Foreign Affairs Minister Rodríguez Parrilla’s Reply to the Speech Given by the U.S. Representative
I feel obligated to respond to the speeches given by the United States, the European Union, and Norway.
I should say to the European Union that Cuba recognizes absolutely no moral authority to dictate models or give advice on the matter of democracy. I want to remind it of its complicity in the acts of torture that occurred at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib and reiterate that as long as it maintains a two-faced and hypocritical position, it will not enjoy any credibility.
Mrs. Rice, who unfortunately is not here in the room at the moment, started out by saying "here we go again." With that phrase she recognized what 17 representatives from the United States have come to do in the past.
I respect her opinions and recognize that her career is totally distinct from that of a neoconservative like Bolton; but she has had the sad task of defending the policy of the blockade here, which began, according to a classified memo, on April 6, 1960 with the professed aim of causing hunger, desperation, and discouragement among the Cuban people.
The only remnant of the Cold War that has been discussed here is precisely the blockade. Lift the blockade and that remnant will disappear.
Cuba is a democracy that is closer to Lincoln’s principles, with a government of the people, with the people and for the people, than the plutocracy or government of the rich that operates in this country.
Here, the U.S. representative described as dissidents or political prisoners those who in reality are agents of a foreign power, mercenaries paid by the U.S. government. If they want to talk about political prisoners, they should free the five Cuba antiterrorist heroes, subjected to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in U.S. prisons.
Mrs. Rice has said that the word genocide is inappropriate for describing the blockade. I quote Article 2, paragraphs b) and c) of the 1948 Geneva Convention against the Crime of Genocide.
Paragraph b) "Genocide is causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group," referring to a human group.
Paragraph c) "Genocide is deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part."
I recommend that the State Department study that Convention better.
The blockade against Cuba is a unilateral and criminal policy that also has to be lifted unilaterally. It is not reasonable, just, or possible to wait for gestures from Cuba for an end to the criminal application of measures against the Cuban people, including its children and elderly, from the examples that I have described here.
The United States should lift the blockade and it should lift it now; first, because Cuba is not blockading the United States or occupying any portion of its territory with a military base, nor is it discriminating against its citizens or businesses; and, in the second place, it should do so because it is in the best interest of the United States itself and the will of U.S. citizens.
A free flow of information was addressed. Lift the ban on U.S. citizens to travel freely to Cuba, respect their right to freedom to travel. Lift the blockade against Cuba in the areas of technology and information; permit better connectivity with our country; export software and information technology to Cuba and there could be advancement in this field.
Mrs. Rice has mentioned constructive advances. It’s true that there have been a few steps in the correct direction, strictly limited to the relations between Cubans that live in the United States and their native country, but they have nothing to do with, nor do they mean or signify, any loosening of the blockade. They are correct steps but extremely limited and insufficient.
The blockade is not a bilateral question. Its extraterritorial application has been clearly shown with the many examples presented.
Mrs. Rice has mentioned the proposal to continue having exchanges and dialogue between the two countries, which had been proposed many years ago by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro and publicly reiterated several times by President Raúl Castro. If that is what the United States desires, it should respond to the proposal of an agenda for bilateral dialogue, presented by Cuba to that government on July 17, 2009.
Mrs. Susan Rice said in August at New York University that "the United States leads by example, acknowledges mistakes, corrects course when necessary, forges strategies in partnership and treats others with respect."
She also said during that speech: "we are demonstrating that the United States is willing to listen, respect differences, and consider new ideas." It’s deeply surprising to me that Mrs. Rice has had to say the opposite this morning.
Thank you very much.