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"The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba"

Havana, September 30, 2004

More restrictions on travel to Cuba
More restrictions on family remittances
Further extraterritorial harassment
Other necessary notes and assessments



The more than forty long years of suffering by the Cuban people, caused by their sovereign decision to stand up to the blockade imposed on it, to preserve their independence and to not renounce their right to build their own development model, is something that President George W. Bush’s administration treats with contempt.

The UN General Assembly’s condemnation over 12 years ago —which today is almost unanimous— of this murderous mechanism that the US authorities euphemistically label “embargo” is continually ignored.

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Neither does President George W. Bush’s government pay any attention to the reservations about his Cuba policy that exist in broad sectors of US society, sectors which, in an increasingly insistent fashion, demand changes to that policy; a policy that not only seeks to suffocate the Cuban people and affect their relations with third countries but also bans and restricts some of the American people’s basic freedoms, including some that are enshrined in the constitution.

The period analyzed by this report (the second half of 2003 and the first half of this year) will go down in history as one of the periods when the colossal crime which goes by the name of “The Blockade” was at its most virulent.

The new measures the United States government implemented during this period are one more cog in the machinery of laws and regulation that have controlled the blockade against Cuba for over forty years; they are proof of that government’s desperation caused by the failure of its attempts to isolate and subjugate the Cuban people through hunger and disease. Their aim is to put into practice the plans to dominate the Cuban nation that have inspired the way some sectors of the US ultra-right have behaved for more than a century.

The ultimate aim of these measures, moreover, is to satiate the hatred and thirst for vengeance of a Cuban-born extremist minority which has no qualms about resorting to terrorism against the people of our island and to whom President George W. Bush owes a debt of gratitude for the direct role it played in organizing and pulling off the fraud in the year 2000 elections in Florida.

The most relevant events which characterize the period covered by this report include:

- 30 September 2003, the US Treasury Department’s Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) passed a regulation to ban publication of scientific articles from regimes subject to sanctions by the United States government: Cuba is one of these. The OFAC did this under the pretext that the editing process, that is “revision, changing and publishing” would constitute a “service” which would add value to the articles in question, and would therefore violate the Trading with the Enemy Act. Following intense pressure from the US academic and scientific community, the measures was repealed on 5 April 2004.

- 10 October 2003, President George W. Bush made an announcement from the White House about the establishment of the so-called “Committee for Assistance to a Free Cuba” and an increase in controls on and greater rigor in applying the ban on travel to Cuba.

- 9 February 2004, the US secretary of the treasury, John Snow, made an announcement in Miami about a new extraterritorial measure which involved the OFAC immediately freezing the assets in the United States of 10 companies of “Cuban ownership” or controlled by the Cuban government or Cuban nationals, which specialized in promoting travel to Cuba and in sending gifts. This included companies organized and located in Argentina, the Bahamian, Canada, Chile, Holland and the United Kingdom.

That same day, the aforementioned functionary gave an account of the degree to which the president’s decision to tighten controls on travel to Cuba had been applied, listing the number of flights inspected, the fines imposed and the goods seized.

- 26 February 2004, President George W. Bush signed Presidential Proclamation 7757 which bans vessels intending to enter Cuba from leaving US ports. The regulations for putting this into effect, issued by the Coastguard Service on 8 July 2004, openly declared that the aim of these was to “improve the way the embargo on the Cuban government is applied”. The regulation establishes fines of up to $25,000 or five years in prison or both and the confiscation of violators’ vessels.

- In this period, the US government brought fierce pressures to bear on banking institutions in third countries to have them place obstacles in the way of and hinder Cuban financial operations. Cuba uses this income in hard currency for importing medicines, food and other consumer goods and to buy the inputs needed if its economy and essential social services are to function.

Recently the US government fined the Swiss bank, USB, $100 million for making financial transactions in dollars with certain countries, including Cuba

- 6 May 2004, President George W. Bush gave his approval to all of the report from the so-called Committee for Assistance to a Free Cuba. This contains some 450 recommendations and suggestions for new measures to topple the Cuban Revolution and install a puppet regime which would have total control over the Cuban nation and would be under the absolute control of the United States.

- Finally, on 30 June 2004, the regulations which tighten the measures announced on 6 May became effective. The measures themselves are a violation of Cuban independence and sovereignty and an unprecedented escalation in the mass, flagrant violation of the human rights of the Cuban population, of Cubans living in the United States and even of US citizens themselves.

The economic, financial and trade blockade which ten US administrations have imposed —and intensified— on Cuba and which is today a complicated apparatus of laws and regulations, is a part of a policy of hostility and aggression towards the very existence of the Cuban nation. By the Cuban nation we mean the undertaking to build a sovereign and independent Cuba for Cubans.

The United States’ voracious appetite for Cuba and its natural and human resources dates back to the very birth of the American Union when efforts to annex Cuba began, using all sorts of different methods ranging from encouragement and support for annexationist forces within the Spanish colony to direct military intervention and occupation.

No 19th century American government ever recognized the Republic of Cuba in Arms. On the contrary, on several occasions they put obstacle in the way of and interrupted the channels that the American people and Cuban émigrés in that country used to send the aid they had obtained for the Cuban people’s cause to win their freedom.

After the 1898 US military intervention, which robbed Cubans of the right they had won through 30 years of unequal struggle, a “republic” was born in Cuba, a “republic” made dependent by a constitutional amendment, the Platt Amendment, which legalized the island’s neo-colonial status. For more than 50 years, US governments subjected the Cuban people to their imperial control and to having their national wealth exploited by US monopolies, thanks to the complicity and spinelessness of successive corrupt puppet governments. They also installed brutal military dictatorships when they found it necessary to shed blood to silence the justified claims of the Cuban people and quash their deep-rooted anti-imperialist sentiments.

A Cuban-born oligarchy, dependent on and benefiting from the country’s neo-colonial control apparatus, showed itself incapable of leading or even of going along with a plan for genuine national development.

When a profound social revolution was victorious in 1959, the imperialist cliques in the United States who exercised control over the island and who very soon saw the Cuban Revolution’s example as an open challenge to its plans for hegemonic domination, decided to use their power, through successive Republican and Democratic administrations to launch, maintain and, as the years went by, step up an undeclared war aimed at re-installing their control over the Cuban nation and, if that was impossible, to simply exterminate it and its rebelliousness.

The economic, trade and financial war against Cuba began even before the revolutionary government took any measures which affected the US companies controlling the country’s economic life.

A complex, shadowy web of measures, laws and programs, which is today the US unilateral blockade on Cuba, began to take shape at the same time as they were encouraging, organizing and financing a mercenary invasion at the Bay of Pigs, countless acts of terrorism —including sabotage on economic and social targets, plans to assassinate the top revolutionary leadership, armed attacks on defenseless settlements and families and even germ warfare— media campaigns filled with rabid lies about the Revolution, encouragement for subversion and funding for the overseas and domestic counterrevolution and cruel incitement to emigrate illegally.

The Torricelli Act was passed in 1992; this abruptly cut off trade in medical drugs and food between Cuba and subsidiaries of US companies based outside US territory. It also instituted a strict ban on maritime navigation to and from Cuba, thus giving legal status to provisions which were clearly extraterritorial in nature.

Applying the Torricelli Act delivered a heavy blow to the Cuban people. It was conceived with the criminal and cynical aim of dealing the coup de grace to the Cuban economy, thus destroying it. (The economy was going through serious difficulties following the abrupt cessation of its economic, trade and cooperation relations with the former Soviet Union and the East European former socialist countries). Since this wager on the collapse of the Cuban Revolution turned into yet another failure of the policy of anti-Cuban hostility followed by successive US governments, it was then decided to escalate the economic, political and diplomatic war against the Cuban nation to levels never before seen in the history of US foreign policy.

In 1996 the Helms-Burton Act was passed. This, among other things, fine tuned the repressive mechanisms affecting the infinitesimal economic, trade and financial ties between US companies and Cuba, increased the number and scope of the extraterritorial provisions in order to persecute any transaction or business that might benefit the Cuban economy, persecuted and punished foreign investors in Cuba; authorized funding for hostile subversive, aggressive actions against the Cuban people —these included the media disinformation war, improving the broadcasts by the ill-named Radio and Television Martí, drew up a program aimed at destroying the constitutional system the Cuban people has created for itself and at imposing a “change of regime” which would ensure that the US imperialist cliques´ schemes to take over the Cuban nation are brought to fruition.

From that time on, a long list of new actions and measures of hostility and aggression were added one after the other, in an attempt to stop any hole or gap detected in the cordon or wall of sanctions set up to blockade Cuba.

According to figures updated in 2004 by the Cuban National Statistics Office, 69% of the population was born after 1959, which means that approximately seven out of every ten Cubans were born and have lived under this regime of unilateral sanctions that is the American blockade.

An economic estimate —made by the National Institute for Economic Research with the collaboration of experts from several ministries, companies and other Cuban institutions— of the direct losses suffered by the Cuban people because of the blockade indicates that these amount to over $79,325,2 billion.

It should be pointed out that this estimate takes into consideration only direct damage to our economy and thus does not include the greater part of the indirect economic losses resulting from this. If the country had been able to avail itself of these resources, they would have improved the population’s standard of living through the multiplier effect.

For example, the estimate does not include the value of goods that ceased to be produced because of restrictions and onerous conditions Cuba has to face when applying for investment, trade, banking and international credits. Had it been able to have access, at average rates and under average conditions, to the financing granted to other countries in the region with a similar level of economic development, the country’s economy would have reached a much higher level of development.

It is beyond belief that, at a time when the international community is combining its cooperation efforts to meet essential not-to-be-postponed development goals for all nations, the country with the greatest military and economic power, for petty domestic political reasons and from a desire for world domination, should insist on begrudging the tiny amount of resources that could improve the wellbeing and speed up the progress of a country which has irrefutably demonstrated its willingness to unconditionally share its modest achievements and victories with any other country in the world.

Cuba represents absolutely no threat or danger to the United States. The world and large sectors of US society are perfectly well aware of this. There are also very few people who are still fooled by the false, pharisaical way they invoke the alleged defense of human rights to justify their ferocious hostility towards the Cuban people.

How could the government which is responsible for the most atrocious and premeditated attacks on policies and programs designed to promote economic and social development and the wellbeing, the safety and the right to life of Cuban men and women lay claim to the title of defender of the Cuban people’s human rights?

How could the government which uses lies as a pretext for its “pre-emptive wars” —which are in fact imperialist wars to gain control of resources and geographic regions of great strategic importance— hasten “democracy” anywhere in the world?

Who could be convinced of its adherence to the “rule of law” by the government that tramples on the basic canons of international law and shows its contempt for agreements reached in multilateral for a of the importance and universality of the United Nations General Assembly and the World Trade Organization. Who could be convinced by the government that claims its exemption from the provisions of the Convention on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment in order to ensure that it will go unpunished for the brutal and inhuman way its authorities treat prisoners in Iraq or those who are still arbitrarily detained in concentration camps built in territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Bay US naval base in Cuba?

How could a government that has made the inequalities and injustices in US society worse and has supported the dismantling of affirmative action programs that favor underprivileged, forgotten minorities —such as its own Latino and Afro-American citizens— and which, with its social and fiscal policies in favor of the rich, has added million people per year to the number of Americans who have no medical insurance help the advancement and wellbeing of the Cuban people?

There is no way the Bush administration can maintain that its policy of hostility, blockade and aggression against Cuba is based on the hypothetical need to promote and protect human rights in the island. The government that has made the largest contribution in the shortest time to the disintegration of and loss of prestige by the international system for promoting and protecting human rights has neither the credibility, moral right or any other right to do so.

The Cuban people reject the model of political and social organization that the US government is attempting to reinstall in their country with a view to re-imposing its apparatus of control and interference and to following its neoliberal recipes for reorganizing and managing the Cuban economy. Cuban men and women think that the schema the power circles in the superpower are offering them provide no solution to the problems, needs or historical interests of the Cuban nation nor to its desire to continue building a fairer, more democratic and more equal society.

As per paragraph (c) of article II of the Geneva Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, of 9 December 1948, the US blockade against Cuba qualifies as an act of genocide and is, therefore, a crime under international law.

