The Isotope Center (CENTIS) was forced to halt exports to Ecuador in 2014, as its client there could only make payments in U.S. dollars. Photo: AIN

The U.S. economic, financial and commercial blockade of Cuba, the longest in history, causes daily difficulties for Cubans, and impacts key sectors of the economy.

One example can be seen at the Isotope Center (CENTIS), which was forced to halt exports to Ecuador in 2014, as its client there, MEDINUCLEAR, lacked alternative banking options to make payments to the island.

As such, CENTIS lost income amounting to $80,000 dollars, according to a voluminous national report on the consequences of this increasingly aggressive policy, presented recently in the capital.

CENTIS is the most complex radiation facility in the country and produces an assortment of labeled compounds, radiopharmaceuticals, radioisotope generators, conventional and radioisotopic diagnostic reagents for medical, agricultural and industrial use, as well as in the field of genetic engineering and biotechnology.

It provides services including the calibration of activimeters, labeling with radionuclides, preclinical biodistribution and pharmacokinetics studies, repair and maintenance of biochemical and hematology analyzers, among others.

The impact is such that in July 2014, British based Lloyds Bank prevented the transfer of 7,250 euros from Spanish non-governmental organization, SODEPAZ, to buy organic sugar produced in Cuban factories.

Just a few months later, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) fined U.S. firm ESCO Corporation more than two million dollars as one of its subsidiaries had acquired briquettes containing Cuban nickel.

As if that weren’t enough, an Ethiopian bank is withholding almost $27,000 dollars for payment of services rendered by Cuban technical and vocational level teachers specializing in electricity, as transfers were made in U.S. dollars.

The University of Sancti Spíritus continues to suffer arrears in payments from the government of the People's Republic of Angola, for training provided young Angolans in the province, due to third-country banks’ fear of incurring U.S. Treasury Department sanctions.


Cuban industry suffers heavy losses due to Washington’s criminal blockade policy. Photo: Juvenal Balán

In the case of industry alone, losses caused by the U.S. economic, financial and commercial blockade against Cuba exceeded $73 million dollars, a figure equivalent to the sector investment program for 2014.

The main causes of such damage are the geographical relocation of markets, the immobilization of resources in inventories and variations in exchange rates for foreign commerce and financial operations, due to the restrictions on the use of the U.S. dollar.

The report also highlights the case of Cuban stainless steel company ACINOX Commercial, based in the eastern province of Las Tunas, which suffered losses of over $33 million dollars due to the abovementioned reasons.

With that money, 31,628 tons of galvanized steel sheets for use in the self-build housing construction program could have been bought, which would have benefited 278,328 Cubans, based on four people per home, the same source added.

The report also mentions the Iron and Steel Industry Business Group (GESIME), which reported damages of over $48 million dollars, which could have bought aluminum alloy discs and components for health equipment, sugarcane harvesters and domestic refrigerators.

Meanwhile, Chinese firm Ja Solar, a leading producer of solar panels, turned down a Cuban request to purchase photovoltaic material, claiming that as it traded on the U.S. stock exchange, any relationship with a Cuban company would place it in a compromising situation.

Without warning, the Grupo Flint Iberia S.A. decided to withdraw operations providing printing ink conducted through Cuban imports firm FICUBA S.L, as it was acquired by U.S. firm Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division, in partnership with Koch Equity Development.

This put the printing of the widely-read daily national newspaper Granma at risk, the report noted.