Cuba estimates total damage of U.S. embargo at $116.8 billion

Cranes at Mariel port are seen on the outskirts of Havana August 20, 2014. REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa

By Daniel Trotta HAVANA (Reuters) - U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba have cost the island nation $3.9 billion in foreign trade over the past year, helping to raise the overall estimate of economic damage to $116.8 billion over the past 55 years, Cuba said on Tuesday. The figures were published in a report that Cuba prepares for the United Nations each year in requesting a resolution urging an end to the comprehensive U.S. economic embargo and other sanctions against Cuba's Communist government. The United Nations has passed the resolution for 22 straight years with overwhelming support. Last year the vote was 188 to 2, with only the United States and Israel voting against the resolution. Although many U.S. allies join Washington in criticizing Cuba's one-party system and repression of political opponents, the Americans have lost nearly all international support for the embargo since the collapse of the Soviet Union. No other nation besides the United States has an economic embargo against Cuba. Cuba in turn uses the embargo to counter internal discontent over a stagnant economy. " ... There is not, and there has not been in the world, such a terrorizing and vile violation of human rights of an entire people than the blockade that the U.S. government has been leading against Cuba for 55 years," Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno told reporters. After Fidel Castro's rebels came to power in Cuba in 1959, the United States imposed initial sanctions in 1960, and then a full embargo in 1961. Other U.S. laws have strengthened the embargo over the years, imposing fines on companies from third countries that have business in Cuba and also in the United States. The damage to Cuba's foreign trade from April 2013 to June 2014 was $3.9 billion, the government said. Cuba would have gained an additional $205.8 million just from sales of cigars and rum without the embargo, according to the report. The cumulative figure of $116.8 billion was expressed in current prices. When factoring in the depreciation of the dollar against the international price of gold, the figure rises to $1.11 trillion, the government estimated. (Editing by David Adams and Jeffrey Benkoe)