Addressing journalists at his residence in Lusaka, Wednesday, Ambassador Vaimontes lamented that the US sanctions which had been there since 1961 had even been tightened further by the American government thereby causing a lot of damage to the Cuban people, its economy and the country’s development.
Ambassador Vaimontes said his country had rejected the recent decision by US President Donald Trump to activate Tittle III of the Helms-Burton law earlier this month, saying this was going to be a further threat to Cuba’s economic, commercial and financial stability.
The Ambassador also regretted that the American government was being unjust to Cuba, explaining that the country, small as it were had been assisting vulnerable US citizens to train in his country for free, an act which he said intimidated the Americans in some way.
“What the American people have always wanted is a change of government in Cuba. They don’t accept a progressive socialist government in Cuba. But this is our system, this is our aspiration and dream. It’s our decision because as a sovereign State, we decide what to do. This is why we are rejecting this policy by the US government. We are interested to have normal relations with the US, but normal means there should be no conditions. We should just trade freely. But this blockade has affected the Cuban people. This blockade means that we cannot trade with the American enterprises and we cannot import from them, we cannot export anything to the United States as it used to be before. We just have to look for anything we may need in different markets around the world, which makes it difficult and more expensive,” Ambassador Vaimontes said.
He said the recently activated Tittle III of the Helms-Burton law by the US government against Cuba had worsened the situation for his country.
“What does this mean? More restrictions, more regulations, more sanctions including what? The American citizens cannot travel to Cuba. The Cuban citizens cannot travel to United States and they don’t issue Visa for them to visit their relatives their, if they want to go to Cuba they have to travel to a third country and then from there go to Cuba. They cannot travel directly, they need special permit which is not always issued because there are so many restrictions. That is why we are denouncing this blockade before the world…At the United Nations, at the African Union every year we present a resolution demanding the lifting of the blockade and that resolution is approved by the UN and the AU. But the Americans ignore that resolution from the international community, they violet it regularly, they don’t pay attention to the international community. It’s normal, it’s their policy, we are not going to change that policy, what we want is to change the relation between them and us,” he said.
He appealed to the Zambian government and its people to support the calls by his country to have the US economic sanctions lifted to make life easier for Cubans.
“We are asking for support from Zambia to face this challenge which is affecting the Cuban people. Approximately, 70 per cent of the current Cuban population was born under the blockade because they were born after 1959. So what they have known is blockade, they have suffered the effects of the blockade. This is the longest blockade in history. No other country has experienced this type of economic sanctions for such a long time, Cuba is the only one. So we are protesting against that. We are demanding solidarity for our cause,” he said.
Despite this blockade, Ambassador Vaimontes boasted that Cuba had experienced a lot of development in different sectors which the country was still paying a huge price for.
“We have even trained a lot professionals in different specialties in order to serve their own countries when they return back. We have graduated in our universities in Cuba 28,000 Africans. We have also trained Latin Americans, Asians, even those from the United States. And this information which is not well known because the American government is not interested to show to the World that this happening. But this is a reality, how can you imagine that a small country like Cuba under such a blockade is helping the American citizens to be trained as Doctors in Cuban universities? Such a rich and powerful country, the owners of the world as they consider themselves? They cannot accept, that’s why they hate Cuba. In their minds they can’t accept such a small country to do that…So since the revolution of power in 1959 we have been punished for challenging such a big neighbour. From all the administrations that have been power in the United States since 1959 up to today, for us, this [ Donald Trump administration] is the worst,” said Ambassador Vaimontes.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Vaimontes wished Zambia well as the anniversary of the Africa Day on 25th May, 2019 approaches.