STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR GODFREY KWOBA, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF UGANDA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE PLENARY OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON AGENDA ITEM 38, ENTITLED "NECESSITY OF ENDING THE ECONOMIC, COMMERCIAL AND FINANCIAL EMBARGO IMPOSED BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AGAINST CUBA" (New York, 1 November 2023)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 38, entitled "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba".
I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report on the item we are discussing today (A/78/84).
The Group regrets that the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba for more than six decades remains in full application and continues to be enforced. We regret the policy established by the recent United States Administration aimed at reinforcing the embargo on Cuba, which remains in effect despite the change in Administration and which we believe is an obstacle to the process of achieving normalized relations between the two countries.
We are deeply concerned about the widening of the extraterritorial nature of the embargo on Cuba, notably through the full implementation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act. The application of this law is a clear transgression to the freedom of commerce among nations because of its intimidating purpose by punishing any trade or investment transactions between any given country and Cuba.
In the same vein, we urge the immediate removal of Cuba from the US Department of State´s list of countries that are allegedly sponsors of terrorism. Cuba is a long-standing active partner of Members of the Group in promoting South-South cooperation. Thanks to the efforts made by Cuba, many countries within the Group have developed their scientific and technical potential. All we know about Cuba is friendship and solidarity, we know nothing about terrorism.
The inclusion of Cuba in this list does not represent only a reputational damage but is also among the the core elements in the recent reinforcement of the embargo. Because of this categorization, it has been extremely difficult for Cuba to engage in international banking operations, regardless of whether it is the case of state/private companies or private entrepreneurs, which sets extremely harmful conditions for the development and well-being of the Cuban population.
The Group of 77 and China reaffirms its commitment to the purposes, principles and spirit of the Charter of the United Nations, particularly regarding the sovereign equality of States, non-intervention and non-interference in States' internal affairs and freedom of international trade and navigation. We believe that it is the duty and responsibility of every Member State to strictly comply with those principles and that any policy or action that disregards them - in this case, unilateral economic, commercial and financial sanctions against Cuba - should be immediately repealed.
The Group of 77 and China is deeply concerned about the debilitating impact that the United States' embargo of more than 60 years has had on Cuba and its people. From March 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023, the blockade caused more than $ 4.8 billion in losses to Cuba. The direct and indirect damage that the embargo has inflicted on Cuba is enormous. It affects all the critical sectors of the Cuban economy, including public health, nutrition and agriculture, as well as trade, investment, tourism and banking. The persecution of Cuban financial transactions in third-country jurisdictions, which has had a significant deterrent effect in economic terms, has continued. The limited foreign investment and difficulty of access to development credits translate directly into economic hardship and humanitarian suffering for the people of Cuba.
The embargo has also been a severe obstacle to the country's socioeconomic reforms. We are concerned about the possibility that the continuation of economic sanctions, truly undermines Cuba's development potential by unfairly retarding economic growth and human development. As a result of these unilateral measures, it will be impossible for Cuba to successfully embark on the path towards sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to which all Member States have pledged support.
Cuba has extensively and consistently contributed to the international community for many decades. Its assistance to other countries in the context of the coronavirus disease pandemic has been a great example of South-South cooperation. We, the members of the Group of 77 and China, reiterate our support for draft resolution A/78/L.5, as well as our call for an end to the United States' economic, commercial and financial embargo on Cuba.
The urgency and necessity of lifting the blockade is ever clearer, especially considering that this is the thirty-first occasion on which the General Assembly will adopt a resolution to call for its end. We therefore appeal to the international community to step up its efforts calling for the elimination of the embargo, not just to improve Cuba's prospects but also to help all members of the global community in their quest to fully realize their economic and social development.
I thank you