The condemnation of any act of genocide and the need to put a stop to it allow no room for ambiguous positions. The Cuban people cannot condone any attempt whatsoever to influence the degree to which they are opposed to the brutal blockade imposed on them.

Cuba trusts that an overwhelming majority of governments in the world will continue to recognize —as the peoples and honest, worthy men and women from the four corners of the earth have done— the vital importance of opposing the prolongation of an unlawful policy of hostility and unilateral aggression which is undermining the very foundations of multilateralism.

Although the Cuban people knows perfectly well that the best guarantee for its existence and development as a sovereign, independent nation lies in its will to unity, its determination to resist and conquer any threat or attack, it is sincerely grateful for the support and solidarity shown by the international community. Such support, as well as serving as moral, ethical and justified encouragement, shows that the battle it is waging today has universal importance and moves us all forward towards that common goal of building a better world, which is not only possible but essential if humanity is to survive.

This report devotes a long chapter to the new measures announced May 6 and to the regulations for applying these which were released on 16 June. It does this because of the great importance these have in making the blockade worse. Similarly, in six other chapters it provides a set of examples which irrefutably prove that the blockade is a monstrous creation which grievously affects the day-to-day lives of the people of Cuba.


On 6 May 2004, as if the US government had not already given enough evidence of its contempt for the Cuban people’s present and future, of its total disrespect for the will of the international community and of the way it makes a mockery of the legitimate interest the American people has in setting up normal, reasonable relations with Cuba, new measures were announced when President George W. Bush introduced the report from the so-called Committee for Assistance to a Free Cuba. This report is a US government plan to deprive Cuba of her independence and sovereignty by stepping up economic and political aggression in order to cause internal destabilization, to create conditions conducive to direct intervention to overthrow the Revolution and perpetuate US control over the Cuban people.

The report lists new, blatantly interventionist measures that are humiliating for the Cuban people and which notably intensify the economic blockade against the island and increase violations of her people’s human rights, of the rights of Cubans living in American rights and even those of the American people themselves.

These measures add to the unfair and discriminatory restrictions placed on Cubans living in the United States, the only national group over which the US government arrogates the power to determine what relations they may have with their relatives and their country of origin.

The aforementioned report takes six chapters —more than 450 pages— to describe how it will intensify the aggressive course of US anti-Cuban policy, extend the blockade and seek to bring about a “change of regime”, grossly violating Cuban sovereignty as it defines what her state and economic structures, her political system, her social organization and her legal system should be like. This document could not contain more lies, bitterness, frustration and interference in Cuba’s internal affairs.

More restrictions on travel to Cuba

The new anti-Cuban measures announced on 6 May, the application of which was made public by the Treasury Department’s Office for Foreign Assets Control on June 16, include several provisions aimed at tightening the already draconian restrictions on travel to Cuba by US citizens and Cubans living in US territory. They therefore extend the limitations on family relations and are yet another attack on some of Cuba’s most important sources of income, especially those connected with its main industry, tourism.

The Bush administration decided:

- To continue to limit licenses for educational travel and academic exchanges to US citizens and institutions, restricting them to the university level, to visits of more than 10 weeks and making them available only for academic projects which directly support US policy aims, in other words, the overthrow of the Cuban revolution.

- To eliminate any opportunity for US citizens to come on “fully hosted” visits.

- To reduce the number of visits Cubans living in the United States can make to Cuba from one per year to one every three years. The measures also institute the need to obtain a specific license for each trip instead of the general license which was effective until these new measures were implemented. This is a direct attack on Cuban family reunification and relations.

- To decree that Cubans who have recently arrived in the United States can only visit Cuba three years after they emigrate.

- Journeys which are an exception to this rule will not be allowed, even when there are special circumstances.

- To limit to 14 days the time Cuba émigrés to the US can spend in Cuba.

- To cut the number of Cubans living in the United States who have a right to visit Cuba by arbitrarily reducing the categories of relatives who are legally accepted as members of a Cuban family. The US government has decreed that the family members one can visit in Cuba are limited to: “grandparents, grandchildren, parents, siblings, spouses and children”. That means that, henceforth, a cousin, an aunt, or other close relative are not eligible to be visited, no matter what degree of affection or emotional closeness may exist between them and Cubans living in the United States.

- To reduce from $164 to $50 per day the amount of money that Cuban émigrés to the United States can spend when visiting Cuba. Similarly, they are only authorized to spend $50 for transportation costs inside Cuba on their 14 day visits.

- To abolish the license which allowed them to import a maximum of $100 worth of Cuban goods for personal use or consumption only. Travelers coming from Cuba are therefore strictly forbidden to bring into the United States on their return from Cuba anything whatsoever they may have acquired in Cuba, regardless of whether that article was bought or was a gift.

- To limit to 44 pounds (19.8 kg) the amount of luggage anyone authorized to go to Cuba is allowed to carry, unless the OFAC expressly authorizes more.

- To abolish general licenses for participating in amateur and semi-professional competitions in Cuban sponsored by an international sports federation. Henceforth, the OFAC will give authorization for such activities only under a specific license and after considering each case individually. Also abolished are any opportunities to take part in specialized workshops and clinics, either for sports or any other activities.

- To support action in third countries who send a lot of tourists to Cuba to discourage their nationals from visiting the Island.

With these new travel restrictions and bans for US citizens and for Cubans living in the United States – and against the will of the majority in Congress, expressed in votes during the last four years - the United States is once again undermining basic human rights enshrined in the International Charter of Human Rights, both in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights itself, and in the two International Pacts. They are a flagrant violation of Article 12 of the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights regarding the freedom to travel which is the inherent right of anyone who is legally resident in any state, a principle which was reaffirmed by the General Assembly in its Resolution 57/227, entitled “Respect for the right to universal freedom of travel and the vital importance of family reunification”.

In that resolution, the most representative major body of the United nations urged all states to guarantee “the universally recognized right to travel of all citizens of other countries who reside in their territory “, and reaffirmed that all governments, and especially those of the receiving states, must recognize the vital importance of family reunification and promote the incorporation of this into their domestic laws in order that the family unity of documented immigrants be protected”.

No people has been the object of so much discrimination and political manipulation of its immigrations relations by successive US governments as has the Cuban people. By virtue of the criminal Cuban Adjustment Act and other governmental provisions, US authorities make bilateral immigration relations conditional on its interest in destabilizing and discrediting the Cuban Revolution. Cubans who manage to reach US territory illegally —regardless of whether the United States Interests Section in Havana had denied them a visa to emigrate or whether they committed a crime against persons or property in the course of their unlawful crossing to the United States— will be welcomed and they will be automatically granted legal residence there.

The recent measures taken by the Bush administration, which aggravates the discriminatory way the Cuban émigré community is treated, show that the much- trumpeted preferential treatment that Cubans who emigrate illegally to the States receive, as do those who are the beneficiaries of the limited number of visas available for legal and orderly emigration, stems not from humanitarian motives but from those of political manipulation.

Apart from being in conflict with the full enjoyment of human rights, the restrictions and bans on travel which the US administration is bolstering with these measures are unlawful from the standpoint of US laws themselves. The question of travel to Cuba is not something that falls within the scope of administrative jurisdiction and that a US president can change as he thinks fit. This matter has been subject to law over there since the year 2000.

The Bush administration has made the way the blockade on Cuba is applied far more rigorous. For instance, at the end of last year, senators and congressmen publicly condemned the fact that the Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) employed five times more agents to pursue and investigate violations of the Cuba blockade legislation than it did to trace Al-Qaeda’s finances.

Between 1990 and 2003, the OFAC launched only 93 investigations into international terrorism whereas there were 10,683 investigations to prevent Americans from exercising their right to go to Cuba. Following the 93 investigations into terrorism, the OFAC fined the guilty a total of $9,425. However, it collected a total of $8 million from US citizens who have visited Cuba without Treasury Department licenses.

In a report dated 9 February 2004, which is posted on its webpage, the OFAC congratulated itself because its Civil Penalties Division had a list of 200 cases of violations of the Cuba blockade and because most of these had resulted in fines. Moreover, it reported that between 10 October and 30 November 2003, it had filed 348 more criminal suits for similar violations.

It is common to find reports and articles in the US press about US citizens being taken to court for having visited Cuba. For example, in April 2004, two retired persons, Wally and Barbara Smith from the State of Vermont, had to pay a $55,000 fine. The OFAC had charged them with having visited Cuba four times, with having spent money there and with having written a book, “Bicycling in Cuba”, published in 2002.

The rush to persecute its own citizens knows no bounds. In early February 2004, the OFAC notified Fred Burks and his fiancée that they had to pay a $7, 590 fine for having visited Cuba in 1999. Fred Burks, who has worked as an interpreter for Presidents William Clinton and George W. Bush, refused to pay the fine and is now awaiting word of some new penalty, probably a heavier one.

In March 2003, the OFAC had already announced that it would not be renewing licenses for educational exchanges, that is, for what were called “people to people” exchanges. The obvious outcome of this restriction being applied was that 26% less American citizens came to Cuba between January and June this year compared to the number that came in the same period last year. In July, following the new measures approved by Mr. Bush, the total was 52.4% down on the same month in 2003.

It is widely known that about 5 years ago tourism became the main source of earnings for Cuban economy, that the development of this sector has given a kick start the rest of the country’s economic activities and that a considerable part of the Cuban population supplement their income and receive social services financed, directly or indirectly, by this industry. It is also public knowledge that the average growth rate of the tourist sector over the last ten years has been 10 percent per annum, in spite of the harmful effects of the blockade and of the world economic crisis. It is no coincidence that the new measures try to sabotage and create more difficulties for this vital sector of the Cuban economy.

Preliminary studies by the Cuban Ministry of Tourism on the foreseeable impact of the restrictions announced on 6 May indicate that the number of US visitors to the country will drop considerably. According to this ministry’s estimates, this will cause earnings to drop by between $27 and $38 million.

When looking at the effect of these new measures brought about by the fact that Cuban-born visitors are now not only limited in the number of times they can come to their native country, (once every three year instead of once a year) but also limited in the amount they can spend in Cuba, the Ministry of Tourism study calculates that by the end of 2004 losses to the country could reach $66 million.

To sum up, as a result of the abusive measures described above, as from 30 June 2004, the tourism sector of Cuban economy will suffer losses of between $93 and $104 million and that’s not counting losses caused by actions taken by US authorities in third countries to discourage tourism to Cuba, losses that it has not been possible to quantify at this point.

More Restrictions on Family Remittances

There is broad international consensus on the importance that family remittances sent by émigrés has for development, particularly for countries in the South. This consensus extends to the need for all states, both those that send and those that receive remittances, to expand facilities and ensure the smooth functioning of procedures in existence for making this kind of international transfer between members of a family who live in different countries.

Approximately three years ago, in a speech entitled “Remittances as a Tool for Development”, the president of the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), Enrique Iglesias said:

“… remittances are a manifestation of the ties between groups of émigrés and their native communities and are a way to develop, since they provide an important source of predictable income, both for governments and for families, because of the way they help to maintain the level of well being in the households that receive them ...”

An IDB study of April 2004 entitled “Sending Money Home: Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean” analyzed the vital importance of the flow of remittances from the United States for quite a few economies in the region; and it gave its estimates for various countries. The Dominican Republic, for example, last year received $2.217 billion. El Salvador, $2.316 billion, Guatemala 2.106 billion and Jamaica $1.425 billion.

In order to use any possible way to hamper the Cuban people’s development opportunities, the US government has also arrogated the power to use these new measures to harm something as natural and sensitive as family remittances and ties.

The Committee for Assistance to A Free Cuba’s recommendations, issued on 6 May and ratified by the 16 June OFAC’s provisions for their application, restrict both who can send and who can receive remittances. Any US citizen and any Cuban living in the United States used to be able to send money to Cuba. Now only those US citizens and resident Cubans who have direct family here —direct family according to the arbitrary definition of family given by the Bush administration (grandparents, grandchildren, fathers, siblings, spouses, children)— can do so.

This means that US citizens are deprived of their right to send money to Cuban friends and that Cubans living in the United States will be the only emigrants who are forbidden to send economic assistance to an elderly aunt, a cousin, any other close relative or simply to a friend.

