For Cubans, the blockade’s existence has meant living under limitations to produce, to ensure services to the population and to have restrictions in accessing markets and even saving lives.
The blockade is about to turn half a century old in spite of its rejection by the majority of the world’s countries, causing an estimated $751.36 billion in direct economic damages.
The main effects are revealed in the healthcare sector, in the inability for Cuba to access the medication Temozolomide (Temodar), a specific cytostatic used to treat tumors in the central nervous system (gliomas and astrocytomas).
At different levels of education, there are a number of deficiencies identified, which are significant in the quality of the teaching-learning process: For example, the lack of psycho-educational instruments that might help diagnose and evaluate children with special educational needs. These instruments are American-made and have an estimated cost of $15,500.
Also, among other restrictions, the extraterritorial application of the blockade disables corporations from other countries to export goods made in Cuba or made with Cuban materials to the United States.
The blockade has been intensified through the approval and application of the Torricelli (1992) and Helms-Burton (1996) laws, intended to overthrow through the hunger and deprivation on all levels of the legitimate Cuban government. These laws are of extraterritorial in character and violate the rights to life, education and healthcare.
Despite the blockade’s adverse effects, the Cuban people’s cultural development hasn’t stopped. In 2009, representatives of 187 countries showed their support to the island; only three countries stood against Cuba: The U.S., Israel and Palau. The last two are very dependent on the United States.
This year, Cuba will demonstrate one more time that it’s not alone, and through voting, will reaffirm to the world the bravery and stoicism of a nation, which, after 50 years of revolution and blockade, will always continue searching for alternatives to improve the quality of life for its citizens.