Cuba appeals to int’l community amid stepped-up US hostility

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez gives a press conference in Havana on April 25, 2019. He urged the international community to intervene and block moves by the United States to impose additional sanctions on the Caribbean island. EPA-EFE/Ernesto Mastrascusa

HAVANA.- Cuba’s government on Thursday called on the international community to intervene and block moves by the United States to impose additional sanctions on the Caribbean island.

«The world can’t allow itself to remain impassive while efforts are made to destroy countries with impunity,» Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said at a press conference.

The international community «must take action before it’s too late … for the good of the peoples of Cuba, the US and those of the entire planet.»

Last week, the US announced additional measures to stiffen the 57-year-old economic embargo on the Communist-ruled island.

They include further restrictions on remittances from Cuban-Americans to their relatives on the island and new limitations on non-family travel to the Caribbean nation.

President Donald Trump’s administration also has decided to end a waiver on Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, a 1996 US law that strengthened the embargo against Cuba.

Title III allows American citizens to file civil lawsuits in US courts against persons or companies trafficking in property confiscated by the Cuban government following the 1959 revolution, although that provision had been waived by successive presidents, including Trump, for more than two decades.

Rodriguez urged governments, legislatures, social movements and the world of culture and science to intervene and also called on the United Nations General Assembly, the World Trade Organization and other multilateral bodies to take action to block measures that will «punish the Cuban and American people.»

«Cuban families shouldn’t be hostages to internal political struggles in the United States,» the foreign minister said, adding that the new sanctions will take a toll on the Cuban economy and self-employed individuals in the island’s incipient private sector.

But he said they will have no effect on «Cubans’ strong determination to resist, nor bring closer to fruition the old yearning to overthrow the revolution and control Cuba’s destiny.»

«I’m sure that these measures, although they’ll have a probable impact on the Cuban economy, are doomed to failure. The main result will be to make the US more isolated in its policy toward Cuba,» Rodriguez said.

The Trump administration’s decision to stiffen the embargo could exacerbate the struggles facing Cuba, which has been affected by a political and economic crisis racking its close ally Venezuela, a fall in exports, the inefficiency of its state-run companies and recent weather-related disasters.

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