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China urges US to end embargo on Cuba

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)
The photo shows a street in the Cuban capital of Havana on July 9, 2021. (Photo by Xinhua)

China has called on the United States to immediately and fully lift its sanctions and decades-long embargo against Cuba, and to stop making excuses to interfere in and destabilize the small Caribbean island.

A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, whose name was not mentioned, made the remarks in a statement on Wednesday, after the administration of US President Joe Biden announced so-called human rights sanctions against Cuba, targeting the country’s police force and two of its senior officials.

“China firmly opposes any move to arbitrarily impose unilateral sanctions and interfere in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of so-called ‘freedom,’ ‘human rights,’ and ‘democracy,’” the statement said.

“The recent US sanctions against [a] Cuban institution and officials severely violate the basic norms governing international relations and once again demonstrate to the world the typical US-style double standards and bullyism,” it added.

The US Treasury Department announced the sanctions on July 30, claiming they were in response to what it called the suppression of recent protests in Cuba.

The US sanctions targeted two Cuban police force leaders as well as the Cuban national police force. During a meeting with Cuban-American leaders at the White House, Biden said that there would be more sanctions, “unless there’s some drastic change in Cuba.”

Reacting, Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said the sanctions “coupled with disinformation and aggression, are used to justify the inhumane blockade of Cuba.”

Last month, protests erupted against the government of Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel as the country experienced its worst economic crisis in 30 years, with shortages of electricity and food exacerbated by the US embargo. Cuban leaders have held the decades-long US embargo responsible for the economic difficulties of the people.

The Chinese statement stressed, too, that it was the US economic, commercial, and financial blockade that was seriously hindering Cuba’s efforts to improve its economy and the livelihood of its population, and was trampling on the Cuban people’s right to subsistence and development.

“Enough with sanctions! The right way is to support,” it said.

The Chinese statement said that recently, several countries and international organizations had extended a helping hand to Cuba, aiding its government and people to fight the coronavirus pandemic and improve the livelihoods of its population.

It said China would continue to deepen friendly relations with Cuba and firmly support the island’s efforts to overcome the impact of the pandemic, promote economic development, and maintain social stability.

The recent US sanctions come as Cuba is also experiencing its toughest phase yet of the coronavirus pandemic. The Cuban government has reiterated that the US embargo is impeding its ability to purchase equipment and other supplies to deal with COVID-19.

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