What is International Law Good for Anyway?

By Elio Delgado Legon

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez address the United Nations.

HAVANA TIMES – Seventy-five years ago, when WW2 had ended after the US intervened at the last minute (not to beat Fascism, which had already been defeated, but to stop Soviet troops from advancing any further), the United Nations was created, which took on an essential mission: “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”. Ever since this Organization was founded, International Law and respect for it has been a key element of its work.

The United Nations Charter is considered an international treaty and as such, it is an instrument of international law, and UN Member States are bound by it. This document codifies the major principles of international relations, from sovereign equality of States to the prohibition of the use of force in international relations.

In order to uphold world peace, the United Nations completed its structure with a framework of courts, the International Court of Justice being the main one.

As a binding document, the UN Charter clearly stipulates two fundamental principles to uphold world peace: sovereign equality of all of its Members and the prohibition of the use of force in international relations. Both principles have been systematically violated by the US in different parts of the world, without the International Court of Justice taking a single measure to stop it from continuing to violate International Law.

With regard to Cuba, the US has violated the legal responsibility it has in its relations with other States; including, human rights violations and the use of force, and it takes on functions which only the UN Security Council has the authority to take, such as issuing sanctions.

Imposing and upholding an economic, commercial and financial blockade against the Cuban people to cause shortages, hunger and disease to force them to rebel against their government, is a blatant and systematic human rights violation of an entire population, which has endured for nearly 60 years. Under Donald Trump’s administration, this embargo has been reinforced in such a way that it now persecutes any Cuban transaction made anywhere in the world, with the objective of sanctioning anyone who does business with Cuba so they can cut off the flow of foreign currency into the country.

They have even persecuted shipping companies transporting oil to Cuba and insurance companies that cover these ships, with the objective of cutting the country’s fuel supply. This persecution has also affected liquefied petroleum gas imports which is the main fuel Cuban people use to cook their food. What is this if it isn’t a human rights violation against an entire sovereign people?

The international community has condemned the blockade against Cuba at the UN General Assembly for 28 consecutive years, and far from taking measures to eliminate it and normalize relations, which is what two neighbors and UN Member States should do, the US has instead tightened down on the blockade and added additional measures, such as banning US citizens from traveling to Cuba, cruise ships from entering Cuba, US airlines flying to nearly every Cuban airport, except for Havana. They have also issued sanctions against companies who have tourism-related business interests in Cuba. In short, these are all violations of the UN Charter and International Law.

Going down this route, we’ll soon end up with WW3, which was the whole point of creating the UN in the first place so this wouldn’t happen; but this would be the last World War, because there won’t be anything left to fight for after. So, I ask you: Can a country be allowed to violate every law because it’s the strongest? What is the UN and International Law any good for?

Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.



3 thoughts on “What is International Law Good for Anyway?

  • Elio states that the USA entered WW2 ‘at the last minute’.
    This is clearly an exaggeration. It is a somewhat disrespectful the considerable US contribution to the defeat of fascism.
    However, we must bear in mind the old adage:
    ‘The USA was late for WW1 and WW2 but has been trying to make up for it’s tardiness ever since ‘
    It must be said that Elio is correct regarding the USA’s total and disgraceful disrespect for global democracy and international law. The USA uses the ‘D word (democracy)’ when it needs a pretext for an invasion…..
    But the stark facts show the USA’s overall contempt for the very concept of democracy.
    The USA and Cuba are examples of countries who went through very hopeful Revolutions which are now failing to achieve their respective stated goals.
    My own country (UK) is not a golden example of anything right now and has taken some odd decisions of late.
    But at the very least, we consistently vote, with the rest of the world, against the USA’s pathetic, undemocratic, and miserably vindictive, smutty little embargo.
    This embargo reminds me of the very worst of historical, British imperialism.
    The very thing that the US Revolutionary sought to put in the past.
    Sadly, history repeats itself in weird and darkly poignant ways.

    Reply
  • Extrajudicial killings are now more common. Autocracy in government leads to that.

    Reply
  • Elio is either intentionally trying to mislead or is very poorly educated in WW2 history. The US entry into the war in Europe was neither late nor early. US interests were lightly threatened and the debate in the US at the time to enter the war was robust. Elio also fails to mention Cuban meddling in extraterritorial affairs of a number of African countries and its neighbors in Latin America. Finally, he does not mention what he would have the UN do to change US policy towards Cuba. Sanctions? War? Isn’t that what he suggests is the problem in the first place?

    Reply

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