Tuesday, October 29, 2013

United Nations again condemns U.S. embargo of Cuba

For the 22nd consecutive year a human rights motion carries easily, but will have no practical result

Guadalajara -
Every year for more than two decades, the United Nations General Assembly has condemned the United States' sweeping economic embargo against Cuba, which was imposed during the administration of president John F. Kennedy (Cuban embargo is 50 - Feb. 7, 2012).

Today it did so once again by an overwhelming vote of 188-2, with three abstentions. The measure is taken up annually on the motion of Cuba. Last year the vote was 188-3, and in 2011, 186-2. The United States casts one of the two or three negative votes, with Israel typically another dissenter, as it was this year.

In New York this morning, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez told the assembled delegates, "The human suffering which the embargo has produced are incalculable. Since it was put into place, 76% of Cubans have been forced to live under its devastating effects. The U.S. embargo constitutes a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of human rights."

The Cuban government maintains the embargo has caused $1.157 trillion dollars in direct economic losses to the island economy since 1962. Rodríguez implored president Barack Obama to "listen to the voices in the U.S. which have condemned the embargo."

Those voices include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which claimed in a 2009 report that it costs the American economy $1.2 billion per year in lost sales and exports. Religious organizations have also spoken out in opposition. U.S. National Council of Churches urges end to Cuban embargo.

During today's session Mexico's representative to the U.N. expressed his country's "firm rejection" of unilateral economic embargoes which have not been authorized by the world body.

In a rebuttal speech ambassador Ronald Godard, a senior adviser for the U.S. State Dept.'s Western Hemisphere Affairs division, told the assembly Cuba was trying to use his country as a "scapegoat" to divert attention form the island's internal problems. "In 2012, the Cuban people received two billion dollars in food and medicine," he noted. It was the same line of argument Godard has presented in recent years. In any case many experts concur that the island's shaky internal economy is a direct result of the embargo, which prevents investment in or trade with Cuba by U.S. business enterprises, or by almost any foreign concern that wants to operate in the U.S. or with U.S. commercial partners.

Today's vote was advisory only. The U.N. General Assembly has no power to enforce its anti-embargo resolution, despite the massively one sided tally.

Nov. 1 - Mexico forgives $341 million dollars in Cuban bank debt

Oct. 2, 2012 - Cuba lambasts U.S. embargo at U.N. General Assembly
May 12, 2012 - Barack Obama should free Alan Gross
Apr. 12, 2012 - In Havana, Mexican president Felipe Calderón condemns U.S. embargo of Cuba
Apr. 9, 2012 - Colombia's president Manuel Santos calls for normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations
Dec. 1, 2011 - Ex-U.S. State Dept. official urges removal of Cuba from state-sponsored terror list
Oct. 26, 2011 - The Cuban embargo - 51 years later, a paradigm for how not to conduct foreign policy
Oct. 25, 2011 - United Nations condemns U.S. embargo of Cuba, 186-2, for 20th consecutive year

Related content
May 3, 2013 - Miami Five member René González may stay in Cuba if he renounces U.S. citizenship
Nov. 16, 2012 - Alan Gross sues U.S., claiming he was deceived about Cuba high tech smuggling gig
Mar. 28, 2012 - Fidel Castro greets Pope Benedict XVI - but no jail pass for U.S. citizen Alan Gross

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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