Former presidents of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos and Ernesto Samper, as well as a group of former Latin American presidents and former prime ministers, met via Zoom this Wednesday to urge President Joe Biden to once and for all lift the economic blockades the United States is putting on have Cuba.
In a letter signed by 18 personalities, they expressed to Biden their “deep concern at the delicate situation that the Cuban people are going through today, suffering from the enormous difficulties in the delivery of medicines, the arrival of humanitarian aid and the restrictions imposed on financial services, the arrival of tourists and third party investment” as a result of the recent Hurricane Ian and its devastating impact on the island.
“We ask you, Mr. President, to take into account this difficult situation that thousands of Cubans are experiencing and to arrange whatever is necessary to lift these restrictions. that hit the weakest. For the same reasons, Cuba deserves to be removed from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism and to return to the normalization plan that the Obama administration approved in 2014 when you were vice president,” they suggested.
The restrictions on travel, money transfers and donations from the United States – according to former officials – have harmful consequences not only for residents of the island but also for the Cuban-American population, who are prevented from visiting their relatives. , highlighted in the letter.
“The restrictions on consumer spending on tourism limit the possibilities for economic recovery when Cuba, like all countries in the region, is making every effort to recover after two years of severe crisis caused by the pandemic,” explained you.
Joe Biden was reminded that when natural forces struck the United States with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Cuba was one of the first countries to offer medical assistance with the Henry Reeve Brigades.
“It was a real show of solidarity in the face of natural disasters, which tend to hit the poorest hardest. Solidarity that could be reciprocated to Cuba today by the United States government,” they specified.
They wrote that not long ago former President Barack Obama questioned the anachronism of the sanctions against Cuba. “Nothing prevents them from returning to the thawing and full restoration of diplomatic relations that have led to a new rapprochement between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean that we are celebrating in our countries.”
They added: “You, Mr. President, have been part of this dialogue that has opened a virtuous chapter in hemispheric relations. Therefore, he knows the delicate situation like no other and enjoys the political authority to promote his exit. In order for this to be possible, Cuba must be removed from the list of countries that support terrorism, drawn up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which it has been included for its support for the peace process in Colombia with the National Liberation Army (ELN) and its compliance with that with the Colombian State in its capacity as international guarantor of the same protocols signed”.
In addition to Juan Manuel Santos and Ernesto Samper, the official letter was signed by Dilma Rousseff, the former President of Brazil; José “Pepe” Mujica, former President of Uruguay; Evo Morales, former President of Bolivia; Martín Torrijos, former President of Panama; Rafael Correa, former President of Ecuador; Vinicio Cerezo, former President of Guatemala; Among others, Leonel Fernández, former President of the Dominican Republic.