UN Votes 191-2 To Condemn U.S. Blockade Against Cuba

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An overwhelming UN vote says that the United States blockade of Cuba needs to end.

The UN General Assembly voted 191-2 to condemn the US embargo of Cuba, with only the US and Israel opposing.

This was the first vote on a resolution since U.S. and Cuba reestablished diplomatic ties, yet Washington voted against.

Miami Herald Reports:

In its statement, the United States said that it couldn’t support the resolution because it failed to take into account “the significant steps in the spirit of engagement” undertaken by the United States, and it was disappointed that Cuba had chosen to bring forth a resolution “almost identical” to those of years past.

The United States had to balance its developing relationship with Cuba and President Barack Obama’s declaration that he wants to work with Congress to lift the embargo against an awkward and unprecedented stance of not standing in opposition to a resolution contrary to U.S. law.

In his remarks, Cuban Foreign Minister Rodríguez did acknowledge the new relationship with the United States. But he said that “the facts show crystal clear” that the blockade, as Cuba refers to the embargo, is still being “fully and completely implemented.”

The new rules on trade and travel undertaken by Obama using his executive authority, “only modify in a very limited way” the implementation of the embargo, said Rodríguez. “The human damage it has caused is inestimable.”

The vote has become an autumn ritual at the United Nations. Last year for the 23rd year in a row, the international body overwhelmingly passed the resolution condemning the U.S. embargo against the island by a vote of 188 to 2. The United States and its ally Israel were the only nations to vote against the resolution.

This year Israel also joined the United States in voting no.

Three small Pacific island nations — Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau — abstained last year. But just as the 70th General Assembly session — the first attended by Cuban leader Raúl Castro — opened, Palau and the Marshall Islands both established diplomatic ties with Cuba. Earlier in September, Micronesia established diplomatic relations during the Forum of the Pacific Islands in Papua, New Guinea.

This year they changed their votes to favor the resolution, giving Cuba its largest victory margin ever.

Many speakers during the debate on the resolution acknowledged the renewal of diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba and the island’s removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. They said they welcomed the actions.

But some speakers said the steps taken by the United States were still limited and that the embargo remained unchanged or had even been tightened since the historic rapprochement was announced last December.

María Emma Mejía Vélez, Colombia’s permanent representative, said her country was optimistic that Obama’s “political will” to work with Congress to lift the embargo will serve as a basis for its end. But she said, “The embargo runs counter to international law.”



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