Another of the measures which affects remittances and which shows the lack of respect the Bush administration has for the political rights of the Cuban people is the one that forbids Cubans living in the United States to send remittances and parcels to their relatives if these are “government officials or members of the Communist Party”. If one were to follow the irrational logic of this restriction, one could quite easily find a case of an elderly 70 year old woman living in Cuba who would have to give up her political right to receive remittances sent by her son who has emigrated to the United States.

The June 16 OFAC regulations reduce the amount of remittances that an authorized visitor can bring to Cuba from $3,000 to $300. Up to this time, any visitor who traveled legally to Cuba could bring remittances for up to 10 Cuban families. Quite a number of émigrés used this channel.

It is obvious that, even though it is hypothetically possible to continue to send the same amount of money through those established banking institutions which have licenses from the Treasury Department to do so, all these new measures, which restrict the number of those who send and those who receive remittances and which exercise absolute control over the methods of sending them, will have the direct effect of curtailing the amount of remittances that the Cuban population eventually receives.

The cruelty evinced by this limitation on family remittances contrasts starkly with the unlimited resources sent, as the report itself points out, to the mercenaries —and to their families— who act inside Cuba on behalf of US government interests.

There is another particularly odious measure which recalls the “vigilantism” promoted by Hitler’s hordes to increase the efficiency of their raids to capture and oppress Jews and communists. The Bush administration has decided to pay “a reward” to anyone who points out “those violating” these new provisions and if that isn’t enough, it will organize “sting operations” by it federal agencies to neutralize and repress any activity which “violates” these restrictions.

An increasing number of Cubans living in the United States do not share the US government’s hostility towards Cuba and would like to have smooth, normal relations with their native land and their families, without being subject to limitations because of threats, vigilantism or reprisals.

Similarly, the new restrictions on family remittances and parcels sent home run counter to the spirit of most US legislation, which in recent years has approved proposals for their elimination. For example, on July 7 the House of Representatives voted 221 to 194 in favor of an amendment to this end - offered by Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) - to the Commerce, Justice, State, Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2005

Further Extraterritorial Harassment

As a pretext for keeping its unilateral policies of economic coercion in place, the US authorities claim that every country has the right to chose who it trades with. Nevertheless, when it comes to the blockade on Cuba, it is obvious that the application of this policy goes far beyond simply rejecting a trading partner.

The Cuba blockade policy is extremely active and aggressive when it comes to discouraging and persecuting foreign investment or any other type of trade and financial ties Cuba develops with the rest of the world. The current US government approved in their entirety the suggestions in the report from the so-called “Committee for Assistance to a Free Cuba”, about increasing the effectiveness and extraterritorial scope of the measures designed to choke the Cuban economy to death.

The first chapter of the report on the measures to overthrow the Cuban revolution recommends “strict application” of the sanctions listed in Title IV of the Helms-Burton Act, which forbids giving entry visas into the United States to foreigners who invest in Cuba. It has even been decided to assign additional resources and personnel to ensure these provisions are met.

Moreover, the report urges US authorities to undertake a rigorous analysis to see if applying Title III of the Helms-Burton Act would be contrary to US interests, or if by applying it, they could hasten the fall of the Cuban Revolution. In practice, it foresees the possibility of laying charges in the United States against businesspeople from third countries who do business with Cuba, something that up to now and thanks to international pressure, they have refrained from doing.

On this point, the new measures also mention a country by country study, probably with a view to imposing selective sanctions, thus dividing the international community in its opposition to the application of the extraterritorial provisions of the Helms-Burton Act.

A few days after the new anti-Cuban measures were announced, the State Department began to lubricate its machinery of blackmail and threats against those who invest in Cuba.

On 20 May, the president of the Jamaican hotel chain, Super Club, received a disturbing communication from the US Department of State. It reminded him that one of his hotel management contracts with Cuba contravenes provisions of the Helms-Burton Act, and that for that reason he and his family could be denied visas for entry into the United States. Moreover, it made it clear to him that if Title III of that act should be applied, his interests could be seriously harmed since this Title provides for court proceedings against those investors and businesspeople from third countries who “traffic” in property “confiscated” after 1959 from US citizens or from Cubans who are now naturalized Americans.

As a result of this, Super Club decided to back out of the contract for managing the Hotel Las Dalias in Playa Pesquero, Holguín Province signed a few months earlier with Gaviota S.A., a Cuban hotel group.

Although Cuban companies which operate in the international market do so with a clearly defined legal personality and legal registration, which strictly abides by the legal requirements in the countries where they are located and carry on their business —in all instances these businesses are absolutely legal activities and completely respect internationally established norms and practices— the report from the so-called “Committee for Assistance to a Free Cuba” emphasizes the need to harass them and hinder their development.

To this end, it recommends “neutralizing” the front companies that are in fact Cuban government property” and therefore suggests creating a “Cuban Asset Targeting Group” to investigate and identify new ways in which hard currency is moved in and out of Cuba.

Even before the new anti-Cuban measures were announced, the Bush administration had taken steps to obstruct our country’s relations with several banking institutions and thus block the earnings which Cuba receives form tourism, from selling goods in hard currency shops and from other services and then deposits in foreign banks.

The US government uses this method to put pressure on foreign banks to not allow US dollars deposited by Cuba to be changed into other currencies. Exchanging and transferring hard currency is absolutely necessary to the Cuban state —for importing food and medicines among other things— when it is considered that the blockade does not let foreigners who visit Cuba use credit cards or travelers checks issued by US banks and other financial institutions which control this market. In most cases, remittances and any payments foreign visitors make in Cuba have to made in cash.

This money, whose origin is completely legitimate, is directly used, among other things, to buy fuel and other inputs essential to the functioning of our domestic economy, to progressively improve the people’s diet and to continue to guarantee and improve universal access to quality basic services in education, health and social assistance and protection for all Cubans.

Other Necessary Notes and Assessments

The report from the “Committee for Assistance to a Free Cuba” recommends allotting $59 million more to step up international campaigns against Cuba and to give money to internal subversion and to their mercenaries who are on the payroll of the United States Interests Section in Havana and who are hypocritically referred to in the document as the "political opposition”.

The report reaches the height of shamelessness when it tries to gain the complicity of the international community in mobilizing and channeling resources to finance and recruit more mercenaries to swell the ranks of the fifth column created by Washington’s anti-Cuba policy. Thus, the report seeks to enlist the “collaboration of third countries in creating an international fund for the protection and development of civil society in Cuba”.

The report also wants to use US taxpayers’ money to finance a university scholarship plan in collaboration with the Organization of American states “so that the sons and daughters of dissidents —read: their mercenaries— can study in Latin American universities”.

Similarly, following the lines traced in the report, the US government will encourage financing so NGOs from third countries can get involved in the campaigns to discourage tourists from coming to Cuba —something that Reporters without Borders has pioneered under instructions and with funding from the CIA and the Miami terrorist mob— and in propaganda and smear campaigns against Cuba.

Likewise, the report suggests allotting $5 million to finance conferences in third countries devoted to promoting “transition” in Cuba. In other words, they guarantee funds so that those who grow rich from the business of counterrevolution in Cuba can continue to enjoy generous travel allowances, the delights of luxury hotels and first class world travel.

Another provocative and extremely serious measure is that of assigning $18 million for transmitting the ill-named Radio and TV Martí from a US Air Force C-130 plane (Commando Solo) - an irresponsible and illegal provocation which contravenes the law and international norms for aviation and telecommunications. This intensification of radio/electronics-based aggression against the Cuban people was launched during August 2004.

Deridingly disguised as “assistance to a Free Cuba”, the report approved by President George W. Bush gives minute details of the measures Washington would impose if it managed to take possession of our country. Cuban society would be completely subject to the United States which would control each and every one of its activities, with no exceptions. A complete rundown of this unrestrained interventionism would be unending. Some aspects of the US plan are listed below, to give some idea of the degree of servitude and exploitation which they would try to impose on Cubans.

- One of the first steps that the so-called “transition government” would take would be to return property to the former exploiters, including houses and land which the Batistian, annexationist mob itches to get its hands on.

- All branches of the economy would be privatized. This would be overseen by a US Standing Committee for Economic Reconstruction which they propose setting up immediately.

- Price controls on and subsidies to the goods and services the population receives would be abolished.

- The social security and social assistance regime would be dismantled and retirement pay and pensions would not be respected.

- Health services and education would be privatized once again.

With the deliberate intention of discrediting the unquestionable and internationally recognized achievements of the Cuban people in the areas of education and public health, the report tells that as part of the transition to be imposed on the country, institutions and services would be created to improve health, nutrition, education, social services by introducing free market practices. The report even goes as far as to suggest encouraging UN agencies, funds and programs to get involved in these plans.

It is omitted to tell us that the commercialization and privatization of these basic social services —to which all human beings should have the right— have in fact impeded the medical care coverage being extended and prevented the goal of education for all being reached in many countries in the world, including the United States itself, where 44 million people have no medical insurance or guaranteed medical care.

The health and education systems in Cuba, apart from having reached the point of being universal, free and of a high quality many years ago, are undergoing a process of profound improvement in the way they are understood and in their infrastructure, the aim being to further revolutionize them.

The report reaches the height of the ridiculous when it suggests that, during the aforementioned “transition” period “all children under five who have still not been immunized against childhood diseases be so”. These words are utter nonsense, since the world in general and US authorities in particular know perfectly well that all children in Cuba are immunized against 13 diseases before they are two years old, something that the authorities in Washington cannot say with any certainty about children in their country.

The height of their hypocrisy is shown by the fact that they pass these measures but, at the same time, prevent Cuba from buying vaccines manufactured by US companies. Recently, the Department of the Treasury fined Chiron Corporation, a US biotechnology company, $168,500 simply because one of its European subsidiaries had sold two types of vaccines for Cuban children to Cuba between 1999 and 2002. This has been the largest fine paid this year by a company based in the United States.

If the Bush administration really had any interest in protecting the health of Cuban children, all it would have to do would be to remove the obstacle in the way of Cuba buying pediatric vaccines or other medical drugs, such as cytostatics. The latter are essential for treating several kinds of cancer from which children in Cuba suffer.

In an admirable manifestation of the Cuban people’s predisposition to humanist action, more than 20,000 Cuban doctors, specialists and other health workers save hundreds of lives every day in 64 countries all over the world, including the lives of many children, whereas the imperialist forces controlling the government in Washington carry bombs, death, suffering and torture to various of the world’s nations.

On 21 June, in response to the anti-Cuban measures that the US government had begun to apply, president Fidel Castro publicly offered to provide medical care here in Cuba to 3,000 poor Americans, the same number as died in the attack on the Twin Towers in New York in September 2001.

This offer, inspired by the ethic of solidarity which characterizes the Cuban people, entailed giving free medical care to save the lives of these Americans over a five year period.

Having few resources, with very limited foreign development aid, without access to soft credit and in the midst of a battle to withstand the brutal economic, financial and trade blockade which the US governments have imposed on this country for more than 40 years, Cuba has made significant progress in the area of its people’s welfare.

The anti-Cuban report endorsed by President George W. Bush on 6 May demonstrates the highest possible level of interference in the affairs of another country when US authorities appoint themselves to help create new political institutions, draft new laws, regulations and even a new constitution of the Republic, once they have destroyed the Cuban revolution. Obviously, everything would be made to measure for US capitalism’s voraciousness.

Cubans remember very well —and very angrily— how, after the first US military intervention (1898 – 1902), the US government imposed a demeaning trusteeship on us as our first constitution was being born. That constitution had the humiliating Platt Amendment added to it as an appendix. This amendment, among other horrors, gave the United States full right to intervene in Cuba when it thought its interests were endangered and also created the “legal” basis for setting up the US naval base which illegally occupies a part of the Cuban province of Guantánamo. Veritable concentration camps, where the most atrocious kinds of human rights violations are committed, have been set up there.

Neither will the Cuban people forget the type of “mutual benefit” which the United States has historically promoted in its trading relations with Cuba. In 1903, it imposed a Reciprocal Trade Treaty on Cuba under the threat of military intervention if the treaty were not accepted. Pointing this out is redundant, but the only “reciprocal” thing about this treaty was its name. In fact, the 1934 Trade Reciprocity Treaty which still felt the influence of the 1930s Good Neighbor policy, guaranteed the United States advantages which were far better than those Cuba obtained and gave the kiss of death to the country’s timorous attempts at industrialization made a few years earlier.

