Cuba: US Blockade on the Island is Economic War
UNITED NATIONS, October 30, 2007.- Cuba denounced that the brutal US economic war on the island affects other states and violates international law as well as the United Nations Charter.
The brutal economic war imposed on Cuba not only affects Cubans, said Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque.
Addressing the General Assembly, the Cuban official said the gravity of these measures is worse due to extraterritorial application of US laws.
For the Minister this is "contempt of the legitimate interest of third countries interested in investing and developing normal economic and trade relations with Cuba, an issue that concern all the States here present."
Perez Roque spoke during the debate on the topic "Need to cease the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba."
He said only from May, 2006 to the same month of 2007, at least 30 countries were affected by extraterritorial actions due to US blockade policy against Cuba.
Perez Roque put several examples of applied measures, as those affecting the Netherlands Caribbean Bank, whose accounts in the United States were frozen and it was banned from any transaction with US citizens and entities.
He mentioned the fines against the British company PSL Energy Service for exporting to Cuba equipment and services for the oil industry and prohibiting the acquisition by Cuba of equipment and products because the manufacturing companies were taken over by the United States.
The same thing happened with compressors of the Sabroe brand of Denmark and with the Finnish company Datex-Ohmeda which sold the island excellent anaesthetic equipment and multipurpose monitoring devices.
The FM added that his country could not buy an infrared spectrophotometer of the Japanese company Shimadzu because the equipment has more than 10 percent of US components.
Similar actions were taken against German company Basf because the active ingredient is of US origin.
The Minister also said that since the end of 2006, Spanish cruiser company Pullmantur was bought out by the US Royal Caribbean, thus preventing the cruiser Holiday Dream, property of the Spanish company to stop operations in Cuba.
He said that last December, the management of Hotel Scandic of Norway, cancelled the booking made by a Cuban delegation because the lodging had been bought by the US Hilton chain.
According to Perez Roque, the most notorious incident regarding the blockade was the merciless war of the US Treasury Department against Cuban relations with financial and banking institutions from other countries.
This was possible after the Washington administration accessed the confidential information of the Society for World Interbanking Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT).
Through that entity, he said, practically all the payments and message exchanges between financial institutions are made.
Perez Roque said over the last year, more than 20 banks of several countries "have been grossly threatened to induce interruption of any relation or transaction with Cuba." . (Cubaminrex-PL).
Cuba Slams US Blockade Difficulties
CUBA, September 18, 2007.- Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque stated Tuesday that damages caused by the US blockade are over 89 billion dollars.
Perez Roque informed the latter when presenting to the press in this capital the report on the UN resolution 6111 "Necessity to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba."
Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959, the US government started the almost five-decade economic siege.
He recalled that the General Assembly gave last year an overwhelming defeat to the blockade when 183 nations voted for, four against and one abstained.
The Cuban minister referred that since 1992, when the report was presented for a first time, the international community's support have been increased and it is an unequivocal signal of world conscience on the blockade's negative effects on Cuba.
Perez Roque also talked of the extensive world rejection that policy generates due to extra-territorial measures, denounced the application of those US coercive measures and condemned the blockade's ferocity by trying to surrender the Cuban people for hungry and diseases.
Alarcon: US Cuba Blockade Genocidal
CUBA, July 24, 2007.- Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon termed in this capital a genocide the US blockade against his country for almost 50 years.
Speaking to solidarity groups here , Alarcon rejected aggressiveness by the Bush administration towards Cuba and intentions to overthrow the Revolution.
He expressed the Cuban people's repudiation of that country for protecting international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, mastermind of the explosion in mid air of a Cuban airplane with 73 people in October 1976, among other crimes.
Alarcon also talked on how the US government still maintains five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters unfairly imprisoned in that country.
Their only mission was to defend their country from violent actions by anti-Cuban terrorist groups settled in that northern nation.
