Cuba has called on the US to drop the six-decade-old embargo on trade as the world has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is cruel and inhumane that, in the midst of the worst health crisis in modern history, the United States government continues to be obsessed with the idea of suffocating the Cuban people,” the Cuban Foreign Ministry said on Twitter on Sunday, sharing a photo collage of 11 former US presidents who kept the blockade in place.

Cuba’s official news agency Prensa Latina also reported that people inside and outside the Caribbean country are calling for the end of the economic, commercial, and financial US sanctions.

“The economic US blockade has punished several Cuban generations for over 60 years. It has been tightened with special cruelty since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, a vile and unforgettable crime,” Cuba’s Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernandez de Cossio said on Twitter.

The US maintains a comprehensive economic embargo on Cuba since February 1962, when then US President John F. Kennedy proclaimed an embargo on trade between the two countries.

While the embargo was loosened in 2000 to allow for food and humanitarian goods to be sent to Cuba, it has largely remained intact. It prohibits most American business with Cuba, exposing US corporations to potential sanctions should they do business with the Cold War rival.

Last year, the UN General Assembly reiterated its call for the US to end its embargo on Cuba, the latest in a long-standing series of annual votes insisting the Cold War-era measure be halted.

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