World Economy

US Sanctions Cost Cuba Economy $117b

US Sanctions Cost Cuba Economy $117bUS Sanctions Cost Cuba Economy $117b

Cuba says US economic sanctions have cost the island nation $3.9 billion in foreign trade in the past year alone. Havana says this helps to raise the overall cost of economic damage to nearly $117 billion over the past 55 years.

Washington imposed a full embargo on Cuba in 1961 after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. The figures were published in a report that Cuba prepares for the United Nations each year in requesting a resolution urging the end to the US economic embargo and other sanctions against the country, Prensa Latina reported Wednesday.

The United Nations has passed the resolution for 22 straight years with overwhelming support. Last year the vote was 188 to 2, with only the United States and Israel voting against.

Abelardo Moreno, Cuba's deputy foreign minister said, "We must remember that the blockade violates the rights of the Cuban people and we're of the opinion that there is not, and there hasn't been in this world, a violation of the rights of an entire people that is so terrifying and vile than the blockade from the United States government against Cuba for 55 years".

This persecution is increasingly fierce and intense, and it has become a real financial war, Moreno added. He accused Washington of carrying out the “implacable persecution’” of investors in Cuba and the country's financial transactions via the numerous sanctions that create substantial disincentives for establishing economic links with Havana.

The damage to Cuban foreign trade between April 2013 and June 2014 amounted to $3.9 billion, the report said. Without the embargo, Cuba could have earned $205.8 million selling products to US consumers, it added.

Moreno also emphasized the damage inflicted on tourism, with that sector being unable to earn at least $2 billion due to the impediments on traveling to the island imposed on US citizens.

What is of even more importance for ordinary people is the fact that the US prevents the country from providing basic, necessary and free services to its population. Among them, the deputy foreign minister named education and health care.

In that regard, Moreno denounced that 22,875 students with special needs have been affected by damages caused by the US blockade against Cuba.

Other US laws have strengthened the embargo over years, imposing fines on companies from third countries that have business in Cuba and also in the United States.