This Tuesday, the United Nations General Assembly is scheduled to reconsider a resolution that urges the United States to lift the trade embargo on Cuba. Over the last two decades, more and more countries have joined the call to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba. However, historically the United States and Israel have blocked the nearly unanimous decision.
This week’s vote will continue to inspire and challenge a global fight against U.S. imperialism. “Within a few days, the world community will speak before the United Nations and express whether it is in favor or not of the blockade against Cuba,’ said Fidel Castro. The embargo is widely viewed as an illegal blockade and Cuba has condemned it as “genocide.”
The U.S. blockade is long-standing vestige of the U.S.’s anti-communist campaign and a legacy of the Cold War. The blockade encompasses a level of political cruelty and inhumanity. The blockade is deliberately designed to provoke hunger, transmit diseases and fester despair in Cuba.
Despite five decades of hardship, the revolutionary Cuban people have continued to share their tradition of international solidarity through medical programs and integration from a perspective of the South.
Last year, 188 out of 193 countries of the U.N. General Assembly voted in favor of lifting the embargo. Three countries abstained and not surprisingly, the United States and Israel were the only countries that voted in favor of maintaining the blockade.
The U.S. blockade has cost nearly US$117 billion according to a teleSUR investigation carried out earlier this year. The Cuban government estimates that since 1960 that blockade has cost the Cuban economy $USD 1.1 trillion.
Presidents, Prime Ministers and Chancellors from countries across the globe have reiterated their call to lift the U.S. blockade on Cuba. Countries have denounced the lack of political changes under the last 11 U.S. administrations. In the 69th session, at least 13 officials addressed the issue of the blockade. Specifically, African, Central American and South American countries expressed their rejection of the U.S. policy against Cuba.
Venezuela, Bolivia, Russia, Vietnam, Algeria, Jamaica, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), South Africa, El Salvador, Mozambique, Tuvalu, Namibia, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Guyana, Antigua y Barbuda, Sri Lanka, Gabon, Ghana, Peru, Tanzania, Gambia y Chad, San Vicente and the Grenadines, Burkina Faso, Seychelles, Guinea Bissau, Syria and Laos among other countries have called for a lift to the US blockade of Cuba.
“Cuba sends engineers, professors and doctors all over the world to improve people’s lives. Isn’t it the time to finish with this Cold War attitude? And, if not now, when? Is it not time to lift the embargo? And, if not now, when?” questioned the chancellor of Grenada, Nickolas Steele.
Steele has reiterated what the region declared earlier this year at the Second Summitt of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac). The integrationist body’s final declaration expresses, “We reiterate our profound rejection of unilateral coercive measures and reiterate once again our solidarity with the Republic of Cuba. At the same time, we reaffirm our call on the government of the United States of America to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on this sister nation for over five decades.”
Global leaders have denounced the blockade for violating international human rights law. President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, emphasized that this measure violates the magna carta of the Organization of American States (OAS) that continues to have its headquarters in Washington D.C. and allows the U.S. to continue its inhumane foreign policy unchecked.
Russia’s lower house also approved a motion to the U.N. General Assembly and international parliaments advocating for the end of the blockade. Their official document reads, “In this case the State Duma confirms its position on the necessity to lift the embargo on Cuba and recalls that these actions of the United States are single-sided and contradict the U.N. charter as well as international law. Of course, they also violate the rights of Cuban citizens.”
President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, cited changes among the U.S. population and the government’s ability to change their foreign policy. He said, “The situation has changed even in the same United States, the majority of the population is against the blockade. The conditions are in place for Barack Obama to take this step, although it goes against the system.” In addition, the U.S. publication The New York Times published an article also citing their editorial position supporting the U.S. establish normalized diplomatic relations with the island nation.
“The nations of our region do not object nor condition the participation of the island in Latin American and Caribbean integration … Each day it is more clear that North American politics is isolating itself in the world,” he continued.
Ecuador’s ambassador to the U.N., Xavier Lasso, also condemned the blockade stressing that, “Again we will reject another measure that we would have to invent a language to qualify it, because it violates absolutely everything.”
“We celebrate the accompaniment of almost the entire world in this cause, including the European Union, a great ally to the United States on other issues, accept that the siege has no reason to be.”
Voting on the issue began in 1992. Lasso highlighted that despite two decades long resolution and a probable vote in favor of lifting the blockade at tomorrow’s assembly, given the U.S.’s position on the Security Council Washington continues to determine the international organization’s political future.