The majority of the General Assembly has voted to oppose the embargo imposed by the US on Cuba.
The complete name of the resolution is “Ending the US Economic, Commercial, and Financial Embargo Against Cuba is Necessary”.
The Assembly expressed worry that even though it has passed resolutions since 1992 (Resolution 47/19), the economic, commercial, and financial blockade against Cuba remains in effect, causing negative consequences for the Cuban population and for Cuban citizens residing in other nations.
The statement refers to actions taken by former US President Barack Obama in 2015 and 2016 to alter certain aspects of the embargo, which are different from the measures implemented since 2017 to strengthen its enforcement.
The General Assembly restated its request for all nations to avoid creating and enforcing restrictive laws and actions, in accordance with their responsibilities outlined in the UN Charter and global legislation.
Please access the complete resolution by clicking on the provided link.
This concludes our live coverage of the annual meeting where only the US and Israel continue to support the decades-old Washington policy of imposing economic and trade sanctions on Cuba, which originated from the confiscation of land and property in the aftermath of the 1959 Cuban revolution led by Castro.
The General Assembly has ended its session.
Paul Folmsbee, the US Representative, stated that his country strongly supports the Cuban people in his explanation for their vote.
“We firmly endorse their efforts to strive towards a future where human rights and basic freedoms are upheld,” he stated, acknowledging that sanctions are just one aspect of the US’ overall strategy to urge Cuba to progress towards democracy and prioritize respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The US acknowledges the difficulties that the Cuban population is currently experiencing. They have stated that the sanctions have exceptions and approvals for the export of food, medication, and other essential items to Cuba.
He stated that the US is against this resolution and urged the General Assembly to advise the Cuban Government to fulfill their human rights responsibilities. He also called for the Cuban people to be heard and for their desires to determine their own future to be taken into consideration.
Many countries, such as Timor Leste and Sri Lanka, are currently providing reasons for their votes.
Cuba has concluded their speech. It is now time for the vote to take place.
Those in favour: 187
The opposing parties: 2 (the United States and Israel)
Abstentions: 1 (Ukraine)
The draft resolution is being presented by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, the Cuban foreign minister, at this time. He asserts that the blockade, which has been in place for over 60 years, infringes upon the rights of all Cuban individuals.
There is a shortage of goods for families, resulting in long waiting lines and inflated prices. The Government is working hard to provide food for its people. He stated that the blockade prevents the agricultural sector from obtaining necessary funds for purchasing animal feed, industrial equipment, and other essentials for food production.
He stated that despite fluctuations in food items, the US is breaking international trade regulations.
According to a statement, Cuba is unable to purchase equipment, technologies, medical devices, and necessary pharmaceuticals from US companies or their subsidiaries in third countries. As a result, they are forced to obtain these items through intermediaries at inflated prices or resort to using less effective generic drugs. This information comes from testimonies of Cuban families dealing with severe illnesses.
He pondered how much their lives could have changed if Cuba had been allowed to purchase the necessary medications directly from the US market to prevent spasms.
The Minister brought up the circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak, emphasizing the difficulties in obtaining medical oxygen and the necessity for the US Government to issue a special license for such transactions, even during the pandemic. This showed the inhumane nature of the policy.
According to him, 80% of the population has never experienced life without the severe US blockade. He described it as an “act of economic warfare” during peacetime, which has resulted in a state of chaos and an effort to dismantle the established government structure.
He stated that Cuba posed no danger to the US, and condemned the prolonged use of economic aggression against a small nation as unacceptable. He argued that this “illegal, cruel, and inhumane” policy was hindering the country’s ability to advance.
He restated Cuba’s backing and unity with the Palestinian population, who are currently facing violence on their own land that has been taken over illegally. He also stated that these savage actions need to cease, in reference to the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip.
The foreign minister of Cuba stated that the United States had been exerting pressure on banks across the world to avoid doing business with their country, resulting in them becoming victims of US aggression and the negative consequences it has on the international financial system.
