Havana, Cuba: Cuba today remembers the presidential proclamation of March 31, 1961, which left the sugar quota committed between this country and the United States at zero, and marked the future imposition of the North American blockade.
According to official sources, there was a bilateral agreement since 1934, which established the purchase in the Caribbean territory of this main product of the economy.
An article by the Doctor of Historical Sciences Oscar Zanetti clarifies that with this regime, sales to the northern country constituted approximately two-thirds of Cuba’s exports; the rest went to the world market, mainly to the United Kingdom and France.
According to the expert, the provision reserved 29.3 percent of US consumption for Cuban candy, a much lower proportion than the traditional one, but it made it possible to stabilize exports.
The allocation system would be reintroduced in 1948, with the Sugar Quota Law, and by 1958 more than 70 percent of the archipelago’s trade occurred, under disadvantageous conditions, with the United States.
In 1960, this agreement continued as the main source of acquisition of foreign currency for Cuba, until July, when a law was approved authorizing the president of the United States to reduce the sugar quota for the rest of that year and the first quarter of 1961.
In this context, the regulations implied a reduction of 700 thousand tons of the original allocation, and, later, the end of this trade.
On January 3, 1961, Washington broke diplomatic relations with Havana, and on February 15 of that year, President John F. Kennedy asked to know if he would “save valuable dollars” and “make things more difficult for Fidel Castro.” if the United States stopped the purchases of goods from the island nation.
By March 2, the northern government announced that it was considering the application to Cuba of the so-called Law of Trade with the Enemy, and eight days later, it amended the export regulations, including a list of food products and medicines.
At the end of that month, on March 31, 1961, Public Law 87-15 appeared to rectify Section 408 of the 1948 Law, and it was established that sugar supplies were not purchased in a country with which Washington would not had diplomatic relations.
Presidential proclamation 3401 of that day, with Kennedy’s signature, determined that, “for reasons of interest,” the amount of sweetener quotas for Cuba would be zero.
The following year, on February 3, 1962, that administration formalized with executive order 3447 the economic, commercial and financial blockade, with accumulated damages in six decades exceeding 144 thousand 413 million dollars today. (IVP)