Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cuba's List of Important Bilateral Issues



SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE MINISTER OF
FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA,
H.E. BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARRILLA
GENERALJDEBATE OF THE 64™ SESSION OF THE
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
New York, 28 September 2009

section on US-Cuba relations


As for Cuba, which has suffered the US aggression for half a century, the new
US government announced some new measures on April last to abolish some
of the most brutal actions taken by the George W. Bush administration which
prevented any contact between Cubans resident in the United States and their
relatives in Cuba, particularly, the possibility to visit them and send them some
assistance without any limitation. These measures are a positive step, but they
are extremely limited and insufficient.

The announced measures included the authorization to some US companies to
carry out certain telecom operations with Cuba, but other restrictions that
prevent their implementation have not been modified. Neither has there been
any signal indicating that the US government is ready to put an end to the
immoral practice -quite expanded in recent days- of misappropriation of the
Cuban funds that remained frozen at American banks, and of other goods,
based on orders issued by venal judges who violate their own laws.
The crucial thing is that the economic, commercial and financial blockade
against Cuba remains intact.

The US President, despite the existence of laws such as the Helms Burton Act,
still has broad executive powers, such as the ones required to grant licenses,
by means of which he could modify the implementation of the blockade.
Should there be a true desire to move towards change, the US government
could authorize the export of Cuban goods and services to the United States
and vice versa.

The United States could allow Cuba to buy any product containing more than
10 per cent of US components or technology anywhere in the world, regardless
of its trademark or country of origin.
The US Treasury could abstain from persecuting, freezing and confiscating
third countries transfers -whether in US dollars or in any other currency- to
Cuban nationals or entities.

Washington could lift the ban that prevent third countries vessels from
entering any US port until 180 days after touching any Cuban port.
The persecution unleashed by the US Treasury Department against financial
institutions and companies that trade or carry out operations with Cuba could
also be suspended.

President Obama could allow American citizens, by means of a license, to
travel to Cuba
, the only country in the world they are not allowed to visit.
The report submitted to this Assembly by the UN Secretary-General abounds
with examples. In the course of 2009 numerous actions have been taken to
impose fines, confiscate and hinder transactions carried out by Cuba or by third
countries with Cuba.

As has been reported by the very US Treasury Department, since January this
year, almost half of the funds collected by its Office of Foreign Assets Control
came from the sanctions imposed on American and foreign companies for
alleged violations of the economic blockade against Cuba.

The truthful and indisputable fact is that the new US government continues to
ignore the overwhelming appeal that is launched by this General Assembly
year after year to put an end to the blockade against Cuba.

Contrary to what all the American public opinion polls reflect, two weeks ago
President Obama instructed the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the
Treasury that "it was in the US national interest" to maintain the economic
sanctions against Cuba under the Trade with the Enemy Act approved in 1917
to cope with war situations, which is only applicable to Cuba.

The US blockade against Cuba is an act of unilateral aggression that should be
unilaterally terminated.

For many years Cuba has expressed its willingness to normalize relations with
the United States.

On August 1st last, President Raul Castro publicly reiterated Cuba's disposition
to sustain a respectful, arm's length dialogue with the United States, without
overshadowing our independence, sovereignty and self-determination. He
emphasized that we should mutually respect our differences and that we do not
recognize in the government of that or any other country, or in any other group
of States any jurisdiction over our sovereign affairs.

The government of Cuba has suggested the US government a set of essential
topics it considers must necessarily be discussed during a future process of
dialogue aimed at improving relations, namely, the lifting of the economic,
commercial and financial blockade; the exclusion of Cuba from the spurious list
of countries that sponsor terrorism; the abolition of the Cuban Adjustment Act
and the "wet foot/dry foot" policy; the compensation for economic and human
damages; the return of the territory occupied by the Guantanamo Naval Base;
the end of all radio and television aggressions from US territory against Cuba;
and the cessation of the funding of domestic subversion.

An essential topic in that agenda is the release of the five Cuban anti terrorism
fighters who have been unjustly imprisoned in the United States for eleven
years.
President Obama has the constitutional prerogatives to set them free,
as an act of justice and of commitment by his government against terrorism.
Furthermore, we made a proposal to the United States to begin talks in order to
establish cooperation to fight drug-trafficking, terrorism and human smuggling,
to protect the environment and cope with natural disasters.

It has been in that spirit that the Cuban government has held talks on migration
and the resumption of direct postal services with the US government. These
talks have been respectful and fruitful

full text http://www.un.org/ga/64/generaldebate/pdf/CU_en.pdf

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