Although we should not underestimate the influence that this being a presidential election year might have had on the endorsement and launching of the Committee for Assistance to a Free Cuba’s report, it is important to stress that the new measures contained therein are motivated by far more than election considerations, they are completely consistent with the logic of escalating hostility and aggression that has characterized the Cuba policy of President George W. Bush.

The reality for the Cuban people is that the blockade has become worse, which means that day to day difficulties increase, the obstacles in the way of and sabotage on its development plans grow larger and its right to self-determination is seriously threatened. They are playing with a people’s destiny in exchange for a few votes in Florida.

However, President George W. Bush’s brutal anti-Cuban measures may boomerang back on his hopes for re-election. Every day the number of Cuban-born US citizens and of other US citizens who are convinced of the need to rein in the demented, aggressive anti-Cuban policies of the fascist team which backs the present Republican administration is growing daily; their unhappiness could be expressed in the polling booths.

The report published and the measures approved are a program unabashedly aimed at overthrowing our revolutionary process and at re-colonizing Cuba. Moreover they show overt contempt for the principles enshrined in international law and the UN Charter.


From the outset, Washington's policy of blockade against Cuba has been characterized by a marked extraterritorial nature. Its contravention of international law - notably the sovereign right of nations to conduct their economic, commercial and financial relations without external interference - has been a constant during the 45 years of this genocidal policy.

The immorality and falsity of the message of successive U.S. administrations' claim that the blockade is a bilateral issue between two countries is exposed by an analysis of the Torricelli and Helms-Burton legislation and the preceding measures, whose application has invariably entailed infringing the sovereignty of other nations .

As long ago as August 30, 1961, to cite a single event, in a letter to President Kennedy, his adviser on Cuban affairs Richard Goodwin said: We will intensify our surveillance of Cuban trade with other countries and especially U.S. subsidiaries in other countries; and then employ informal methods to attempt to divert this trade--depriving Cuba of markets and sources of supply.

Then as now, the U.S. government has enforced its legislation on an extraterritorial basis, relentlessly hounding any business or banking organization that establishes, or even proposes to establish, economic, commercial or financial relations with Cuba.

The impact of these measures has been felt in all sectors of the Cuban economy, as can be demonstrated with many examples. Some of the more recent are enumerated below:
-Importation of a quadruple animal vaccine from a Dutch firm (Intervet) was suspended when the U.S. government warned the supplier of the risk it was running by selling to Cuba. The vaccine includes 10% or more of an antigen made in the USA. The Intervet directors were told that if they went on with the sales, they could be heavily fined or, worse, forced to close their U.S. branch operations.
- In 2002 we reported how the Zurich branch of Xerox had refused to renew the lease on a photocopier at the Cuban embassy in Switzerland. This absurd example of the extraterritorial application of the blockade rules was repeated in October 2003, this time in Asunción, Paraguay. After having settled the last detail of an agreement by Xerox to sell a photocopier to the Cuban embassy, the firm's representative informed the embassy that it could not proceed, due to the terms of the blockade.
The Embassy subsequently approached the local branch of Ricoh. The transaction was again blocked however, when Ricoh also cited the restrictions imposed by the U.S. blockade
- If this latter example seems ridiculous, what happened on 10th May 2004 in the Irish Republic defies description. On that date, Hitachi Printing Solutions Europe refused to sell a simple printer cartridge to the Cuban embassy there, on the grounds that it was a subsidiary of a U.S. company and was therefore prohibited from selling this item to Cuba.
- Brentag Canada Inc. announced that as from January 27, 2004, it would no longer be able to supply chemical products destined for Cuba, following its acquisition by the U.S. firm Bain Capital USA. The latter cited the Helms-Burton Act, saying that sales of all Brentag products covered by the blockade must cease. The chemical products affected included Abapet, a demulsifier used by Empresa Cuba Petróleo (Cupet) in refining oil from Cuba's own deposits (noted for its high sulfur content). Cupet's purchases of the chemical amounted to some 270 metric tons a year.
- The American firm Harbison Walker Refractories, following its acquisition of a Mexican company (Refractarios Mexicanos) that supplied fireproof bricks for cement furnaces, banned the sale of all types of fireproof materials to the Cuban sector companies. The supplies affected had to be sought in other markets, involving a financial loss.
- Since 2003, the Cuban banking system has been attempting - so far without success - to buy the spares needed to repair 90 ATMs (cash dispensers) acquired from the French Firm BULL in 1997.
Over 400 of these machines were ordered from Bull seven years ago as part of a program to modernize the Cuban banking industry and enable the public to use these to draw wages, pensions etc. and for other purposes. In the event, only 90 machines could be supplied (for around 9 million French francs) since in 2000, Bull sold the factory where they were made to the U.S. company Diebold, which prohibited further sales to Cuba.
- The Ozone Research Center attached to the National Center for Scientific Research needed a microplaque reader (costing $27,000) made by the American firm MOLECULAR DEVICES. Given that the purchase could not be made directly from the manufacturer, it was decided to buy the equipment, at a 25% uplift, via a British company (RANDOX). Even this arrangement fell through, however, when the representative of the UK company in Cuba announced that the blockade prevented him from acting as intermediary, since the U.S. government required him to disclose the destination of the goods.
- As mentioned also in this report, on February 9, 2004 the U.S. Treasury Secretary announced from Miami that the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) “has identified ten entities owned or controlled by the government of Cuba or Cuban nationals ... These ten include entities organized and located in Cuba as well as entities located in Argentina, the Bahamas, Canada, Chile, the Netherlands, and England” The reason given by OFAC for its intervention was that these firms had broken the sanctions under the blockade by using the Internet to advertise and sell vacations to Cuba to the American public.
Examples of such actions include the freezing by the U.S. government of the assets of Canadian-based Hola Sun Holidays Ltd., for having "promoted illegal travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens". The decision froze all the assets of the company under the control of persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction and banned anyone so subject from initiating any transaction with the firm mentioned without prior clearance by OFAC.
The argument employed was that U.S. agents has intercepted illegal travelers who had bought their tickets from the agency mentioned.
Another direct consequence of these measures was suffered by Universo, a Cuban firm. It received a telephone call from NETGIRO, a Swedish firm that verifies and carries out the E-commerce transactions of Cubanacán, saying that following the latter's recent inclusion on the U.S. Treasury's "blacklist", it was unilaterally terminating the agreements with Cubanacán, and that it was retaining the funds to cover possible claims by third parties.
- The case of ACINOX S.A. provides further evidence of the extraterritorial application of the blockade. This firm lost several customers for its carbon steel exports due to the restrictions on dealings with Cuban companies. A similar situation arose with customers for Cuban stainless steel, caused by the banning of imports into the U.S. of any goods that comprised or included components made with Cuban nickel.
- The BRAKE BROS. organization, also comprising CARIGEL and C.E.S., a long-term customer for Cuban pre-cooked lobster and lobster tail, was acquired by a U.S. investment bank, which instructed the firm to eliminate items of Cuban origin from its product lines. The loss to the Cuban economy amounted to $500,000.
- In an interview on the VSB television channel on March 11, 2004, U.S. Consul General in the Bermudas Denis Coleman accused the Bermudas administration of fostering trading links with Cuba, warning that this could undermine the country's relations with the United States. The threat from Washington was prompted by the setting up of regular charter flights between Bermuda and Cuba and the presumption that these would enable U.S. citizens to contravene the rules of the blockade. In this case, a foreign government was openly and directly threatened for having arranged trading links with another, based entirely on the assumption that the agreement between the two firms could result in an increase in visits to Cuba by American citizens.
- In early 2004, Cuban manufacturer of electrical conductors ELEKA experienced a sharp drop in its supplies of high-density polyethylene (PE), which is used for insulating telephone cables. This situation threatened the firm's ability to complete a major contract with the national phone company, ETECSA. Via the internet, ELEKA located EQUISTAR and DOW PE of quality standards deemed by its technical staff to be adequate for the purpose, and established contact with AESE (Asesoría Especializada en Sistemas de Extrusión), already suppliers to the firm and also knowledgeable on the subject at hand. AESE executives then started working with their contacts, initially in Equistar in the United States and subsequently those in CTS in Canada.
In the case of EQUISTAR, although the initial exchange of information with the intermediary went well, after reviewing the proposed transactions, its management announced that it was not prepared to supply the material. In an even more incomprehensible move, the Canadian firm (CTS) also declined to supply high-density polyethylene and suggested Equistar as an alternative source. Clearly, both firms suspected that the final destination of the goods was Cuba and decided not to proceed in consequence.
- As described earlier in this report, in early May 2004 the U.S. Federal reserve imposed a $100M-dollar fine on the largest Swiss bank, UBS AG, for breaking U.S. sanctions against Cuba, Libya, Iran and Yugoslavia. It accused UBS of transferring dollars to these countries while operating a business center under an agreement with the Federal Reserve in its Zurich headquarters.
What, however, was the real purpose of this sanction against the Swiss bank? Employing the most perverse, underhand and hypocritical tactic imaginable, Washington is trying to prevent Cuba from depositing in banks abroad the dollars it gets from the hard-currency stores, tourism and other commercial services. In this way, Cuba will not be able to use these dollars to buy medicines or food or import the supplies needed for the stores, patronized by Cubans including those in receipt of money sent home by relatives living in the United States.
With this deceitful intent, the U.S. authorities are pressuring foreign banks to refuse funds whose origins are entirely legal and honest. Moreover, they are encouraging publication in the Miami terrorist mafia press of the infamous lie that the funds may even include the proceeds of activities which are vigorously combated by the Cuban authorities, such as money laundering and trafficking in narcotics.
- As revealed in Cuba's report to the Secretary General in 2003 , the Cuban health service has been unable to buy sources of Ir-192 radioactive isotopes used in radiation therapy on malignant tumors, following the acquisition by Varian Medical Systems of the brachytherapy-equipment business operated by the Canadian firm MDS Nordions, which supplied such equipment to Cuba.
In responding to this problem, the equipment needed was sought in Europe and one of the devices mentioned was purchased from the Dutch firm Nucletron. After the order had been placed and accepted, the management of the supplier firm announced that it was unable to deliver the computer coupled to the device, because it was of U.S. manufacture and the U.S. government had banned its export to Cuba.
Infraction of international law and of the most elementary rules of free trade have been a permanent feature of the policy of blockade. Washington has sought, and now seeks as never before, to involve the whole world in its genocidal policy. The facts enumerated in this section illustrate the absurd, irrational lengths to which the United States government is prepared to go in the extraterritorial imposition of the rules of its blockade.


Cuba's national health service has been a prime target of the U.S. blockade ever since the Revolution.
The Cuban government's efforts to create a free and accessible public health system of constantly increasing modernity and efficiency have never been free of the threat represented by the restrictions on access to medical supplies and technology of U.S. origin - in many cases, unique of their kind anywhere in the world. This situation has been compounded by blocked access to advanced medical-scientific information and by denial of visas to Cuban scientists wishing to attend events in the USA and of travel permits to American scientists intending to visit Cuba for similar purposes.

Only the great efforts, dedication and scientific training of Cuban health service personnel have made possible the maintenance and indeed continual improvement of many of the indicators of patient care.

This section describes a few of the more recent cases illustrating the results of this inhuman, genocidal policy:

- Care of children with cancer is one of the areas most severely affected by the restrictions imposed by the blockade. Purchases of cytostatic drugs - vital to the survival of these patients - have been significantly curtailed, following the acquisition by U.S. transnationals of the pharmaceutical laboratories with which Cuba had supply agreements.
An example of such cases is the problems in obtaining isotope I-125 for treating children with cancer of the eye. The lack of this has sometimes obliged the health service to send the patient abroad for treatment, at a huge cost and at great inconvenience to the child's relatives.
- Another problem affecting cancer patients arises from the lack of internal (bone) prostheses for tumor treatments that avoid amputation. For example, following successful, state-of-the-art chemotherapy on bone tumors, where the patient has responded well and conservational surgery is possible, i.e. removing the diseased bone but leaving the limb, Cuban surgeons have been unable to adopt this approach because of the non-availability of the relevant extensible prostheses. These lengthen as the child grows, so that the patient can keep the leg with an internal prosthesis, and avoid the emotional trauma that results from an amputation, especially during adolescence.
Devices of this type are ordered on an individual basis and must be available at the time of the operation. Not being able to obtain them from the United States makes it very difficult to get them to where they are needed in time.