Reverend Lucius Walker, from the Pastors for Peace Foundation, and Tshaka Borrows, from the "Venceremos" Brigade, expressed their willingness to support Cuba and challenge travel restrictions to this Caribbean nation.
Cuban Historians Condemn US Aggressive Policy
CUBA, July 20, 2007.- Participants in the 6th Congress of the National Union of Cuban Historians condemned the US's imperialist actions to take the history of the Caribbean nation back and to attack its solidarity efforts.
In the final declaration of the event, which concluded on Thursday at Havana's Convention Center, participants also rejected propaganda campaigns launched by the imperialism in order to distort the identity, traditions, customs and social aspirations of Third World nations.
Eliades Acosta, head of the Culture Department at the Central Committee of Cuba's Communist Party, pointed out that Cuban historians are faced with the challenge of defending the historical values and the patrimony of the nation, which has been suffering a cruel US financial, trade and economic blockade for more than 40 years.
Acosta stressed that obscurity and lies are the main weapons of imperial domination, which have always been used as a prelude to all aggressions against poor countries.
The National Union of Cuban Historians ratified Raúl Izquierdo as its president, which has more than 4,200 members.
DECLARACIÓN DEL MINISTRO CONSEJERO DE LA MISIÓN PERMANENTE DE LA REPÚBLICA DE CUBA, JORGE FERRER RODRÍGUEZ, SOBRE LA SECCIÓN 211 ANTE EL ÓRGANO DE SOLUCIÓN DE DIFERENCIAS DE LA OMC, 20 DE JUNIO DE 2007
Una vez más nos vemos obligados a examinar en este Órgano el incumplimiento de las recomendaciones relativas a la Sección 211 de la Ley Ómnibus de Asignaciones de 1998.
Los incumplimientos de las recomendaciones y conclusiones de los órganos resolutorios se han convertido en una de las mayores debilidades del mecanismo de Solución de Diferencias. Estados Unidos de América tiene la responsabilidad de que la credibilidad del sistema haya sido puesta en entredicho, por el récord de recomendaciones incumplidas.
Con éste, son cuatro los diferendos pendientes de cumplimiento por parte de los Estados Unidos de América: EU – Medidas antidumping sobre determinados productos de acero laminado en caliente procedentes del Japón; EU – Artículo 110 (5) de la Ley de derecho de autor de los Estados Unidos de América y EU – Leyes, reglamentos y metodología para el cálculo de los márgenes de dumping (reducción a cero).
Los Estados Unidos de América se atreven, incluso, a tomar represalias ante un fallo adverso del OSD, burlando sus obligaciones mediante el retiro de compromisos asumidos en negociaciones anteriores.
Con relación a la Sección 211, este país está dispuesto a afectar a empresarios estadounidenses que poseen marcas registradas en nuestro territorio, si Cuba decide darles el mismo trato que su gobierno concede a las marcas cubanas. Los Estados Unidos de América violan su propia ley de propiedad intelectual, con tal de perpetuar disposiciones que le permitan a la Compañía Bacardí librarse de sus competidores.
Una vez más exigimos a los Estados Unidos de América una respuesta sobre cómo y cuándo van a cumplir con las recomendaciones del OSD en este caso. Cuba continuará insistiendo, aún cuando el Presidente de este país ha reiterado por diversas vías, su intención de vetar cualquier proyecto de Ley que apruebe el Congreso dirigido a flexibilizar o eliminar las medidas ilegales unilaterales impuestas por ese país contra Cuba, lo que incluye a la Sección 211.
El 30 de junio de 2005 venció el último plazo acordado entre ambas partes, sin que se haya fijado una nueva fecha para el cumplimiento de las resoluciones del OSD, lo que pone en duda la efectividad de este Órgano. En esa ocasión, notificaron un entendimiento sobre la no aplicación de suspensión de concesiones.
