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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Cuban UN delegation condemns the effects of sanctions on development

In a statement on the "right to development", the Cuban delegation noted the "effects of criminal unilateral coercive measures imposed by rich countries on some developing countries."

UN General Assembly votes overwhelmingly in favour of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba, November, 2019

On Wednesday, September 17 the United Nations Human Rights Council's Special Rapporteur for the Right to Development, Saad Alfarargi held an interactive dialogue during the council's ongoing session.

As part of this dialogue the Cuban delegation intervened with a statement calling out the role of imperialist sanctions and other attacks as serious factors in inhibiting the right of states to development.

The statement notes the effects of US sanctions on Cuba and other countries. The damage these sanctions have done to Cuba's economy, people and progress is staggering. As Ricky Zhong noted in the Brown Political Review:

According to the United Nations, the embargo has cost Cuba roughly $130 billion in economic value over 6 decades. Although this number may seem negligible, it is in fact about one and a half times Cuba’s annual GDP of $87 billion. At the same time, the US International Trade Commission estimates that if the US lifts the embargo, the U.S. export of select agricultural sectors and all manufactured products to Cuba would increase by about $1.8 billion annually. During Cuba’s economic crisis last year, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel blamed Trump’s tightening sanctions, which he claimed severely limited their economic growth.

The statement also calls out American attacks on Cuba's internationalist health brigades that have "saved over 80,000 lives since 2005 and have helped to fight COVID-19 in 27 countries so far." There is a global movement right now to see the brigades awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The statement is addressed to the president of the council, Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger. We have translated it from the Spanish.

Madam president:
We appreciate the presentation of the report of the Special Rapporteur. We agree with Mr. Alfarargi that even before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, states had significant difficulties in mobilizing resources to finance development and realize their right to development.
In some cases, these structural difficulties are compounded by the effects of criminal unilateral coercive measures imposed by rich countries on some developing countries. This is the case of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States against Cuba, which has lasted for 6 decades and is getting worse and worse.
Madam president:
There can be no right to development without the right to health. The insulting campaign unleashed by the US government since last year against Cuba's international medical collaboration is immoral and unacceptable. Cuba is proud of the more than 400,000 Cuban health professionals, who have served missions throughout 56 years on all continents.
Madam president:
While the mobilization of national resources is prescribed, the industrialized countries, with exceptions, continue to fail to comply with their commitment to contribute to Official Development Assistance. These defaults are accompanied by multimillion-dollar sums dedicated to arms and financial speculation.
International resources to finance development do exist, but they are earmarked for the expansionist priorities of the hegemonic powers.
Thank you very much.


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