Entire UN, bar US and Israel, votes to end blockade of Cuba

Bruno Rodriguez.

Once again, the United States and Israel voted against a motion to end economic sanctions at the United Nations General Assembly on October 27. Similar motions have been adopted by overwhelming majorities at the UN for the past 23 years.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented a report that concludes that the economic sanctions, which have caused about US$833.8 billion in damages to the Caribbean island, should be lifted.

Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez addressed the UN, calling the blockade a “flagrant, massive and systematic violation of human rights of all Cubans”.

“We hope that the US moves forward from a cruel and unjust policy anchored in the past and adopts a policy based on the feelings of its own citizens,” he said.

Ecuador's representative at the UN called on the US to cease voting against the movement, “contrary to the will of the international community”.

For the past three years, 188 of the 193 members have voted in favour of Cuba, with the US and Israel being persistent exceptions. The decision must be unanimous for the measure to be passed.

The resolution was named “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”. It expressed concern over the international legality of the US economic and financial siege of the Caribbean island.

US President Barack Obama said in July that the blockade had failed. Since then, he has hinted that it could soon be lifted. But despite starting a path to normalise bilateral dealings, including lifting some travel and trade bans to the island, the sanctions continue as a change of policy would have to be passed by Congress.

Cuban President Raul Castro has reiterated that for full relations to be re-established, the US must meet four conditions: close its Guantanamo Bay detention centre; end the blockade; end the “wet-foot-dry-foot” law encouraging Cubans to pursue residency in the US; and end anti-government radio and television transmissions into the island.

Lifting the half-century blockade would represent a historic moment for Cubans, 77% of whom were born under the harsh economic conditions.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.