Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES – During his visit to Cuba, former US president Barack Obama publicly stated that the US embargo (blockade) was a failed policy that hadn’t managed to achieve its objectives and only caused suffering and shortages for the Cuban people. “I’m sure that Congress will inevitably lift an embargo which should no longer be there,” the then US president said.
Pope John Paul II called the blockade immoral, illegal and condemnable when he visited our country and on other occasions.
Speaking in front of over 200,000 people, John Paul II said that economic embargos are always condemnable because they harm the most vulnerable.
Three US congressmen who were in Cuba at the time of the Pope’s visit, backed the Pope’s condemnation against the blockade and supported a change in this policy. “A change in Washington’s attitude with regard to the embargo after John Paul II’s visit wouldn’t be a bad idea,” Congressman James McGovern said who, along with legislators Joe Mockley and Richard Neal, believe it to be “injust” and that “it won’t fulfill its objectives”.
During the second papal visit to Cuba, Pope Benedict XVI condemned the blockade when he said that efforts to lay the foundations for a society with broad horizons, a renewed and reconciled society, are crippled when economic measures imposed outside the country weigh heavily upon on the population.
Pope Francis was the third Supreme Pontiff to visit Cuba, who in response to a question posed by Cuban journalist Rosa Miriam Elizalde, while traveling from to Cuba to the US, was asked his opinion about the US blockade on Cuba and he said the following:
“The question of the embargo is part of the negotiations. This is public, right? Both presidents have referred to that. So it’s a public thing that is on the path, on the path of good relations, for which they are searching, no? And my wish is that we reach a good conclusion in this, that there might be an agreement that satisfies both sides.
With respect to the position of the Holy See regarding embargoes: previous Popes have spoken about this. Not just this one. There are other cases of embargoes. There is the social doctrine of the Church on embargoes. I’m speaking about that. It’s very precise.”
Up until now, I have cited opinions from a US president in office at the time, three US congressmen, although many have mentioned the subject and condemned it, and three Popes from the Catholic Church who have visited Cuba, and they have all had negative opinions about the US blockade.
In the report that Cuba presented to the UN, in the lead up to this subject being discussed in October, when a vote on the resolution entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” will be held again, there is a lot of data about the blockade’s harmful effects, but I have only taken two to give you an example here.
The document states that Cuba has requested to buy a chemotherapy drug for malignant brain tumors from three US companies, and they haven’t received a response as of yet which has meant that three under 15-year-old patients, haven’t had access to first-class treatment against the second most frequent neoplasia in children. This figure alone, which has been repeated year after year with different drugs, makes the US blockade immoral, genocidal and in no way justifiable.
Anyone who tries to justify such a policy are just as immoral as those who are enforcing the blockade and are accomplices of the most brutal and longest genocide in the history of humankind.
The measurable sum of the blockade’s impact against Cuba is estimated to stand at over US $134 billion, as well as the incalculable human costs over nearly six decades.
If anyone thinks that Cuba uses the US blockade as an excuse to hide its failures, I respond that they should do something to make sure that Cuba can’t use this excuse because the US blockade’s harmful effects are a cruel reality, not an excuse.