UN Official Says Blockade on Cuba Violates the Right to Food

11-06-07, 9:56 am

Jean Ziegler, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, said in Havana that the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba particularly affects the Cuban people’s right to food.

The international official held talks with Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque at the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ziegler said that the coercive U.S. measure determines that Cuba’s development takes place in a context —like no other nation— of very difficult conditions for affirming its independence and sovereignty and protecting all of its citizens.

He congratulated the Cuban authorities for the recent victory in the UN General Assembly, where for the 16th straight time, Washington’s economic, commercial and financial war on the island was condemned via a resolution that received 'yes' votes from 184 countries, with only four against and one abstention.

He criticized the administration of President George W. Bush for not recognizing the existence of social, economic and cultural human rights, and noted that throughout the world, more than 854 million people go hungry. Pérez Roque said that the presence in Cuba of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food shows the Cuban government’s firm commitment to that mandate.

He said that it also was an expression of the island’s adherence to the universal mechanisms of non-discriminatory and non-selective human rights, and an example of its willingness to cooperate with the new Human Rights Council (HRC), to which it was elected with more than two-thirds of the vote.

Pérez Roque emphasized that the visit came at moment when the mandate against Cuba in Geneva —imposed by force, selective and discriminatory, and something we never accepted or will accept— had been broken.

After recognizing the serious work of Ziegler, he likewise explained that the Caribbean nation would make invitations the following year to other HRC rapporteurs.

During his stay, the visitor toured projects and programs that Cuba is developing to ensure food for its people and to continue advancing on the construction of a more just, solidarity-oriented and equitable society, despite the U.S. blockade, which has directly caused losses to the country of $89 billion in the last 48 years.

The Cuban foreign minister said the country was disposed to receiving other UN special rapporteurs as long as it continued to receive equal and respectful treatment, PL reported.

From Granma International