[HCCN] UN condemns Cuba Blockade for 19th Time

Judith Robbins JUDY at robbinsandrobbins.com
Wed Oct 28 20:15:45 EDT 2009

23:25 MECCA TIME, 20:25 GMT

UN condemns US embargo on Cuba

UN General Assembly members have voted
against the embargo for years [EPA]
The United Nations' General Assembly has voted to condemn the United  
States' trade embargo on Cuba, in a signal that worldwide opposition  
to the policy remains strong.

The 187-3 vote on Wednesday to condemn the embargo marked a slight  
rise in opposition to the US policy from last year, when 185 General  
Assembly member states voted against the restrictions.

Israel, Palau and the United States itself were the only nations that  
voted in favour of the embargo.

The General Assembly has now taken up the symbolic measure for each  
of the last 19 years.

Restrictions criticised

Bruno Rodriguez, Cuba's foreign minister, said in his speech before  
the assembly that the embargo had cost the island's fragile economy  
tens of billions of dollars during its 47-year duration and that it  
had prevented Cuban children from receiving medical care.

"The blockade is an uncultured act of arrogance," Rodriguez said,  
adding that the policy was an "an act of genocide" that is "ethically  

"President Obama has a historical opportunity to lead a change of  
policy toward Cuba and the lifting of the blockade"

Bruno Rodriguez, Cuba's foreign minister

The General Aseembly held the annual vote for the forst time since  
Barack Obama, the US president, took office in January and pledged to  
improve relations with countries that Washington has long been in  
opposition to.

The Obama administration has relaxed finance and travel restrictions  
on US citizens who have relatives in Cuba, and sent a diplomat to  
Havana in September in what was called the most senior-level talks  
between the US and Cuba in years.
However, Washington has said that Cuba must still make several  
economic, political and financial changes before it will consider  
lifting the embargo.
"President Obama has a historical opportunity to lead a change of  
policy toward Cuba and the lifting of the blockade," Rodriguez said.
He said that "there has not been any change in the implementation of  
the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba" since  
Obama's inauguration.
Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, responded by calling  
Rodriguez's comments "hostile" and "straight out of the Cold War  
era", and said that the Obama administration remained committed to  
engaging with the Cuban government.
"The United States has demonstrated that we are prepared to engage  
the government of Cuba on issues that effect the security and well- 
being of both our peoples," Rice said during her speech to the assembly.
But several respesentatives spoke against the embargo, calling it an  
affront to international law and that it had hurt ordinary Cubans  
rather than the country's government.

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