Delegates from around the world today called for an end to the United States long‑standing economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba, with many States criticizing the Administration of Donald J. Trump for intensifying sanctions and restrictions against the Caribbean island nation over the past year.
As the General Assembly began its annual debate on the matter, representatives lamented that the blockade, now in its fifty‑seventh year, was strengthened in 2018 and 2019 following steps toward normalization undertaken between Cuba and the United States in 2015 and 2016. Member States from Latin America and elsewhere called the embargo an illegal affront to the international community that jeopardizes not just the health and welfare of the people of Cuba but the entire region’s development.
Riyad H. Mansour, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that the sanctions imposed by the United States have a demonstrably negative effect on the Cuban population. “Limited foreign investment and difficult access to development credits translate directly into economic hardship and humanitarian impacts for the people of Cuba,” he said, noting that from April 2018 to March 2019, the loss to Cuba’s foreign trade totalled more than $4 billion.
The representative of Azerbaijan, speaking on behalf of the Non‑Aligned Movement, expressed a sentiment echoed by several States by pointing to the embargo’s effects on countries besides Cuba. “The persecution of Cuban financial transactions in third country jurisdictions, which has a significant deterrent effect in economic terms, has continued,” he said. The speaker for Angola concurred, saying the extraterritorial nature of the embargo is reflected in the “financial persecution” of third‑country banks and imposition of new fines on institutions.
Some speakers accused the United States of deliberately employing sanctions as a political tool to overthrow the Cuban Government, violating international law concerning the non‑interference in the affairs of sovereign nations. Alexander Pankin, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, characterized the embargo as the main barrier against the full‑fledged enjoyment of human rights in Cuba. This cynical United States pressure has hampered Cuban doctors and health workers to access medicines, and by doing this the United States is “introducing a genocide” against the Cuban people, he said.
The speaker from Nicaragua said that the purpose of the embargo is to damage key sectors of the Cuban economy, while his counterpart from Belarus asserted that the United States is engaged in “economic terrorism”.
Representatives from several countries also subjected to sanctions, among them Myanmar and Zimbabwe, expressed solidarity with Cuba. Viet Nam’s representative said that, as a country that experienced and suffered under a United States trade embargo for 19 years, it fully understands the difficulties and the damage sanctions can wreak upon a country. “The reality of the relations between Viet Nam and the United States shows that only constructive dialogue and engagement can foster mutual trust and bring positive change,” he added.
Speakers from Latin American countries suggested that the policy of the United States was an obsolete anachronism that dates to the height of the cold war. Jamaica’s representative noted that the embargo, which was imposed in a bygone era, is being applied with an even greater level of intensity and rigor than when it was first instituted. China agreed, with its representative expressing hope that the United States and Cuba will normalize relations and “move with the historical trend of our times”. Doing so also serves the common interest of the two countries and promotes peace and prosperity in the region, he added.
Several representatives supported Cuba as a brotherly nation, citing the country’s assistance to States in the region and elsewhere, with the speaker for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines observing that Cuba’s contribution to healthcare and humanitarian assistance in underserved areas of the world is unparalleled, typified in the fight against the Ebola epidemic in Africa. The speaker for Syria noted that Cuba’s doctors have trained health workers from around the world. Grenada’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), observed that Cuba was one of the first countries to come to the aid of the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
Representatives from different States said that the embargo hampers the ability of Cuba to realize the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “Let us not allow sanctions and embargoes, unilateral or otherwise become part of the instruments that will leave Cuba behind,” said the representative of Kenya.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Tunisia (on behalf of the African Group), Singapore (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Uganda (on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), India, Mexico, Philippines, Algeria, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Suriname, Gabon, Belize, Indonesia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sudan and Guyana.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 am on Thursday, 7 November, to conclude its consideration of the necessity of ending United States embargo against Cuba.
RIYAD H. MANSOUR, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, expressed regret that the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba remains in place and continues to be strengthened. The Group recalls the positive steps taken by the former United States Administration between 2015 and 2016 and regrets the new policy established by the current Administration, aimed at strengthening the embargo. He said that unilateral economic sanctions against Cuba should immediately repealed, as they violate the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the principles of sovereign equality of States, non‑intervention and non‑interference in their internal affairs, and freedom of international trade and navigation. From April 2018 to March 2019, the impact of the embargo on Cuba’s foreign trade amounted to more than $4 billion.
