The Cuban delegation to the high-level segment of the 43rd regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, headed by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, once again reaffirmed our country’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights for all.
The event, held February 24-28 at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, served as an appropriate opportunity to advocate for the full defense of human rights.
In this sense, the Cuban Foreign Minister stated on his Twitter account: “Cuba will reiterate its commitment to the promotion and protection of all human rights for all; without selectivity, without political manipulation, without double standards.
Unfortunately, the unilateralism of the United States undermines the promotion and protection of human rights of everyone on the planet,” stated Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla on Tuesday in Geneva.
Speaking during the High Level Segment of the 43rd ordinary session of the Human Rights Council, he added that neoliberal policies imposed by the northern nation violate economic, social and cultural rights and prevent other nations from exercising their right to development.
Among several examples of coercive actions, the Cuban Foreign Minister emphasized that the interests of all countries are damaged if they remained inert in the face of U. S. threats to crush the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, destabilize Nicaragua, and destroy other nations.
He stressed that the unconventional wars waged by the United States and its violations of international law systematically violate the rights to peace and self-determination.
“Their unwillingness to confront climate change poses an existential challenge to the human species. The political manipulation and double standards of the U.S. impede genuine international cooperation on human rights,” he added.
He insisted that the tightening of the U.S. blockade of Cuba represents an act of genocide, according to the 1948 Convention, “a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the human rights of our people.”
Rodriguez further stated, “The use of non-conventional measures to prevent the arrival of fuel to our country has damaged every aspect of the daily lives of Cuban men and women, public transportation, education, health and food. The full application of the Helms-Burton Act deepens the extraterritorial impact of the blockade.”
He explained that the U.S. government has placed extreme limitations on travel and air connections between the two countries, which affect Cuban families, residents in other nations, and the right to travel of the country’s own citizens.
The Foreign Minister referred to attacks on Cuba’s international medical cooperation and how U.S. hostility has threatened the health of millions of human beings who benefit from these programs around the world.
With the suspension of Cuban medical cooperation to several countries in our region alone, medical care for 67 million people has been seriously affected. The international community recognizes the professionalism and altruism of the more than 400,000 Cuban health workers, who over 56 years have served on missions in 164 nations, Rodríguez noted.
In this context, he recalled that the United Nations Organization and the World Health Organization have noted the fundamental contribution made by Cuban medical cooperation to the success of the fight against cholera in Haiti and Ebola in West Africa.
Rodriguez stated, “Cuba’s response is firm: on the basis of legitimate intergovernmental cooperation programs, we will continue to save lives and provide health and well-being wherever we are requested.” Continue reading
During the closure of the National Assembly’s fourth period of ordinary sessions, December 21, President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez said: “In the 61st year of the Revolution they threw us to our deaths and here we are, alive. Without a doubt, 2019 was a year of great challenges, with an escalated imperialist offensive meant to provoke the economic collapse of the nation.
It was the year in which, in the month of April, with the mandate to re-impose the Monroe Doctrine in our hemisphere, then White House National Security Advisor John Bolton openly declared his determination to accomplish what the mercenary invasion at Playa Girón could not achieve in 1961, when U.S. imperialism was crushed by the Cuban people in a resounding victory, within less than 72 hours.
The U.S. has always considered Cuba its possession. Powerful sectors and interest groups have shown, over two hundred years, a stubborn inability to accept the independence of our country, or the right of Cubans to sovereignty, self-determination, and the freedom to decide our own destiny. Current generations of Cubans have faced the hostility of the United States government and the hardships imposed by the economic blockade, throughout their entire lives, or at least most of their existence.
The blockade has been the most persistent weapon and the central axis of hostility toward Cuba since the revolutionary victory of 1959. Its objectives were defined early on, with clear genocidal objectives, as reflected in the infamous memorandum of April 6, 1960 by the Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs of the State Department, Lester D. Mallory, which stated:
“The majority of Cubans support Castro…The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship… a line of action which, while as adroit and inconspicuous as possible, makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”
It is an act of economic warfare that, over six decades, has had an increasingly significant impact on all spheres of society – further intensified in 2019 – with an extraterritorial impact in virtually every corner of the planet.
The United States government is lying when it repeatedly states that coercive economic measures are aimed at depriving the government and armed forces of resources. Their objective is to hurt the Cuban people, with the intention of breaking the political and patriotic will of the entire nation, in order to reverse the revolutionary process and undermine the foundations of the society we have built.
The blockade is an act of genocide against our people, according to Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, defined in paragraph B, as “serious injury to the physical or mental integrity of the members of a group,” and C, “intentional subjection of the group to conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction as a whole or in part.”
