HAVANA, May 28 (Xinhua) — Cuban legislators on Friday condemned the six-decade U.S. embargo on the island.
During a parliamentary hearing chaired by Esteban Lazo Hernandez, president of Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power, a group of deputies representing different fields of the society noted that the embargo violates international law and breaches the United Nations Charter.
“The blockade is the most comprehensive, unequal, and protracted war ever launched against any nation. It violates international law and purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter,” they said in a statement.
The hearing came ahead of the Cuban government’s presentation of its annual draft resolution against the embargo before the UN General Assembly in June, which was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuban deputy Raul Alejandro Palmero said that the U.S. embargo has intensified since the sanitary emergency began on the island in March 2020.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. blockade has affected Cuba’s access to medical supplies, ventilators and face masks,” he said, adding people with disabilities have also been harmed by U.S. economic sanctions.
Between April 2019 and March 2020, the U.S. unilateral policy toward the island has caused damage worth 5.57 billion U.S. dollars, according to official figures.
Addressing the audience, Yuri Valdes, deputy director of Cuba’s Finlay Vaccine Institute and also a legislator, said that the U.S. embargo affects the island’s mass vaccination rollout.
“We have not vaccinated more people against COVID-19 because we have lacked resources to produce more vaccines,” he said.
First imposed in 1962, the embargo bars U.S. companies from doing business with Cuba and selling products containing more than 10 percent of U.S. components to the island.
Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, director general for U.S. affairs at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, said that the U.S. embargo is intended to bring the island to its knees.
“The Cuban government defends its sovereignty and it is certain that the government of the United States is the one acting illegally,” he said.
The U.S. embargo on Cuba was tightened during former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, which banned U.S. flights to Cuban cities except Havana, barred U.S. cruise ships and yachts from visiting the Caribbean nation, and limited remittances that Cuban Americans send to their families on the island.