Voted out: 187 of the 193 member states of the United Nations are calling for an end to the US blockade against Cuba. The USA and its ally Israel are completely isolated.

With an overwhelming majority of 187 votes in favor, two against (USA and Israel) and one abstention (Ukraine), the resolution calling on the United States to end the blockade was adopted for the 31st time. This year the document received two more votes than in 2022. After the vote, there was a standing ovation among the diplomats present.

Since 1992, the UN’s highest advisory body has year after year called on the United States of America to lift the sanctions against the Caribbean island , but so far without success.

An act of economic warfare in peacetime

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla spoke to the UN General Assembly about the need to end the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba. He described how the blockade is affecting Cubans’ daily lives, from food to energy to medicine, including for cancer, diabetes and other diseases.

“With viciousness and surgical precision, the most vulnerable sectors of the economy are being attacked and a deliberate attempt is being made to inflict the greatest possible damage on Cuban families,” said Bruno Rodríguez Padilla.

Among the numerous examples he gave of the impact of the blockade on daily life, he described how Cuba was prevented from purchasing equipment, devices and medicines from US companies and their subsidiaries, for which the country had to pay exorbitant prices to third parties. The minister added and explained that “the US government is lying when it claims that the blockade does not prevent access to medicines and medical equipment,” and he recalled that this is exactly what had happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The blockade aims to destabilize the country. This is “an act of economic warfare in times of peace to eliminate the government’s ability to address the needs of the population, create a situation of ungovernability and destroy the constitutional order,” said Rodríguez Padilla.

“It is unlawful and unethical for a major power government to subject a small country to decades of relentless economic warfare in order to impose an alien political system and reappropriate its resources to itself. It is unacceptable to deny an entire people the right to self-determination, development and human progress,” he added.

Rodríguez Padilla acknowledged that not all of the island’s problems were due to the blockade, but that it was the main cause of the suffering.

“In the words of our President Miguel Díaz-Canel, anyone who denies the serious impact of the blockade and does not recognize that it is the main cause of the deprivation, hardships and suffering of Cuban families, anyone who denies [the role of] the blockade would be lying. It is a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of our entire people and the greatest obstacle to our development,” he said.

Colombia: The blockade violates UN principles

During the pre-vote deliberations, numerous ambassadors took the floor: the Colombian ambassador stated that “the blockade against Cuba is one of the measures most rejected by this General Assembly.”

Leonor Zalabata Torres pointed out that the measures primarily affect the population and affect the realization of their economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. The ongoing blockade, in turn, is affecting job creation and opportunities and weakening the country’s social fabric and its productivity.

“The unilateral coercive measures will further aggravate [the fact that] Cuba is on the list of countries sponsoring terrorism. This blockade violates the principles of the United Nations Charter. Finally, she recalled the role that Cuba has played and continues to play in consolidating peace in Colombia,” and thanked Cuba for it.

Mexico: An alien word for the peaceful coexistence

The Mexican representative called for an end to the blockade, saying it “violates international law and is alien to the values on which the peaceful coexistence of the peoples of the Americas and the Caribbean is based.”

“Mexico categorically condemns the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba for more than six decades, as well as the decision to apply Title III of the Law on Freedom and Democratic Solidarity of Cuba, which violates not only the sovereignty of the Cuban people, but also the national interests of third countries,” said Alicia Guadalupe Buenrostro Massieu.

The Ambassador also pointed out that “given the serious economic situation caused by the impact of Covid-19, high oil prices and the consequences of natural disasters, the end of this blockade cannot be postponed. There must be no unilateral sanctions beyond those decided by the UN Security Council,” she added.

G77 and China: Violation of trade freedom

The Ugandan representative, speaking on behalf of the G77 and China, deplored the US government’s policy of tightening the blockade. “We deplore the extension of the extraterritorial nature of the Helms-Burton Act,” said Godfrey Kwoba, who explained that its application constitutes a clear violation of freedom of trade between nations since it aims to restrict any commercial or investment transactions between Cuba and another country.

The G77 also called for Cuba to be removed from the US list of alleged sponsors of terrorism:

“The only thing we know about Cuba is its friendship and solidarity. We don’t know anything about terrorism.”

China: Violation of the UN Charter

The Deputy Permanent Representative of China stated that “the imposition of unilateral coercive measures against Cuba and other countries by the United States of America is a violation of the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. These measures have undermined the international consensus on the 2030 Agenda, harming the right to survival and development of people in Cuba and other countries and undermining cooperation and development; they run counter to international policies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Dai Bing.

He noted that since 1992, the General Assembly has adopted several successive resolutions “overwhelmingly calling for an end to the blockade against Cuba (…) This one is a stronger call from the international community that must be effectively implemented.”

“As chairman of the G77+China, Cuba has played a leading role in the South-South cooperation this year (…) China appreciates these efforts.”

Belize: No state may be above the law

The Belizean representative noted that no member state is above the law and also rejected the designation of Cuba as a country that sponsors terrorism. This is a measure that exacerbates the inhumane consequences of the blockade. He noted Cuba’s solidarity with Belize in the areas of health, scholarships and technical assistance.

Here is the link to Resolution A/78/L.5 introduced by Cuba, which can be accessed in various languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish).

The article appeared on Cuba si. We would like to thank you for kindly agreeing to the publication.

Sources: Noticias ONU, Cubadebate

Cuba’s report on the damage caused by the US blockade [is available in] Spanish, English and French: Schadensbericht_us-blockade_2023.pdf

The original article can be found here