The Blockade is an Act of Economic War in Peacetime

Speech by Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs to the United Nations

Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla
Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla

By Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla


The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed, as never before, the true essence of the unjust and unsustainable prevailing international order.

Humanity never had this formidable scientific-technical potential, nor this extraordinary capacity to generate wealth and well-being, and yet, never before has the world been so unequal and inequality so profound.

Eight hundred and twenty-eight million people, 10% of the world’s population, suffer from hunger, and about 50 million children suffer from wasting, the deadliest form of malnutrition.

Unemployment will affect 207 million people in 2022, 21 million more than in 2019. In the middle of the fourth industrial revolution, 773 million human beings do not know how to read or write.

About 6.5 million people have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccines to deal with it are inaccessible to a billion people in low-income countries. In 2021, pharmaceutical transnationals earned $84,588 million.

The foreign debt has been paid several times, but it multiplies. Paradoxically, global military spending is growing rapidly and exceeds two billion dollars for the first time.

There is no justification for humanity to continue to be threatened by the existence of almost 13,000 nuclear weapons. We advocate for the universality of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

How much more could we do if these resources were used to promote health and development? How many deaths from COVID-19 and other causes could have been avoided? How many children would be saved from hunger and preventable or curable diseases?

Mr. President:

Greenhouse gasses recorded record concentrations in 2021, and it will be the same in 2022. The average sea level has reached a new high. The last seven years are the warmest ever registered.

We can’t continue ignoring the alarms that warn about the imminent climate catastrophe. We have only one Earth, the only home of all, rich and poor. We have to act without further delay.

The “philosophy of war and dispossession,” and the irrational patterns of production and consumption of capitalism, denounced by President Fidel Castro, will lead to catastrophe.

International relations are on a very dangerous path. The American offensive aimed at subjugating States through economic, military and political-diplomatic threat and coercion, to subject them to an order based on their capricious rules, together with the expansion of NATO and the development of an aggressive doctrine and the fifth-generation unconventional war, inevitably lead to a climate of tension and conflict, the consequences of which are unpredictable.

Mr. President:

Cuba, a small island developing state, has paid a high price for defending its legitimate right to exist as a sovereign and independent nation.

For more than six decades we have resisted a ruthless and unilateral economic, commercial and financial blockade that has intensified to extreme extent, at unprecedented levels since 2019 and during the pandemic.

Thirty years after the first resolution of this Assembly against the blockade, the Government of the United States continues to ignore the almost unanimous demand of the international community to cease its illegal and cruel policy against Cuba.

The effort persists to generate material shortages, scarcity, suffering, sow discouragement, dissatisfaction and cause damage to the Cuban people.

The Government of the United States reinforces the pressures on governments, banking institutions and companies around the world interested in interacting with Cuba, and obsessively pursues all sources of income and entry of foreign currency into the country, to provoke economic collapse.

As a result, the Cuban economy has experienced extraordinary pressures, which are manifested in industry, the provision of services, the shortage of food and medicine and the deterioration of the level of consumption and general well-being of the population.

The human damage that this policy generates for all Cuban families, impossible to quantify, is enormous, cruel and immoral.

The blockade is an act of economic war in peacetime.

The current Government of the United States maintains the most aggressive pressure measures against our country adopted by President Donald Trump’s government.

The unjustified inclusion of Cuba in the arbitrary and unilateral list issued by the State Department of countries that are supposed to sponsor terrorism continues.

This slanderous rating imposes a stigma on our entities and institutions, and makes financial and commercial transactions extremely difficult, and the possibilities of payments and credits.

Cuba, which has been a victim of state terrorism, never promotes and will never promote terrorism. On the contrary, we condemn it in all its forms and manifestations.

The United States Government deals with opportunism with high sensitivity issues such as terrorism, religion, democracy, justice, corruption and human rights.

Double standards, incoherence, selectivity, political manipulation, damage the cause of human rights.

The previous speech of the Czech Foreign Minister, who does not dare to mention the crime of the blockade of Cuba, is a sad example.

We have clearly warned the Government of the United States that the factors that encourage irregular migration and cause loss of life must be solved, such as the failure, on its part, since 2017, of its obligation, according to the bilateral agreements in force, to grant no less than 20,000 visas per year for migrants; the existence of the Cuban Adjustment Act, privileged treatment with political motivation, restrictive pressures on regular transit countries and the reinforced economic blockade.

Today’s announcement that the processing of migrant visas will return to the United States Embassy in Havana, is a positive step.