En estas circunstancias, el infractor no tiene sobre sí ninguna presión por observar el principio de pronto cumplimiento y puede mantenerse tranquilamente incumpliendo por tiempo indefinido, con el consentimiento de este Órgano. Exigimos se nos explique, cómo se ajusta esta situación irregular a la letra del Entendimiento sobre Solución de Diferencias. Esperamos que en el curso de las actuales negociaciones sea posible corregir estas insuficiencias de los procedimientos acordados.
Reconocemos como única solución a este diferendo la derogación de la Sección 211. Exigimos a los Estados Unidos de América el cumplimiento inmediato de sus obligaciones que le vienen impuestas como Miembro de la OMC.
Cuba Slams US for Brand Theft
GENEVA, March 21, 2007.- Cuba denounced the United States to the World Trade Organization for usurpation of Cuban labels of acknowledged international prestige.
The protest referred to the systematic disregard by the US government over decisions made with the WTO and the serious consequences of incompliance of agreements on intellectual property.
Cuban representatives referred to the denial of the US Office of Patents and Labels to grant a license to renew the Havana Club label, arguing political reasons.
Six other delegations, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Brazil, India, China and Argentina supported Cuban concerns and demands while the United States has continued twiddling its thumbs for five years claiming it is trying to solve the problem.
Meanwhile projects introduced in the Senate by Florida intend to introduce cosmetic changes to laws and continue usurping Cuban labels.
The Venezuelan delegation, for its part, supported the Island s demands and said that a refusal to renew the registration of Havana Club sends an inappropriate and disturbing message since ownership of intellectual property cannot be subject to political considerations.
Finally the Nicaraguan mission stated that US incompliance risks the balance between rights and obligations by WTO members.
STATEMENT BY JORGE FERRER RODRÍGUEZ, MINISTER COUNSELLOR OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF CUBA IN GENEVA, TO THE WTO DISPUTE SETTLEMENT BODY ON THE SECTION 211 DISPUTE
GENEVA, 20 MARCH 2007
The Members of this Body have been awaiting the implementation by the United States of America (U.S.) of the rulings and recommendations in this dispute for more than five years. During this period, month after month, we have heard the same words: “The U.S. Administration is working with the Congress with respect to appropriate statutory measures that would resolve this matter”. Exactly the same words its representative used some minutes ago.
The U.S. has little or no interest whatsoever in respecting the decisions of the DSB and, in particular, its obligations under the TRIPS Agreement, despite the fact that it has proclaimed itself uselessly the champion of intellectual property rights. This is confirmed by the fact that, last year, the Patent and Trademark Office of that country denied a license to renew the registration of the Havana Club trademark, arguing that it was for foreign-policy reasons. With such action, it anticipated itself to the conclusion of the process currently under way in U.S. courts, where the ownership of the trademark is to be determined without political interference.
It is obvious that the U.S. is not worried either about the fact that other Members may follow its bad example and ignore the disciplines of the TRIPS Agreement, which could result in complete chaos concerning the protection of intellectual property rights at an international level.
The attitude of the United States, the only Member of this Organization that systematically fails to implement its obligations under the Dispute Settlement Understanding and the WTO Agreements, such as the TRIPS Agreement, attempts against the credibility and balance of the multilateral trading system at a very crucial moment for this Organization.
In addition, it should be mentioned that the status of this dispute is absolutely irregular. The Dispute Settlement Understanding stipulates in its Article 21 that prompt compliance with the recommendations and rulings of the DSB is essential to ensure the effective resolution of disputes to the benefit of all Members and that, if it is impracticable to comply immediately, the Member concerned shall have a reasonable period of time in which to do so.
However, in this dispute, the last reasonable period of time agreed by the U.S. and European Communities expired on 30 June 2005, that is, no one knows when the infracting Member intends to implement the recommendations and rulings made by this Body.
The only bill that we know and that has been introduced in the current Congress is project H.R. 1306 - which has its own version in the Senate, S.749-. They were both introduced by Florida lawmakers. This bill is aimed at modifying Section 211 with cosmetic changes to leave it practically intact and usurp Cuban trademarks of recognized international prestige. Of course, we know that thanks to the Internet, because the U.S. has not provided any information in this regard in this Body.
Once again, Cuba reiterates its call upon the U.S. Government to take prompt and effective action to implement the recommendations and rulings of this Body, and insists that the only possible solution to this dispute is the repeal of the inadmissible Section 211.
Thank you very much.
Cuba: US Blockade Seriously Affects Children
GENEVA, March 19, 2007.- Cuba said on Monday that the unilateral, illegal US blockade against the Island is a clear, serious violence against Cuban children.
Speaking before the plenary of the UN Council on Human Rights, currently in session in Geneva, Cuban delegate Yuri Gala recalled that children are victims of armed conflicts, aggressions and foreign occupations.
Gala"s speech was part of the Council"s discussion of a report presented by independent expert, Brazilian Paulo Sergio Pinheiro.
The Cuban delegate highlighted the recognition of issues including family, community, society and child labor in the document. However, he lamented that other central aspects of the concept of violence against children were missing.
A comprehensive attention to the issue must include the negligent treatment of children, that manifests itself in the current unfair international order and the impact of politics and decisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Breton Woods institutions, he said.
He stressed that poverty, hunger, illiteracy and marginalization are main forms of violence against children.
As an example of the cruel nature of the US blockade, Gala mentioned the case of a Cuban child who was prevented from receiving a digital camera as a prize in an international drawing contest because it had US components.
Regarding the report, Cuba suggested that all aspects related to the concept of violence against children should be included, and demanded a definition in the fields and content of the expert’s mandate, so to avoid overlapping of functions in other mechanisms of the Council. (Cubaminrex-PL).
Cuba Defends its Rights to Cohiba Cigars
CUBA, November 7, 2006 .- Cuba is determined to stand up for its right to the Cohiba Cigar brand, which American transnationals are trying to seize with the help of the Bush administration, said Habanos S.A Vice President Manuel Garcia.
The executive of the joint venture, a world leader in the distribution of the famous Cuban cigars, pointed out that it is a matter of principles to continue defending the Cuban hallmark “whenever there is a legal framework where we can claim our product.”
In a press conference, Garcia explained that the Cohiba brand was created by Cubans, “along with the Revolution,” adding, “we will continue fighting for our right,” reported the Opciones weekly newspaper.
He explained that the company’s sales have continued a steady rise over the first nine months of this year, and the results for this period are even better than expected, despite the strong worldwide campaign against smoking.
Garcia said that even though various European countries have been implementing measures against the habit, the Habanos Corporation has grown in relation to the same period last year.
During the press conference, the executive announced the celebration of the 9th Festival of the Habano, which will kick off February 26, 2007. He said the event will be led by the Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, Partagas, Hoyo de Monterrey, H. Upmann and Jose L. Piedra brands.
Experts and regular participants —including smokers, cigar dealers and Habano lovers— have named the Habano Festival the world’s most important public relations event in the arena of premium cigars.
Garcia told the press that Cuba has been able to introduce itself in all markets of the world except the United States, where the Cuban cigars can not be marketed because of prohibitions against US trade blockade with the island. (Cubaminrex-ACN).
U.S. Blockade of Cuba Hinders Cancer Vaccine Project
Lima, November 1 (RHC-ACN)-- Cuba's ambassador to Peru, Luis Delfin Pérez, said that the U.S. blockade against Cuba stands in the way of scientific cooperation between the two countries to develop a vaccine against cancer.
During a lecture at the Ricardo Palma University in Lima, the diplomat explained that bureaucratic obstacles imposed by Washington's anti-Cuba policy have frustrated joint U.S.-Cuba work towards this important scientific achievement. Ambassador Pérez noted that while U.S. authorities have authorized such cooperation, it has been conditioned by a series of cumbersome procedures that have rendered the joint endeavor impossible. "The anti-Cuba circle, which dates back to almost the 1959 victory of the Revolution, also prevents Americans from having access to a vaccine developed by Cuba against Hepatitis B," he said.
The Cuban ambassador gave a detailed overview of the effects of the blockade, a policy that is rated as genocidal according to internacional law and which seeks to destroy the Cuban nation, while also affecting citizens and companies from third countries. The Cuban ambassador confirmed that on November 8th, the issue of the U.S. blockade against Cuba will be reviewed by the General Assembly of the United Nations, which has since 1992 been adopting resolutions demanding an end to the restrictive measure.
He observed that the first UN resolution against the blockade in 1992 was approved with 59 countries voting in favor of putting an end to the blockade, a figure that has grown year after year. Last year, the vote was 182 votes in favor, out of the 189 member states of the United Nations.
Pérez described the U.S. blockade against Cuba as "an economic war that affects all sectors of life in Cuba." Seven of every ten Cubans have been born under the blockade, which has caused the island losses of more than 80 billion dollars. In May 2004, the blockade was tightened with a series of new measures introduced by the Bush administration that seek a virtual annexation and re-colonization of Cuba.(Cubaminrex-RHC).
US Seeks Hegemony on Cuba
RUSSIA, November 2, 2006.- Cuban Parliament President Ricardo Alarcon affirmed Thursday in Moscow that Washington s economic blockade against Cuba is a practice of unilateralism and domination in international relations.
By applying that policy, the world’s largest power intends to impose its will on a much smaller and weaker nation, resorting to economic measures to hurt the entire population. The purpose: to cause suffering, hunger and poverty, Alarcon asserted.
During a meeting with Valentin Kutsov, vice president of the Russian Parliament s lower chamber (Duma), and representatives of several political factions, the Cuban official said he was quoting excerpts from US Senate texts, marked by their genocidal nature.
Imposing laws on other countries shows disrespect for the world, Alarcon noted, adding that over the last few years, Cuba has faced the most aggressive US administration ever.
He was referring to the recent approval of measures and plans to punish those who try to go against the anti-Cuba blockade which has caused over 86 billion dollars in economic losses. (Cubaminrex- PL).
Cuba Decries US Blockade Excuses
UNITED NATIONS, October 30, 2006.- Monday Cuba denounced, in a press release, the falsehood of the diverse justifications the United States used to rationalize its economic war against the island.
The General Assembly will vote on November 8, for the 15th consecutive year, the resolution "Necessity of put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba." Last year the resolution passed by the record figure of 182 votes in favor.
The press note, "US blockade against Cuba: massive and systematic violation of the Cuban people s human rights," points out there is no international law or regulation that justifies the use of blockade in peace time.
It recalls that since 1909, at the London Naval Conference, it was agreed as a principle of international law that "a blockade is an act of war and based on that, its execution is exclusively possible between belligerent nations." The Cuban Republic s Permanent Mission to the UN announced that the falsehood of the US excuses have been proven in US official documents declassified in 1991.
The press release further denounces that direct damage, caused to the Cuban people due to the implementation of the blockade, this year exceeded 86 billion dollars.
Since 2004, further measures have been taken to intensify the blockade and its impact on the enjoyment of human rights, and the note explains those new measures are in opposition to the fifth article of the UNESCO Declaration of Principles of cultural, international cooperation.
It notes that one such measure is the lessening of the already limited remittances a Cuban resident in the United States can send to his her relatives in Cuba.
Finally the document confirms that by intensifying its threat of military aggression, the US violates both countries (Cuba and the US) sacred right to peace. (Cubaminrex-PL).
Cuban Women Rip US Blockade
CUBA, October 30, 2006 .- The Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) condemned the US blockade on the eve of UN debate of the draft Resolution "Need to Lift the US Economic, Commercial and Financial Blockade on Cuba."
