September 14, 2018
Statement from the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations
The economic, commercial and financial blockade that the US government has imposed on Cuba since 1962 has been strengthened by the current administration of Donald Trump, who signed on June 16, 2017 in Miami, the “National Security Presidential Memorandum on the Strengthening of the United States Policy toward Cuba”. This document repealed the directive issued by President Barack Obama on October 14, 2016, entitled “Normalization of US relations with Cuba.” This has caused a setback of the position of the previous administration, which had chosen to take steps in favor of dismantling the blockade.
As a result, on November 8, 2017, the US Departments of Commerce, Treasury and State issued new regulations and provisions. Restrictions were imposed for trips under the category “people to people” and limitations on educational trips, which have had an impact on the decrease of travelers from that country to Cuba during 2018 and, consequently, on the activity of tens of thousands of Cuban self-employed workers.
On the same date, the Department of State issued a “List of Restricted Cuban Entities and Subentities,” which included 179 companies. The objective of this measure is to continue to impede the economic and commercial relations of Cuban companies with potential US and third-country partners. The extraterritorial impact has been considerable during 2018, as confusion has been generated in relation to the Specially Designated Nationals List of the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Banks and institutions in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia have imposed conditions and obstacles to continue operating with Cuban companies and embassies that have been their clients for years. Among the main effects recorded, as a result of this intimidating effect, are: the prohibition of transfers of funds in US dollars or other freely convertible currencies; the cancellation of accounts of embassies and companies with Cuban interests abroad, as well as of financial services for businesses related to Cuba and the refusal to grant credit facilities or the processing of letters of credit.
In relation to the alleged symptoms or health problems reported by a group of diplomats from the US Embassy in Cuba, the US government adopted the unjustified measure of declaring a travel warning that recommends potential visitors to reconsider their intention to travel to our country. The effect of this measure has led to a significant decrease in visitors from the US, who refrain from traveling, among other reasons, because insurance agencies take travel alerts seriously. This measure of the US government was implemented without any proven evidence of actual damage to the people residing in the US embassy in Cuba; and without any of the five million visitors of that year having reported such symptoms.
Using the same pretext, the government of that country unilaterally and unjustifiably demanded the withdrawal of a significant number of Cuban diplomatic officials from the Embassy in Washington. Among them was the staff of the economic-commercial office, in charge of exploring the opportunities and channels of commercial exchange within the extremely narrow framework of licenses and exceptions to the blockade provided by the US government. This is an additional impact on limited bilateral trade exchange.
Source: The International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity