United States Isolated Once Again at UN

Amid strong criticism of the United States, the annual resolution was passed by 186 votes to 2 with 3 abstentions. As in previous years, Israel joined the United States in opposing the UN resolution while the Marshall islands, Micronesia and Palau abstained

By: Juventud Rebelde

NEW YORK, October 25.— Numerous representatives from around the world applauded Cuba’s overwhelming victory at the United Nations when the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly condemned the US blockade against Cuba for the 20th year in a row.

Amid strong criticism of the United States, the annual resolution was passed by 186 votes to two with three abstentions. As in previous years, Israel joined the United States in opposing the UN resolution while the Marshall islands, Micronesia and Palau abstained.

Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez accused the US government of intensifying restrictions on trade and economic contacts with the communist island in recent years. He told the General Assembly the annual votes highlight “the uncomfortable isolation of the aggressor country and the heroic resistance of a people that refuse to give on its sovereign rights.”

The United States has not eased the embargo in the nearly three years since President Barack Obama’s election raised hopes for a change in policy, he added. “Despite the false image of flexibility that the current U.S. administration intends to portray, the blockade and the sanctions remain intact,” Rodriguez told the assembly.

“What the US Government wants to see changed will not change,” he stated, declaring that the Cuban Government will continue to be “the government of the people, by the people and for the people.

“Our elections shall not be auction sales. There shall not be $4 billion electoral campaigns nor a parliament supported by 13 per cent of voters,” he added.

“Why doesn’t President Obama’s administration take care of the US problems and leave us Cubans alone to solve ours in peace?”

Representatives from Vietnam, Russia, Nicaragua and many other countries, as well as the 120-member Nonaligned Movement, spoke Tuesday in favor of the measure calling for the end of the American embargo against the Caribbean country.

“The only consequences of the sanctions are the deterioration of the living standard of the Cuban population, creation of artificial barriers to its economic growth and infringement on the rights and interests of third countries,” Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said. Churkin added that the United States was carrying out “economic strangulation” and called for the “earliest repeal of this senseless anti-Cuban practice running counter to modern international realities.”

Chinese deputy representative to the UN Wang Min told the UN that the resolutions adopted in the past 19 consecutive years have not been effectively implemented, and the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba imposed by the United States is yet to be lifted. “Such practice has not only severely violated the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the relevant resolutions, but has also inflicted enormous economic and financial losses on Cuba,” said Wang.

Furthermore, sanctions and embargo have severely impeded the efforts by the Cuban people to eradicate poverty, promote economic and social development and achieve the Millennium Development Goals, Wang noted. “They have violated the basic human rights of the Cuban people to food, health and education and their right to survival and development, and affected the normal economic, commercial and financial interactions between other countries and Cuba,” he added.

“China hopes that the US will follow the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the relevant resolutions and terminate its embargo against Cuba as soon as possible,” he said.

Bolivian representative to the UN Juan C. Alurralde spoke about the reiterated occasions that the UN has demanded that the US lift its blockade of Cuba, “If we really believe in democracy,” we will comply with what is voted in the General Assembly. How many more times do we need to vote? he asked.

Venezuelan Ambassador Jorge Valero said it is time for the US to listen to the world. Nicaraguan Ambassador Danilo Rosales Díaz vehemently rejected the address of US representative Ronald Godard discrediting what he called the fallacy of his statements regarding the resolution. “Once again we have heard the US try to justify what is unjustifiable to break down a people who will never yield.”

The Non-Aligned Movement of Countries, the Group of 77 plus China, MERCOSUR, the Islamic Cooperation Organization and the African Union were some of the international organizations who spoke in favor of the Cuban resolution condemning the US blockade.

The resolution presented by Cuba states that the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States government against Cuba has been maintained and further tightened despite the growing and categorical demand by the international community —in particular the United Nations General Assembly— for its elimination.

As a consequence of the rigorous and fierce implementation of the US blockade, Cuba continues to be prohibited from freely exporting and importing goods and services to or from the United States, and it cannot use the US dollar in its international financial transactions or hold accounts in that currency in third country banks. Nor is Cuba permitted access to credit from US banks or any of their branch offices in third countries, or from international institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund or the Inter-American Development Bank.

Despite the official rhetoric intended to persuade international public opinion into believing that the current US government has implemented a policy of positive changes, Cuba remains unable to trade with any subsidiaries of US companies based in third countries; and businesspersons from third countries interested in investing in Cuba are systematically harassed and blacklisted.

One of the distinctive characteristics of the current US administration’s implementation of the blockade has been an upsurge in the persecution of Cuba’s international financial transactions, including those that stem from multilateral organizations that cooperate with Cuba.

The persecution of Cuba’s financial transactions with third countries has intensified regardless of the relations these countries may have with Cuba, the currency used in those transactions or the applicable banking norms in the countries involved.

The US government continues to publicly assert its alleged need to preserve the blockade as “a tool to apply pressure” and maintains its conditions regarding internal order in Cuba as a prerequisite to modify its policy towards the island. Evidently, it has no intention whatsoever to bring about a change in its policy towards the Island or abide by the resolutions that have been repeatedly adopted by the United Nations General Assembly that call for an end to this inhumane policy. The US government has maintained the entire framework of laws and administrative provisions that are part of the blockade’s legal basis and regulations. The basics of that policy have not been modified.

The blockade violates International Law, runs contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and constitutes a contravention of a sovereign state’s right to peace, development and security. In its essence and objectives, the blockade represents an act of unilateral aggression and a permanent threat against the stability of a nation. The blockade constitutes a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of an entire people. It also violates the constitutional rights of US citizens by denying them the freedom to travel to Cuba, and encroaches on the sovereign rights of many other states because of its extraterritorial nature.

Once again, for the 20th time, the world has energetically called for an immediate end to this violation of international law.

La Colmenita Performs at UN

The Cuban children’s theater group, La Colmenita performed on Monday, October 25, at the UN headquarters in New York. Director Carlos Alberto “Tin” Cremata said it was a great honor to hear the numerous voices in the UN General Assembly speak out against the US blockade of Cuba.

In statements to the Cuban televison program The Round Table, Cremata said that he joined the children’s company to sit in on the vote and that they felt immense joy to be able to participate.

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