China Backs Cuba in Saying US Should Apply Sanctions to Itself
Just to be consistent
China has supported Cuba’s argument that the United States should consider applying sanctions to itself for alleged human rights abuses before taking on other countries.
Speaking Friday at a press conference in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian asserted that his country “firmly supports the efforts of the Cuban government and people to maintain social stability” as President Joe Biden doubles down to pressure Cuba in the wake of historic protests in the island nation.
The latest measures, unveiled Thursday, included sanctions against the head of the Cuban armed forces and a division of the Interior Ministry in response to their suspected roles in cracking down on the demonstrations. The U.S. leader warned that “this is just the beginning” and that “the United States will continue to sanction individuals responsible for oppression of the Cuban people.”
Zhao lashed out against the approach the following day.
“We resolutely reject any external interference in other countries’ internal affairs, imposition of unilateral sanctions, and attempt to gang up on other countries under the pretext of ‘freedom,’ ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights,'” Zhao said.
And he referenced earlier remarks on Twitter by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, who dismissed the “unfounded & slanderous US gov. sanctions” and suggested that the country “should rather apply unto itself the Magnitsky Global Act for systematic repression & police brutality that took the lives of 1021 persons in 2020.”
The legislation has been used by the White House to roll out restrictions on finances and travel for individuals accused of corruption and human rights abuses. But Zhao said it was Washington that fit this bill.
“The U.S. should first and foremost examine its own human rights issues,” Zhao said, “instead of wielding the big stick of sanctions, grossly interfering in other’s internal affairs and creating division or confrontation.”
He then issued a plea for Washington to remove its decades-long trade embargo on Havana.
“China maintains that mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation are the right way to conduct state-to-state relations,” Zhao said. “At present, Cuba is at a critical moment in its fight against COVID-19 and in its efforts to alleviate people’s suffering. The U.S. must immediately and completely lift unilateral sanctions against Cuba in compliance with the purposes of the U.N. Charter and basic norms governing international relations, and do more to improve U.S.-Cuba relations and contribute to international and regional stability.”