Havana, October 24, 2020
"Year 62 of the Revolution"
His Excellency Mr. Antonio Gutérres
Secretary General of the United Nations
After 75 years of its founding, the role of the United Nations is increasingly relevant.
Strict adherence to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and International Law is urgent, as well as the preservation of multilateralism in the face of the pressing challenges imposed on us by the complex world scenario.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, presented this Thursday the Report on the impact of the United States blockade against Cuba in the last year, a document that denounces in a well-founded way the resurgence of that hostile and aggressive policy.
The Resolution entitled “The need to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” will be voted in May 2021, for the twenty-ninth time within the United Nations General Assembly; this time postponed due to the impact of COVID-19 on a global scale.
At a press conference, the Foreign Minister said that the United States government has intensely intensified the blockade against Cuba, even in times of pandemic. He commented on how a donation of medical supplies sent by a Chinese company could not reach Cuban territory as a consequence. He also pointed out that Cuba's effective confrontation with COVID-19 has been possible due to the strength of the island's health system.
He also referred to the measures against fuel supplies and the lies and slander that are increasing against the country.
"Whoever wins the elections in the United States will have to face the fact that the blockade harms Cubans, their families, violates human rights and makes travel, visas and family reunification difficult."
The head of the Cuban dilplomacy stated that the blockade policy even affects the national interest of the United States, a country that "suffers deep isolation and discredit." He also pointed out that "due to its extraterritorial application, it violates sovereignty and affects the interests of all the States of the planet."
From April 2019 to March 2020, the blockade has caused losses to Cuba in the order of 5 thousand 570 million dollars. "First time it exceeds five billion in a year," he added.
At current prices, the accumulated damages during almost six decades of application of this policy amount to 144 thousand 413.4 million dollars, while taking into account the depreciation of the dollar against the value of gold in the international market, the figure amounts to more than one trillion 98 thousand 8 million dollars.
"It is cynical to come to Cuba now to tell the Cubans that the blockade has no real impact, to tell the Cuban families who suffer it every day and every hour."
Rodríguez Parrilla pointed out that, in a practical way, the blockade means the denial to Cuba of access to medical equipment and supplies of American origin or, even, of third countries that have more than 10% of American components or technologies from that country, being the health area one of the most affected.
Since the beginning of the Pandemic, our consulates and consular offices have developed dissimilar actions based on serving the Cuban community residing abroad, taking into account the exceptional nature of the current situation marked by the impact of Covid-19.
First, remote consular procedures were encouraged and facilitated to avoid the transfer of people and, in this way, reduce the risk of contagion. The cases of Cuban citizens who were infected with Covi-19 were given priority attention.
The necessary support has been provided to the relatives and friends of Cuban citizens who, unfortunately, have died abroad due to Covid-19. Together with the different Cuban communities abroad, and solidarity friends, our embassies and consulates have supported our compatriots who were unable to return to the country because of the Pandemic. Consular assistance was provided to Cuban crew members enrolled in more than 12 cruise ships and more than 20 merchant ships, which were stranded in ports in different countries. Negotiations were carried out with airlines and authorities from different countries, with the aim of coordinating charter flights to Cuba, through which Cuban citizens were transferred to our country and foreigners who were stranded in Cuba were evacuated. From March 21 to date, 94 charter flights were made, in which more than 5,700 Cubans stranded in 56 countries returned.
Upon arrival in Cuba, all these people received the required epidemiological care, whose fundamental objective, as has been reiterated by the highest leadership of our country, is to guarantee the life and health of our nationals. This care included, among other aspects, the transfer to their provinces of residence, accommodation in isolation centers for several days, where they were guaranteed medical care, food and other basic needs; performing PCR and, in cases where it was necessary, transferring them to health centers to receive the required treatment, all at no cost. The foregoing is of singular importance if we take into account the effectiveness of the protocols applied in Cuba in dealing with Covid-19, on which our population has extensive information.
The use of the facilities provided by the new information and communication technologies has been used to the maximum in terms of serving Cubans living abroad. In this sense, virtual national meetings and other initiatives have been developed based on systematic interaction with our nationals. What has been mentioned so far corresponds to the policy of care for Cubans living abroad that our country has invariably maintained since the Dialogue of 1978 took place, promoted and promoted by the Historical Leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz.
The main objective of this policy, which has been ratified by the top leadership of the State and the Cuban Government on different occasions, continues to be the strengthening of ties with Cubans living abroad. To this end, the country's immigration policy has been periodically updated with measures aimed at facilitating ties between Cubans, those who reside on the island and those who do so abroad; Quite the opposite of the measures adopted by the current US government, aimed at suffocating us economically and hindering the ties between Cuban families. We must not forget that before the emergence of the Pandemic, the US government had already adopted a series of measures aimed at affecting the travel of Cuban citizens, in one sense or another, between the two countries. Policy that has continued to apply in the context of Covid-19.
On the occasion of the day for the lifting of economic sanctions against Zimbabwe, sponsored by SADC, the digital channel Zimpapers conducted an interview with the Cuban Ambassador in Zimbabwe, Carmelina Ramírez, about the effect of the application of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the USA against Cuba. The Ambassador highlighted the resistance of the Cuban people during these six decades of economic war and terrorist activities. On the subject, she stressed that unity around the Communist party and the government has been key to overcoming obstacles.
As part of the new Covid-19 Coping Plan recently announced by our government, new measures have been adopted related to Cubans abroad, foreign permanent residents in Cuba, and international travelers, which will come into effect on October 12. In this sense, the following is reported:
Cuban citizens and foreigners with permanent residence in the national territory who had approved extensions of stay or had expired the term of 24 and 12 months, respectively as of March 19, 2020, may remain abroad until March 12, 2020. October 2021 without losing their status as residents in the national territory.
It extends until June 2021, the possibility that Cuban citizens who are today in countries where biometric data capture is applied, can request a passport without having to visit our Consulates and Consular Offices. To do this, they must use the application form available on the website of each consulate or consular office and comply with the quality requirements established for the photo and signature.
For greater precision, those interested should contact the Consular office of Cuba in Zimbabwe, through the following channels: (firstname.lastname@example.org; or Tel. 263-4 790126).
Travelers arriving on international flights must strictly comply with the protocols and sanitary measures announced by the Cuban health authorities.
All travelers from abroad will undergo the PCR test upon arrival in the country.