Last Updated: November 03, 2023, 17:53 IST
New York, United States of America (USA)
The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has voted by a sizeable margin against the US economic and trade embargo against Cuba. As many as 187 States voted for the resolution against the embargo with only the United States and Israel voting against it and Ukraine abstaining.
The Assembly on Thursday voiced concern that despite its resolutions dating back to 1992, “the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba is still in place”, and that “the adverse effects of such measures on the Cuban people and on Cuban nationals living in other countries”.
In the resolution titled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”, the General Assembly reiterated its call for all States to refrain from promulgating and applying such restrictive laws and measures.
What US Said
In explaining its vote, US Ambassador Paul Folmsbee said that his country “stands resolutely” with the Cuban people. “We strongly support their pursuit of a future with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” he said, noting that sanctions are “one set of tools” in the US’ broader effort towards encouraging Cuba to advance democracy and promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Folmsbee said the US recognises the challenges the Cuban people face, explaining that sanctions include exemptions and authorizations relating to exports of food, medicines, and other humanitarian goods to Cuba. “The US opposes this resolution,” he said, encouraging the General Assembly to urge the Cuban Government to adhere to its human rights obligations “and listen to the Cuban people and their aspirations to determine their own future.”
What Cuba Said
The Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said the more than 60-year blockade violates the rights of all Cuban men and women. He said the blockade deprives the agricultural industry of funds to buy animal fodder, industrial equipment and other necessities for food production. Despite wavers on food products, the US is violating rules of international trade, he said.
“Cuba is prevented from buying from US companies and its subsidiaries in third countries, equipment, technologies, medical devices and end-use pharmaceuticals, and is therefore forced to acquire them at exorbitant prices by way of intermediaries or to replace them with less-effective generic drugs,” he said.
“How different could [their] lives have been, if Cuba was not prevented from acquiring directly from the US market the [medications] to prevent the spasms,” he wondered. The Minister recalled the situation during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the challenges to acquire medical oxygen and the need for the US Government to grant a special licence for that transaction, “even during the pandemic”, which reflected the inhumane nature of the policy.
Parrilla said 80 percent of the population has never known life without the crippling US blockade. It is “an act of economic warfare, in times of peace”, creating a situation of ungovernability and an attempt to destroy the constitutional order, he added. He said Cuba was not threat at all to the US and that to subject a small nation for decades to economic warfare, was unacceptable. The whole country was being deprived of the right to progress, through an “illegal, cruel and inhumane policy”, he said.
The Cuban foreign minister said the US had been pressuring banks worldwide not to deal with his nation, becoming victims of US hostility and it’s harmful impact on the global financial system, he added. He pointed out that the blockade separated Cuban families and deprives US citizens of their right to visit Cuba. The “tightening economic siege” has been accompanied by a disinformation campaign against Cuba, he said, seeking to destabilise and discredit the country.
(With agency inputs)