert pressure on a country, do not solve the current crisis, but rather add fuel to the fire and aggravate the international economic situation
Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee First Secretary and President of the Republic cited three elements that are sustaining and aggravating the world’s current difficulties, during his closing remarks at the Ministry of Culture’s annual review for the year 2021, held at José Martí National Library.
The tightened United States’ economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba; the aggressiveness of the United States internationally; and the uncertainty created by covid-19 were the three issues impacting the current situation he emphasized.
With regard to the blockade, the President said that we are now experiencing a different moment, a particular feature of recent years, “Things began to get very complicated in the second half of 2019, when the Trump administration adopted more than 240 measures that cut off our sources of financing. They placed us on their list of countries that allegedly support terrorism. And all this has been maintained under Joe Biden’s administration,” he explained.
The blockade, he recalled, has caused shortages, financial persecution, persecution of fuel suppliers, in particular, and to this was added the even greater aggressiveness of the U.S. government against Cuba, with a broad media campaign demonizing our country, in an attempt to discredit all elements of the Cuban Revolution, seeking to construct the appearance of total failure, that everything is wrong and everything the country does to mitigate current conditions does nothing to solve the problems, he stated.
The President pointed out that this aggressiveness can be seen in the way the events of July 11 were addressed and the way a play was staged, announcing to the world that on November 15 the Cuban Revolution would collapse, and now they are attempting to distort Cuba’s position with respect to the current events in Europe. This imperialist hostility is not only directed toward Cuba; it is evident at a global level, he noted.
He called for reflection on the fact that we live in a world that needs peace more than ever, at a time when more than twenty countries have not yet been able to vaccinate even 10% of their populations and do not know when they will be able to do so, reminding those present that only 61% of the population worldwide has been fully vaccinated. We know, he said, that until the planet’s population is immunized, the pandemic will continue.
It is never the time to be starting wars, the President said, adding, “They have mounted this aggressive media campaign, attempting to distort the essences. I understand very well that our people are following the current military conflict in Europe and the regrettable loss of human lives, in addition to the material damage and the general threat to peace and regional and international security, but Cuba has expressed itself clearly, firmly and repeatedly, in strict adherence to our foreign policy that is based on the principles of the Revolution, with careful and rigorous analysis of the facts from all angles,” he said.
And this is a serious matter, of extreme complexity, with historical roots, including those of recent history, which cannot be ignored, just as the conditions that have led to this situation cannot be ignored, he said.
“Cuba firmly and consistently defends international law, the United Nations Charter and the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace,” he reaffirmed, assuring that, “We defend peace under all circumstances and unambiguously oppose the use of force against any state.”
As a small country we understand this better than anyone, besieged for more than 60 years. Under constant threat, we have suffered state terrorism, military aggression, biological warfare and a brutal blockade, and we are absolutely clear about the value of the principles of international law that serve as protection against unilateralism, imperialism, hegemonic policies and attempts to dominate developing countries. These are principles and norms that we have defended firmly and consistently in all scenarios. On this occasion, we have denounced political manipulation and double standards, and we have spoken the truth, he said.
An offensive military encirclement has been established around Russia, he said, condemning the fact that, for decades, the U.S. government has progressively expanded its hegemony and military presence in the region, with the continued expansion of NATO in Eastern European countries, ignoring commitments made by U.S., European and Soviet leaders in the 1990s, after the unification of Germany and the disintegration of the USSR, he recalled.
This conflict could have been avoided if the Russian Federation’s well-founded demands for security guarantee had been seriously and respectfully addressed, he said.
Díaz-Canel noted, “To think that Russia should remain passive in the face of NATO’s offensive military encirclement is irresponsible, to say the least. They have taken that country to an extreme situation,” he said, pointing out that the continued use of economic, commercial and financial sanctions as a means to exert pressure on a country, does not solve the current crisis, but rather adds fuel to the fire and aggravates the international economic situation, which has been severely affected by these two difficult years of pandemic, he added.
U.S. imperialism is adding fuel to the fire, he said, but from afar, using European countries as its backyard. Cuba has made this point regularly in different international events, he stated, and recalled the speech delivered by Army General Raúl Castro, on February 22, 2014, in which he emphatically addressed this issue.
As we have reiterated, we will continue to advocate for a serious and constructive diplomatic solution to the current crisis in Europe, advocating peaceful means that guarantee the security and sovereignty of all, as well as regional and international peace, stability and security, he stated. Cuba has been obliged to confront the pandemic under the brutal economic, commercial and financial U.S. blockade, which has been qualitatively escalated since 2019 to an even more damaging level, he noted.
We will have the opportunity to review these highly sensitive issues in greater depth and trust that the people will continue to keep an eye on these events and make the effort required to distinguish truth from manipulation, he stated.