- An example that reflects another of the major difficulties faced by the health sector is the inability to use certain medical equipment of U.S. manufacture for want of spare parts. This was the case of certain items of X-ray equipment, for which certain critical spares were needed. The U.S. Department of Trade prohibited the Canadian subsidiary of Picker International from supplying these to Cuba, on the grounds that they contained 27% U.S. components.
- Growing problems caused by the blockade in the clinical-laboratory, microbiology and similar diagnostic fields reflect domination (70%) by U.S. firms of the manufacture of diagnostic equipment and reagents. For example Beckman-Coulter, Dade-Behring, Abott and Bayer all ban sales of their technologies - some unique of their kind worldwide - to Cuba. Supplies for the clinical laboratories consequently have to be obtained from Europe, at greatly increased cost.
A recent case involved OXOID, a British firm that supplies laboratory reagents and culture mediums, which was taken over by a partly American-owned company. A request via its distributor in Cuba for a quotation for reagents needed by the Cuban health service was turned down, due to the restrictions imposed by the blockade, despite the supplier's having undertaken similar business previously without hesitation.

- There have been problems in obtaining diagnostic aids for detecting certain diseases associated with public-health emergencies. Examples include:

- The continuing inability of the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine to obtain the TermoScript RT-PCR System kit for detecting the coronavirus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), made by the U.S. firm INVITROGEN.

- Restrictions imposed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, coupled with refusal by the laboratories belonging the U.S. companies FOCUS TECHNOLOGIES and PANBIO which manufacture diagnostic kits for detecting IgM and IgG antibodies, have complicated detection of encephalitis in cases of West Nile Virus and Avian Influenza.

- All programs designated as advanced technology - including transplantation, cardiovascular surgery, nephrology - remain severely affected, since many components of the related equipment are of U.S. origin. To purchase them, a permit must be obtained from the U.S. authorities, who deny them or simply delay their issue. The consequences for patients cared for within these programs are serious.
- Medicines that have to be sourced at higher prices in remote markets include latest-generation antibiotics and Prostin (a drug that temporarily maintains the permeability of arterial ducts pending corrective or palliative life-saving surgery on newborn infants with congenital cardiac defects).

- Cuban children are also unable to benefit from the new inhalers for asthmatic crises; Washington denies them that right.

- High costs are incurred on scientific publications, due to the need to obtain these from third countries. 'Current contents' for example, a weekly digest of U.S. scientific journals, has to be bought from a third country at an increased price. A similar example is that of the 'ANNALS OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND PARASITOLOGY', the annual subscription for which charged by its U.S. publishers is $275 less than Cuba has to pay a third-country source.

- The Disarm Education Fund NGO collaborates with Cuba in sending humanitarian aid for pediatric hospitals and promotes visits to Cuba by medical delegations who compare notes with their Cuban opposite numbers at the hospitals mentioned. The NGO applied for permission for the visitors to give lectures or train the Cuban doctors. The application was turned down.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the proposed activities were of no direct benefit to the Cuban people, while lecturing and training amounted to exportation of services to Cuba.

- The UN's Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is funding a program of cooperation with Cuba which envisages the acquisition of anti-retrovirus drugs for HIV/AIDS sufferers in Cuba.
The Global Fund proposed arranging the purchase of these drugs via UNICEF and the International Dispensary Association (IDA), on the basis of the preferential prices applied by these agencies.
However, the U.S. firm Abbott refused to supply two of the products needed for treating the victims (Ritonavir y Lopinavir+Ritonavir), claiming that due to the U.S. economic sanctions, its government does not allow the supply of products to Cuba. The result was that drugs costing $49,700 when bought from Abbott had to be sourced outside the U.S. at a cost of $280,400 (nearly six times as much).

- The Texas NGO Alliance International, which sends humanitarian aid to the Cuban health service, was refused permission to send a batch of urgently-needed medical supplies and equipment for Cuban hospitals. The export license specifically prohibited the supply of equipment for sterilizing surgical instruments, X-ray equipment and a Micro-Hematocrit centrifuge.

- Time and again, Cuban officials and scientists have been prevented from attending international conventions and similar events in the United States because their visa applications have been refused. Such was the case of Dr. María Alfonso Valdés, who was booked on a course ('Safe Blood') run by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).

By official note dated 19th March 2004, the PAHO in Havana notified the Ministry of Health that the event had been canceled. The reason was that the U.S. administration had denied visas for training in the United States to persons of Cuban nationality.
- The blockade has also affected participation by American scientists at events held in Cuba. Examples include the Third International Symposium on Coma and Death held in Havana from March 9-13, 2004. The U.S. delegation of some 70 scientists (40% of the participants) was refused permission by their government to travel to Cuba.
- After investigations lasting seven years and having been found guilty in April 2002 on 21 charges of infringing the blockade against Cuba, Canadian citizen James Sabzali was sentenced to a year's imprisonment and fined $10,000 at a new trial that ended in February 2004 and followed an arrangement under which he pleaded guilty.

Had Mr Sabzali sold any product that amounted to a U.S. strategic secret or compromised the security of the American nation? No. The lengthy trial - at which he potentially faced life imprisonment and a fine of $19 million, however unlikely that may seem - was about sales of resins used for purifying drinking water supplied to the public for direct consumption.

The criminal, genocidal nature of these measures lies in Washington's relentless policy designed to break the will of the Cuban people through hunger and disease. Cuba has reported on the effects suffered by its public health system at every international forum, and will continue to do so.

The repercussions of 45 years of blockade on the Cuban educational, cultural, sporting and academic fields have been substantial. Intensification of this policy during the last decade has had a significant impact on their development and has deprived the Cuban and American peoples of open interchange in these areas.
The difficulties faced by these sectors as a consequence of the blockade include: lack of access to the U.S. market (goods and services) to obtain the supplies needed for artistic and educational purposes; banning of Cuban artists from entering into commercial agreements to work in the United States or be paid for their performances; non-recognition of the intellectual property rights of our creative artists; restrictions on the right to travel, by means of sanctions and threats against U.S. citizens wishing to visit Cuba; denial of visas to scientists, artists, sportsmen and women, educators and other Cuban celebrities.

In the education sector, the difficulties described in Cuba's report to the Secretary General last year continue unabated. The materials affected include pencils, exercise books and paper for general classroom purposes, the total volume of which is barely 60% of that purchased in 1989. With considerable effort, we manage to print half of the volumes needed of textbooks and ancillary publications.

Similarly, Cuba is compelled to pay high rates of interest on its commercial borrowings, which adds to the cost of the goods and services purchased by the education system; this expense runs at 25-30% above the corresponding international prices. Also, the inability to obtain educational materials in the American market obliges Cuba to import from other, remote sources, involving additional transportation costs. To cite a single example, an order totaling $19 million for materials and other resources for Cuban schools placed in a distant market would, if placed in the United States, have enabled the purchase of a greater volume of educational supplies with the same financing.

These problems are exacerbated by the extraterritorial effects of the Torricelli Act, which aims at preventing vessels bringing these goods from Asian markets from entering ports in Cuba. The ships consequently unload the containers at a collection center in a third country neighboring Cuba, for subsequent transshipment to Havana. This practices adds to the costs incurred by an average of $500 per container and greatly delays delivery of the goods.

A clear example of the direct effect on Cuba's educational system was the delay of over a month in the production of school uniforms, for the reasons mentioned earlier, with the consequent delays in supplying the children, together with the effect on the workers at the 44 factories that had to be closed for that reason.

In parallel with these restrictions, there was a further intensification of the difficulties caused by the blockade in the field of special education (that is, of children with special needs). Despite the Cuban government's efforts to maintain these activities, America's hounding of our country has resulted in a substantial shortfall of therapeutic aids needed to raise standards in the rehabilitation of children with psychomotor disorders from their earliest days, involving early detection to prevent greater complications later and, in some cases, to enable the defect to be remedied.

To quote a single example, that of the situation at the Abel Santamaría special school, where 150 blind or partially-sighted boys and girls struggle against the limitations their condition imposes on their lives: teachers and pupils are united in huge efforts; the children have to learn to read and write and acquire the knowledge needed to become useful members of society. To that end, every child must have a Braille machine - a requirement that, despite every effort, the Cuban government has been unable to meet, due to the restrictions imposed by the blockade.

As described in Cuba's report to the Secretary General last year, the problems relating to the purchase of these machines persist. The current price in the United States of a Perkins-brand Braille machine is around $700; because of the blockade, Cuba has been obliged to source these elsewhere at much higher prices (up to $1,000). Difficulties persist also in obtaining Braille paper, essential for this teaching activity.

In the cultural arena, the effects are equally numerous and have worsened in recent years.

The economic blockade affects cultural life not only at the level of the artist and artistic creation, but also inhibits the promotion and development of the enjoyment of culture, as well as the commercial exploitation of goods and services derived from cultural activity.

A revealing example was that of the Cuban National Ballet's visit to the United States, from October 1 through November 16, 2003. This prestigious, internationally recognized company, was obliged to perform on a non-commercial basis in more than 20 American cities, foregoing some $200,000 in fees for the events staged alone. Its agreement to perform without the smallest financial incentive can be understood solely in terms of the extraordinary universal vocation of Cuban culture. Obstructing such interchange infringes the cultural rights of U.S. citizens also.

Inflated costs of basic study materials for the specialized courses at the Schools operated under the system of education in the Arts in all their manifestations is another example of the blockade's impact. This year, the Cuban government was compelled to make the relevant purchases, totaling some $2.4 million, in markets remote from Cuba, involving extra transportation costs of nearly $100,000 compared with those for importation of the same goods from the United States.

The National Public Libraries System has also been seriously affected by the blockade. Its 392 libraries throughout Cuba - in towns, villages, estates, mountains and other remote areas - offer services at every educational level from primary-school pupils to college and university students, as well as senior citizens, housewives and the public at large. Their chief activities include holding literary workshops, organizing reading circles in the schools, helping students at the local school and organizing the provision of library service to those areas most remote from urban centers. The system possesses a massive collection of titles representative of world and national literature.

Beyond providing ready access to community information and educating readers, the libraries are also cultural centers based on their various regular activities, supported by working links with national and foreign writers and with various agencies and institutions.

However, despite their wide-ranging efforts to promote the reading habit among Cubans, their mission is hampered by difficulties in obtaining software essential to continuing the existing programs of digitalization, publishing and computerization. Examples include the prohibition on their access to Dewey DC subject-heading lists).

If the materials and other supplies needed could be obtained in the U.S. market, or via U.S. firms based in the Caribbean, Central or South America, some 3,600 documents could be restored every year. Presently, not even 20% of that number is being achieved. To provide a clearer idea: the price charged to Cuba by intermediate firms marketing 31-gm tissue paper, essential for document restoration work, is $498.77; if purchased in the U.S., the price would be $280.

Considerable obstacles have also been encountered in obtaining new technologies for promoting reading and updating the libraries' collections, due to the inability to access the U.S. book market. Other factors include lack of access also to the databases and on-line library-catalog services of the American institutions in the sector.

The inability to exhibit works from our collections in museums in the United States, and vice versa, has resulted in depriving both peoples of experiencing the most representative work in the fields of painting and sculpture in each others' countries. Examples include the banning of seven Cuban works from the international exhibition organized by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and opened in June 2004.
The relevance to the raising of national and world cultural levels of conserving our tangible and intangible heritage has been recognized by the United Nations system. Nonetheless, the blockade has prevented Cuba from obtaining restoration materials in the United States, resulting in increased costs and, consequently, extra difficulties in the tasks of recovering and restoring eligible works.

The U.S. Treasury Department has also denied permits for implementing aid and cooperation projects proposed by American agencies for conservation of Cuba's heritage. Major Cuban cultural institutions have been prevented from accessing funding amounting to $80,000 provided by the World Monuments Fund.

The interests of the Cuban publishing industry have been seriously prejudiced. A specific example is that it loses up to 30% of royalty revenues paid by foreign publishers via the Latin American Literary Agency (ALL) due to the prohibition on transfers or payment of checks to Cuban entities by U.S. banks or foreign banks on American soil. The industry is consequently obliged to use the services other correspondent banks, inflating the cost of the relevant transactions.

