By Rodolfo Benítez Verson, Ambassador of Cuba in South Africa, Eswatini and Lesotho
On March 27 and 28, tens of thousands of people from around the world raised their voices to reject the unjust and criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for more than 60 years.
Under the slogan “Bridges of Love”, Cuban emigrants, personalities and solidarity, political and union organizations in the 5 continents, carried out public demonstrations on foot and in caravans of cars, motorcycles and bicycles.
South Africa also joined the initiative. On Sunday, March 28, a march was organized by the Association of Cuban Residents in South Africa. Gathered next to the gigantic statue of Nelson Mandela in Union Building, the participants made public their demand for an immediate end to the cruel US blockade, which punishes Cuban families and the entire nation.
These gestures of solidarity make a difference in difficult times and the Cuban people deeply appreciate them. A new global caravan against the blockade will take place on April 25. All those who wish to join this human claim are welcomed.
Once again, it is shown that the Island is not alone in its fight against the siege imposed by Washington. On the contrary, the US policy against Cuba, an expression of the historical inability of the US government to recognize that Cuba is independent and sovereign, suffers from absolute isolation and worldwide discredit.
The blockade against Cuba is the most comprehensive system of unilateral economic sanctions that has ever been applied against any country. It has been and continues to be the fundamental obstacle for the development of our country and the realization of the aspirations for progress and well-being of several generations of Cubans.
The human damage caused by the blockade is incalculable. It constitutes a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of human rights.
The blockade is not only deeply damaging and immoral. Causing hunger and despair, making an entire people suffer in an attempt to dominate it, is simply an international crime; worst of all, it is a crime of genocide, typified in the 1948 Geneva Convention. It is also an act of economic warfare. It violates International Law and seriously damages multilateralism. That is why it must stop immediately and without conditions.
During the Trump administration, the blockade against Cuba reached unprecedented levels. More than 240 additional unilateral sanctions were imposed against the Cuban people, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
All of these measures remain intact and are enforced under the new Biden administration. The current government in the White House now has the opportunity to maintain a respectful relationship with our country, based on sovereign equality, non-interference in internal affairs and with absolute respect for the independence and self-determination of the Cuban people. Cuba will never accept conditions or impositions.
Since 1992, the United Nations General Assembly has spoken out every year against the blockade, voting almost unanimously in favor of its elimination. The next vote will be on June 23.
It will be a new opportunity, just like the months that separate us from that date, for the international community to express its solidarity with the Cuban people and its firm rejection of this criminal and illegal policy. No more blockade against Cuba!