General Assembly yet again issues annual call for end to US embargo

For the 15th year in a row, the United Nations General Assembly has overwhelmingly called on the United States to end its commercial, economic and financial embargoes against Cuba that began more than 46 years ago.The resolution, adopted yesterday by 183 votes in favour to 4 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, US) and 1 abstention (Federated States of Micronesia), reiterated the Assembly’s call to all States to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures not conforming with their obligations to reaffirm freedom of trade and navigation.It also called on them to repeal or invalidate such laws and requested the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the resolution at the Assembly’s next session, beginning next September.Speaking for the resolution, Cuba’s Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said the economic war waged by the US against Cuba was the longest and cruellest act ever known. It was an “act of genocide” and a flagrant violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations.Declaring that the US was lying when it alleged that Cuba used the embargo as an excuse for its own shortcomings, he said the embargo posed incredible limitations on his country, banning trade and tourism from the US, blocking Cuba from using the dollar in its external financial transactions and banning US banks and their subsidiaries in other countries from working with Cuba.It also stopped the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) from granting credits to Cuba. More importantly, the US imposed those “criminal” provisions on Cuba’s economic relations with other countries, preventing their businessmen from investing in Cuba, and threatening to block those who ignored the ban from entry into the US, he added, charging that the US was continuing with its plans to “re-colonize” Cuba. US delegate Ronald Godard said the embargo was a bilateral issue that should not come before the Assembly. The measures had been maintained in an effort to promote the exercise of human, political and socio-economic rights for all Cuban people, and to ensure that such rights were not only enjoyed solely by privileged Cuban leaders.Cuba introduced the text year after year, cynically asking everyone to blame the US and ignore the truth that the Cuban Government’s denial of the political, human, economic, and labour rights of its people for some 40 years was the real source of the problem, he added.Washington’s embargo did not, as the resolution suggested, interfere with navigation in Cuban waters, or prevent others from trading with Cuba; and the US has continued to provide Cuba with billions of dollars in agricultural commodities, and billions more in medical equipment, he declared. read more