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World intellectuals demand end to US ban on Cuba
Updated: 2008-09-19 13:54

HAVANA -- More than 1,000 intellectuals from Latin America, Europe, Africa and the United States signed a support document to Cuba, demanding the United States lift its ban imposed on Cuba nearly half a century ago, local press said Thursday.

Intellectuals from 30 countries including Brazil, Argentina, Chile,Venezuela, Italy, France, Greece, Australia, Britain and South Africa,signed the document, whose text was published online by Cuban intellectuals demanding the end to the US embargoes against Cuba.

The document said Cuba has recently been whipped by two hurricanes and suffered great losses because of that, and its people demand an immediate end to the US ban, which "has been a siege imposed by successive US administrations."

The document can be seen Thursday on website , and is open to comments.

"We appeal to the sensitivity of the intellectuals and artists from all the world to demand an immediately end to the criminal US ban (against Cuba) and to promote support and aid for Cuba," the document said.

Alicia Alonso, director of National Ballet of Cuba, said what Cuba is demanding "is a human right, not charity."

The United States imposed sanctions on Cuba in 1962, seeking to keep the country from carrying out any foreign exchanges and hasten the end to Communism. As a result, Cuba, whose then trade with the US accounted for two-thirds its total foreign trade, was plunged into dire straits. The situation deteriorated further when the US passed a bill in 1996 to punish foreign companies dealing with Cuba.

The Cuban government has recently rejected the United States' strings-attached offer to send hurricane aid accompanied by experts to evaluate the damage.