He noted that the embargo divides Cuban families and prevents US citizens from exercising their right to travel to Cuba.
According to the speaker, there has been a deliberate effort to spread false information about Cuba in order to undermine and discredit the country. This campaign, referred to as a “media crusade,” is being led by the US with the intention of stirring up discontent and falsely portraying a political crisis within Cuba.
During the two-day discussion, he expressed gratitude for the backing of over 40 nations.
The speaker stated that Cuba will maintain efforts to connect with the American people and citizens living outside of the country. They will also always defend their independent country and support its ongoing changes.
Gabon’s Representative, Ambassador Aurélie Flore Koumba Pambo, expressed her country’s worries about the ongoing embargo.
She stated that the Cuban people are increasingly suffering from the negative effects of its impact, emphasizing that the economic blockade is a hostile action that undermines regional and continental unity.
Representing her nation, which is currently a member of the Security Council, she stated that the embargo goes against international laws, the UN Charter, and typical protocols for maintaining peaceful relationships between countries. She also pointed out that it has had adverse effects on Cuba’s culture, public health, and the overall welfare of its citizens.
She stated that it is the primary barrier to Cuba’s social and economic progress.
Paula Narváez Ojeda, Chile’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative, restated her country’s belief that imposing one-sided coercive actions goes against the laws of the international community.
The speaker stated that Chile does not support unilateral sanctions and believes that the only legitimate sanctions are those approved by the Security Council as part of their duty to maintain global peace and security under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
She observed that the economic blockade is outdated and should be permanently lifted.
The PGA, which stands for President of the United Nations, has officially commenced the 26th plenary session of the organization since the start of its 78th session in September.
Peru will be the first to speak out of 16 countries before the vote takes place.
According to Ambassador Luis Ugarelli, his country agrees with the majority of the global community that the embargo violates the UN Charter and human rights laws. He stated that his country will back the resolution, as it has for over three decades.
The meeting is about to begin, with Dennis Francis, the President of the General Assembly, presiding. Delegates are still arriving at the opulent Hall at the United Nations Headquarters.
The United States enforced the trade restriction as a reaction to the uprising led by Fidel Castro and the subsequent seizure of assets owned by American citizens by the new Government.
In 2016, a warming in diplomatic ties between Cuba and the Obama administration resulted in the US choosing to not vote on the resolution for the first time. However, in 2017, the US returned to opposing the measure.
To revisit the state of relationships within the General Assembly during the initial implementation of the US embargo, check out a video from our Stories From the UN Archive series showcasing the longest speech ever given by the young Cuban leader.
Each time, the resolution has been passed with an overwhelming majority. However, the way in which members voted has been closely examined as a representation of current geopolitical alliances and conflicts.
The discussion regarding the proposed decision commenced yesterday and will continue today at 10 AM in New York, with Cuba and the United States being among the main nations anticipated to speak during the session.
Yesterday, numerous Member States emphasized the detrimental and enduring effects of the decades-long embargo on the Caribbean nation.
The Secretary-General’s report on Cuba’s impact on human development was referenced by several individuals. The Assembly has repeatedly urged for the lifting of the embargo every year that the resolution is discussed.
To view discussions from Wednesday as covered by the UN Meetings Coverage Section, click on the link provided.
Click on this link to follow the Spanish coverage.
Action on the draft
After the discussion, there will be action taken on the proposed resolution titled “The Need to End the US’s Economic, Commercial, and Financial Embargo against Cuba.”
This issue has consistently appeared on the Assembly’s schedule, and in past years, the majority has voted in support of ending the measures.
For example, in the previous year, 185 countries agreed while 2 countries (Israel and United States) disagreed, and 2 countries (Brazil and Ukraine) chose not to vote, showing worry for the negative impacts these actions may have on the citizens of Cuba and those living abroad.
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