Tuesday, 25 October 2011

UN rejects US blockade of Cuba

For the 20th consecutive year the United Nations has resoundingly rejected the United States' illegal and unjust economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.
This afternoon the UN General Assembly supported resolution A/66/L4 which calls for the end of the blockade. 186 countries voted for the resolution with only two countries – America and Israel – supporting a continuation of the policy. 
Countries from across the world – from China to Mexico and from Algeria to South Africa – queued up to lend their political and diplomatic support to Cuba in the debate over the non-binding resolution. The representative from Uruguay noted that “we have witnessed an increase in the restrictions on Cuba’s transactions with third countries” and the blockade is “counter to the principles of justice and human rights, hampers and delays development and seriously harms the Cuban economy”.

As the Indian representative declared, the extraterritorial application of the embargo combined with the denial of access to the US market, acts to greatly and unfairly increase the cost of Cuba’s imports.

The delegate from Bolivia – referencing President John F Kennedy’s “ich bin ein Berliner” quote – said the slogan of our time should be “I am a Cuban” as the Cuban people remain an “inspiration and example” to the rest of the world. He continued, “if we truly believe in democracy then we must listen to the countries in this room”

Venezuela sent a message of support and solidarity to the Miami 5 and appealed to the United States for their release and the return of Rene Gonzalez to his homeland.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said that the sanctions have caused direct economic damages of close to $1 trillion to the Cuban people and that President Obama had done little to change this.

"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.

"Why doesn't President Obama's administration take care of the U.S. problems and leave us Cubans alone to solve ours in peace?"

The blockade of Cuba was imposed on 7 February 1962 and next year marks its 50th anniversary. It remains an anachronistic echo of Cold War politics which has no legal justification. It runs contrary to America's ostensible belief in the supremacy of the free market and is a purely political decision motivated by the threat of the Cuban example which prioritises people over profit and champions free healthcare, education and internationalism.
The blockade will only be defeated by solidarity and concerted political will. Anyone interested in fighting against this ongoing injustice should join the Cuba Solidarity Campaign and get involved with their End It Now campaign.

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