A matter of survival: Edgardo Valdes Lopez outlines Cuba's foreign policy in the new world.

AuthorLopez, Edgardo Valdes

Cuba is a small island located 140 kilometres from the United States. Its foreign policy, like the lives of all Cubans, is strongly marked by the hostile policies of its northern neighbour, the United States.

Immediately after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in January 1959, the United States adopted a group of measures and pressures to keep their influence in our country. Failing to do so, in January 1962, Washington exerted pressure to have Cuba expelled from the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the member states, with the exception of Mexico, were forced to break relations with the island. In February of the same year, the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States against Cuba was decreed. Since then, it has been intensifying with new laws and regulations, whose extraterritorial nature affect our relations with the world, including New Zealand.

Currently there are 122 embassies in Havana and Cuba has 127 embassies in other countries, in charge of our relations with 197 countries and organisations. The OAS is a discredited body (known as the US Ministry of Colonies) and, at the initiative of Cuba and other countries in the region, there is the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) that defends unity within the diversity. It declared our community of nations as a zone of peace. Every year since 1992, the UN General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning the US policy against Cuba, and our country plays an active role in numerous organs, agencies and programmes of that organisation and other international institutions.

The failure of the aggressive policy against Cuba is evident, but the price we pay, even today, is very high. For Cuba, foreign policy is a matter of survival. Our main success has been to isolate those who tried to isolate us. Exposing our truth and multiplying the solidarity of Cuba and towards Cuba have been decisive. We developed a global and strategic foreign policy, which with limited resources allows us to be a very active component of the international scene.

Difficult road

The road has been difficult, and not a few Cuban diplomats have been victims of terrorist attacks and other hostile actions in these years. As recently as 30 April 2020, an individual armed with an assault rifle fired more than 30 cartridges at the Cuban embassy in Washington, a fact that the US government has not yet condemned.

When many governments turned their backs on...

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