Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cuba: Embargo has caused $96 billion in damage

Palau, an archipelago of islands in the Pacific, voted last year to support U.S. sanctions. Photo credit: Len R
For the 18th year, the United Nations will soon vote to condemn U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba. Last October, the vote was 185 to 3. The only countries supporting economic sanctions were the United States, Israel and Palau.

The United States has given Israel $114 billion in direct foreign aid since 1949, according to the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs. Just a hunch, but I'd say Israel likely would not exist in its current form without U.S. economic and political support.
Palau, east of the Philippines, also relies on U.S. aid. It does not have a military and counts on the United States for its defense.

Dancers in Palau. Photo credit: David Sanger Photography

Palau from the air.

We'll see which countries support the U.S. embargo this year. Cuban officials describe the sanctions as "genocide." According to a 2009 Cuban government report:
...there has never been such a wide-ranging and brutal embargo against a people like the one the US is maintaining against Cuba. ...this classifies as genocide by virtue of Section c of Article II of the Geneva Convention of 1948 on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and, on the other hand, as an act of economic war, according to the stipulations of the declaration regarding Maritime War adopted by the 1909 London Naval Conference.
Cuban officials claim that the U.S. embargo has caused more than $96 billion in damage to the island over the past 50 years.
In current dollars, the 2009 report said, that "figure that would reach 36 thousand 221 million dollars..."
OK, this is where I get a little lost, but I think that means $362,210,000,000 or $362 billion. Is that right? Math isn't my strong suit...
No doubt, economic sanctions have hurt Cuba. Even so, Cuban officials would boost their credibility if they told people how they came up with that number.

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