Havana, Oct 23 (IANS) The US trade embargo against Cuba has caused more than $144 billion in losses for the island nation’s economy in the past six decades, Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez said.
The burden of mounting financial, economic and trade sanctions, “for a small economy like Cuba’s, is an overwhelming burden” Xinhua news agency quoted Rodriguez as saying at a press conference while presenting the government’s latest tally of the losses.
The embargo violates human rights and international law, has a negative impact on the whole world, violates rules of trade and navigation, goes against multi-lateralism, and lacks any moral justification, he said.
The blockade, as Cubans call the embargo, because it effectively blocks the island from doing business with other countries, is “an act of genocide and economic warfare” that causes great suffering to the Cuban people and seeks to strangle the national economy by impacting all sectors, he added.
In addition, the sanctions restrict freedom of travel between the two nations, as well as communication, visas and family reunions, said Rodriguez.
In the past two years, the blockade has reached unprecedented levels and increased its extraterritorial reach, violating not just Cuban sovereignty, but also the rights of other nations and citizens around the globe, he noted.
“Not a week goes by without some new additional measure against Cuba and its population being issued in Washington,” said Rodriguez.
As a consequence of the sanctions, it costs Cuba about $2 billion a year to import food, more than double the actual price, he added.
Between April 2019 and March 2020, the blockade caused a record $5.57 billion in economic losses, said the official.
The latest US sanctions against Cuba were imposed late last month.
The new measures prohibits US citizens from lodging at certain properties in Cuba; importing Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products; attending or organizing professional meetings or conferences; and participating in and organizing certain public performances, clinics, workshops, competitions, and exhibitions in the island nation.