Since they are prohibited from distributing Cuban books in their domestic market or negotiating royalties, American publishing houses will not establish relations with their Cuban opposite numbers or with figures from Cuba's publishing industry.

Also, book publishing has incurred extra costs exceeding $50,000 due to the inability to arrange collections or payments via American banks. Another $65,000 dollars in additional expense results from having to source raw materials and technology and raise finance in more distant markets.

In order to obtain materials essential to its survival, the Cuban film industry has been obliged to use intermediaries and suppliers in other regions of the world, thus increasing the cost of the relevant imports. Movie film, laboratory chemicals, accessories and equipment have regularly been purchased at costs far above those prevailing in the U.S. market.

The Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Arts & Industry (ICAIC) is unable to make direct purchases of Kodak film, a situation which greatly complicates the creative process and the technological options for the production of Cuban movies and their subsequent marketing via by the worldwide distribution chains. The Institute is also banned from using the Dolby sound system license in its theaters, a factor that is almost essential for acceptance by any distributor in the world of a movie for general distribution

On top of these various economic sanctions affecting Cuba's educational and cultural sectors, there are the measures reflecting Washington's absurd, grotesque intention to prevent interchange between the two peoples, by means of refusal of visas and cancellation of permits. Examples include the following:

- Denial of visas to sociology professors Dr. Tamara Caballero and Dr. Omar Guzmán from Cuba's De Oriente University, who were scheduled to attend the First Congress on University-Communities of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, held January 25-29 on the Humacao and Mayagüez campuses of the University of Puerto Rico.

- The Tenth Seminar for Interchange of Experiences on the Quality of Education in Cuba and the United States, was scheduled to be held in Chicago April 28 through May 2, 2003, and was to be attended by ten Cuban teachers selected by the National Teachers' Association. The event had to be canceled (on April 20), no response to the relevant visa applications having been received.

- Denial of a visa to Héctor López Salinas, Research Fellow and Professor at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the José Antonio Echevarría Higher Technical Institute, who was to attend the 'Microscopy and Microanalysis 2003' convention held in Texas, August 1 through 8, 2003

- Denial of a travel permit to Luis Garay, an Argentinean based in the United States and conductor of a percussion group made up entirely of Latin musicians who had been invited to attend the 'Percuba 2004' event. According to the Treasury Department, in their application they had attempted to evade the Cuban embargo legislation.

- Non-response to an application by Benjamín Treuhaft to extend his stay in Cuba for the tenth anniversary of his “Send a Piano to Havana” project. Although he subsequently received a permit to ship two containers with pianos as a donation to the National Center for Schools of the Arts (CNEART), he was not allowed to send a computer with printer and other accessories as part of a blood-count system he donated to the Juan Manuel Márquez pediatric hospital.

- Cancellation of tours by the Omara Portuondo group, by the La Fabrik Cuban hip-hop project, by the Cubanismo group and by the singer-songwriter Carlos Varela.
- Denial of visas and consequent exclusion from presentations and other events in the United States in the cases of musicians of the caliber of Ibrahím Ferrer and Manuel Galbán, writers such as Miguel Barnet and Eduardo Heras León, producers such as Lisette Vila Espina and Gerardo Chijona Valdés, actors such as Verónica Lynn López, and a huge list of other important exponents of Cuban culture.

Between May 2003 and April 2004, 53 representatives of the culture sector were awaiting their visas for entry into the United States, while 215 creative artists and performers had their applications rejected out of hand.

As in the previous year, the U.S. authorities applied two categories of visa denial to Cuban artists: 214-B, persons regarded by the authorities as potential immigrants (5 cases); and 212-F, the silliest of all, where the applicant is considered to be a threat to U.S. interests (applied to 210 Cuban artists).

Clearly, this policy is designed also to discourage impresarios and agents in the United States from promoting the appearance of Cuban artists on America's cultural circuits.

Sporting exchanges have not been immune from bans and restrictions either. Between May 2003 and April 2004, visas have been withheld from 21 Cuban managers, mostly bound for important events or gatherings held in the United States.

Several of the people affected, who hold highly-responsible positions in international federations and other organizations, were prevented from fulfilling important duties, with repercussions beyond the frontiers of Cuban sport. Such was the case of Ciro Pérez Hebra, who was unable to attend the Executive Session and General Meeting of the Central American & Caribbean Sports Organization (ODECABE), of which he is Vice President.

Restrictions and irregularities in the issuing of visas to a Cuban and a Russian official, members of the Fédération International de Lutte Amateur (FILA) prevented their attendance at the world championship in New York in November 2003. As a result, the Federation switched the 2004 world cup away from the United States. This intransigent policy by the U.S. administration is thus also seriously affecting the interests of American sportsmen and women.

As if such results were not enough, the U.S. authorities' latest anti-Cuba measures include canceling the general permit for participation by American athletes in amateur and semi-professional competitions to be held in Cuba under the auspices of an international federation.

This irrational policy even affects disabled American competitors. Among the more representative cases was that of the doctors and several disabled members of World Team Sports, a not-for-profit sporting group. Their government refused them permission for their visit to Cuba on November 14, 2003. They had planned to take wheelchairs for disabled Cubans, teaching materials and prostheses donated to other Cuban handicapped individuals.

Washington's obsession with preventing the least interchange between the two peoples goes beyond the above-mentioned sectors and even extends to Cuban science.

Developments following the regulations issued by the U.S. Treasury Department in September 2003 included, in January of this year, a ban on reviewing, publishing or revising in American scientific journals the work of authors from countries subject to U.S. trade embargo, Cuba among them. Offenders would be breaking U.S. law and could fined up to $50,000 or even imprisoned for up to 10 years.

Not even the grimmest years of the Cold War saw adoption of measures so contrary to the ideals embraced by the international scientific community. Publication of research results is the first step in the dissemination of knowledge within society and a prerequisite of healthy scientific development.

Only through the free flow of ideas and knowledge among all the world's scientists and academics can science beneficial to humanity grow and advance. By contrast, this measure aims preventing the U.S. and other scientific communities from sharing Cuba's recognized scientific advances.

After certain American journals placed a moratorium on the publication of articles submitted by Cuban scientists, other institutions, including the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAs) - which publishes the prestigious journal Science - openly refused to comply with the Treasury department ruling.

In light of the storm of protest generated by the measure, in April the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) gave way and announced that the scientific communities of the countries subject to U.S. sanctions would be allowed to continue publishing their papers in specialized American journals.

As has been demonstrated throughout the present section, promotion of culture, advances in the fields of education and sport and the process of academic and scientific interchange between the Cuban and American peoples have been faced with a series of obstacles to their development. Despite all the difficulties however, the political will of the Cuban people and its government have led to significant progress in these sectors.

To cite just one example, major efforts in the education sector have resulted in a ratio of one primary- or secondary-school teacher per 40 inhabitants (approximately), making Cuba the country with the highest per-capita teacher index in the world. Class sizes in primary education have been cut to less than 20, while the teacher-pupil ratio in the basic secondary education sector has declined to 1:15. Also, local university branches have been set up, greatly extending access to higher education. The benefits have included an intake of over 300,000 students.

As a result, 59.8% of the Cuban population has a basic or higher college education and 7.4% hold a university degree.

The various existing programs in the field of education are being maintained and developed, including: the Open University; the Audiovisual Program for children, adolescents and young adults enrolled in Cuban schools; video centers and community computing centers for schoolchildren and the public at large; mass training of social workers and art teachers to teach in schools and communities; and many others that contribute to raising quality standards in the Cuban education system.

Cuba's achievements in the fields of education, culture, sport and science would be impossible without the dedication, self-sacrifice creativity and fighting spirit of the teachers, artists, athletes and scientists who routinely face the difficulties created by the blockade, to make Cuba a country of exceptional social progress and general cultural development.


For the sixth year running, Cuba draws the attention of the United Nations to the application by the U.S. administration of Section 211 of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, which deprives Cuban owners and their successors - including foreign companies with interests in Cuba - of recognition and enjoyment in U.S. territory of their rights to trademarks and brand names registered and protected in Cuba, relating to assets formerly nationalized by the Cuban government.

Significantly, this measure was approved by Congress in October 1998 following a disingenuous process intended to benefit the Bacardí company which, although based outside the United States, has important business interests there. It exerts considerable political influence via these, aimed at retaining and intensifying the blockade against Cuba.

It is no coincidence either that Section 211 extends the scope of the Helms-Burton legislation - known to have been promoted by Bacardí (among others) - to intellectual property

Application of Section 211 thus has highly negative implications not only in the context of Cuba-U.S. bilateral relations but also in that of multilateral relations.

At the bilateral level, Washington tightens the trading, commercial and financial sanctions to discourage foreign investment in Cuba associated with the international marketing of Cuban products whose trade marks and brands enjoy prestige the world over. Prior to the application of Section 211, mutual recognition of the rights of the original or subsequent owners of intellectual property was maintained despite the blockade.

Its application by a New York court prevented a finding in favor of Havana Club Holding, a Cuban-French company, in a lawsuit brought in 1996 - that is, before Section 211 appeared on the scene - against Bacardí for unauthorized use of the Havana Club brand, in the form of fraudulent marketing under that name in the United States of a rum produced outside Cuba.

The losses resulting from the application of the section mentioned are not confined to the potential business interests of Cuban firms in the United States. Cuba invites the international community to note the climate of uncertainty and the economic and political repercussions that the application of Section 211 could create in the near future, including direct losses to the U.S. business community as well as to Cuba's trading partners elsewhere.

A daily-growing number of American firms and other organizations are becoming aware of this situation and are making known their concern at the fact that Section 211 has demolished the practice followed by the two nations up to the time of its application.

Despite the blockade and Washington's general hostility, Cuba complies with its international obligations by honoring and continuing to protect the rights of hundreds of U.S. companies that maintain up-to-date registrations in Cuba of over 5,000 trademarks, brands and patents.

In this context, a decision of the WTO Appellate Body in January 2002 was significant: at the instance of the European Union, it found that Section 211 infringed the national treatment and the most favored nation treatment obligations of the WTO's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). It called on the United States to align the legislation concerned with such obligations within a reasonable period.

Washington is obliged to comply with this decision and negotiated an implementation timetable with the EU. The most recently-agreed of its various deadlines is 31st December 2004, justified on the grounds the administration is working with Congress to amend the legislation.
Cuba is continuing to communicate to the relevant WTO authorities, notably at the regular meetings of its Dispute Settlement Body, our concern at the successive extensions of the deadline, while calling on the United States to comply with the WTO ruling and repeal Section 211 as the only solution to the dispute.

We reiterate that Section 211 infringes intellectual property rights protected by specific international conventions and agreements and merely serves to challenge Washington's traditional claim at the WTO to be the champion of such rights.

The U.S. administration's repeated postponements of compliance with the relevant WTO authorities' ruling is also indicative of its lack of political will to contribute to the efficacy of the WTO's dispute-settlement mechanism, at a time of great difficulty for multilateral negotiation in general.

Bill HR 422 5, recently introduced by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) with the co-sponsorship of known anti-Cuba legislators, seeks to preserve Section 211 by making cosmetic changes to align it with the WTO Appellate Body recommendation. The corresponding version submitted to the Senate (S-2373) is promoted by Senator Peter Domeneci (R-NM) and co-sponsored by senators opposed to lifting the blockade on Cuba.

Cuba is closely following the progress of this bill now before the U.S. Congress.

In January of this year, the U.S. Patents & Trademarks Office (PTO) rejected an application from Bacardí to cancel the 1976 registration of the 'Havana Club' brand name by CUBAEXPORT, a Cuban company, and ratified by a New York court decision in 1998. This ruling has been appealed by Bacardí before the courts - an indication of its keenness to expropriate the brand name and keep Section 211 on the statute books.

The economic, commercial and financial sanctions imposed by the U.S. government against Cuba have an ever greater negative impact on Cuban foreign trade.

The arbitrary regulations and legislation that implement this pernicious policy against our country continue to affect our economic development, causing substantial losses. In 2003 alone, Cuba incurred extra expense to the tune of $308.4 million on goods purchased at prices above those prevailing under normal conditions, largely because of differences in the terms of financing and the inevitably higher operational expense - freight rates, insurance and other transportation costs - resulting from the U.S. siege on Cuba's foreign trade.

