The Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OASACP) held a meeting on Tuesday which called for the lifting of the economic, commercial, and financial sanctions imposed by the United States on Cuba. The Cuban ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Norma Goicochea Estenoz, the head of Mission to the European Union and the the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg spoke of the devastating effects of the US policy on the Cuban Society.
The diplomat emphasized in her speech that given the Covid-19 situations, the imposition of such blockades is done with an aim to politically destabilize the island nation. This is despite international figures like the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy recommending a suspension on the sanctions.
There was a unanimous resolution passed that reiterated the support for the UN General Assembly’s resolution on June 23rd. The OEACP has repeatedly expressed its concern for the difficulties faced by the Cuban population and society due to this policy. The document also recognizes that Cuba has demonstrated cooperation with other countries and shown solidarity even with the sanctions and the difficulty caused due to the pandemic.
US Treasury Announces More Sanctions on Cuban Security Forces
The US Treasury had imposed new sanctions on Cuba’s National Revolutionary Police Director, Oscar Callejas Valcarce, and Eddy Sierra Arias, deputy director of NRP, under the Global Magnitsky Act, on Friday. The incident was followed by a series of retributions imposed by Washington after the July 11 protests in which 1000s of Cubans gathered in Havana and other cities to protest against the incumbent government policies, and intermittent power cuts.
The U.S. had also previously imposed sanctions on Cuba’s Minister of Revolutionary Armed Forces and the Interior Ministry’s special brigade. The US President, Joe Biden said that it was only the beginning of “targeting elements of the Cuban regime responsible for this crackdown.
On July 11, several Cubans took to the streets to protest against the maladministration of the Covid-19 crisis, fuel shortage, and intermittent power supply due to the rerouting of electricity to hospitals. The treasury claims that the Cuban regime deployed the PNR and the police force to suppress the protestors. Most demonstrations were conducted peacefully.
The Biden administration said it is considering other options as well in response to the protests, which includes providing the Cubans with internet access. This is interesting to note given the fact that social media was one major means of spreading information on the anti-government protests that took place. The internet services were cut off for a short period during the protests as well.
Following the collapse of the USSR in the 1990s the US has been increasing its sanctions on the US to oust the Socialist government from power. This has resulted in shortages of fuel, medical supplies, and other goods. Barack Obama was the only President who began the process of normalizing relations with Cuba. However, Donald Trump came in two years later and further severed the sanctions imposed.
A working group has been created to review the remittance policy to ensure that the money sent home by Cuban Americans makes it directly into the hands of their families without the government being involved in the process. Solidarity groups in the US have donated millions of syringes to aid Cuban doctors to administer the country’s self-developed COVID-19 vaccines. There has been a shortage of medical goods due to the US sanctions. Among other countries, Russia, Mexico, and Nicaragua have also shipped tons of aid to Cuba.