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12:05 pm The voting process begins.
Result: 187 in favor; 3 against; 2 abstentions
Against: Israel, the United States, Brazil
Abstaining: Colombia and Ukraine
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Thursday overwhelming voted in favor of the resolution demanding ending of the U.S. blockade against Cuba with 187 countries voting in favor, three including the U.S. against while two countries abstained.
The countries still promoting the continuation of the financial, economic and trade blockade are the U.S., Israel and Brazil.
The resolution – “The need to end the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” – presented for the 28th time to the UNGA, where the international community has repeatedly expressed its support for the island-country – Cuba – and condemnation of the hostile U.S. policy.
During discussions on the resolution at the UNGA, Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said:
“The purpose of the administration of President Donald Trump, besides damaging Cuba’s economy, is to harm the living standards of Cuban families. The persecution of our banking and financial relations with the rest of the world has continued to intensify. Remittances sent to Cuban citizens were restricted. The granting of visas was reduced. Consular services were limited.”
He pointed out the U.S.’s own record on human rights when it comes to minorities and women, while slamming the U.S.’s rights violations around the world as part of its brutal military interventions.
Later, he said that good governance gives legitimacy to the Cuban government, and therefore, no force should try to pressure another to impose another government. “Dialogue is the key to ending differences.”
The blockade has failed to subdue Cuban people During the UNGA meeting, Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza recalled that the U.S. unilateral sanctions have failed to subdue the Cuban people.
“The blockade is the most emblematic example of the perversity of unilateral actions,” Arreaza said.
He added, “The Cuban people’s heroism and creativity are emblematic. The world’s most powerful county has failed to defeat it after almost 60 years.”
The Venezuelan top diplomat emphasized the need for developing countries to strengthen multilateralism and demand the end unilateral coercive measures.
U.S. has no authority over sovereign states
“International relations should not be handled through political intolerance. The U.S. has no authority over sovereign states and its claim to convert its laws into universal laws is spurious,” he said.
On behalf of his government, Arreaza recalled that the Bolivarian nation remains in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution.
“We are here to accompany Cuba. The call to eliminate the blockade has been in effect over 28 years in a row. It is the imperial insolence’s arrogance versus the Cuban people’s rebellion. Venezuela demands that this economic war cease.”
A collective punishment
Arreaza said unilateral coercive measures imposed on Cuba serve a collective punishment that emanates from “the ego of those who believe they own the world.”
Arreaza said that his country, as a responsible member of the UN, would vote in favor of the resolution that demands an end to the economic and financial blockade of the U.S. against Cuba.
He stressed that “we are here to accompany Cuba at a time when the U.S. government has hardened the criminal blockade against the nation.”
“Only non-civilized, quasi-primitive ruling elites can use economic asphyxiation as a weapon of mass destruction to impose their political preferences on sovereign countries.”
At the U.N., Representatives of many other countries around the world also spoke in support of the resolution lifting the U.S. blockade against Cuba.
Caribbean nations reaffirm support for Cuba
Representatives of Caribbean countries took the stage at the UN to slam the decades-long blockade against Cuba and voice support for the UN resolution calling for lifting the harsh blockade imposed by the U.S.
The representative of Antigua and Barbuda said the blockade continues to produce catastrophic consequences against the Cuban people. “This policy affects my nation because it avoids building better economic ties with that country. Antigua and Barbuda believes that Cuba is a legitimate member of the Western community and we ask the United States to interrupt that policy and that it is useless. ”
The representative of Trinidad and Tobago, in his speech, stated that in 2015 the UNGA committed to a new collective vision for the people of the world, through the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.
“This showed that the UN was evolving as a dynamic organ capable of reacting to the challenges of people in the world.”
Despite this universal commitment, the Trinidad and Tobago official noted that the blockade imposed against Cuba continues to make it difficult for this nation to fulfill its full potential to fulfill all the SDGs.
“The opposition to this anachronistic policy is universal in nature,” he said, and recalled that since 1992 the UNGA has approved the draft resolution presented by Cuba.
It emphasizes multilateral approaches, not unilateral ones. “In accordance with these commitments, we reiterate our relentless call for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S. on Cuba”.
In this context, we will again support the draft resolution on the need to end this blockade, the diplomat concluded.
The draft resolution has to do with the right to sovereignty, non-interference and the principles of the UN, the representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis said at the beginning of his speech.
“Saint Kitts and Nevis has good relations with the United States.” However, it is here because the blockade generates “an important suffering” to the people of Cuba
The diplomat from San Cristobal said that Cuba is an ally of Saint Kitts and Nevis. He recognized how the largest of the Antilles has contributed to the agricultural, educational and health development of his country.
The blockade is a burden on the Cuban brothers and sisters. It is an unfair burden for that brother town, he said
U.S. pressures countries
To undermine the UN resolution, the U.S. targeted many countries, particularly, the Latin American countries, to put pressure.
Cuba denounced pressure and coercion by the U. S. State Department on UN member countries, in an effort to undermine support for Cuba’s resolution against the blockade, which year after year is overwhelmingly approved in the UNGA.
During a press conference at the UN, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez stated, “Far from heeding repeated appeals by the international community, which for more than two decades has almost unanimously adopted this resolution, the United States is orchestrating new maneuvers to hinder its adoption.”