“Limited foreign investment and difficult access to development credits translate directly into economic hardship and humanitarian impacts for the people of Cuba,” he continued. The country’s socioeconomic reforms have also been harmed by the embargo. The Group is concerned that, if economic sanctions continue, Cuba’s development potential will be unfairly undermined, and it would be impossible for the country to successfully embark on the path towards sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He said that Cuba has extensively and continuously contributed to the international community, citing the country’s emergency assistance to the West African countries affected by the Ebola crisis as an example.
MONCEF BAATI (Tunisia), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that the international community’s rejection of the embargo unilaterally imposed by the United States against Cuba continues to gain momentum. The African Group remains firmly rooted in its principled position of solidarity with Cuba in calling for the immediate end to the embargo. He expressed deep concerns about the negative consequences of economic sanctions imposed on the Cuban population over decades, saying they form “a condemned and unacceptable form of collective punishments in contradiction with United Nations development goals”. At its meeting in Ethiopia in February 2019, the Assembly of the African Group reaffirmed its solidarity with the people of Cuba and lamented that the blockade is an obstacle to Cuba’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
YASHAR T. ALIYEV (Azerbaijan), speaking on behalf of the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that for the last 28 years, the General Assembly has expressed its overwhelming solidarity with the people and Government of Cuba by calling for the embargo to be lifted as it violates international law, the Charter, the norms and principles governing inter‑State relations and Cuba’s right to fully interact with the international community. The Movement has historically maintained a position rejecting unilateral coercive measures that are used as a tool of economic and financial pressure against States, particularly developing countries. The embargo affects all critical sectors of the Cuban economy, including public health, nutrition, agriculture, trade and investment. The banking sector has been particularly hit in the past year.
“The persecution of Cuban financial transactions in third country jurisdictions, which has a significant deterrent effect in economic terms, has continued,” he said. Between July 2018 and April 2019, the United States Government imposed nine penalties on companies or banks from third countries and from the United States itself, totalling penalties of more than $3.75 billion. The fact that 189 United Nations Member States oppose the embargo is an expression of the unanimity within the international community on the matter.
KEISHA ANIYA MCGUIRE (Grenada), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Non‑Aligned Movement, said the embargo runs counter to the principles of multilateralism, international law, sovereignty and free trade upheld by the United Nations. CARICOM States refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures inconsistent with the principles of non‑interference in the internal affairs of States, a position of paramount importance to those countries. CARICOM States regard the punitive embargo with particular concern as they share a history and culture with Cuba, the most populous State in the region. CARICOM‑Cuban cooperation continues in a range of areas including human resource development, disaster risk reduction and sports, and Cuban assistance to several States through healthcare personnel and medical aid in distressed areas. Cuba was one of the first countries to come to the aid of the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. The embargo is an anachronism and aberration serving no useful purpose in the twenty‑first century, she said, and called for its end.
Speaking in her national capacity and aligning herself with CARICOM, the Group of 77 and Non‑Aligned Movement, she said that the failure to end the embargo violates the spirit and letter of the Charter. History shows the unbreakable link between Cuba and Grenada, with the people of her country benefitting tremendously from programmes in health, education and economic development. She said that recent bolstered measures aimed at restricting remittances, bank transactions and air services to Cuba from the United States “only serve as a detriment to our sister nation” and steadfastly called for the immediate repeal of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996 (Helms‑Burton Act). As nothing is set in stone, Grenada continues to believe there is still hope through multilateralism to return to good faith dialogue and full normalization of relations between the two Governments, with the unilateral imposition becoming a vestige of the past.
BURHAN GAFOOR (Singapore), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the Group of 77, said that differences between States should be resolved on the basis of the fundamental principles of sovereign equality, non‑interference and non‑intervention. ASEAN does not support the imposition of unilateral economic, commercial and financial measures on other countries. Four years have passed since the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in 2015, he added, noting that that was an important step towards normalization between these two countries. The past year, however, has only seen regression rather than progression. Ending the embargo against Cuba will not only improve the quality of life of the Cuban people, it will help them achieve the 2030 Agenda.
ADONIA AYEBARE (Uganda), speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said that the Cuban financial sector is suffering due to banking institutions refusing to carry out operations with Cuban banks, as well as closing accounts and codes for the exchange of financial information. Between April 2018 and March 2019, losses for the Cuban banking system were recorded by more than 140 foreign banks. In this period, there were 12 more foreign banking institutions added to the policy of refusing to provide their services. “This threatened the normal functioning and operations of Cuban banking institutions,” he said. The embargo against Cuba is impeding its people’s ability to realize the Sustainable Development Goals. The OIC joins the call of the overwhelming number of Member States to put an end to the blockade.
