Cuba has cried that the United States blockade against her and the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic have caused a loss of about $3.6 billion between April and December, 2020 alone.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday on the effect of American blockade on Cuba economy and the subsequent hardship on the civilian populace which led to recent protest in the North American country, Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Clara Pulido also revealed that the total loss by her country from April 2019 to December 2020 stands at over $9.2 billion.
She lamented that: “The blockade that was already damaging our economy was increased by Donald Trump administration with 243 additional measures to make the already complex situation facing the country even more difficult.”
She decried that: “Some of these measures were even taken during the pandemic, which demonstrates the criminal and inhuman character of this regime of unilateral sanctions against Cuba.”
She said these restrictions have magnified the many challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and multiply its devastating socioeconomic, health-related and financial impacts and have repeatedly hampered the arrival of humanitarian aid in the country, a case better described as “immoral, unjustifiable and criminal.”
She said that Cuban economy which heavily depends on tourism, one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic all over the world, and on the exports of products less consume in times like this, has been hit hard.
Pulido, while lamenting that US government has lined up other sanctions, she unilaterally sets against Cuba, said all these factors have impacted negatively on the capacity of Cuba to generate resources, to have access to finance and to trade freely and without obstacles and has been causing shortages in the country with shortages of food, of medicines, raw materials, including oil, and inputs needed by the economic and productive processes, which contribute both to exports and to the supplies for the people.
She said the arrival of the Delta strain of COVID-19, which is more aggressive and contagious strains, has added a new complication to an already complex situation for the management of the pandemic.
She noted that Cuba has been facing the pandemic with her reserve, insisting that the nation is bleeding,
On the recent uprising in the country, Pulido said the government has accepted that there are dissatisfactions in the country and working at alleviating harsh conditions.
She however said “it has become clear that these problems, which can occur in any country, were used to encourage riots against the constitutional order in the country, many of which exhibited unprecedented violence, disqualifying them as pacific demonstrations.”
She added her voice to the call by many on President Joe Biden to use his executive powers to modify the implementation of the blockade, and its humanitarian and economic impact.
Michael Olugbode in Abuja