Cuba Thursday denounced the U.S. government for imposing hefty fines on banks and firms that do business with the island nation over alleged violations of the U.S. trade embargo.
In a statement published by the official daily Granma, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that British bank HSBC was fined $375 million on Dec. 11 by the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
A day later, OFAC announced a fine of some $8.6 million against the Japanese bank Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ for the same reason.
"The implementation of these unjust and illegal penalties demonstrates that the policy of vicious persecution by the United States of Cuban financial and commercial transactions and of those countries which have legitimate relations with our country, protected by international law, not only remains unchanged, but has intensified," the ministry said.
The ministry also condemned the extension of the blockade to third countries and stressed that merely a month ago "the United Nations General Assembly once again demanded, virtually unanimously, an end" to the long-running blockade.
In 1962, Washington imposed an economic, financial and trade embargo against Cuba. The policy has been voted against 21 times by nearly all UN member states, except the U.S., its political ally Israel and several small countries dependent on U.S. aid.
According to Cuban authorities, the embargo has cost Cuba more than $100 billion.
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