The blockade creates scarcity, material shortages, the interruption of public services, in an effort to sow discouragement and dissatisfaction, while attempting to portray the Revolution as responsible and discredit its leadership. The United States has the audacity to present the government of the attacked people as inefficient in the management of resources, and to blame for modest growth of the economy.
It is important to reiterate that the economic blockade is the main obstacle to the Cuban economy’s development, and to the full enjoyment of human rights by the Cuban people. There is not a single Cuban family or sector that has not been a victim of its effects.
A review of the most notable facts regarding this aggression is useful.
The damages accumulated over six decades amount to 138,843,000,000 dollars, and the latest calculations show that, from April of 2018 through March 2019, the blockade caused losses on the order of four billion dollars, that is an average of 12 million dollars a day.
If the cost of the blockade could be transformed into available resources, the country could have an important source of financing to undertake economic, social and productive programs and policies with greater dynamism, and to achieve higher and more sustained rates of growth in the Gross Domestic Product, and greater well-being for our people.
In 2019 alone, the U.S. government adopted 85 aggressive measures of various kinds to damage Cuba, 43 of which were coercive economic measures to extend and strengthen the blockade, some unprecedented, and all with the express objective of increasing pressure on our country to extract political concessions.
In the area of foreign trade, the greatest impact is seen in lost export revenues that would exceed $2.34 billion in one year.
Products of recognized exportable quality and proven demand cannot be marketed in the U.S. Such is the case for cigars, and Heberprot-P, a unique medicine for diabetic patients, with proven effectiveness in tissue regeneration, thus reducing the need for amputations and consequent disability.
The United States prohibits export to Cuba – from any country in the world – of any product containing 10% or more components of U.S. origin, that is, raw materials, parts, technology, software or intellectual property, regardless of the country where the good or service is produced, or the nationality of the producer. Thus, an additional, significant limitation is imposed on Cuba’s ability to acquire goods and services from any country in the world.
This extraterritorial measure affects the availability of consumer goods, machinery and technology required for production, raw materials needed by industry and the services on which the well-being of the population depends, with an impact on such sensitive sectors as health, medicine, transportation and food.
As a result of the tightening of the financial blockade, there has been a sharp decline in the country’s ability to access external financing that would make possible the acquisition of inputs and raw materials needed by the economy.
The hostile measures reduce the country’s capacity to meet financial commitments, which in turn undermines willingness to provide new resources required for the functioning of the economy.
The combination of these constraints on trade and financing causes, for example, serious damage to the health sector, given limitations on the acquisition of medical equipment, reagents and drugs, among other goods. The prohibition imposed on U.S. companies, and their subsidiaries in other countries, preventing them from supplying inputs to Cuba, deny our people technologies that make the difference between life and death.
Cubans who suffers from severe heart failure, for example, cannot benefit from ventricular support equipment that can maintain bodily functions until a transplant can be performed.
It is impossible to access novel drugs for the treatment of cancer that are only produced by U.S. pharmaceutical companies.
Current shortages of some medications in the country are the result of the blockade’s impact on access to financing and suppliers that produce raw materials.
Similarly, limitations on the acquisition of spare parts, raw materials and other important inputs prevent improvements in the technical availability of production, industrial and transport equipment, hindering or halting progress on high-impact social programs, such as housing construction.
Also affected is the communications and information technology sector, including telecommunications. The blockade is the main impediment to the flow of information and to greater access to the Internet, inasmuch as its regulations make connectivity more difficult and expensive, and place conditions on access to platforms and technologies.
In the tourism sector, additional restrictions are imposed on the already limited possibilities for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. The abrupt suspension of cruise ship travel, and the arbitrary interruptions of regular and charter flights to several Cuban cities, caused a significant decrease in the number of travelers arriving from the United States in 2019, and will do so this year.
In addition to erecting obstacles to the development of mutual understanding and natural exchanges between the peoples of the two countries, and limiting contact and communication of Cubans with their families and relatives in the United States, the measures are meant to restrict income in the hospitality industry, with direct damage to both state and non-state sectors of the economy.
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The United States used trained professionals to design torture for detainees at the illegal Guantánamo base prison, accused – not proven – of being involved in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.
Hundreds of detainees from several countries were held at the base, simply on suspicion or because they had Arabic features. Most never had access to a lawyer, or were informed of the charges they faced, that led to their arrest.
The truth is that the CIA experimented on them with the most terrible methods of torture. Some could not resist and died. Others committed suicide. And some remain in Guantánamo.
In January of 2020 the truth is coming out and it involves U.S. psychologists, who created the CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
Psychologists James E. Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen were in charge of creating cruel new methods such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation, confinement in small coffin-sized boxes and beatings, Russia Today reports.
