Article written by Nicholas Mokwena, published in the newspaper Botswana Guardian.
The United States of America will only end its embargo on Cuba if the Cuban Government addresses pertinent issues such as improving respect for human rights, officials have said.
A US Embassy in Botswana State Department spokesperson has revealed that the US Government restricts certain financial transactions and travel, as a means to encourage the Cuban government to address the need for more freedom and democracy in Cuba, improved respect for human rights, and increased free enterprise.
To that end, the U.S. Government channels funds toward the Cuban people and away from a regime that has failed to meet the most basic requirements of a free and just society, said the spokesperson of the State Department when responding to a questionnaire from Botswana Guardian regarding the imposed Financial, Commercial and Business blockade on Cuba.
The tension between Cuba and USA spans over 60 years. The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday this week were expected to vote on the Resolution Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by US Government. About 193 countries were expected to vote.
Patricia Pego Guerra, Ambassador of Cuba to Botswana has stated that the blockade against Cuba should cease. She explained that it is the most unjust, severe and longest standing unilateral sanctions system ever imposed against any country.
The ambassador stated that Botswana is one of the countries that are against the embargo and Cuba and its people trust that Botswana would once again vote against the blockade. Botswana and Cuba have a longstanding diplomatic relations especially in the health sector.
“Since 1992, the UN General Assembly, by an overwhelming majority, including Botswana, has been in favour of observing International Law and the Principles and Purposes of the UN Charter.
The US Government should totally, unilaterally and unconditionally lift the blockade against Cuba.
“That would be consistent with the overwhelming appeal of the international community and the majority opinion of many different voices within the US calling for an end to this unjust policy,” she stated.
Guerra told a pres conference in Gaborone recently that Cuba and its people are confident that, once again, this year they will count upon the support of the international community in their legitimate call for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the Government of the US.
However the State Department spokesperson at the US Embassy in Botswana said President Donald Trump has laid out his Administration’s Cuba Policy on June 16, 2017 in the National Security Policy Memorandum (NSPM) on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba.
“The United States Government is committed to advancing human rights and democracy in Cuba, while maintaining bilateral engagement that serves U.S. national interests.
“We continue to raise our concerns about the incidents affecting our Embassy community in Havana and remind the Cuban government of its obligations under the Vienna Convention to take all appropriate steps to protect our diplomats.
“Out of concern for our diplomatic personnel, the Secretary ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel from Embassy Havana on September 29. We are deeply concerned about the health and well-being of our personnel and are aggressively investigating the incidents.
“The Department of State is constantly reviewing its security posture and presence at posts to ensure the safety and well-being of our personnel,” said the State Department in a written response.
It further stated that in Section 2c of the National Security Policy Memorandum (NSPM) on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba, the Administration makes it clear it shall be the policy of the executive branch to: Support the economic embargo of Cuba described in Section 4(7) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (the embargo), including by opposing measures that call for an end to the embargo at the United Nations and other international forums and through regular reporting on whether the conditions of a transition government exist in Cuba.
A source at Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation told this publication that Botswana believes the embargo is not premised on any principle of international law is morally wrong.