The Cuban Government has published its 2019 report on the UN General Assembly resolution 73/8 entitled "A need to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba." Detailing to the press on the document undersigned by the administration of Miguel Díaz-Canel, Ambassador Pedro Núñez thanked Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Relations Marcelo Ebrard for condemning the White House blockade on the island.
"Foreign Secretary Ebrard was clear in expressing this position in his recent speech before the General Assembly. Today Mexico is Cuba's fifth-largest trading partner and the main source of tourism to Cuba in Latin America and the Caribbean, and we have a great relationship that will surely keep on growing steadily," said the Cuban ambassador to Mexico.
This is not an isolated incident. Throughout the history of post-revolutionary Cuba, Mexico has always been a staunch ally for the Caribbean island, especially during the several decades that Mexico was under the absolute control of the PRI. Mexico was the only country that - following the anti-interventionist Estrada Doctrine - recognized its government in 1960. Six Mexican heads of state have visited the island. In fact, between 1980 and 2016, the only Mexican president who did not visit Cuba was Ernesto Zedillo.
This historical bond somewhat changed with the arrival of the center-right party PAN to power in 2000. Vicente Fox Quesada, the first president of post-revolutionary Mexico that did not emerge from the PRI, had a notorious disagreement with Fidel Castro. Friction began with Fox's visit to the island in 2002. The president decided to meet with a group identified as a dissident cell to Castro's ruling party, much to the Cuban political elite's chagrin.
However, the most complicated event came about a month later, when Castro was invited to the International Conference on Financing for Development, which was held in the city Monterrey (Northern Mexico), attended by more than 50 heads of state, including then U.S. President George W. Bush.
After luncheon the first day, Castro retired publicly from the event and declared: "I beg you all to excuse the fact, that I can no longer continue to accompany you, due to a special situation created by my participation in this summit, and I am forced to return immediately to my country. " This episode was popularly known as "comes y te vas" ("eat and leave") and is widely considered one, if not the biggest, diplomatic gaffe of the Fox administration, bringing ridicule to the Mexican chief executive in assorted mass media.
Fidel Castro and former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto
What came next was an express course in diplomatic chess for the newfangled Mexican president. A few days later, with international attention set on him, Castro leaked a phone call in which Fox, a former Coca-Cola company manager, asked Castro -who had initiated a revolution with a handful of men, and by then had survived more than 600 assassination attempts and a blockade under 10 presidents of the United States-, to please return to his island after lunch, so that he (Fox) would not be embarrassed with Bush. "You eat and you go," Fox told Castro, who was stunned by the reckless lack of diplomacy from his host.
Since the triumph of the revolution on New Year's Day, 1959, the figure of Commander Fidel Castro became a sort of Queen Elizabeth II in Mexican politics. He was always well received in the official residence of Los Pinos, even in the neoliberal era with Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Ernesto Zedillo.
With the arrival of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who trained in the most leftist PRI cadres and later rose in rank within the PRD, it was a given that sympathy with the Cuban regime would return.
This week, at a press conference at the Cuban embassy in Mexico City, Ambassador Núñez Mosquera released the report according to which, the damages caused to Cuba by the blockade policy between April 2018 until March 2019 already account for losses of over 4.3 billion dollars for the economy of the island. This year the blockade is about to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
The blockade "continues to represent a hindrance for the development of all the potential of the Cuban economy, for the implementation of the National Economic and Social Development Plan of the country, as well as for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals", the ambassador read.
Barack Obama met with Raúl Castro
He also alluded to its effect on the island and third-world based companies, punished following the provisions of the blockade and the Helms-Burton Act, adopted by the U.S. Congress in 1996.
Pedro Núñez added that although the United States always covered itself with the ignorance of its people about the reality of the island with the argument of "worrying about the suffering of the Cubans", in the Trump administration there has been a "shameless" use the blockade's measures.
Its "viciousness, intense aggressiveness and extraterritorial reach are unprecedented," said the Cuban ambassador. "There is no attempt to conceal it," he pointed this out after recalling that, under Barack Obama, talks began with Raúl Castro to finally lift the blockade; this even resulted in a visit to the island by a U.S. president, something that had not happened in over 50 years.
Finally, the diplomat informed that in November, the UN will decide on the draft resolution presented by his country to end the economic embargo, and Mexico, as a friend and ally, could ratify this support. "Cuba has a population of just over 11 million inhabitants and one could say that 7 out of 10 Cubans have been born blocked," he concluded.
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