ALEXANDER PANKIN, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said that the sanctions imposed by the United States are a protracted, egregious violation of international law, above all the Charter. They are not just a bilateral problem but pose a threat to the entire system of the international community. He asked, “Who will become the next subordinate?” The unilateral sanctions regime does not affect merely Cuba or the Russian Federation; it also impacts other States, which soon may find themselves targeted. The “sanctions war” has been unleashed by the United States to punish Cuba and to overthrow its Government, trampling upon human rights and humanitarian values. The United States has tied the economic noose around Havana and tightened it, dragging third countries into its web. Cuba’s logistical and transport infrastructure has been damaged, as has been its tourism. In fact, the embargo is the main barrier against the full‑fledged enjoyment of human rights in Cuba. This cynical United States pressure has hampered Cuban doctors and health workers to access medicines, and by doing this the United States is “introducing a genocide” against the Cuban people. In addition, Washington’s hypocrisy is evident, as it claims to support the 2030 Agenda but causes millions of ordinary Cubans to be deprived of their human rights and potential development.
VALENTIN RYBAKOV (Belarus), said that he rejects any unilateral coercive measures imposed without United Nations sanctions. The embargo is a breach of international law, undermines multilateralism and civilized relations among States, and is a blatant example of “economic terrorism”. The embargo is a package of measures aimed at exerting pressure on a sovereign nation to compel it to change its political system and derail its traditional society. The sanctions obstruct Cuba’s participation in economic processes and its consequences have adverse impacts targeting ordinary citizens of that country. Ordinary Cubans are the main victims of this policy. The sanctions comprise a clear violation of their rights. Belarus is equally worried about the lack of progress in relieving the situation. The normalization of relations seemed to be progressing several years ago but, sadly, it has not happened.
DANG DINH QUY (Viet Nam), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Non‑Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that the United States embargo imposed on Cuba violates international law and infringes on fundamental principles of the Charter. As a country that experienced and suffered under a United States trade embargo for 19 years, Viet Nam fully understands the difficulties and the damage. “The reality of the relations between Viet Nam and the United States shows that only constructive dialogue and engagement can foster mutual trust and bring positive change,” he added. Viet Nam urges the United States to reverse its current policy toward Cuba, not only for the benefit of the Cuban people, but for the peace, stability and development of the whole region.
NAGARAJ NAIDU KAKANUR (India) said that the United States embargo against Cuba is in contravention to overwhelming world opinion, undermining multilateralism and the credibility of the United Nations. Such embargoes impede the affected country’s full achievement of economic and social development, especially for women and children. Successive reports of the Secretary‑General have established that the embargo, particularly through its extraterritorial effects, has adversely affected the Cuban people and the country’s development efforts. Adding that world leaders strongly urged all States to refrain from unilateral economic, financial or trade measures four years ago while launching the 2030 Agenda, he said that the continued blockade will severely impact Cuba’s ability to implement that agreement.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMIREZ (Mexico) said his country unequivocally rejects the imposition of the United States embargo against Cuba as it runs counter to the principles laid out in the Charter. Mexico rejects the imposition of unilateral laws which have extraterritorial effects. They affect not only the Cuban people, but also third countries. Mexico looks forward to a renewal of dialogue and cooperation between the United States and Cuba. This would be a good opportunity for both nations to agree on issues of international importance on a shared agenda. Mexico and Cuba share a long history of good relations. More recently, both countries have expanded their relations in order to meet the new and emerging challenges in the region. “Cuba is a strategic ally of Mexico, and we have worked to give more meaning to this relationship,” he added, noting that Mexico is the fifth‑largest trade partner of Cuba and the second largest partner of the Latin American and Caribbean region.
KIRA CHRISTIANNE DANGANAN AZUCENA (Philippines) said that the international community has expressed overwhelming support for the resolution on ending the United States embargo against Cuba, with the number of votes in favour increasing from 59 in 1992, to 173 in 2002, 188 in 2012, and 189 in 2018. The restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in 2015 marked a watershed moment in international relations. However, the extraterritorial nature of the blockade continues to intensify, with damages to Cuba’s economy reported to have reached $138.84 billion over nearly six decades and $4 billion in 2018 alone. The blockade presents a main obstacle to Cuba’s socioeconomic development and it violates international law.
