On the 16th and 17th of November an international tribunal on the US blockade of Cuba was held in Brussels.
“Comrades, my first words are for the Palestinian people that suffer a true genocide by Israel with the complicity of the North American government, the same one that has blockaded us for more than 60 years.” With these words Homero Acosta, the secretary of Cuba’s National Assembly and member of Cuba’s State Council kicked off the sessions of the International Tribunal Against the Blockade of Cuba, highlighting the inextricable connection between the assault on the Palestinian people and the Cuban people: US imperialism.
The tribunal held in the European Parliament in Brussels was organized by the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples and The Left, a parliamentary group in the European Parliament. It sought to discuss the human impact of the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States for the last 60 years. It focused on how the blockade violates international law and also the human rights of both the Cuban and the European people. The intensification of the blockade through the designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism by the United States was also a key element.
Five international Jurists heard evidence from European activists and organisations including groups that are part of the 1c4Cuba campaign. On behalf of Ireland, Cuba Support group Ireland submitted a written evidence file with four case studies illustrating the application of the extraterritorial application of US law in the European community. The Irish evidence mirrored that of other written evidence submitted by other EU countries. The United Kingdom presented written evidence submitted by Dr Helen Yaffe and Rock Around the Blockade.
Cuba Support group Ireland published videos on social media across the tribunal, click here to see more of their coverage.
The tribunals full verdict was as follows:
The blockade undermines peoples’ lives, freedoms, rights and dignity. Blockades are one of the most treacherous, illegal and illegitimate forms of warfare, even if they invoke international treaties and law to camouflage their actions. According to Article 2 of the 1948 General Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of genocide, paragraph C:
“Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction, in whole or in part, is an act of genocide.”
The dramatic an huge impact of the above mentioned laws and regulations, maintained for over 60 years, also demonstrates that no blockade has been as comprehensive, long-lasting and brutal against the people as the one the United States has maintained against Cuba
The blockade has resulted directly and indirectly in the loss of numerous human lives and the decision of the US to maintain this blockade until the Cuban People decide not to bow, the US is determined to maintain measures that are calculated to bring about in the long-term the physical destruction, at least in part, of of the Cuban People. Such an attitude could amount to a crime of genocide.
Lastly, since the numerous sanctions and the laws upon which they are based are unlawful, they must be abolished. The USA must pay compensation for the damage caused to the Cuban State, its companies and citizens.
This is a thorough denunciation of the Blockade and the inclusion of Cuba on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, one which we must utilise in the fight against the blockade going forward. Whilst this tribunal’s verdict is not legally binding we must promote and spread the message of this judgement in the absence of any meaningful action from the European and British parliaments.
It is necessary and important that we continue to gather evidence of the extraterritorial implementation of the blockade by European and British banks, citing the above verdict as we go!