Amnesty International Urges Obama to Lift Blockade of Cuba

9-02-09, 10:30 am

HAVANA, Cuba, Sept 2 (acn) Amnesty International (AI) has urged US President Barack Obama to lift his country’s almost 50-year-old financial, trade and economic blockade of Cuba.

According to the CubaDebate website, AI presented its petition in a report entitled “The US Embargo against Cuba: Its Impact on Economic and Social Rights.”

The provisions of the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act, among a raft of US sanctions against the Caribbean nation, expire on September 14 and the president has the power to extend them for another year or stop them.

“This is the perfect opportunity for President Obama to distance himself from the failed policies of the past and to send a strong message to the US Congress on the need to end the embargo,' Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, said in the statement.

“The US embargo against Cuba is immoral and should be lifted,” Khan said. “It’s preventing millions of Cubans from benefiting from vital medicines and medical equipment essential for their health.”

In the report, Khan explains that the blockade severely limits Havana’s ability to import medicine, medical equipment and technology essential for treating life-threatening disease and maintaining public health programs. “The commercial barriers have also hindered the renovation of hospitals, clinics and care centres for the elderly,” the statement adds.