Political heads unite against Cuban ban

Barbados’ two main political foes suspended their electioneering today in a bipartisan call for the decades old American embargo against regional neighbour Cuba to be lifted.

The call for the Spanish-speaking nation to be unshackled from the crippling economic restrictions in place since October 1960 was led by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Opposition Leader Owen Arthur.

Their comments were made in the House of Assembly as Parliamentarians recognised the establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba by Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana, signed in December 1972.

Speaking on a resolution led by outgoing St. Michael South East MP Hamilton Lashley, Stuart renewed his call for the embargo to be ended.

“I want to repeat on the floor of the House today that it is my view the embargo against Cuba has outlived its usefulness and should be lifted,” he said. “The people of Cuba have suffered enough, they are not guilty of any offences, all they have done wrong is to dare to think differently.”

The St. Michael South MP said the embargo had “caused grave hardship to the people of Cuba and it is eloquent of the strength of their spirit that in spite of it all they can still go to the Olympics and win medals, and they can still hold their own across the world in whatever endeavours they are called upon to participate in”. Arthur called the embargo an “outrageous anomaly in international affairs”.

“No country as far as I am aware has been either contaminated or undermined by having a normalised relationship with Cuba, and therefore, Sir, it is really something that people of good sense must continue to speak against that one country should seek continuously to maintain an embargo,” the St. Peter MP stated.

“What the Caribbean has done is no different than what the Europeans have done, what the Canadians have done and what all people of enlightenment and goodwill have done as well.” (SC)

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