The professionals involved in this unethical work of torture testified, unapologetically, in pre-trial military commission hearings, January 21, in the case against detainee Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and co-defendants.
Their testimony could influence the fate of detainees if it is determined – already more than proven – that the CIA and FBI were accomplices in torturing the detainees and that the “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the U.S. government violated their human rights.
Five defendants are facing the death penalty. The legal status of prisoners and the torture used against them has led institutions like Amnesty International to state that the proceedings of the military commissions, which will make the final ruling, do not meet international fair trial standards.
There is more injustice in the U.S. judicial system and its non-credible “respect for human rights.”
According to a CIA’s secret report on the role of doctors in its torture program between 2002 and 2007, published in 2018 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the CIA-hired professionals legitimized torture experiments carried out on the detainees.
Thus, the Agency’s legal team convinced the Justice Department to legalize waterboarding, despite its representing an imminent risk of death, Russia Today reports.
Ensuring that our people live not only longer, but also enjoy healthier lives is at the heart of work by institutions in a society like Cuba’s, with 20.4% of its population at 60 years of age or older.
In an effort to contribute to better quality of life for older adults, the Ministry of Public Health is working on training specialized personnel and incorporating elements of geriatrics into other medical specialties, to better serve an aging population in a comprehensive manner.
In this regard, it is worth mentioning the construction of several facilities, including the first unit for the evaluation of physical performance of older adults in Cuba – and one of the few existing in Latin America and the Caribbean -opened on October 1, 2019, taking into consideration the concept of healthy aging, promoted by the World Health Organization.
“This unit makes it possible to evaluate functional capacity based on variables such as walking speed and muscle strength, among other essential aspects. It also supports the diagnosis and rehabilitation of elderly persons with reduced functional capacity and promotes the development of research in key areas of aging and the training of competent human resources,” explained Dr. Lilian Rodriguez Rivera, director of the Center for Research on Longevity, Aging and Health.
In previous statements, Dr. Iván Tápanes López, specialist in Geriatrics and Gerontology, and head of the Center’s physical performance unit, reported that the facility has high-tech equipment which allows for better diagnoses and assistance, research and comprehensive assessment from the physical point of view, evaluating the performance of activities like walking and others requiring physical effort and strength.
Among the sanctions, he cited the application of the misnamed Cuban Freedom and Democratic Solidarity Act, known as Helms-Burton; financial persecution, the attack on fuel supplies and the closure of the U.S. consulate in Cuba
With more than 15 years, this humanitarian project, implemented by revolutionary leaders Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, has improved or restored the vision to more than 6 million low-income people in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa.
Cuban doctors in Haiti resumed Operacion Milagros (Operation Miracle), one of the main cooperation projects between the two countries, which has already restored the vision to some 72,710 patients.
Since 2006, the mission has assisted an average of 5,000 people annually, particularly those suffering from pterygium (a disease that damages the conjunctiva and cornea) — as well as cataracts, which consist of the growing opacity of the natural lens of the eye.
The substantial socio-political unrest that Haiti experienced at the end of 2019 suspended the cooperation specially designed for vulnerable people, who cannot afford consultations and surgeries in the private medical sector, Cuban ophthalmologist Yoardinkis de la Torre told Prensa Latina.
“We started with the pterygium specifically and then reintroduced the cataract surgery that restores the vision, and the miracle to see a new dawn,” the doctor said.
The campaign against the doctors aims to strangle the revenue they bring in, much of which goes into Cuba’s health and social services, according to analysts.
Donald Trump’s administration is targeting the Cuban medical program that has helped some of the most impoverished communities worldwide, in a bid to exert more pressure on Cuba’s economy, according to a report published Tuesday by the Guardian.
Washington is using a whole host of allegations to thwart the program. It has been accusing Havana of undermining democracy and interfering in the internal affairs of the countries where the doctors operate.
Among other allegations, the U.S. claims that the Cuban government is “exploiting” the medical staff deployed on the missions.
Officials in Cuba, backed by analysts who studied the work of the medical missions, retort that the U.S. is using this claim to enforce further its policy of asphyxiating Cuba’s economy in the hope of bringing down its regime.
The campaign against the doctors, which includes attempts to convince them to defect, is little more than an effort to strangle the amount of foreign revenue that they bring in, much of which put back into Cuba’s health and social services, the Guardian cited critics as saying.
“The [U.S. policy] is targeting the two main sources of external income for Cuba, first tourism and now medical services,” explained Pavel Vidal Alejandro, a Cuban-born academic at the Xavierian University in Colombia.
Havana, Feb 11 (P L) Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez described as pleasant his reunion in Havana on Tuesday with New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is visiting Cuba.