SOFIANE MIMOUNI (Algeria), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that these unjustified sanctions not only exacerbate the suffering of the Cuban people, they obstruct Cuba’s economic development. Cuba, like any other Member State, has the right to freedom of trade and navigation and to expand trade, on a mutually agreed basis, with any economic partner, he added, rejecting the imposition of unilateral acts or extraterritorial regulations impeding the development of any country. Engaging in a constructive and respectful dialogue will chart a new way forward for the full normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States. That would be beneficial to the peoples of both countries, the whole region and beyond.
BASHAR JA'AFARI (Syria), associating himself with both the Non‑Aligned Movement and the Group of 77, said that his country will always support the steadfastness of Cuba in confronting the unjust embargo imposed upon it by the United States. Syria is proud that its young women and men were educated in medicine, engineering and other subjects in the excellent universities in Cuba, which flourish despite the unjust embargo. He said that his country believes that international condemnation of the embargo is no longer sufficient, particularly with the current United States’ Government’s tightening of the embargo. The United States’ Administration has ushered in a new, aggressive policy against Cuba by introducing new sanctions on fuels and commercial flights, among other things. The embargo is a form of collective punishment, breaches the right of States to development and violates human rights law. Nobody can argue that embargoes and sanctions hamper States in realizing the 2030 Agenda, he stressed. The international community is duty‑bound to go beyond condemnation and should create an international register of those who violate human rights. Syria suffers economic sanctions imposed upon it by the United States and other Governments, which hamper the country’s development and prevent its reconstruction. He said that sanctions have tragic repercussions for those who suffer them and called for an end to this form of economic warfare.
KHIANE PHANSOURIVONG (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that the United States embargo against Cuba is contrary to the principles of the United Nations Charter. His Government has neither promulgated nor applied any domestic laws or measures of such nature against other countries. For this reason, it will continue to support the draft resolution on the necessity to end the embargo, which will not only be of mutual benefit to the concerned countries but to the world at large. “This will lead to improved relations between the two countries,” he added.
HAU DO SUAN (Myanmar), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that his country believes in the sacrosanct principles of international relations, such as sovereign equality, non‑interference in the internal affairs of other States and peaceful settlement of disputes as enshrined in the Charter. Myanmar knows well from its own experience that embargoes or sanctions imposed upon a country for political objectives only bring negative effects to the lives of ordinary people. He said that the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba will create great opportunity for peace and prosperity in both countries and beyond. Myanmar will continue to support every constructive effort to end the blockade as soon as possible.
MACHARIA KAMAU (Kenya), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, asked delegates to wonder whether sanctions, particularly unilateral sanctions and embargoes, fit into an implementable, cross‑pillar, and multilateral approach that will ensure all nations deliver on promises of peace and development for their people. Sanctions weaken countries, increase their fragility and have a detrimental impact beyond the individuals and institutions they are targeting. They have dire consequences on the most vulnerable members of society. “Let us not allow sanctions and embargoes, unilateral or otherwise become part of the instruments that will leave Cuba behind,” he said. Moreover, the United Nations should never support any actions that have proved contrary to the overall objectives of national ownership, sustainable peace and sustainable development.
INGA RHONDA KING (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), associating herself with the Group of 77, the Non‑Aligned Movement and CARICOM, said that the embargo against the indomitable Cuban people was wrong at the time of its implementation and remains unjustifiable and unlawful six decades later. She stressed that in the twenty‑first century, unilateral and extraterritorial coercive measures have no place, noting the resolve of the Cuban people despite the prejudicial effect of the lingering antithetical blockade at the national, regional and international levels. Cuba’s contribution to healthcare and humanitarian assistance in underserved areas of the world is unparalleled, she said, and was typified in the fight against the Ebola epidemic in Africa. Expressing regret about efforts to undermine progress towards a rapprochement begun under former United States President Barack Obama, she called for dialogue and constructive engagement between the two relevant parties towards lifting the blockade.
ZHANG JUN (China), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that the embargo violates the Charter and 27 years of conservative resolutions passed by the General Assembly. It also undermines the Cuban people’s right to development. China supports the right of countries to choose their social system and opposes the unilateral use of sanctions by any country. Cuba and China have maintained trade and have a strong, cooperative relationship. The world today is undergoing a profound change unseen in the last 100 years, with globalization being an unstoppable process and the peaceful resolution of conflicts becoming the norm. He expressed hope that the United States and Cuba will normalize relations and “move with the historical trend of our times”. Doing so also serves the common interest of the two countries and promotes peace and prosperity in the region.
