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Mexican president says sending fuel cargo to Cuba is sovereign decision

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (photo by Reuters)

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has asserted Mexico's independence to send fuel as well as food and medical supplies to Cuba, which has been under a decades-long embargo by the United States and has recently faced shortages of certain commodities.

"We are an independent nation," the Mexican president said during his regular morning news conference on Tuesday, responding to a question about whether planned fuel deliveries risked contravening the US blockade of Cuba.

The Mexican government has said it is sending two navy ships carrying oxygen tanks, needles, and syringes, and basic food items like rice and beans to Cuba. A diesel cargo sent by Mexico's state-run Pemex was due to arrive in Cuba's Havana port on Monday.

On Thursday, the US administration announced more sanctions against Cuba. Mexico City has sided with Havana in the face of sustained pressure on the part of Washington, which has historically punished the island for refusing to submit to the White House's interventionist and overbearing policies.

Mexico's leftist president has openly criticized the American sanctions, which recently fueled unrest in Cuba amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

Cuba has blamed the protests mostly on the decades-old US embargo.

Iran, Russia, China, and several other countries have also voiced support for Cuba in the face of inhumane American pressure.

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