By Laura Gamba
BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) – Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said Thursday that the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of the country had caused $9.157 billion in losses.
"I denounce before our people and the international community that between April 2019 and December 2020, the blockade caused economic damages of 9.157 billion USD," Rodriguez said in a video posted on Twitter.
He pointed out that a resolution calling for the end of the blockade will be submitted on June 23 before the United Nations General Assembly.
In his final address before stepping down in April, Raul Castro, the leader of the Cuban Communist Party, said that Cuba was willing to “build a new kind of relationship with the United States," which has not yet occurred.
Although US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month during the 51st Conference of the Council of the Americas that Washington “will condemn the repression of human rights on the island,” President Joe Biden has maintained sanctions against Havana.
“President Donald Trump applied 243 new blockade measures and opportunistically took advantage of COVID-19 to intensify it to new extremes. The government of Joe Biden applies the same policy,” Rodriguez said. “The human damage, suffering and shortages caused to Cuban families are incalculable," he added.
Two weeks ago, Cuba accused the US of making it impossible for the island nation to manufacture enough doses of coronavirus vaccines for its population, delaying its vaccination campaign.
In a report released in May, global charity Oxfam urged Biden to lift sanctions that have been in place since 1962.
The country is struggling with food and medicine shortages and its worst economic crisis in more than three decades. The coronavirus pandemic has also contributed to Cuba's economy declining 11% in 2020.