Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES —The US blockade on Cuba continues to generate news and more and more enemies in the international community. The most recent news was related to what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote on the subject in her recent book Hard Choices.
The possible Democrat presidential candidate tells us that she had suggested to President Obama that he take steps to normalize relations with Cuba, claiming that the policy of blockade maintained for over 50 years has failed.
Recently, during an interview with Univision, Mrs. Clinton again referred to relations with Cuba and insisted on her wish to move in this direction and to have US citizens travel to and from Cuba without restrictions whatsoever.
On more than one occasion, renowned US politician and former President James Carter has also declared his opposition to the continuation of the blockade imposed on Cuba. He even visited our country and met with its leaders, to whom he expressed his wish to see relations between the two countries restored.
This year, a large delegation of US politicians and entrepreneurs, headed by the chair of the US Chamber of Commerce (who called for improved commercial relations between the two countries), visited the country.
I’ve mentioned three important political personalities from the US who declare themselves against Washington’s economic, commercial and financial blockade, imposed on Cuba more than 50 years ago, a blockade that has cost our country more than one trillion dollars but has not achieved its objective of destroying the revolution. The economic losses it creates have caused the Cuban people numerous shortages, but they have not achieved the declared objective of making the people blame the government for the country’s economic problems, for the Cuban people are neither illiterate or ignorant.
In addition, on 22 consecutive occasions (and almost unanimously in recent years), the UN General Assembly has voted for the elimination of this measure. The United States and Israel have voted for maintaining the blockade, and the world’s opinion has been consistently ignored.
Though it is true the Obama administration has lifted a number of restrictions on cultural, sporting and religious exchanges and made it easier for Cubans to visit their relatives and send remittances to the island, it is also true his government has stepped up its persecution of banks that conduct any type of financial operations with Cuba, imposing huge fines on these.
The fines applied on banks have resulted in a situation in which no banking institution wants to offer Cuba’s consular office or Cuba’s UN representation any kind of financial service, in violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relationships. Banking services have also been denied the Cuban embassy in the Dominican Republic, and the oil company Shell refuses to supply Cuban planes with fuel. So, what restrictions have actually been lifted? The US government has loosened the screws at one end and tightened them at the other.
I hope Mrs. Clinton, were she to become president, is true to her declarations and demonstrates she has more common sense than the 11 presidents who have come before her, since the time the blockade was first established.
The Cuban government has declared on numerous occasions that it is willing to hold talks with the United States on an equal footing, particularly on controversial issues and those that affect relations between the two countries.