UN Assembly Condemns US Embargo On Cuba

View of the United Nations General Assembly during a vote the US-imposed on Cuba

View of the United Nations General Assembly during a vote the US-imposed on Cuba

The only nations that voted against the measure on Thursday were the US, Israel and Brazil, which under President Jair Bolsonaro has switched positions on this issue, Efe news reported.

United Nations member states overwhelmingly supported lifting the United States' almost 60-year-old economic, commercial and financial embargo of Cuba on Thursday, saying it is the main obstacle to the island nation's economic and social development.

The vote in the 193-member world body was 187-3 with the US, Israel and Brazil voting "no", and Colombia and Ukraine abstaining. US ally Israel also voted no and Moldova did not vote.

Maintaining its tradition would have changed nothing to the ties with the United States, a long-time ally.

"Brazil will stand alone with this in the region, and what that shows is that being close to the United States is a key priority, and basically that it is more important than voting together with other Latin American countries", Oliver Stuenkel, an expert at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Sao Paulo said.

"Like all nations, we get to choose which countries we trade with".

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft acknowledged the resolution would pass but made clear the Trump administration would oppose it during her speech shortly before the vote.

Shortly before the vote, the US's new permanent representative to the UN, Kelly Craft, said the global community was questioning her country's right to choose its trading partners. Citing regime restrictions on its doctors working in foreign countries and a report that estimated 50,000 journalists, activists, and others had been arrested arbitrarily since 2010, Craft highlighted the plight of one such activist. Mr. Ferrer has not been seen since.

However, current President Donald Trump toughened the policy once he came to power in 2016, restricting travel, boosting the economic embargo and imposing sanctions on Raul Castro, Cuba's Communist Party leader, over alleged human rights violations and for supporting the Venezuelan leadership. "This is a choice, freely made".

"The blockade has caused incalculable humanitarian damages. It is a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of human rights", he charged.

North Korean U.N. Ambassador Kim Song denounced the blockade, calling it "a crime against humanity".

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, who spoke before the vote, said it was time to "put an end to this imperialist madness".

For the second year, Moldova did not vote.

Despite the political weight they carry, resolutions adopted by the General Assembly are not legally-binding and thus their implementation can not be enforced.

In 2016, there was a brief shift in the USA position under former President Barack Obama.

After the vote, Craft read a statement to reporters but did not take questions.

"It is in this broader context that we view the embargo-not just as a punitive act against Cuba but as an impediment to Caribbean regional development as a whole", she told the General Assembly. Craft continued, "They could most certainly help the people there that are sick by allowing their physicians to heal the people in their own country and to allow for freedom of expression".

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