Sat, Nov 03, 2018 - Page 6 News List

UN votes to condemn embargo of Cuba

ONE-SIDED RESULT:The US and Israel were the only two countries to vote against a Cuban-sponsored resolution to end the embargo Washington has imposed on it

AP, UNITED NATIONS

In a slap to the US, the UN General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning the American economic embargo of Cuba and rejected proposed US amendments strongly criticizing the lack of human rights in the island country.

Resolutions adopted by the 193-member world body are unenforceable, but they reflect world opinion and the vote has given Cuba an annual stage for the last 27 years to demonstrate the isolation of the US on the embargo.

It was imposed in 1960 following the revolution led by Fidel Castro and the nationalization of properties belonging to US citizens and corporations, and two years later it was strengthened.

The UN General Assembly’s vote on the Cuban-sponsored resolution on the “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” was 189-2 with no abstentions. The US and Israel voted “no,” and Moldova and the Ukraine did not vote.

In earlier separate votes on the proposed US amendments, the Ukraine and Israel were the only countries to join the US in voting “yes” on all eight measures, while the Marshall Islands backed one amendment.

About 114 countries voted against the amendments and about 65 abstained.

The proposed amendments expressed serious concern at the lack of freedom of expression and access to information in Cuba and the prohibition on workers’ right to strike.

They called on Cuba to fully grant its citizens “internationally recognized civil, political and economic rights and freedoms,” to establish an independent civil society and to release people detained for exercising their human rights.

Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez said the US embargo was “a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the human rights of Cuban men and women,” and denounced what he called the politicized US amendments.

“The government of the United States doesn’t have the least moral authority to criticize Cuba or anyone when it comes to human rights,” he said.

Rodriguez accused the US government of committing “crimes against humanity,” waging wars that “caused the death of millions, many of them innocent” and carrying out what he said were “extrajudicial executions, kidnapping and torture.”

He also accused the US of violating the human rights of its citizens, singling out African Americans, Hispanics, minorities, refugees and migrants.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said before the votes that “our reason for the embargo is and has always been Cuba’s denial of freedom and the denial of the most basic human rights for the Cuban people.”

She urged the UN General Assembly to use its “megaphone” and “send a moral message to the Cuban dictatorship” that could help improve the lives of the Cuban people, but the US failed to get support even from Western nations.

The EU said the US amendments did not belong in a resolution dealing with a trade embargo, and its members supported the resolution calling for the US “to repeal or invalidate” the embargo. Canada also spoke out against the amendments.

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