MOSCOW, September 29.— Ivan Melnikov, the Russian vice president of Parliament, has called on the United States to end its economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, in place for almost 50 years, and the repeal of the anti-Cuban Helms-Burton Act.
Speaking at the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council in Strasbourg in the name of the European United Left, Melnikov harshly criticized the policy of economic siege used to directly pressure sovereign states, Prensa Latina reports.
The persistence of the blockade constitutes discrimination against Cuba and third countries, the likewise vice president of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation said, referring to commercial sanctions included in the Helms-Burton Act.
Melnikov asked the Parliamentary Assembly’s Bureau to ask the U.S. government to repeal its discriminatory and anti-Cuban laws, including the Torricelli Act.
At the same time, the communist leader exposed how Washington, acting as if it wished to provide humanitarian assistance to Cuba after the disaster caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, conditioned its aid with demands on Havana.
Melnikov said the best humanitarian aid for the Cuban people would have been at least a six-month suspension of the blockade, so as to facilitate the island buying, on a commercial basis, food, construction materials and other necessary supplies in the U.S. market.
At the same time, the Russian leader said he was confident that the Parliamentary Assembly would ask the United States to end or temporarily suspend the Helms-Burton Act and economic/commercial sanctions on Cuba.