October 10, 2013 - No. 113
Lift the U.S. Blockade of Cuba!
End U.S. Impunity!
UN General Assembly Prepares to
Vote to End U.S. Blockade of Cuba
End U.S. Impunity!
• UN General Assembly Prepares to Vote to End
U.S. Blockade of Cuba
• Cuba Remembers Victims of Terrorism on 37th
Anniversary of Bombing of Cuban Airliner over Barbados
• Federation of Cuban Women Delegation Receives
Warm Welcome in Toronto
• Necessity of Ending the Economic,
and Financial Blockade Imposed by the United States of America Against
Cuba - Report by Cuba on UN General Assembly Resolution
67-4 July 2013
Lift the U.S. Blockade of Cuba! End U.S.
UN General Assembly Prepares to Vote to
End U.S. Blockade of Cuba
On October 29, the UN General Assembly will vote on a
resolution calling on the U.S. to end its criminal blockade against
Cuba, in place for 51 years. This year's vote will mark the 22nd such
resolution that has been brought before the General Assembly.
For 21 consecutive years the
resolution has passed with an increasing majority. Last year, the U.S.
was only able to cobble together a pittance of support for its unjust
position from its client state Israel and its Micronesian protectorate
Palau, while 188 countries
voted that the blockade be ended. The fact that the U.S. has been able
to continue its sanctions -- which not only violate Cuba's sovereignty
but that of nations that trade with Cuba -- despite this
overwhelming international opposition, underscores the need to reform
the UN so that the will of the General Assembly can be enforced.
Opposition to the blockade was one of the most mentioned
topics during the General Debate at the General Assembly from September
24 to October 1, Prensa Latina reports. Presidents, prime ministers,
and foreign ministers from 47 countries and all five continents urged
an end to the blockade. Bolivian President Evo Morales said the
blockade against Cuba is the "worst genocide," while Mauricio Funes,
President of El Salvador, Ghana's John Mahama and Trinidad and Tobago's
Kamla Persad-Bissessar called it a relic of the past. In turn, the
Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves,
described it as a kind of "myopic revenge," which has caused millions
of dollars in losses and severe social harm, through its impact in
sectors such as
health and education. For his part, Gambian President Hadji Yahya
Jammeh called the measures
inhumane, unjust and flagrant, and denounced them as lacking any
justification. Many pointed out that the U.S. blockade is a significant
obstacle to the country's development, as well as a violation of
Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno presents Cuba's report on the effects
of the U.S. blockade, Havana, October 7, 2013. (Cuba vs. Bloqueo)
A news conference was held October 7 at the William
Soler Children's Heart Center in Havana to present Cuba's annual report
on the damage wrought by the blockade. Deputy Cuban Foreign Minister
Abelardo Moreno said the U.S. blockade has caused astronomical economic
harm, to the tune of $1.57 trillion,
taking into account the depreciation of the dollar against gold. "The
blockade not only is being maintained, but strengthened in some
aspects," Moreno pointed out. "I ask what right does the United States
have to sanction companies that are not North American," he added,
explaining that since Obama took office
in 2009, fines against blockade violators, domestic and foreign, had
dramatically increased and totalled $2.5 billion to date.
Moreno said foreign banks were increasingly cautious
about any transactions involving Cuba due to U.S. pressure, something
confirmed by numerous foreign businessmen in Havana. "Banks calculate
the risk versus the gain in doing business with Cuba, even if
transactions are legal," a foreign banker told Reuters.
Business transactions, academic exchanges, the long list
of drugs denied to Cuba, the failure to grant visas for sporting events
and the damage to foreign trade are some of the blockade's effects that
hurting Cuba, the report presented by Moreno states.
Director of the William Soler Children's Heart Center
Eugenio Selman-Housein Sosa, gave concrete experience of the blockade,
explaining that the centre often lacks the most modern equipment and
medicines because U.S. companies predominate in some sectors and U.S.
regulations on checking end-users make
business next to impossible. "In the case of Cuba this becomes
dramatic," he said, because the sanctions "impede the acquisition of
products that literally signify the difference between life and death."
The U.S. blockade, the unjust imprisonment of the Cuban
Five and state-backed terrorism against Cuba are all part of the U.S.
hostile and vindictive policy toward Cuba. The imperialist dictate of
"Might Makes Right" must not prevail in international relations and the
U.S. must be held to account and accede to the overwhelming
international will to end its criminal blockade of Cuba.
U.S., Hands Off Cuba!
End the Blockade!
Uphold the Sovereignty of All Nations!
Cuba Remembers Victims of Terrorism on
37th Anniversary of Bombing of
Cuban Airliner over Barbados
Procession to Colon Cemetery in Havana, October 6,
2013. Banner reads: "We Demand Justice!"
October 6 marked the 37th anniversary of the terrorist
attack which destroyed Air Cubana Flight 455 over Barbados in 1976, in
which 73 people were killed. Cuba has honoured the memory of those
killed on that day and in all the other attacks on its people by
U.S.-backed terrorist agents by declaring October 6 as the
Day of Victims of State Terrorism. Across the country, flags were flown
at half-mast to mark the occasion.
This year, the official event to remember the victims
included a procession and ceremony at Colon Cemetery in Havana, where
relatives of the more than 3,000 Cubans killed by terrorist actions
denounced the criminal war by the U.S. against Cuba. Floral wreaths
were sent by the historic leader of the Cuban
Revolution Fidel Castro and President Raúl Castro. The
procession and ceremony were led by Esteban Lazo Hernández,
President of the National Assembly of People's Power and Lázara
Mercedes López Acea, Vice President of the Councils of State and
Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba's Havana Provincial
Committee. Also present were Hero of the Republic René
González, families of the Cuban Five imprisoned in the U.S.,
members of the diplomatic corps, sports figures and workers from the
Cuban Civil Aeronautics Institute.
