The Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Clara Pulido-Escandell, has called on the United States (U.S.) Government to withdraw the blockade it has put in place against the South American country.
Pulido-Escandell made the call while answering questions at a news conference organised by the embassy in Abuja on Wednesday to update the Nigerian press on UN blockade against Cuba.
“I want the blockade to come to an end. We always have said that we want a normal relationship with the U.S.
“We have good feelings for the people of the U.S. We have many friends in the U.S.
“And we know that the good people in the U.S. also have good feelings for Cubans. But we want to be respected,’’ she said.
The U.S. blockade against Cuba is considered to be the most enduring trade embargo in modern history as it was imposed to prevent the Latin American country from benefiting from businesses with American companies.
The embargo was imposed to stop businesses organised under U.S. law or majority-owned by American citizens from conducting trade with Cuban interests.
The more than 60 years of blockade means that Cuba can not export products to the U.S. or import from there.
The blockade also ensured that Cuba can not receive tourists from U.S., use its dollars for foreign exchange, or use credits from its financial institutions.
The ambassador said that the persecution of each source of income, financing and supply to Cuba on a daily basis via the U.S. blockade, created a humanitarian crisis that became perverse, aggressive and harmful.
Pulido-Escandell added that the blockade affected Cuban families at home and abroad so much that the country’s Diasporans could not afford to send money back home to their families.
Speaking further, the ambassador said that the U.S. blockade hampered the arrival of humanitarian aid to Cuba even at the height of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“This is immoral, unjustifiable, and highlights the blockade’s criminal nature,’’ she said.
The Cuban envoy observed that although her country had the capacity to produce 60 per cent of the medicines needed locally, it could not afford to do so because “more than 30 per cent of the items needed for research and medical trial could not be imported’’ due to the U.S. blockade.
“The U.S. hindered Cuba’s medical oxygen purchases in third countries when Cuba’s main medical oxygen plant went out of order thus creating a national crisis,’’ she added.
According to her, it is regrettable that between January 2021 and February 2022, a total of 642 direct actions were reported by foreign banks which after being threatened by the U.S. financial system, refused to work with Cuba.
Pulido-Escandell said that although the desire of the U.S. had always been to portray Cuba as a failed state, but the country does not possess the characteristics that qualify it as one as it has been providing free medical care and catering for the welfare needs of its people.
She added that, if Cuba were a failed state it would not have been able to defeat COVID-19 with the vaccines it developed locally.
She stressed that no matter how long the U.S. blockade would last, Cuba would continue to resist it. “The reality is that they want Cuba in their hands – as it was before the revolution. They don’t want us to be free. That is the reality,’’ she said.