U.S. blockade and terrorism denounced

The Third Days of Action Against the Blockade will take place in Washington D.C., September 11-16, with activities centered on denouncing damage caused to the island’s healthcare system by the hostile policy, with the participation of U.S. students pursuing medical degrees on the island and renowned Cuban doctors

With the aim of increasing pressure on the U.S. government to lift the criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba, activists and solidarity organizations are taking part in an a series of events entitled: “Tenemos Memoria. Solidaridad Vs el Bloqueo” (“We remember. Solidarity vs. The Blockade”).
Activities began on September 4, at the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), with a ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the murder of young Italian Fabio Di Celmo at Havana’s Copacabana; a victim of terrorism.

Tribute was also paid to Fabio’s father, Giustino, who has fought tirelessly against terrorism. In this regard, decorated Hero of the Republic of Cuba and ICAP President Fernando González Llort stated that “We are obligated to remind the U.S. government of the historic debt they owe the Cuban people.”

Meanwhile, a marathon organized by the International Cuba Solidarity Committee, to denounce the U.S. blockade, will take place on September 9. The 57th anniversary of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs) will also be commemorated, with the race set to start outside the north balcony of the Museum of the Revolution – where the island’s largest mass organization was founded by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz on September 28, 1960 – while runners will finish at the José Martí anti-imperialist Tribunal by Havana’s waterfront Malecón.

Similar activities will also be held in cities across the country – from Cabo de San Antonio in the far west of the island to Maisí in the east – where CDR members, youths, children, sports fans and the population in general will take to the streets, avenues, and mountainous trails as they participate in various races and walks, in a clear demonstration of support for the Revolution and condemnation of U.S. imperialism.

Meanwhile, the Third Days Against the Blockade will take place in Washington D.C., from September 11-16, where activities will be centered on denouncing the damage caused the island’s healthcare sector by the cruel policy; with the participation of young students from the Havana-based Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) and renowned Cuban doctors.

The event will take place across various universities in the U.S. capital and Maryland, and include activities such as the screening of a documentary about ELAM, entitled “Dare to Dream,” by director Jennifer Wager. Fifty letters will also be sent to U.S. Senators and government representatives requesting meetings to discuss issues linked to the blockade.
Participants will likewise attend community events to denounce the National Security Presidential Memorandum on Strengthening the Policy of the United States toward Cuba, signed by President Donald Trump, in Miami, Florida, last June 16, which reverses some of the advances made in the process toward the normalization of relations between the two countries.

They will also show their support for a bill submitted to the U.S. Senate by Democrat Ron Wyden, and co-sponsored by several other members of his party, including: Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, Richard Durbin, Tom Udall, Patty Murray and Jeff Merkley, all supporters of normalizing trade relations with Cuba.
Over these days, global support for the struggle against the economic blockade takes on a special significant as the Cuban government prepares to once again present the resolution entitled: “The need to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America on Cuba,” before the United Nations General Assembly, in New York.

On presenting the document last year, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez noted that former President Barack Obama and other senior U.S. government officials described the blockade as obsolete, unsuccessful in advancing U.S. interests, a senseless, impractical, failed policy, which only acts as a burned to U.S. citizens, causes damage to Cuba, and isolates the United States.
In the most recent UN vote in 2016, the resolution received the support of 191 countries, with the exception of the United States and its traditional ally Israel, who both abstained for the first time.

Despite such overwhelming support and the official reestablishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in July 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has, since that time, levied fines in excess of 2.8 billion dollars against 11 entities; seven U.S. and four foreign.
One of these was U.S. insurance company American International Group (AIG) which was forced to pay 148,698 dollars last June for apparently incurring 29 blockade violations by providing insurance coverage for various goods shipments to and from Cuba.
Meanwhile, Rodríguez Parrilla, speaking before the UN, stated that the U.S. blockade, has been in effect since February 1962, has caused the island economic losses amounting to over 753,688,000,000 dollars, considering the depreciation of the dollar against the value of gold in the international market. At current prices the damage caused Cuba by the blockade stands at more than 125,000,000,000 dollars. Likewise, from April 2015 through March 2016, losses to the Cuban economy as a result of the blockade totaled more than 4.6 billion dollars according to rigorous and conservative calculations based on current prices. The Cuban Foreign Minister also noted that “The blockade is the main obstacle to our country’s economic and social development.”

Nuria Barbosa León, Granma

September 7, 2017

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