UN Vote Prompts New Condemnation of US Embargo of Cuba From Venezuela

Venezuela condemned the United States embargo against Cuba on Tuesday, as the United Nations General Assembly again called for an end to the 53 year-old trade restrictions.

By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
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The UNGA has condemned the US embargo for 22 years running and Cuban representatives accused the Obama administration of tightening some trade restrictions. (Stockphoto/Thinkstock)
The UNGA has condemned the US embargo for 22 years running and Cuban representatives accused the Obama administration of tightening some trade restrictions. (Stockphoto/Thinkstock)

Mérida, 30th October 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela condemned the United States embargo against Cuba on Tuesday, as the United Nations General Assembly again called for an end to the 53 year-old trade restrictions.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) voted for the 22nd consecutive year to reject the US embargo, with 188 nations opposed the embargo and three abstentions. Only the US and Israel voted in favour of the continuation of the embargo, which has been in place since 1960. The UNGA resolution is non-binding.

“Such measures are in violation of the right to peace, development and security, while contravening the rules of the multilateral trading system,” Venezuela's permanent ambassador to the UN, Samuel Moncada, stated. Moncada also argued that the embargo is impeding the pursuit of the UN  Millennium Development Goals.

Moncada called on the US to comply “with the resolutions that the General Assembly has overwhelmingly adopted since 1991, that lead to immediate and definitive lifting of this inhumane blockade implemented for more than fifty years”.

On Tuesday, Cuba's foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez described the embargo as “extraordinary” and “barbaric”.

“The human damages caused by the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba are incalculable,” Rodriguez stated during an address to the UNGA.

“Seventy-six percent of Cubans have lived under its devastating effects since the day they were born,” he said.

“Our small island poses no threat to the national security of the superpower,” he stated.

US ambassador Ronald Godard rejected the vote, describing the embargo as part of “our overall efforts to encourage respect for civil and human rights.” “The United States is in fact a deep and abiding friend of the Cuban people,” Godard added.

However, according to a Cuban report available via state news agency Granma, the embargo has cost the island nation over US$1.1 trillion since its implementation.

“The blockade against Cuba is the most unjust, severe and extended system of unilateral sanctions ever enforced against any country,” the report states.

“Because of its declared purpose, the political, legal and administrative framework on which the blockade rests qualifies as an act of genocide by virtue of the Geneva Convention of 1948,” it reads.

Prior to coming to office, US President Barack Obama stated he would loosen trade restrictions. Yet according to Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno, under Obama “the blockade not only is being maintained, but strengthened in some aspects”. Rodriguez stated that US attempts to financially blocade the island nation have “intensified”, and the country's financial transactions are now closely monitored by the US's “enormous overall espionage system”.

This week, however, Godard argued that “by the Cuban government’s own account, the United States is one of Cuba's principal trading partners”.

“Far from restricting aid to the Cuban people, we are proud that the American people and US companies are among the leading providers of humanitarian assistance to Cuba,” Godard stated.

Speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Iran's deputy ambassador to the UN Gholam-Hossein Dehqani said the embargo “flouts international law”, while Nicaragua's representative called the continuation of the policy “inhuman and criminal”.

Bolivia's representative to the UN, Sacha Llorenty Soliz, stated that the embargo is “sullying the history of mankind”.

Criticism of the embargo also came from countries such as Russia, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Ethiopia on behalf of African states.

“The call of the international community is getting louder and louder, demanding that the US government change its policy toward Cuba,” Chinese deputy ambassador Wang Min told the UNGA.

“The US policy against Cuba is suffering from an absolute international isolation and discredit and lacks any ethical or legal ground,” Rodriguez stated.