Similarly, Cuban export business suffered substantial losses in 2003, in terms of exports that, but for the blockade, could have been made to the United States. The total under this heading amounted to $457 million.

The trading activities of all sectors of the Cuban economy were affected by the blockade.

One of the mainstays of Cuba's economy, the nickel industry, has been seriously affected in recent years. Extra marketing expenditure and the inability to obtain raw materials and maintenance supplies from the United States, together with high costs of transportation, have led to excess costs totaling some $13.5 million.

Without the blockade and bearing in mind that Cuba, as a close neighbor, would be a natural supplier of nickel and cobalt to the American market, exports there would amount to around 35,000 tons a year or 50% of Cuba's current nickel production. At present prices, that would be worth over $450 million, or around 25% of U.S. average primary nickel imports during the last five years.

As regards cobalt, Cuba could export half of its current production, around 2,000 tons per year, to the United States; at current prices, that would amount to over $75 million, or 23% of U.S. average cobalt imports during the last five years

Another key sector for the country and the development of its tourism industry is civil aviation. It too has suffered significant losses during the period, these amounting to just over $163 million.

Various U.S. airlines operate into and out of Cuba on a regular basis, making over 60 charter flights per week. These carriers include United Airlines, Continental, Delta, Miami Air, American Eagles, Gulf Stream, Falcon Air and North American. They operate out of Miami, Los Angeles and New York, and the Cuban government provides them with every facility for their passenger transport activities.

Nonetheless, the American government refuses to allow Cuban airlines to operate to its territory, under Section 515.201(a) of the Cuban Assets Control Regulation, 31 CFR Part 515. This stipulates that any aircraft operated by Cubana de Aviación which lands at Miami without a specific permit can be regarded as having committed an offence and can be confiscated.

Other effects include the inability to access any aeronautic technology developed by the United States, including communications, navigation and inspection technologies, as well as fire-fighting, rescue and other airport systems. This situation compels Cuba to deal with other markets, involving up to 15% in extra costs in respect of transportation, 'Cuba risk' penalties, compulsory guarantees and high interest rates on short-term borrowings.

Another sign of the current U.S. administration's lack of commitment to the fight against terrorism and its double standards in this area is the fact that Cuban airlines have been unable to obtain spare parts for their Model 97 HS explosives detectors, used on board by security personnel, in third-country markets. While the supplier of these devices, Ion Track Instruments, remained in British hands there was no problem in getting spares; once it was taken over by a U.S. concern however, supply was terminated under the rules of the blockade.

Thus Washington's trade, commercial and financial sanctions against Cuba contravene the principles embodied in the Preamble to the Chicago Convention, which proclaims that “international civil aviation may be developed in a safe and orderly manner and that international air transport services may be established on the basis of equality of opportunity and operated soundly and economically”.

It similarly infringes various parts of the Convention itself, namely Art. 44, sub-articles a), c), d), f), g), h) and i), which includes among the objectives of the ICAO those of encouraging the development of international air transport, satisfying the needs of the peoples of the world in this respect, ensuring that the rights of the signatory nations were fully observed and avoiding discrimination among these, and generally promoting the development of all aspects of international civil aviation.

The restrictions imposed under the Torricelli legislation have been one of the main obstacles to the conduct of Cuba's foreign trade and have resulted in significant losses for Cuban companies.

The rule that ships that enter ports in Cuba are banned from U.S. ports for six months dissuades a large number of suitable shippers from transporting goods to Cuba, since most are anxious to maintain their access to the American market. The resulting losses amounted to over $53.6 million.

Ship owners prepared to do business with Cuba are consequently those with vessels that have been in use for 15, 20 or more years and would therefore never meet the requirements for entry into U.S. ports. The risk of accidents and lost cargo is consequently increased and is reflected in higher freight rates in cases where such vessels do not comply with the rules of fitness for transport by sea, and in increased insurance premiums.

An example of the effects is the $648,000 in extra costs incurred by Cuba on freight rates for transporting ammonia above those prevailing in the international market, since the vessels that carry products of this type are few and far between and are largely bound for the American market.

Similarly, in recent years major international firms have shown interest in working with the Cuban company ASPORT on developing the infrastructures of at least two of Cuba's principal ports, to enable these to operate as transshipment points for containers bound for the region's main markets. The projects concerned would require an investment of $100-$200 million. Given the blockade, and in particular the Torricelli legislation, the international firms mentioned have shelved their plans pending an easing of the present restrictions.

In the transport sector the repercussions of the blockade directly affect the population at large. At the end of February 2004, EIGT, an importing unit of the Cuban Ministry of Transport, got in touch by electronic mail with General Electric. Its main interest was in purchasing locomotives and components and spare parts for these, under a project to revive the aging fleet of rolling stock, which plays a key role in the movement of goods and also in the transportation of most of the population from one province to another.

The negotiations terminated however, when General Electric wrote saying that further inquiries had revealed that they were prohibited from doing business with companies in Cuba.

Losses have been suffered also in the construction sector. Between May and December 2003, the Ministry of Construction's importing firms alone incurred losses due to higher prices, transportation and financial expense amounting to some $11.6 million. The consequences include setbacks to the national building program.

Given that a house of a reasonable quality standard costs around $8,000 to build, the amount quoted would have enabled the construction of over 1,400 dwellings; that would have been a significant contribution to Cuba's efforts to solve the national housing problem.

Strict, long-term enforcement of the blockade has meant that Cuban firms have all but given up seeking American suppliers of the products they need to import. However, in certain emergency situations, some attempts have been to close business with these, after verifying that the U.S. company concerned is offering the right item at the right price and quality standard. Such was the case of the Cuban construction company CONSTRUIMPORT.

In March 2003, CONSTRUIMPORT sent a fax to the general manager of the U.S. firm Caterpillar requesting quotations for equipment needed for certain urgent construction projects. The Regional Manager of Caterpillar Americas Services Co. replied saying that as a U.S. company, Caterpillar was subject to American law and was prohibited from selling its products to Cuba or for use in Cuba.

As if this were not enough, he added that US law also prohibited Caterpillar distributors from making such sales, and the relevant firms had been instructed accordingly.

The telecommunications sector is also one of those most heavily affected by the blockade. Losses during the last 12 months totaling $22.2 million suffered by Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) are an example.

The prohibition on directly entering into agreements with U.S. firms or firms with a U.S. investor prevents Cuba from using the telecommunications services these provide. Examples include the case of PANAMSAT, an American-owned satellite operator with whom we are prevented from doing business, and that of the difficulties in arranging a business agreement with SATMEX, a Mexican company part of whose capital is in American hands. Were it possible to secure agreements with these service providers, the cost of Cuba's international telecommunications would be substantially lower.

Problems also persist in obtaining equipment and software from firms with whom Cuba has existing agreements. As regards the Internet, every time it has become necessary to upgrade, difficulties - in some cases insurmountable - have arisen over obtaining the relevant equipment.

The same situation arises as regards software. User licenses are unobtainable, denying Cuban businesses access to new and better services. Prohibitions, covering the software, documentation and underlying information or technology, on uploading, exporting or re-exporting to Cuba, are included in the user guides of Microsoft products as well as in any of the use-licensing agreements for these and of all the major software houses (Borland, Adobe etc.).

By restricting the Cuban people's access to information, knowledge and dealings in these goods and services, Washington is contravening, in this case also, agreements reached by the international community - notably the spirit and letter of the recent Declaration of Principles of the World Summit on the Information Society. Paragraph 46 of this document says: "In building the Information Society, States are strongly urged to take steps with a view to the avoidance of, and refrain from, any unilateral measure not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations that impedes the full achievement of economic and social development by the population of the affected countries, and that hinders the well-being of their population.”

Cuban oil sector companies face considerable problems in obtaining the goods and services they need for their operations. The non-availability of U.S. sources for these resulted in extra costs for Cuba-Petróleo from having to purchase elsewhere - higher freight rates, commissions to intermediaries - totaling $11 million.

Similarly, under conditions amounting to a blatant restriction of the investment process, foreign companies operating in the sector in Cuba incur an average 25% above the normal cost of the goods and services they obtain for their operations with Cuba. In 2003, this situation generated excess expenditure amounting to $29.8 million.

The banning of Cuban sugar exports to the United States, involving the exclusion of Cuba from the import quota-setting process and from the market concerned, resulted in exports foregone estimated at some 603,600 metric tons of Cuban sugar during the 2002/03 season, within and beyond the quota; on this basis, the loss amounted $196.25 million. The effect of Cuba's banning from the U.S. market is compounded by exclusion also from direct access to Wall Street and its raw sugar international trading mechanism.

At the same time, Washington maintains its severe restrictions on sales of food and medicines to Cuba

The contents of this section confirm the damaging effects of the U.S. blockade on Cuba's economy, painting a picture of the difficulties, restrictions and sacrifices that the Cuban people has had to endure for over 45 years. The figures quoted in the above paragraphs represent but a small part of the true losses accumulating day by day in the sectors mentioned.


Countless new examples are added every year to the list of losses accumulated by Cuba as a consequence of the destructive trade, commercial and financial sanctions imposed by the United States.

Some of these are described below:

- The U.S. monopoly in the manufacture of commercial aircraft and in components, spare parts and production and maintenance technology in the aviation sector results in prices that are prohibitive to Cuba's airlines. This situation has resulted in leasing aircraft on abnormal, unfavorable terms - partly attributable to the pressures of the blockade. It is also at variance with common practice in the sector, and results from Cuba's being obliged to use intermediate operators. This means higher costs than those prevailing internationally and also inflates the cost of the commercial services offered, thereby placing Cuban carriers at a distinct competitive disadvantage.

This explains why the cost of leasing airliners of the Airbus-320 type cost Cubana de Aviación over $9.2 million, compared with the $7.1 million payable by a carrier in any other country. The extra cost incurred was thus over $2.1 million.

In the case of machines of the Airbus-330 class, the leasing cost incurred of $15.4 million compares with $12 million charged to the airlines of other nations. Thus in this case, the additional expense borne by the Cuban operator was in excess of $3.3 million.

- Another factor is the prohibition on travel to Cuba by American citizens, depriving both Cuban and U.S. airlines of the opportunity to service such traffic. In the period under review, revenues forgone resulting from this prohibition, including those from airport and other ancillary services and airport taxes charged to passengers, amounted to $143.5 million.

- Of the 49 million American travelers to the Caribbean over the last five years, at least 7.4 million would have visited Cuba were it not for the ban on travel and the stringent restrictions on flights. Despite the harassment and complications involved in traveling to Cuba, some 900,000 Americans and U.S. residents of Cuban origin made the trip anyway. On this basis, some 6.5 million visitors stayed away or went elsewhere, representing a loss of revenues to the tourism industry totaling $4.225 billion.

- Following cancellation of the permits to travel to Cuba under the "people to people" exchange program, the San Cristóbal agency (owned by the Cuban Habaguanex firm) has reported that over 30 groups were canceled between 2003 and the first quarter of 2004, due to non-receipt of the relevant Treasury Department authorization. Habaguanex estimates its loss of revenues for the period mentioned at around $1.9 million.

- The inability to use the U.S. dollar for commercial transactions with other countries, coupled with the ban on inter-bank relations between Cuba and the United States, prevents direct transfers of funds. This in turn affects the fluctuations in rates of exchange, with significant repercussions on the Cuban economy.

These restrictions are similarly reflected in the difficulties suffered by Cuban banks in obtaining loan funds and in the exorbitant rates of interest they are charged for such funding as they manage to obtain, because of the risk run by the other countries concerned in establishing dealings with Cuba. The losses incurred under this heading amounted to $121.7 million.

- The banning of the use of the US dollar has resulted in losses by Cuban commercial banks as a consequence of monetary fluctuations. Examples include that of Banco Internacional de Comercio S.A. (BICSA), which incurred losses in the period attributable to this cause of around $4.2 million.

- The leading producers of lead, both pure and alloyed, are American companies, some being based on U.S. soil and others - transnationals - elsewhere. Despite offering the best prices available, these major manufacturers and refiners of the metal are banned under the rules of the blockade from supplying Cuba's battery manufacturers

This raw material, which accounts for 65-70% of the total materials used for battery manufacture, has to be imported from Europe and South America, at prices higher by an average $100 a ton. The Cuban battery-manufacturing firm uses 1,700 tons of lead alloy and about 1,600 tons of pure lead in a year (a total of 3,300 tons) and thus incurs excess expenditure on these supplies of more than $330,000 annually.