The FMC release on Juventud Rebelde daily recalls how the US blockade has stalled human rights here nearly 50 years, making women indirect victims of the scourge.
It is neither an abstraction nor mere paper and ink; it impedes homemakers daily life in food purchases, hygiene, house cleaning, laundry and sanitation.
The domestic economy hurts since government purchases are made from distant places due to the impossibility of doing so nearer under US pressures.
The FMC release also echoes general rejection of Bush s plan for a "democratic transition" on the Island and some chapters covert nature.
The document defines as a paradox the ban of sales to Cuba, even medication, limiting relatives' visits to the Island and attempts to seduce Cubans with an alleged democracy.
"Thanks, but Cuban women cannot be easily lured with "transitions." We have no interest in bringing back a lifestyle we eradicated long ago."
The letter recalls that women are a majority work force in priority sectors like education and health care, which also confronted with supply shortages.
The FMC already met ten US Administrations whose efforts to bring Cubans to their knees with hunger, harassment and humiliation have failed. (Cubaminrex-PL).
Combatants Bash US Cuba Blockade
CUBA, October 30, 2006 .- The Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution demanded an end to the economic, trade and financial US blockade of the island and denounced the government of that nation for increasing it.
A declaration from the organization stated that the Cuban people have been fighting for over 45 years against the White House-imposed siege whose aim is to destroy the revolutionary process in force since 1959.
The document pointed out that 10 US administrations from the republican and democratic parties have been executing an non-declared war with the aim of restoring their power in the Caribbean state.
That constant aggression has provoked damages to our country worth over $86 million, causing suffering and death, and increased pressure on third nations in a marked violation sovereignty, the text adds.
The combatants stated that on November 8, the voice of the Cuban people defending their right to life will be heard at the UN General Assembly, on the occasion of the debate over a draft resolution on this issue. (Cubaminrex-PL).
Blockade against Cuba Promotes Fakes and Copies
VENEZUELA, October 20, 2006 .— Cuba denounced that the US blockade against the island extends a "freebooter’s title" that promotes "falsifying , producing and selling" prestigious Cuban trade marks, during an international meeting of Customs Services being held in the Venezuelan city of Puerto La Cruz.
The Cuban delegation at the gathering of the Customs Services of Latin America, Spain and Portugal, ( COMALEP ), affirmed that trade marks like those of Havana Club rum and Cohiba cigars, may be pirated by foreign companies thanks to the arbitrary measures imposed by the US blockade.
The Chief of the Republic of Cuba General Customs, General Pedro Pupo Perez, confirmed that the US judiciary, based on the provisions of the blockade, facilitates the actions of fakers of Cuban trade marks.
The Cuban delegate said that those US decisions are a transgression of the basic judicial principles that form part of the International Agreement on aspects of Intellectual Property related to Trade."
He also denounced the participation of the US Customs service in the recently established working commission of the US government created to intensify the blockade against Cuba.
General Pupo clarified that the customs services all around the world would have to choose between "the legal standards fully understood and agreed by the international community or admit the unilateral, arbitrary and fraudulent practices of the US courts with regards to Cuba, which run contrary to international law." (Cubaminrex-Granma).
Fidel Castro: US Blockade is Doomed
Havana, May 1, 2006. (Prensa Latina) President Fidel Castro said Cuba has shed blood and done great sacrifices both at home and abroad, in inflicting a shameful defeat on the US longest blockade ever.
Addressing International Labor Day celebration, Fidel lauded full employment, strengthened national currency and a successful domestic economy that is sensitive to social demands.
"Thanks for the blockade because it has helped us grow and reach new heights," he said referring to economic measures that led to a decrease, from 90 to 30 percent, of the participation of the US dollar in the Cuban economy.
The Bush administration´s measures tightening the blockade in the past years, like hardening the travel restrictions on American citizens and Cuban-Americans, and limiting money remittances have backed fired, Fidel said.
