The historical conflict that has characterized US-Cuban relations for more than 200 years has its genesis in the desire of the various US governments to control Cuba’s destiny and the permanent determination of Cubans to defend their right to be a free and independent sovereign nation.
This desire reached its maximum expression with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Since that time, successive US governments have used the same policy instruments, with different nuances, to destroy the Cuban Revolution. The economic, commercial and financial embargo, subversion and psychological and propaganda warfare have been the permanent instruments of a policy systematically directed to such effect.
Because of its nature, the US embargo against Cuba qualifies as genocide by virtue of Section c of Article II of the Geneva Convention of 1948 on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and as an act of economic war according to the stipulations of the declaration regarding Maritime War adopted by the 1909 London Naval Conference. The embargo continues having a markedly extra-territorial nature while the unilateral sanctions against Cuba have an extended effect outside of US territory on companies and citizens from third countries.
Strictly speaking, not even a new Democratic government in the US, presumably in the mood for a philosophy for change, has meant any essential change in the embargo policy.
Cuba still cannot freely export and import products and services to or from the United States; it cannot use the US dollar in its international transactions or have accounts in that currency in third country banks if it is a national or Cuban company; nor can it have access to loans from American banks, their affiliates in third countries and international institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF or the Inter-American Development Bank.
The Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts in force and their extra-territorial applications continue to discourage Cuban trade with subsidiaries of US companies in third countries, as well as threaten and apply sanctions on businessmen who wish to invest in Cuba, at the same time as they make the maritime transport of goods between Cuba and third countries difficult and more expensive, by prohibiting vessels that have stopped in Cuban ports or transported goods on behalf of Cuba from entering US ports for 6 months or preventing access by vessels with Cuba crews even though they have been sailing under the flags of third countries.
Also, the current American government, in violation of elementary international norms, continues to use political subversion as a weapon in its confrontation with Cuba. With the aim of promoting subversive programs, a total of 40 million dollars was approved for the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years.
From October 28, 2009, when the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 64/6, until today, the principal actions of the embargo against Cuba have been kept in place and reinforced, manifested by greater economic sanctions and persecution of business activities and Cuban financial transactions.
The direct economic toll on the people of Cuba due to the application of the economic, commercial and financial embargo of the US against Cuba until December 2009, at current prices, calculated very conservatively, reaches a figure that surpasses 100 thousand 154 million dollars.
This amount would increase to 239 thousand 533 million dollars if the calculations were made taking the inflation rate of US retail prices as a base, using the CPI Calculator of the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov).
If we take into consideration that the value of the dollar, measured in terms of the gold prices on the international financial market has been decreasing by more than 30 times since 1961 when the gold price was set at $35.00 per Troy ounce until the close of 2009, when it surpassed the thousand dollar mark, total repercussions on the Cuban economy would be to the order of 751 thousand 363 million dollars.
To obtain this figure, the series of total repercussions from the embargo since 1961 were used and the annual totals in dollars each year were determined. Gold prices in force on the world market at the close of each year, taken from the statistical series published on the website USA Gold (http://www.unagold.com
) were used. To determine the number of times the dollar lost value in terms of gold, we divided the price of gold at the close of 2009 between the prices each year, and it was established that the dollar has depreciated 31.1 times since 1971 up to 2009.