A five-decade U.S. trade embargo against Cuba has cost it nearly 834 billion U.S. dollars and continues to hamstring its development despite recent diplomatic breakthrough between both sides, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said Wednesday.
"The reality is that the trade embargo persists and even now does not allow Cuba to export or import products or services from or to the United States, use the dollar as part of financial transactions with third countries, nor use bank credits," Rodriguez told reporters.
While Cuba "appreciates" the recent progress in bilateral ties with Washington, he said, it must denounce the fact that the embargo not only remains in place, but "continues to strengthen."
Rodriguez presented a report on the embargo that Cuba plans to submit to the United Nations General Assembly on Oct. 27.
Titled "The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba," it denounces "the damage caused by this hostile policy for over five decades, which has cost the country billions, and has hampered the comprehensive development of Cuba's children and youth," according to state daily Granma.
Cuba has presented the report annually since 1992, but this will be the first time it submits the study to the UN since the two nations restored diplomatic ties in July.
From 2014 to 2015, said Rodriguez, the United States continued to strengthen the economic and trade barrier against Cuba "with marked and growing extraterritorial character," especially in the area of finance, by targeting Cuba's transactions.
"The diplomatic ties cannot be normalized as long as the embargo exists," he said.
In July, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that Washington and Havana had agreed to formally re-establish diplomatic relations and reopen embassies, in what he called "a historic step in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people."
While diplomatic ties have been restored, the U.S.-led trade embargo, which harms Cuba's development, is still in force. The White House has called on Congress to lift the blockade, which however was rejected by the majority of the legislature.