74 UNGA: Reply by Cuba within the framework of the First Regular Session of the UNICEF Executive Board. Adoption of the UNICEF Country Programme for Cuba. New York, 12 February 2020

Mr. President,

Cuba regrets that the United States´ delegation, once again, attempts to politicize the work of the Executive Board, in this case the process of adoption of the UNICEF Country Programme Document for Cuba.

Once again, attempts are made to modify the working practices and methods of this body and focus is diverted from what should be the essence of the discussions in this room: stand up for children´s rights, help them meet their basic needs and enhance their opportunities to achieve their full potential.  

The impact of the Blockade is not a Cuban invention. The blockade inflicts immeasurable humanitarian damage; it is a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the human rights of the Cuban people. It is an inhumane and illegal policy that the UN General Assembly rejects by every year an overwhelming majority. The cumulative damage as a result of the nearly six-decade old blockade amounts to $922 billion.

This criminal policy has a particular impact on the health and well-being of our children and adolescents. It hampers the acquisition of technologies, raw materials, reagents, diagnostic tests and techniques, equipment and spare parts, as well as medicines for the treatment of serious diseases, such as cancer.

Drugs for cancer treatment are the most complex and expensive worldwide and there is a group of them, mainly cancer immunotherapy? drugs, whose main sources are American drugs and pharmacies to which we do not have access. These supplies must to be acquired in distant markets, often through intermediaries, something that increases their prices or becomes unfeasible.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, the damage caused to the Cuban health sector amounted to over $104 million, which is higher by over $6 million compared to the previous year.

From 1962 to date, the impact on the Cuban public health system, as a result of the blockade imposed almost 60 years ago, amount to nearly 3 billion dollars.

Cooperation with UNICEF has been affected by the tightening of the US blockade. Trade restrictions imposed on Cuba have affected the purchase of supplies for children and adolescents within the framework of the Country Programme 2014-2019. Access to the United States market would reduce the costs of such operations, while shortening the time needed for procurement processes.

The blockade is the main obstacle to Cuba's economic and social development, as well as to the implementation of the National Economic Development Plan and, therefore, to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Mr. President,

The United States government makes biased comments on the alleged issuance of licenses for the sale of medicines and food to Cuba, which with great difficulty comes to be finalized.

The delegation of the United States is perfectly aware of the lionlike conditions it imposes on Cuban purchases: there is no access to credits; neither official nor private, payment must be made in cash when the goods arrive at the port, the banks that handle our transactions are persecuted, and Cuban vessels cannot be used, among other measures.

Mr. President,

The government of the United States is not in a position to criticize Cuba or any other country with regard to human rights issues. We reject the repeated manipulation of the human rights issue for political purposes and the double standards that characterize it.

The United States is not a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In the world´s richest country, 40 million Americans live in poverty, out of those; 18.5 million live in extreme poverty, including children.  More than half a million of US citizens sleep on the streets.

Reprehensible is the separation of migrant families and the separation of children from their parents as well as the indefinite detention of more than 2 500 children, and the deportation of 21 000 of them.

The blockade also violates the human rights and civil liberties of US citizens, to whom it unjustly and arbitrarily restricts their freedom to travel to Cuba, the only destination in the world they have been banned from travelling to.

Mr. President,

On the alleged existence of arbitrary detentions, we reiterate that arbitrary detentions are not practiced in Cuba. Detentions are carried out in accordance with the criminal procedure in force and in compliance with the broad guarantees of due process established by our legal system.

Arrests are made in compliance with all the guarantees and formalities established by Law, regardless of the political opinion of the person arrested, in compliance with all the guarantees; and is based on the application of a rational, objective, preventive and individualized criminal policy.

With regard to the false questionings about the democratic process that led to the approval of the new Cuban Constitution, we must point out that this was a process in which 8,945,521 people participated, out of a population of just over 11 million, and whose outcome document was ratified favorably by a popular referendum by 86.85% of the voters.

Mr. President,

Allow me to conclude by renewing Cuba's commitment to UNICEF and to the implementation of the new Country Program, which we consider a modest contribution to strengthening multilateralism and international cooperation.  

Thank you very much.