Cuba: Fresh UN condemnation of US blockade

The UN General Assembly has voted for the 22nd consecutive year to reject the US embargo, with 188 nations opposed the embargo and three abstentions.

Only the US and Israel voted in favour of the continuation of the embargo, which has been in place since 1960. The UN resolution is non-binding.

On October 29, Cuba's foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez described the embargo as “extraordinary” and “barbaric”.

“The human damages caused by the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba are incalculable,” Rodriguez said during an address to the UN general assembly.

“Seventy-six percent of Cubans have lived under its devastating effects since the day they were born. Our small island poses no threat to the national security of the superpower.”

US ambassador to the UN Ronald Godard rejected the vote, describing the embargo as part of “our overall efforts to encourage respect for civil and human rights”.

“The United States is in fact a deep and abiding friend of the Cuban people,” Godard added.

However, a report published by Cuban state news agency Granma.cu said the embargo has cost the island nation more than US$1.1 trillion since its implementation.

“The blockade against Cuba is the most unjust, severe and extended system of unilateral sanctions ever enforced against any country,” the report said.

“Because of its declared purpose, the political, legal and administrative framework on which the blockade rests qualifies as an act of genocide by virtue of the Geneva Convention of 1948.”

Before coming to office, US President Barack Obama said he would loosen trade restrictions. But Cuban deputy foreign minister Abelardo Moreno said that under Obama, “the blockade not only is being maintained, but strengthened in some aspects”.

Rodriguez said US attempts to financially blockade the island nation have “intensified”, and the country's financial transactions are now closely monitored by the US's “enormous overall espionage system”.

[Abridged from Venezuela Analysis.]