"A rational centralization in the use of hard currency with supervised contracts and deals helped allowed for timely payments, fighting crime and corruption and easier access to more favorable financial terms," he added.
Fidel stressed the agreements with Venezuela under the terms of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) have signified a stride in the road towards regional unity and integration.
One of those accords is setting in motion huge refinery in the central city of Cienfuegos to refine Venezuelan oil, which he called a true example of brotherhood and solidarity.
The Cuban leader said that trade turnover between Havana and Caracas exceeded 3.17 billion dollars in 2005.
Unemployment declined to under two percent and hailed as a great educational success that the number of university professors is eight times higher than the number of students in that learning level in 1959.
The Cuban leader compared Cuba´s achievements to the US inability to send doctors to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Cuba, in contrast, will train 100,000 new doctors over 10 years, professionals who will be willing to go every where in the world because Cuban medicine schools also teach solidarity and humanism.
US Forces anti-Cuba Action on Canadian Bank
Havana, Apr 2, 2006. (Prensa Latina) Cuban Parliament Speaker Ricardo Alarcon has accused the US government of forcing the Jamaican branch of Canada´s Bank of Nova Scotia to cancel services to the Cuban embassy in Kingston.
Alarcon told the National Information Agency (AIN) that the BNS told Ambassador Gisela Garcia Rivero it could no longer provide financial services to the Cuban embassy under the US Patriot Act.
The Patriot Act was passed after the 9/11, 2001 attacks in the US to reinforce Federal and law enforcement powers in the anti-terror drive, both the US and overseas.
Alarcon denounced that Washington ordered the bank to extend banking and financial blockade on Cuba, violating Jamaican and Canadian laws and overstepping those countries´ sovereignties.
He defined as "reinforcement of the blockade" recent orders from the US Treasury to evict Cuban officials from the Maria Isabel Sheraton Hotel in Mexico. Mexican authorities later imposed a heavy fine on the US-owned resort for evicting the Cuban energy officials who had a meeting scheduled there with American energy executives.
In another example of the economic war on Cuba, Alarcon referred to the US administration preventing the Cuban ballplayers from collecting their prices as World Baseball Classic runner up, which they had donated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
US Blockade Hurts Cuban Health
Havana, Oct 5 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Public Health Minister Jose Ramon Balaguer condemned the dimension of the negative impact of the US blockade of the Caribbean island on the public health sector.
Responding to questions in an Internet forum-debate, Balaguer said he regarded the US blockade of Cuba as genocide, and emphasized its extra-territorial character.
He explained how the blockade has caused pain and suffering, especially affecting the welfare of highly sensitive sectors of the Cuban population; noting that since 1959, the economic effects of the US blockade attains 2.19 billion dollars.
Merely in the 10-month period between June 2004 and April 2005, the blockade caused 75.7 million dollars in public health damages.
This figure does not include the incalculable suffering endured by the Cuban people because of the lack of medications, equipment, and other materials in Cuban public health institutions.
The US blockade has caused instability in supplies for advanced technology programs, such as transplants, cardiovascular surgery, nephrology and genetics, and makes access to specialized bibliographies, scientific exchange with US institutions, scholarships and professional training impossible.
Balaguer said that during 2004, the US denied 32 visas of 65 invitations for Cuban officials and scientists to participate in meetings organized in the US.
The Internet forum was sponsored by the Cuban Foreign Affairs Ministry to stimulate exchange, as well as contributions to the international condemnation, and ultimate defeat, of the US blockade of Cuba.
Among other topics, Balaguer noted Cuba´s international medical collaboration, health tourism, and biomedical research, at levels recognized in the whole world.
Cuba, US Exchange on Hurricanes
Havana, Oct 28 (Prensa Latina) President Fidel Castro confirmed that Cuba has accepted US officials visit to exchange appraisals on hurricane Wilma´s effects.
The Cuban leader reminded on TV that the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MINREX) had cleared up to the US Interest Office that Havana had not asked for international aid.