- Polystyrene resin, a commodity essential to the steel industry, has become extremely expensive as a result of the blockade. In Mexico, from where it is transported in containers with a capacity of 16 tons, the price is $1,250 per ton. Cuban industry imports 12 such containers annually. Buying directly from the United States would save $300 per ton or $4,800 per container.

- During 2003, the Cuban steel industry incurred extra costs due to the blockade of $787,500 in higher prices and $142,600 in freight charges on shipment by sea and air from Europe and Asia on imports of raw materials and other essential supplies - steel, poliol, isocyanate, paint, hoists and spare parts for these, waterproofing materials, calcined petroleum coke for electrodes, floor tiles, electrical materials - which it is banned from buying in the United States and has to source elsewhere.

- Performance among the sciences in Cuba, although considered dynamic for a developing country, has been severely hampered by difficulties created by foreign institutions with U.S. capital or by interference from Washington. The blockade has hindered the development of human resources and information technology, the obtaining of equipment and supplies needed for scientific research, technology transfer and development, as well as the marketing of Cuban products and other business dealings.

In the last eight years alone, U.S. sanctions have caused losses in the science, technology and environmental sector totaling over $1.39 billion.

- Software license purchases and upgrading, scientific-technical literature and technology transfer all have to be sourced via third-party countries given the restrictions on their direct entry into Cuba, involving higher prices and delivery delays. Examples include the inability to purchase a license to use Macromedia Director, because the firm's terms of business include a clause specifically banning sale of the product to Cuba. Such restrictions apply to courses and all other Macromedia services as well as the software.

- Cuba's Institute for Scientific & Technological Information (IDICT) has been unable to obtain directly the scientific, technical and similar literature of various American scientific institutions. Such material is kept up-to-date and is needed for information support on national scientific-technical programs and, in general, Cuba's primary research and development interests.

As a result of having to order these publications from European firms with branches in the United States, the related cost has spiraled, reflecting a 15% increase in the net cost of scientific literature attributable to airfreight charges. Also, IDICT has lost subscriptions to journals it received by donation from fellow institutions, following pressure on these from Washington to break off relations with IDICT.

- The Nuclear Energy & Advanced Technologies Agency was unable to purchase two FARMER-type waterproof sleeves for the Second Dosimetric Calibration Laboratory (LSCD) at the Radiation Protection & Hygiene Center (CPHR), which uses them for calibrating dosimetric systems involved in quality control on external photon and electron beams used in treating cancer patients under the Cuban National Health Service. The tests form part of the safety and quality assurance programs and are intended to contribute to enhancing the efficacy of such treatments and improving the quality of life of cancer sufferers.

- The blockade legislation denies Cuba access to funding from multilateral and regional development agencies. Specifically, in 2003, the Inter-American Development Bank provided a record $8.9 billion in funding for development programs, calling itself "the main source of multilateral finance for development in the region for the tenth consecutive year". Adopting this sum as a point of reference and assuming Cuba received the same amount as the country taking the smallest share (Belize), this would have provided an inflow of $6.7 million. A 1% share of the total funding would have provided $89 million, enough to complete various important social and infrastructural programs, including rebuilding and re-equipping a number of health service facilities, to quote a single case.

Another example is that road-building projects are very often financed by this type of 'soft' loan. Such is the case in Bolivia, where a highway construction program involving 886 km (about the distance between Havana and Santiago de Cuba) was started in December 2003, funded by a World Bank and Fondo de Cooperación Andina loan of some $558.3 million.

A similar loan to that granted to Bolivia would be sufficient to finance the hard-currency element of the cost of completing Cuba's National Expressway, repair the Havana street network, repair and maintain the roadway on the existing stretches of the National Expressway, the Central Highway and the North and South bypasses, among other similar projects. Such funding would cover the hard-currency requirements on these works, as well as the conservation of the Bahia, Línea and Quinta Avenida tunnels.

- Losses suffered by the Ministry of Transport between May 2003 and April 2004 due to the blockade amounted to around $143.23 million.

- The hiring of ship's crews was affected in both the cargo and passenger sectors - in the latter case, cruise liners that enter ports in the United States, these requiring the largest crews. In all cases, the ratio of cruise vessel crew-members to passengers is 1:2, implying a considerable loss of jobs attributable to the cause mentioned. Lost income for the period under review, allowing for the potential availability of a qualified workforce ready to start work, is reported at $9.7 million per year, based on international standard rates of pay.

- Cruise vessels with Florida home ports (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Cape Canaveral and Tampa) do not include Cuban ports in their weekly itineraries, reflecting the provisions of the Torricelli and other blockade legislation.

Cuban companies operating with cruise vessels during the period under review could have received an additional 625 vessel arrivals, based on 12 cruise ships per week and 500,000 passengers. On this basis, lost income from port dues and passenger fees amounted to $918,800 and $7.5 million (at $15 per passenger) respectively.

- As regards production and export of tobacco products, the United States is an important natural market for Cuba, in terms of its own industry's imports of both cigars and loose tobacco.

Given that in the ten years from 1949 to 1958, 35% (in value terms) of Cuban tobacco exports were to the United States, and assuming that Cuba had maintained that level of exportation, the losses to the cigar trade have been running at an estimated $106 million a year.

The corresponding annual losses in the case of loose tobacco are estimated at around $12 million.

- The impact of the U.S. blockade on Cuba's insurance industry is felt primarily in the process of negotiating or purchase of reinsurance for policies issued in Cuba. The prevalence of American capital in the insurance market has grown in recent years, following a series of mergers and acquisitions of European reinsurance firms by American companies.

The inability to effect reinsurance in the U.S. market or with partly American-owned firms in other countries compels Cuban insurance companies to deal solely in the European market. Effects include delays in completing insurance and reinsurance transactions, market restrictions and a sharp increase in costs to reflect "Cuba risk".

- At a time when the country is experiencing a severe drought in its eastern provinces and elsewhere, the repercussions of the blockade for the National Institute for Water Resources directly affect the public. To quote a single case, that of the ZAHORÍ well drills: these are needed to provide relief water supply in the areas most seriously affected by the drought. The compressors and engines of these machines are of U.S. origin, and since spare parts are unobtainable, they have had to be decommissioned, with adverse consequences for the people living in these areas.


 In its imperial arrogance, President George W. Bush’s administration has escalated the hostility of the blockade-on-the-Cuban-people policy to unprecedented heights. This policy openly violates the basic principles of international law, of multilateralism and the wishes of the international community expressed repeatedly and almost unanimously in successive resolutions passed by the UN General Assembly.

 Applying the US government blockade against Cuba directly violates the basic human rights and fundamental liberties of the Cuban people, of Cubans living in the United States and of the US people itself.

 In spite of the strong outcry that the extraterritorial nature of the blockade and the way it is applied have provoked in the international community and in complete contradiction to the frenzied defense of economic and trade neoliberalism mounted by the US government, US authorities insist on obstructing Cuba’s relations with third countries through the use of threats and persecution.

 Cuba will not cease from defending her independence and she knows that her resistance contributes to the struggle waged by many peoples in this world for a more dignified life, and for the right to develop in fairer and more sustainable conditions. Neither will she ever give up the hope of one day having smooth, respectful relations with the American people.

 The Cuban people has faith that the international community, at a time when the US government is irresponsibly threatening its right to life, to development, to peace and self-determination, will come out strongly and clearly in favor of an end to the economic, trade and financial blockade that has been imposed on it.


(cumulative, to 2003)

Losses caused by Millions

1. See appendix 1 which has a breakdown by sector of the damage and losses the Cuban economy has suffered because of the US blockade. (Cumulative to 2003)

2. A study made by the Center for Research into the International Economy (CIEI) and the Center for Studies on the Cuban Economy (CEEC) when trying to estimate the approximate amount of direct US investment not made in Cuba in the period 1990 to 2002 concluded that, in the first three to five years, investment could have been at least $100 million per year, and might have reached a level of over $400 million annually. The research looked at the value of US investment in Cuba at the end of the 50s and at the flow of direct US investment in Caribbean countries (the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica) which served as a comparative reference for the Cuban economy.

3. The abovementioned amount is almost equal to that invested by other countries in the Cuban economy from 1990 on. This investment has allowed important sectors such as nickel, oil, tourism, telecommunications, etc., to develop.

4. Meanwhile, a 2001 report from the US Trade Committee included an estimate of the net flows that would have accrued to the Cuban economy “in the absence of US sanctions”. In spite of the fact that it underestimates the Cuban market, this committee calculated the annual valued of the flow of direct investment from the United States to Cuba to be between $20 and 40 million annually. The flow of investments not made in a ten year period, even using this base, would stand at between $200 and $400 million.

5. Resolution 57/227 was passed by the General Assembly with the opposition of only 3 governments, including that of the United States, the self-proclaimed champion of freedom and human rights.

6. A study in mid 2002 by the Brattle Group of Washington D.C. concluded that if the restrictions on travel to Cuba were lifted, 2.8 million Americans would go to Cuba every year. Their publication, entitled “The Impact on the US Economy of Lifting Restrictions on Travel to Cuba” also analyses the economic benefits that would accrue to airlines, travel agents and tour operator if this ban were lifted.

7. An optimistic estimate, based on halving of the number of visitors who came in 2003, in other words 42,000 fewer, and working with an average stay of five days and an average per capita expenditure of $130 per tourist , indicates that $27 million less will be earned this year than last. If calculations are made using figures of 70% fewer tourists, economic losses would increase to $38 million.

8. The UN General Assembly Resolution 57/227 urges “all states to allow, in conformity with international legislation, the unrestricted movement of financial remittances which citizens of other countries who reside in their territory send to their family members in their countries of origin”. Similarly, it exhorts them to “abstain from passing legal provisions conceived of as coercive measures which institute discriminatory treatment for legal immigrants, be they individuals or groups by redounding to the detriment of family reunification and the right to send financial remittances to their family members in their countries of origin and not to repeal laws already in existence".

9. Today, Cuba is decentralizing services of medium complexity in order to increase the probability of survival when a health problem arises and to guarantee better access and wellbeing for the community. Regional hospitals will shortly be able to tackle more complicated health problems which need special attention with expensive resources, installations and technical equipment fitted for this task. Part of the process of improving the National Health Program includes consolidating institutions doing research in this field and into new areas, especially into preventing diseases using genetic methods.

10. The UNDP Report on Human Development for 2003 which is about how far the millennium development goals have been met, place Cuba in the 52nd position in the Human Development Index above other countries in the region having a higher relative level of development. Cuba today has the highest number of doctors per inhabitant in the world (1 doctor for every 168 inhabitants) and one of the healthiest populations in its hemisphere.

11. According to UNESCO’s Latin American Laboratory for Assessment of and Quality in Education, Cuban students obtain better results than all other students in the hemisphere in language, mathematics and physics skills in comparable national examinations.

12. Almost all children in Cuba are immunized with 10 vaccines —there is no charge for this service— which protect them against 13 diseases: poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, measles, rubella, mumps, meningitis B and C, viral hepatitis B. Recently our scientists managed to produce a vaccine against haemophilus influenzae. Seven of the ten vaccine mentioned are manufactured in Cuba, thanks to the level of development achieved by our biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries. Some of the vaccine such as the anti-meningoccus groups B and C and the anti-haemophilus influenzae are Cuban contributions to world science.

13. The US Supreme Court issued an opinion dated 28 June 2004 recognizing Cuba’s sovereignty over that territory.

14. Report of the Secretary General "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba"; A/58/287, August 18, 2003.

15. Department of State: Foreign Relations of United States, Volume X, 1997, pp. 645-646.

16. Report of the Secretary General "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba"; A/57/264, July 26, 2002.

17. Report of the Secretary General "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba"; A/58/287, August 18, 2003.

18. Report of the Secretary General "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba"; A/58/287, August 18, 2003.

19. Book classification system used by over 200,000 libraries worldwide, providing a logical method for organizing all the sections of the library's collection.
20. New-York based American organization which has helped preserve over 430 world heritage works in 83 countries.

21. See the report of the Secretary General "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba"; A/58/287, August 18, 2003, pp.22-27

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