KITTY SWEEB (Suriname), aligning herself with the Group of 77, the Non‑Aligned Movement, OIC and CARICOM, said the recent tightening of the blockade on Cuba severely impacts its trade relations with other nations in the region and beyond. The embargo continues to gravely undermine Cuba’s efforts to achieve development, as all of Cuba’s economic potential is directed at implementing its National Economic and Social Development Plan. Despite these undue hardships, however, the Cuban Government and people continue to offer the international community peaceful and generous cooperation in many fields. Adding that Suriname condemns imposition of all unilateral coercive measures with extraterritorial implications, she said they go against principles of sovereign equality and non‑interference in the internal affairs of countries.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon), associating himself with the African Group, the Non‑Aligned Movement and the Group of 77, said his country is troubled over the embargo imposed by Cuba and its nefarious consequences on the Cuban people. “We ardently hope that the resolutions of the United Nations, which echo the collective call to lift the embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba, will be upheld,” he said. Urging the international community to persevere in efforts and calls to lift the blockade, he added that Gabon will vote in favour of the draft resolution today.
JOÃO IAMBENO GIMOLIECA (Angola), associating himself with the African Group, the Group of 77 and the Non‑Aligned Movement, said the embargo “should already be part of the archives” of the United Nations. The embargo has impeded the full realization of Cuba’s economic and social development, negatively affecting implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Although his country’s Government had hoped for progress, he noted with regret the recent setback in diplomatic relations between the two countries as the United States Government has decided to tighten the blockade with additional obstacles. The extraterritorial nature of the embargo is reflected in the “financial persecution” of third‑country banks and imposition of new fines on institutions for violating United States Government rules against Cuba. He called for dialogue and cooperation between the two countries to be resumed as soon as possible.
JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the Group of 77, said that the sanctions against Cuba are illegal and criminal. Like all developing States and the international community as a whole, Nicaragua sees that the efforts of the Cuban people are hampered when it comes to realizing the aims of the 2030 Agenda. Cuba estimates the economic damages resulting from the embargo are $4.3 billion, including in the realms of health, sports and tourism, among other areas. The purpose of the embargo is to damage key sectors of the Cuban economy and block the Cuban people’s development. The publicly expressed purpose of the measure is to bring about a new Government of Cuba. His country believes no State has the right to impose upon others a unilateral change of Government. Nicaragua and Cuba will remain united today and forever until victory is achieved over the embargo. He said that Cuba’s devotion to mankind beyond its own borders is admirable, a striking example of social solidarity. He expressed hope that the United States and Cuba will resume dialogue on an equal basis.
LOIS MICHELE YOUNG (Belize), associating herself with CARICOM, said that while the formalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba occurred in 1995, its ties can be traced as far back as the dawn of Belize’s independence. “The solidarity Cuba demonstrated to our fledgling democracy is indelibly etched in our history and remains the foundation of an unbreakable friendship between our two peoples,” she said. Over the years, the two countries have deepened cooperation primarily in the areas of health and education. Since 1999, Belize has enjoyed the care of Cuban practitioners and Cuba continues to offer training to Belize’s medical professionals. Belize and Cuba continue to expand cooperation in key areas such as agriculture, tourism, culture and disaster preparedness. “Belize is desirous of nothing more than a fair equitable global order, with the rule of law as its guarantor,” she added, expressing solidarity with Cuba and calling for the lifting of the blockade against the Cuban people.
MOHAMMAD KURNIADI KOBA (Indonesia), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Non‑Aligned Movement and ASEAN, reaffirmed his Government’s strong opposition to unilateral embargoes and extraterritorial coercive measures against the sovereignty of other States. The continued imposition of the unilateral United States embargo against Cuba violates the principles of sovereign equality of States and non‑intervention in the internal affairs of States. This embargo undermines the spirit of the 2030 Agenda, which urges States to refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial and trade measures that are not in line with international law. It also impedes the full achievement of economic and social development.
KIM SONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) denounced the United States embargo on Cuba as a violation of the Charter and international law. The United States unilateral sanctions against sovereign States draw condemnation and denunciation from the international community “as days go by and bring about only isolation of the United States itself”. Due to the United States policy of economic and financial blockade, the economic loss of Cuba is estimated at trillions of dollars. But the Cuban people are “unshakably advancing along the road of socialism chosen by themselves” and achieved economic growth of 1.2 per cent last year even in the face of sanctions and natural disasters. International solidarity with the Government and people of Cuba in their just cause is only increasing. “The longer the anachronistic United States economic embargo on Cuba continues, the more the Cuban people will struggle with their redoubled efforts,” he added.
E. COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica) said that it remains a concern that States are obliged to gather in the General Assembly once again to consider the agenda item on the necessity of ending the embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba. The embargo, “which was imposed in a bygone era, is being applied with an even greater level of intensity and rigor than when it was first instituted”, he continued. As a small island developing State highly dependent on the rules‑based global order, Jamaica is greatly concerned about the impact that the economic, commercial and financial restrictions have on Cuba’s economy, including its tourism, energy and telecommunications sectors. Cuba has lost approximately $2 billion in foreign trade alone in the past year. Jamaica has long enjoyed fraternal and cooperative ties with Cuba. The embargo compromises the prospects for collective, inclusive and meaningful progress in the CARICOM region.
FREDERICK MUSIIWA MAKAMURE SHAVA (Zimbabwe), associating himself with the African Group, Non‑Aligned Movement and the Group of 77, said that his Government has repeatedly reiterated its call on the Government of the United States to put an end to the unilateral and illegal embargo it imposed on Cuba 56 years ago. This past year has seen the tightening of the blockade. “All of these actions have been made for the deliberate and declared objective of causing considerable damage to the country’s economy by intimidating the international business community,” he added. As a country that is also reeling under the heavy burden of unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States, Zimbabwe has been repeatedly denied access to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. “The country’s entire economy has been affected by these illegal sanctions,” he added, also noting: “The unjustified and oppressive illegal sanctions continue to cause untold suffering to the ordinary people of our great country.” On 25 October, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has collectively voiced its disapproval and condemnation of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe. “The illegal sanctions are an albatross to the development, well‑being and prosperity of the people of Zimbabwe,” he stressed.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that the United States embargo has caused immeasurable damage to the development of the people of Cuba and can no longer be justified. The relationship between South Africa and Cuba dates back well before the historic formation of democratic relations in 1994. At great sacrifice, Cuba made a significant contribution to the liberation of South Africa, and included Cuban combatants sacrificing their lives for the attainment of a free and democratic South Africa. Relations between the countries are strong and getting more solid over time. However, one of the biggest impediments to improve bilateral trade is the unilateral and illegal blockade of Cuba by the United States and the extraterritorial application of the sanction on third countries. The window of opportunity that opened up briefly for the normalization of diplomatic relations and a relaxing of the embargo under the previous United States Administration has been regrettably reversed, with the imposition of further stringent sanctions against Cuba, he said. South Africa calls upon all countries to support Cuba and its people by scrapping any domestic laws or regulations that continue to hamper the development of Cuba and its people.
YASIR ABDALLA ABDELSALAM AHMED (Sudan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, the Non‑Aligned Movement, the African Group and OIC, said the embargo directly harms the Cuban people. Noting that Sudan will vote in favour of the draft resolution today, he pointed out that the Assembly has adopted 27 resolutions over the years calling for an end to the embargo. The embargo hampers the Cuban people’s socioeconomic development efforts and disrupts its economic, trade and financial relations with other countries. “We express our concern that this embargo against Cuba remains despite the fact that the General Assembly has taken up this issue so many times in the past,” he said. The 2030 Agenda urges States to refrain from imposing unilateral actions, particularly on developing countries. Since 1997, Sudan was a victim of an unjust unilateral embargo renewed annually that hampered all aspects of life, restricted bank transactions and prevented Sudan from attaining grants and loans from the Bretton Woods institutions. It also affected Sudan’s development cooperation with many other States. While those measures were lifted in 2017, Sudan was subsequently placed on the list of State sponsors of terrorism “so the suffering continues.” Sudan stands in solidarity with the people of Cuba, he said, adding that unilateral sanctions and embargoes almost always affect the poorest and most vulnerable people.
MEGAYLA ULANA AUSTIN (Guyana), associating herself with CARICOM and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), echoed the calls for an immediate and unconditional end to the United States blockage against Cuba. The embargo remains a serious obstacle to the development efforts of a small State, affecting its economic stability and contributing to uneven development in Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole. The extraterritorial nature of the actions taken by the United States are contrary to both the letter and spirit of the Charter. She said that Guyana and Cuba share a long history of friendship and cooperation, with Guyana being one of the first countries, in 1961, to defy the economic blockade. Its decision was based on principle and the country continues to act on principle.