Dahal flays sanctions against Cuba

Kathmandu, July 26

Co-Chair of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal today said that sanctions against Cuba were against universal norms and values of human rights, as he expressed solidarity with the people and leaders of one of the last remaining communist countries in the world.

His statement comes six months after denouncing the United States and its allies for “intervening in the internal affairs of Venezuela”. This statement from a leader of the ruling party had prompted the US Embassy in Kathmandu to seek a clarification from the government regarding its official position on Venezuela. Today, he spoke in favour of another South American country where communists rule the roost.

“The cost that Cuba has been bearing due to trade embargo has gone over $130 billion in the past six decades,” Dahal told the opening session of the Ninth Asia Pacific Regional Conference on Solidarity with Cuba in Kathmandu.

The US has imposed commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba. The US first imposed an embargo on the sale of arms to Cuba in March 1958. “Despite decades of sanctions, blockades and other restrictions, Cuba has demonstrated that unjust behaviour cannot kill the conscience of peace and freedom loving people. The embargo against Cuba has not weakened Cuban people’s patience, nationalist vision and defence of sovereignty,” Dahal said, adding, “Our solidarity goes to the people and leaders of Cuba in their efforts to defend national sovereignty. It has been almost 26 years since the international community rejected the sanctions against Cuba,” said Dahal.

“Despite a strong global call, it is continuing. The voice of the international community must be heard. We support the United Nations resolution and call for respecting Cuba’s sovereignty, Cuban people’s aspiration and ending the embargo. Nepal has consistently and unequivocally voted in the UN resolution in favour of Cuba,” he said, adding, “Sovereign equality is the fundamental basis of international relations. It is equal for all, big or small, rich or poor, and will remain so. International role without responsibility is not justifiable; so is the power without obligation. Justice should remain at the core of international behaviour.”