The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to demand that the U.S. end its 52-year economic embargo against Cuba. The assembly has adopted a similar resolution every year going back to 1992. Tuesday’s vote was 188-2 with 3 abstentions.
Israel joined the U.S. in voting “no”, while Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands abstained.
“The embargo has cost Cuba more than $1 trillion and imposed tremendous hardships on the population,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said in presenting the resolution.
“The suffering of our families cannot be quantified,” he added, after noting that 77 percent of Cuba’s people have never known life without the embargo.
Citing growing support in the U.S. for ending the embargo, Rodriguez said Cuba is inviting Washington to embark on a “mutually respectful relationship” based on equality, international law and the principles of the UN Charter.
Some of those who spoke in favor of the resolution, including representatives from Mexico and Colombia, hailed Cuba’s dispatch of hundreds of health professionals to West Africa to help combat the Ebola epidemic.
But U.S. diplomat Ronald Godard said that while Cuba’s efforts against Ebola are “laudable,” they do not excuse the Cuban government’s treatment of its own people.
The embargo is aimed at helping Cuba’s people exercise their basic human rights and the resolution condemning the U.S. policy “serves only to distract the real problems facing Cubans”, Godard said.
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