Namibian Press. New Era: “Geingob: Cuba embargo a crime.”

Namibia.- President Hage Geingob has described the embargo that the United States of America has maintained against Cuba for more than six decades as a crime. He said this yesterday when Cuban Army Corps General Joaquín Quintas Solá and his delegation paid him a visit at State House.

“How should Americans feel when a child is born, but by the age of 50 or so, the only thing he or she knows is a blockade? The person will be asking why this is happening – that is a crime - there is no peace,” Geingob told the visiting delegation.

He also reminded the visiting team of Cuba’s role in Namibia’s independence, stating that that country had made a significant contribution.

Solá, who doubles as deputy minister of the Cuban military, which includes air defence, ground forces and naval forces, briefed Geingob on the situation in his country, which he said was stable. He further informed the President of a recent fire, which saw 16 firefighters lose their lives. The fire broke out on 5 August after lightning struck a fuel tank at a depot on Cuba’s northern coast.

Solá and his delegation arrived in Namibia on Wednesday. Namibia-Cuba relations have remained excellent over the years, and both sides have cooperated constructively in the international arena and bilaterally.

The embargo prevents American businesses, and businesses organised under US law or majority-owned by American citizens, from conducting trade with Cuban interests. The US first imposed an embargo on the sale of arms to Cuba on 14 March 1958 during the Fulgencio Batista regime.

On 19 October 1960, almost two years after the Cuban Revolution had ousted the Batista regime, the US placed an embargo on exports to Cuba, on 7 February 1962, the embargo was extended to include almost all exports. The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution every year since 1992 to demand the end of the US economic embargo on Cuba, with the US and Israel being the only nations to consistently vote against the resolutions.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden’s administration last week again voted against a UN General Assembly resolution calling for an end to the economic embargo, leaving relations frosty between the two long-time rivals.

The non-binding resolution was approved by 185 countries and opposed only by the United States and Israel, with Brazil and Ukraine abstaining. It was the 30th time the United Nations had voted to end the embargo. Former US leader Barack Obama labelled the policy as a failure.

Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, present during the last vote in the General Assembly Hall, said the blockade was a “massive, flagrant and unacceptable violation of the human rights of the Cuban people”. He added that the embargo is about “an economic war of extraterritorial scope against a small country already affected in the recent period by the economic crisis derived from the pandemic”.

The diplomat said the sanctions have made it harder for his country to acquire the medical equipment needed to develop Covid-19 vaccines, as well as equipment for food production.

“Like the virus, the blockade asphyxiates and kills, it must stop”, he urged.

By Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

New Era

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