The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba approximately 60 years ago constitutes the main obstacle to the development of the country and to the full enjoyment of all the human rights of the Cuban people. The laws and regulation sustaining the blockade policy and kept in force and they are applied with strict rigor by US government agencies including the Department of the Treasury and Commerce and in particular the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Within these legislations, the Helms-Burton Law stands out for the brutal and illegal pressures that it establishes, not only against Cuba, but also against third countries, their governments and companies. Its claims are illegitimate and contrary to International Law and the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, including the rules of the multilateral trading system.
The accumulated damages during almost six decades of application of this policy reach the figure of 138 thousand 843, 4 million dollars, at current prices and exceed 922 thousand 630 million dollars if we take into account the depreciation of the dollar in regards to the price of gold on the international market.
No citizen or sector of the Cuban economy escapes the damages derived from this unilateral policy. In the health sector alone, Cuba lost 160 million dollars in the past year due to US sanctions. This hostile policy hinders the acquisition of technologies, raw materials, reagents, diagnostic means, equipment and spare parts, as well as medicines for the treatment of serious illnesses. These consumables must be bought in faraway markets, in many occasions, through intermediaries, which increase their prices.
Currently, while the Cuban medical collaboration actively participates in solidarity around the world to help combat Covid-19, the insane blockade that the United States imposes on our country is increasingly intensifying.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, an important shipment of face masks and diagnostic kits for this disease from China, donated by the Alibaba company, could not be delivered to Cuba because the US firm hired to transport them declined at the last minute under the argument that the regulations of the blockade prevented it from doing so.
On the other hand, the Cuban company that imports medicines, equipment and medical supplies, Medicuba will not be able to acquire the artificial respirators contracted to the Swiss manufacturers IMT Medical AG and Acutronic due to the blockade, because both were acquired by the American company Vyaire Medical Inc., based Illinois, United States.
Similarly, Cuba is prevented from buying medicines from US companies. In recent statements by Lázaro Silva Herrera, Vice President of Medicuba, he explained how in recent years the company tried to acquire products with around 60 firms from the northern nation, but only two answered: Bayer and Eli Lilly. The first responded that the license granted by the Office of Foreign Assets Control had expired, while the second announced the cessation of their business relationship until further notice.
These elements, just to mention a few, demonstrate the true illegal and immoral nature of the policy of blockade against Cuba, whose objective, synthesized by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of that country, Lester Mallory, on April 6, 1960, has remained unchanged till the date:
"Most Cubans support Castro (…) There is no effective political opposition (…).The only possible way to make the government lose domestic support is by provoking disappointment and discouragement through economic dissatisfaction and hardships (…) Every possible means should be immediately used to weaken the economic life (…) denying Cuba funds and supplies to reduce nominal and real salaries with the objective of provoking hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government".