He noted that the U.S. was targeting Latin American countries in particular, reporting that, “barely a week ago, the U.S. State Department summoned the embassy staff of four Latin American countries to Washington. The purpose of the meeting was to obtain their vote against the aforementioned Resolution.”
Along with this move, U.S. embassies in the capitals of six other Latin American nations were pressuring governments to change their votes.
“The Trump’s administration crude manner of imposing conditions and resorting to coercion to achieve its foreign policy goals is only too well known,” Rodríguez stated, recalling the U.S. State Department’s miserable failure in 2018, when it “attempted to amend and change the nature of the resolution that has been traditionally presented to the General Assembly.”
“Cuba knows it can count on the unanimous support of the peoples of Latin America and the entire planet, and expects that none of the governments of the region will give in to Washington’s anti-Cuban designs, which would mean turning a blind eye to the recognized will of their respective peoples, world public opinion, international law, and the most elemental standards of ethics and justice,” he concluded.
Impact of U.S. blockade
Bruno Rodríguez in a press conference on Thursday presented Cuba’s report to the UNGA outlining the full impact of the U.S. blockade over last year.
Cuba Foreign Ministry’s YouTube channel and the Cubaminrex Facebook page broadcast live the meeting with Cuban and foreign media.
- The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the government of the U.S. on Cuba for nearly six decades is the most unjust, severe, and prolonged system of unilateral sanctions ever levied on any country.
- In this past year, tightening the blockade has continued to be the central pivot of U.S. government policy toward Cuba, with increasingly notable effects in its extraterritorial application.
- The U.S. State Department has on three occasions expanded the “Restricted List of Cuban Entities and Sub-Entities”, subject to additional sanctions. This measure has caused considerable damage to the country’s economy by intimidating the international business community.
- April 17, 2019, the U.S. State Department announced its decision to activate Title III of the Helms-Burton Act to permit the filing of claims in U.S. courts against enterprises and individuals, both Cuban and of other nationalities, doing business with properties nationalized in the 1960s. This decision ended the practice of suspending this option for a six-month period, assumed since 1996 by earlier U.S. administrations and President Trump himself in the first two years in office.
- Since the implementation of this decision, Cuba’s economic activities have been severely affected, especially Cuban relations with international partners and investors. No citizen or sector of the economy escapes the negative effects of this unilateral policy, which hinders development, to which every country is entitled, constructed in a sovereign manner.
- Added to the foregoing are provisions of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department and the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Commerce Department to eliminate, as of June 5, 2019, general licenses for “people to people” group educational travel, and prohibiting temporary stays in Cuba by non-commercial aircraft, passenger and recreational boats, including cruise ships. This measure, beyond severely limiting travel by U.S. citizens to our country, directly impacts the emerging Cuban private sector.
- All of these actions were taken for the deliberate and declared objective of causing economic harm and depriving Cuba of financial resources.
The behavior of the current United States government is an insult to the international community, which has for 27 consecutive years condemned the blockade of Cuba within the framework of the United Nations. It ignores successive resolutions by the UNGA and declarations by heads of state or government of the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean, the African Union, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Group of 77 and China and the Non-Aligned Movement, among other organizations which have demanded an end to the blockade of Cuba.
- The policy of blockade against Cuba continues to represent an impediment to the development of the Cuban economy’s potential; to the implementation of the National Economic and Social Development Plan; and attaining Agenda 2030 and its objectives for Sustainable Development.
- The blockade is a massive, flagrant, and systematic violation of the human rights of all Cuban men and women. Because of its declared goal and the political, legal, and administrative framework upon which it is sustained, these sanctions qualify as an act of genocide according to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 and as an act of economic warfare according to the Naval Conference of London of 1909. Moreover, it is in violation of the UN Charter and international law.
- The U.S. must, without any conditions whatsoever, put an end to the unjust blockade, which for nearly 60 years has caused the Cuban people suffering.
- Cuba hall not renounce its principles nor cease in its demands for the complete elimination of the blockade. Therefore, on the 6th and 7th of November, 2019, the government of Cuba will once again present to the United Nations General Assembly the draft resolution entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the government of the United States of America against Cuba”.
- Cuba reiterates its permanent gratitude to the international community for demanding the end to this illegal, genocidal, and extraterritorial policy.
- Within the particularly difficult current situation, Cuba and its people hope to once again count on the valuable contribution of your countries to lifting the U.S. blockade.
For the first time in its diplomatic history, Brazil openly joined the U.S. agenda against the Cuban revolution, which triggered strong criticism against Bolivia’s President Jair Bolsonaro in progressive media in Brazil.
“Under the Bolsonaro administration, our Foreign Affairs Ministry acts as a branch of the U.S. Department of State. Nevertheless, even acting as a colony, Brazil has obtained no economic gains, quite the opposite,” local outlet Brasil 247 commented.
“The Brazilian position is unprecedented and alters the diplomatic position that Brazil has maintained since 1992, when the condemnation of the embargo was voted for the first time.”
“The Cuban revolution, which has inspired revolutionaries around the world, is a symbol of struggle hated to the death by right-wingers such as Trump and Bolsonaro,” outlet Esquerda Diario said.
“Brazil’s attitude shift displays its government’s conservative extremism as well as the most servile and lackey submission to the U.S.”