However, he agreed with the idea that the US, Mexico and other countries in the area should help each other in disaster situations, such as hurricanes, which are more frequent and stronger.
"We do not object to being visited by the three officials to hear their opinions and exchange criteria on these issues," Fidel Castro emphasized after reading MINREX´s diplomatic note.
"This does not mean we´re accepting Washington´s aid," he ratified, and added that Cuba considered cooperation must extend to all the Caribbean and Central America.
Previously, the US State Department had asserted that Cuba accepted US assistance following the recent storm Wilma, which caused flooding and other damages, mainly in western provinces.
Washington proposed last October 25 to send an evaluation team to Havana. We have been informed that the Cuban government accepted the offer, said the State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
STATEMENT TO THE WTO DISPUTE SETTLEMENT BODY BY THE AMBASSADOR OF CUBA ON SECTION 211, 20 JANUARY 2006
Almost four years have passed since the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) ratified in February 2002 the Appellate Body report which concluded that Article 211 (a) (2) and (b) of the United States (US) Omnibus Appropriation Act, adopted 7 years ago, infringes both the principle of national treatment, recognized in the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and in the TRIPS Agreement, and the and most favoured nation treatment, also recognized in the TRIPS Agreement; and requested that the US brought its measure, found to be inconsistent, into conformity with its obligations under the TRIPS Agreement.
This dispute carried in front of the DSB is about the intended usurpation by Bacardi Co. under Section 211, created in its own image, of the right to use the Havana Club rum trademark in the United States of America.
Section 211 is part of the vast and draconian system of unilateral measures of the economic, commercial and financial blockade the US Government has imposed for 47 years against Cuba that among other measures reinforcing the extraterritorial nature of the blockade, establishes sanctions against countries, companies or individuals granting economic assistance, trading or maintaining relations with the Island.
On April 2002, a first reasonable period of time was set that expired on January 2003; since then, the reasonable periods for the US to implement DSB rulings and recommendations demanding legislative measures by its Congress were renewed on several occasions.
During the last four years the US Administration has repeatedly reported that it is working with the Congress to modify its legislation. This is not true.
To date, the US Administration has neither presented nor promoted any bill in this sense. On the contrary, the Administration and its allies in the Congress have manoeuvred to avoid the consideration of some bills aimed at correcting this violation of international law and WTO rules that have not even been debated in the Congress.
Almost four years of reasonable periods have not served to facilitate the US implementation of rulings and recommendations of this Body but on the contrary, they have acted as a mechanism to deliberately postpone the compliance with legal obligations and to evade decisions taken by this Body.
On 20 July 2005, the EC and the US announced an “Understanding”, vague and imprecise and negotiated behind Members’ back, through which the EC said they were not going to request “at this stage” authorization to suspend concessions to the US until the EC “at some future date decided to request DSB authorization to suspend concessions…”
The so called “Understanding” constitutes and indefinite postponement of US compliance with DSB rulings and recommendations, their legal obligations with WTO agreements and this dispute’s settlement.
The perpetuation of this shameful situation casts doubt on the efficacy and credibility of the DSB, the security and predictability of the multilateral trading system and the appropriate balance between rights and obligations of WTO Members, objectives foreseen in the Dispute Settlement Understanding. The postponement of this situation sets a dangerous and systemic precedent which may affect in the future other Members, particularly developing countries.
Once again the US, using its economic and commercial power, sets itself above international law and WTO bodies and unilaterally reserves to itself a ‘special treatment’ and ‘additional benefits’, contrary to the letter and spirit of WTO Agreements, and higher than the benefits enjoyed by other Members of this Organization.
Cuba reiterates its call upon WTO Members to enforce multilateral trade agreements as well as their own decisions, and to demand that the US Government abolishes Section 211, thus complying immediately, unconditionally and without further delay with DSB rulings and recommendations in order to settle this dispute as soon as possible.
Thank you very much.