Cuba reiterates its willingness to move towards a better understanding with the Government of the United States, and to develop civilized and even cooperative relations between the two countries, on the basis of mutual respect, sovereign equality, and without prejudice to our independence and sovereignty, despite profound differences.

We highlight the valuable commitment and recent demonstrations by Cubans and descendants of Cubans in all latitudes and in this country, of respect for Cuba’s sovereign rights, and the rejection of the ruthless aggression of the United States, in particular the economic blockade.

I also deeply appreciate the statements of Heads of State and Government in this general debate, the historical support of this Assembly and the expressions of solidarity with Cuba by governments, personalities, political organizations and solidarity, social and popular movements around the world.

Today, that solidarity and support are still essential.

Mr. President:

Despite the enormous challenges, the Cuban people and government have not ceased in their efforts to advance in the construction of a more just, democratic, prosperous and sustainable socialist society.

We defeated COVID-19 with resources, our own vaccines, and the strength of our Public Health and science system. We were able to collaborate modestly with the sending of 58 medical brigades, at the worst moment of the pandemic, to 42 countries and territories.

We work to recover the economic and social life of the country; support the transformation of our communities, and sustain and expand social programs.

We continue to improve our legal system, of our socialist state of law and social justice, to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights for all Cuban women and men, and to enrich the social justice system that several generations have enjoyed.

On September 25, after an extensive process of participation and popular consultation, the legislative referendum on a novel and inclusive Families Code will take place. It will be an exercise of genuine direct democracy and effective power of the Cuban people.

Mr. President:

The “unity in diversity” proposed by then President Raúl Castro, is possible in the countries of the South and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which is becoming increasingly strengthened, and is creating the conditions for our region to move towards higher forms of integration and cooperation, based on the postulates of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.

We appreciate the dignified position taken by several countries in our region in the face of arbitrary exclusions in hemispheric forums.

We renew our support and solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, its constitutional president, Nicolás Maduro Moros, and the civic-military unity of its people, in the face of attempts to destabilize and subvert the internal order of that sister country. We reject the application of unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela.

We denounce the imperialist attempts to destabilize the Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of Nicaragua. We reiterate our firm support for the sister Nicaraguan people and its president, Daniel Ortega.

We stand in solidarity with the Caribbean sisters and support their legitimate demand for reparation for the harmful effects of colonialism and slavery. They need and deserve to receive fair, special and differentiated treatment.

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

Haiti needs a special contribution from the international community for its reconstruction and development. Humanity owes a debt to that founding Republic.

We support the legitimate claim of President Alberto Fernández and the people, of the sovereignty of the Republic of Argentina over the Falkland Islands, South Sandwich and South Georgia, and the surrounding maritime spaces.

We express our total solidarity with the Argentine vice president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who, victim of unjust and unfounded judicial and media harassment, recently suffered a vile assassination attempt.

We reiterate our firm commitment to peace in Colombia. The manifest readiness for peace of the current President Gustavo Petro, and the parties concerned, deserve the support of the region and the international community.

The necessary resources must be provided to support the Agenda 2063 of the African Union, which sets out the road map for the development of that sister continent.

We advocate the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the imposed situation on Syria, and we demand the cessation of external interference and full respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We support a just, comprehensive, and lasting solution to the Middle East conflict, which guarantees the real exercise of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to build their own state within the pre-1967 borders, with their capital in East Jerusalem, and the end of the Israeli occupation of the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories.

We reaffirm our invariable solidarity with the Saharawi people.

We reject the unilateral coercive measures imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

We condemn the imposition of unjust unilateral economic measures against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and external interference in its affairs.

We oppose interference in the internal affairs of the Republic of Belarus.

We reaffirm our rejection of the imposition of unilateral sanctions against the Russian Federation.

We condemn the unfounded campaigns of discredit against the People’s Republic of China and the attempts to damage its territorial integrity and sovereignty. We reiterate our unwavering support for the One China principle.

We advocate a serious, constructive and realistic diplomatic solution to the current war in Ukraine, by peaceful means and in accordance with the rules of international law, which guarantees the security and sovereignty of all.

Mr. President:

Cuba will continue to raise its voice to reject domination and hegemony, unilateral coercive measures, genocidal blockades and the intention to impose one culture and one model on the world.

We will never renounce the defense of the independence, sovereignty and self-determination of peoples, without foreign interference or intervention.

For our glorious past, for the present and future of the new generations of Cubans, with the leadership of President Miguel Díaz-Canel, we will resist creatively and fight tirelessly until we achieve our dreams of peace and development, with equity and social justice for Cuba and for the world.

Thank you very much.

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