Effects of the US Embargo on Cuba Are Felt in Switzerland

Fernando Ravsberg*

“The restriction directly affects the health of the Cuban population,” says Beat Schmid of mediCuba-Switzerland.

HAVANA TIMES — Beat Schmid, mediCuba-Suiza Program Coordinator, explained that Credit Suisse, the second largest bank in Switzerland joined the US Blockade against Cuba by refusing to perform banking transactions for that organization.

“The restriction occurs even though transfers are in Swiss francs and from a legal and officially recognized organization with 20 years of existence, which has even received funding from the Swiss government and local and provincial authorities,” said Schmid.

He adds that “the bank claims that its commitment is to adhere to the highest ethical standards that do not violate any sanction from Switzerland, the United Nations, the EU or USA. However the Embargo on Cuba is a sanction condemned by Switzerland and the UN.”

Beat Schmid

In effect it is “an extraterritorial application of the economic blockade against Cuba and for us it is absolutely illegitimate, the product of the fear of receiving US sanctions,” says the coordinator of mediCuba-Suiza.

“These grants are for projects in Cuba, raw materials for making basic medicines, support for endoscopic surgery in oncology, improved geriatric services and HIV programs,” says Schmid. He added that “the restriction directly affects the health of the Cuban people.”

Legally they can do little; “the Swiss government declared itself incompetent because it is a matter of a private business with their customers and there is no way to force them to change their attitude. After this decision by Credit Suisse any transaction having to do with Cuba may suffer the same fate. ”

The organization has other accounts “but the danger is that more banks adhere to this restriction. It’s a threat that can stretch. Cuba is already living with the problem of banks afraid of US sanctions.”
(*) Visit Fernando Ravsberg’s blog.

4 thoughts on “Effects of the US Embargo on Cuba Are Felt in Switzerland

  • The consistent global failures of communism, and specifically central planning, over the last century has provided the world with a clear blueprint of how NOT to run an economy. Cuba of course has failures unique onto itself. With one man making all the decisions over almost half a century, it’s no wonder the country finds itself turning to the lifeline of Capitalism.

    Cuba’s list of unique failures range from it’s failed attempt at industrialization and such silly ideas as having miniature cows in residential backyards to the 10 million ton sugar harvest “super cow”. It’s no wonder Cuba finds itself, underdeveloped, under-capitalized, and with no clear future in site.

  • I lived in Switzerland for many years up until the early 90’s. I helped with organizing fund raising events for Cuba and Central America. What a difference from the US! The Swiss are extremely well-travelled and although, like us, exposed to a ton of propaganda from the media, the average Swiss has critical thinking skills well beyond those of Joe Yuma. Many, many people there are quite sympathetic to Cuba’s struggle to survive US agression. Maybe that’s why Yoanni decided to leave; she couldn’t get them to fall for her B.S.

  • That is a terribly shoddy piece of journalism. No dates, facts or figures are given for the alleged incidents. No details provided, so we don’t even know what is alleged to have happened. No response from the US government or from any independent observers is offered.

    All that is presented is a complaint by one Beat Schmid, an employee of an organization called “mediCuba-Suiza”, that Credit Suisse has joined the US Blockade against Cuba. The use of the word “Blockade”, capitalized no less, is a tell. The appearance of that word tells us where this piece of writing came from.

    Nowhere is it mentioned in the article that Medi-Cuba is an enterprise of the Cuban government, and as such under the complete control of the Castro regime. A quick check of the various websites associated with Medi-Cuba reveals a large component of political propaganda from the Castro regime. Interestingly, the current topic is the very issue Fernando wrote about, rather poorly, above.

    It’s a shame that Fernando’s job at the BBC was terminated recently. But did he have to start working for the Cuban MININT?

  • And then we have the hypocritical, counter-revolutionary a-holes who say that that the Cuban government and PCC are entirely to blame for Cuba’s economic problems and that the 54 year embargo kept in place by the highest level strategists at the CIA, Congress and the White House who KNOW just how effective the embargo has been .
    It is a strategy that is part of the over 100 year old U.S. mandate to crush democratic economic forms in order to preserve totalitarian capitalism .
    That Cuba has survived for over 50 years of this war by the most powerful and implacable of enemies goes to show the strength of a socialist-style economy even one that is so corrupted by a top-down bureaucracy.
    Those who claim that socialism is doomed because of its intrinsic faults refuse to call off the embargo because they either know or fear that an unmolested socialist economy would thrive and provide the example for other poorer countries to follow.

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