HAVANA, Cuba.- What defines the current state of relations is a sharp tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade, Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla said during an interview given on Tuesday to the Vice-President of International News of The Associated Press, Ian Phillips, at the agency’s headquarters in New York, days after his participation in the UN General Assembly.
The central theme of the conversation was relations between the United States and Cuba, whose bad state the Cuban Chancellor defined as a “passing juncture”, since an ideological approach and a political motivation for electoral sought to win votes prevails, essentially in Florida, starting with what the minister called a “wrong political calculation”, as most Cubans in Florida support progress to normalization of relations and the lifting of the blockade, especially the younger ones.
The Chancellor regretted that there are no official channels of communication between the two nations, not even for priority matters such as migration, especially now when the functioning of embassies in both capitals was affected by reductions of staff or interruption of consular services. However, areas of cooperation are maintained in the field of law enforcement and national security.
Later the head of Cuban diplomacy highlighted that, however, Cuba has been threatened with even more extreme blocking measures if it did not change positions in foreign policy that are essential for us. But, as I said at the United Nations, we will not trade dignity for oil.
The Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs denounced that the blocking actions of the last six months against oil shipments to Cuba are not typical of a situation of international normality. The United States threatens sanctions on each ship, shipping company, and governments where those vessels or companies are registered, as well as those providing insurance for maritime transport to Cuba and to which they in turn reinstate insurance companies,
Rodriguez Parrilla explained that because the island produces half the oil and gas it needs, it must import from Venezuela and markets in Eastern Europe and North Africa. Cuba is in the financial capacity to purchase the fuel it needs. If not, the United States would not be determined to attack oil transportation, he continued.
The Chancellor said the economic, trade and financial blockade is causing humanitarian damage and economic damage, and affecting all Cubans; Cubans residing in the United States and other countries, and American citizens themselves due to a ban on travel to Cuba.
Bruno Rodriguez said U.S. policy towards Cuba was defined in 1960 in a memorandum bearing Mallory’s signature. The objective of this memorandum is to provoke hunger, despair and the overthrow of the government on the recognition that there is no real opposition in Cuba. The Chancellor pointed out this was an outdated, violating mode of international law and even the Geneva Convention against the crime of genocide.
He reported that the U.S. is not granting the number of visas required when it signed the immigration agreements in 2018. It has also cut off consular services in Havana, making all paperwork more expensive and delayed and also seriously affects the family reunification and trips of Cubans to the United States, he said.
The minister remarked that, despite this, 600,000 Americans visited Cuba last year, 400,000 Cubans residing in the United States did as well, and in recent years a million Cubans have visited the United States for short periods. So there is an important link between the two peoples, between numerous institutions. Cultural links are essential in communication between the two peoples.
Rodriguez Parrilla stated that in addition to the cooperation areas mentioned above, there had been intense judicial cooperation in the last two and a half years, in which together we have been able to act against crimes committed in the United States or in Cuba by U.S. citizens or Cubans, respectively. Also in the face of drug trafficking, in the face of organized international crime, against human trafficking; efforts have been made against terrorism and also at the environmental level, which is a high priority of Cuba.