Speaking for victims' families, friends, colleagues and
the Cuban people, Wilfredo Pérez -- son of the pilot at the helm
of Flight 455 -- called for the extradition of Luís Posada
Carriles to Venezuela, to be brought to justice for this crime which he
has now evaded for 37 years with U.S. assistance, as well as for
the release of the Cuban Five, unjustly convicted and imprisoned
precisely for opposing terrorism against Cuba.
Granma International writes, "Thirty-seven
years later, the pain is still visible in the faces of their mothers
and the eyes of their children who grew up without a parent. The pain
is felt by all. Fidel said it during the victims' burial, days after
"'We cannot say that the pain is shared. The pain is
multiplied. Millions of Cubans cry with the loved ones of the victims
of this abominable crime. And when a forceful and powerful people
cries, injustice trembles!'"
Federation of Cuban Women Delegation
Receives Warm Welcome in Toronto
On September 21, Cuban-Canadian friendship organizations
held an event at the Beit Zatoun Centre to welcome a visiting
delegation of the Federation of Cuban Women to Toronto. The Cuban
visitors were Arelys Santana Bellos, Second Secretary of the
Federation of Cuban Women and Maritzel González Quevedo,
Relations Officer of the federation. The Cuban visitors spent a
pleasant afternoon discussing the situation in Cuba and world events
those who attended.
The meeting was organized by the Toronto Forum on Cuba
and the Association of Cuban Residents in Toronto "Juan Gualberto
Gómez." The Consul-General
of Cuba in Toronto, Javier Domokos and Cuban Consul in Toronto
Raúl Delgado also attended and helped the people of Toronto
welcome the delegation of Cuban women. Well-known Cuba friendship
activist, poet and author Professor
Keith Ellis served as the interpreter.
After an informative talk by the representatives of the
Federation of Cuban women, the floor was opened for discussion. One of
the questions concerned the role of women in building Cuba under the
conditions of the more than 50-year-long economic blockade imposed on
Cuba by U.S.
The Cuban women pointed out that they are from the
generation born into both the revolution and the blockade. They said
that the blockade has been very costly for them but Cuba has
nonetheless advanced, especially in the field of health care. They
explained that at times to save the life of one child meant having to
search world wide to find the necessary medicines even though they were
nearby and in plentiful supply in the U.S. The blockade, they said, has
meant that the people, and women especially, have to make extra
sacrifices to overcome its effects; to be
self-sufficient in food and in the development of agriculture. They
also said that the global financial crisis of 2008 had seriously
affected Cuba as have the increasing world prices for food.
"It is a shame that a country so powerful as United
States is trying to deprive us of our revolution. With the help of
organizations around the world like here in Toronto we have been able
to move along getting the things we need," said Arelys Santana Bellos.
"We have universal free health care but when we have
children with cancer who need special medication to assist with the
effects of chemotherapy, once again we have to go shopping around the
world, even though these medications are available nearby."
Left to right:
Arelys Santana Bellos, Keith Ellis and
Two other examples to illustrate the effects of the
blockade were given. Eight hours of blockade cost Cuba the equivalent
of what they would have to spend to build 40 childcare centres. Three
days of the blockade are equivalent to the costs of textbooks and
supplies needed to provide
a whole education course. The aggression of the U.S. is causing harm to
the people of Cuba in many ways, they said.
The Cuban women also talked about the many achievements
of Cuba and the Cuban people despite the blockade. They pointed out
that Cuba, which is a small country, exports doctors to save lives
around the world. Cuba has never attacked any country while the U.S.
invades countries in order to
take hold of their natural resources, and destroys governments, they
pointed out. Meanwhile, the U.S. does not want to participate in
solutions to conflicts, they said, citing its negative role in
perpetuating the oppression of the Palestinian people.
Despite the blockade, the Federation of Cuban Women
confronts the difficulties and moves ahead with the revolution, they
said. A particular difficulty they now face was raised in response to a
question about interference of U.S. women in the affairs of Cuba. The
U.S., they said, is financing mercenaries like
the Women in White (Damas de Blanco)
the work of the revolution and spread
disinformation about Cuba. They explained that all women in Cuba
receive free health care and support during pregnancy and other health
needs -- even these Women in White mercenaries, despite their
accusations that Cuba violates
human rights. Cuba defends the rights of all, for education,
health care, pensions and other services. As well, women constitute
over 60 per cent of the people active in important areas of life such
as education, health, civil defence and political and economic
A question was posed on the issues of diversity and
equality between men and women. The speakers emphasized that no one is
excluded from participating in their organization; they are proud of
the work they have done on this front. Cuba has evolved in the past 54
years despite the difficulty of people hanging onto ideas from the old
society. The Cuban Constitution, they said, assures the equality of
women and men. Equality is enshrined in the laws which are guaranteed
by the revolution and by the work of the people, especially women and
their participation in the Federation of Cuban Women.
Moreover, they said, the Federation of Cuban Women
continues working to empower women at all levels of society. They
explained that the question of affirmative action for women in Cuba is
the question of involving women at all levels of society in training
and decision-making. "Women are not put in positions
of leadership without the necessary skills they require," the speakers
The Federation of Women in Cuba holds congresses
throughout the country; its membership includes the vast majority of
Cuban women (85.2 per cent of all eligible women over 14). Up to 80,000
meetings are held every year in communities and at the neighbourhood,
municipal, provincial and national levels, where
the women are engaged in discussion about the needs of the country and
women in society.
1. Juan Gualberto Gómez
Ferrer (July 12, 1854-March 5, 1933) was an Afro-Cuban revolutionary
leader in the Cuban War of Independence against Spain.
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