Why a blockade and not an embargo?

February 7, 2017 |The measures adopted against Cuba by the United States government do not fall within the category of “embargo.” On the contrary, they go beyond this definition to represent a “blockade,” on seeking to persecute, isolate, suffocate and immobilize Cuba, with the aim of suffocating its people and forcing them to renounce their decision to be sovereign and independent.

These are all fundamental elements of the concept of a “blockade,” which means to cut or close off a nation to the outside world, in order to isolate and oblige the besieged country to surrender by force or starvation.

Blockades have been recognized as an “act of war” in international law since the London Naval Conference of 1909. In accordance with this principle, such a measure can only be exerted between warring factions. On the other hand, there exists no international law justifying a so-called “peaceful blockade,” as was commonly used by colonial powers during the 19th and early 20th century.

Nor does such a controversial concept have a tradition in international law as accepted by the United States of America, but U.S. authorities have a bad memory and forget that in 1916, they warned France that “The United States does not recognize the right of any foreign power to impose barriers to the exercise to the commercial rights of non-interested nations, by using the blockade when there is no state of war.”

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