UN condemns US blockade by 186 votes to 2

News from Cuba | Wednesday, 26 October 2011

For the 20th consecutive year, the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution calling for the lifting of the 50-year-old economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba.

The 193-member United Nations body voted to condemn the “adverse effects” of such measures on the Cuban people and on Cuban nationals living in other countries in the non-binding resolution.

Countries from across the world - from China to Mexico and from Algeria to South Africa - queued up to lend their political and diplomatic support to Cuba. The representative from Uruguay noted that “we have witnessed an increase in the restrictions on Cuba’s transactions with third countries” and the blockade is “counter to the principles of justice and human rights, hampers and delays development and seriously harms the Cuban economy”.

The delegate from Bolivia - referencing President John F Kennedy’s “ich bin ein Berliner” quote - said the slogan of our time should be “I am a Cuban” as the Cuban people remain an “inspiration and example” to the rest of the world. He continued, “if we truly believe in democracy then we must listen to the countries in this room”

Venezuela sent a message of support and solidarity to the Miami 5 and appealed to the United States for their release and the return of Rene Gonzalez to his homeland.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said that the sanctions have caused direct economic damages of close to $1 trillion to the Cuban people over nearly half a century and that President Obama had done litte to change this.

"Despite the false image of flexibility that the current U.S. administration intends to portray, the blockade and the sanctions remain intact," Rodriguez told the assembly.

"Why doesn't President Obama's administration take care of the U.S. problems and leave us Cubans alone to solve ours in peace?"

American Ambassador Ronald D. Godard, U.S. Senior Area Adviser for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said the embargo is a bilateral issue and "not appropriately a concern of this assembly."

Resolution A/66/L4 received 186 votes in favour and 2 against (USA and Israel), with 3 abstentions (Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands). In 2010 the vote was 187 to 2.

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