The world against the blockade

Opinions by nations and international agencies on the US blockade against Cuba, contained in the 2006 report on the issue prepared by the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan




Algeria

Algeria believes that the persistent economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba violates the principles of sovereign equality of States and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States, and that Algeria cannot but express concern about its adverse impact on the Cuban people and demand that the relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly calling for its lifting be complied with and implemented.

Algeria also reaffirms its full support for the positions taken by the Thirteenth Summit of the Non-Aligned Countries held in Kuala Lumpur in 2003 and by the Second South Summit of the Group of 77 and China held in Doha in June 2005, which rejected coercive economic measures and laws and regulations with extraterritorial effect imposed on developing countries and called upon the United States of America to promptly lift the unjust and illegal blockade imposed againstCuba.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

The problems brought about by the impossibility of taking full advantage of the export potential (i.e. coffee, honey, tobacco, live lobster and aquaculture products) to the nearest market, the United States. This has implied major losses, since it has been necessary to sell to markets located further away, with the resultant higher marketing and distribution costs. Moreover, trade often leads to a transfer of know-how. Cubans are not benefiting from such transfers.

[The blockade] has negative implications for Cuba's balance of trade and foreign exchange earnings, as well as for the country's volume of production. The value of agricultural products imported increased from $808.6 million in 1999 to $927.2 million in 2004.

The import of food products for human consumption, particularly those destined to meet social programs, is likewise affected, as restrictions limit their quantity and quality, thus having a direct effect on the food security of the vulnerable segments of the population.

Benin

Šthe Republic of Benin, which has excellent relations of friendship and cooperation with Cuba, is of the view that the trade, financial and even scientific blockade against Cuba severely hampers the development of this friendly country. Benin therefore wishes to see these measures lifted in order to enable the people and Government of Cuba to enjoy their sovereignty in accordance with the original principles and values enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

UNICEF believes that the cumulative effects of 44 years of economic and financial blockade and recent measures imposed have had a direct impact on the Cuban people. Beginning in 2006, several US travel agencies were prohibited from selling air tickets to Cuba. This further inhibits family contacts and relationships, adding to the existing restrictions on the transfer of funds, on visits of close family members to once every three years and a ban on the shipment of clothes and hygiene articles to relatives.

Cuba faces serious commercial limitations and is forced to import products from more distant countries. This translates into considerably higher costs and negatively impacts United Nations cooperation. For the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) it hampers the ability to purchase necessary provisions and supplies for cooperation projects. The blockade additionally decreased the ability to import nutritional products destined for both family and social consumption (in schools, hospitals and day-care centers), directly affecting the nutritional level and the health of the population.

Cambodia

Cambodia feels it is now time to remove the merciless sanctions imposed against Cuba, which have brought too much suffering to its innocent people and have severely affected its entire socio-economic structure. It notes that the prolonged blockade clearly demonstrates an act of violation of human rights and of the rights of the Cuban people's self-determination.

World Health Organization (WHO) /Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

Both organizations stress that Cuba is a key country thanks to its development in the field of health, its research capacity and its willingness to adopt results and innovations and share its achievements with other countries.

From 2004 to 2005, the economic impact on the health sector was equivalent to approximately 45 million convertible Cuban pesos.

Among the consequences in the health sector are: access to inputs, equipment, technology and scientific information is limited; Cuban scientists and health authorities find it difficult or impossible to obtain visas; United States scientists are refused permission to travel to Cuba; scientific articles originating in Cuba cannot be published or disseminated in the United States; and limitations are placed on the participation of mechanisms commonly used to gain access to technologies, inputs and equipment.

Cuba has developed considerable capacity in the field of health research and has expressed interest in engaging in an organized dialogue on cancer with the United States scientific community. If exchanges between the two scientific and technical communities were facilitated, the world population would soon be able to reap the benefits of those efforts to address the new challenges for individual and collective health.

China

China reaffirms that sovereign equality, non-interference in other countries' internal affairs and other relevant norms governing international relations should be duly respected. Every country has the right to choose, according to its national circumstances, its own social system and mode of development, which brooks no interference by any other country.

The differences and problems existing among countries should be resolved through peaceful dialogue and negotiation on the basis of equality and mutual respect for sovereignty. The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba, which has lasted for too long, serves no other purpose than to keep tensions high between two neighboring countries and inflict tremendous hardship and suffering on the people of Cuba, especially women and children. The blockade, which remains in place, has seriously jeopardized the legitimate rights and interests of Cuba and other States, as well as the freedom of trade and navigation, and should, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, be brought to an end.

United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

The UNDP notes that since 1992 the United States Government has taken additional steps to strengthen the blockade through the so-called Torricelli Act (1992), the Helms-Burton Act (1996) and other measures in 2004-2005 known in Cuba as the Bush Plan. In the last 12 months the situation has not changed; the negative impact of the blockade continues to affect the economic, political and social life of the Cuban people, in particular the most vulnerable groups.

It explains that the blockade negatively impacts UNDP capacity to implement development cooperation initiatives owing to limitations on trade with United States-based companies and difficulties in obtaining financial resources to support national and local development efforts in Cuba. UNDP has also faced difficulties in establishing effective partnerships with relevant United States-based non-governmental organizations, including in the area of HIV/AIDS, as well as promoting exchanges among experts from both countries.

The impossibility of purchasing goods from United States companies creates many difficulties and increases the cost of program and project implementation.

The blockade affects the provision of visas for UNDP officials in Havana, who must travel to headquarters in New York for training or other United Nations events.


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