UN Assembly calls for end to US embargo on Cuba

The UN General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted for a resolution calling on the United States to end its five-decade old embargo of Cuba.

United Nations: The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted Tuesday for a resolution calling on the United States to end its five-decade old embargo of Cuba.

The 19th straight annual condemnation of the embargo was supported by 187 countries, with only the United States and Israel against and three smaller US allies abstaining.

The embargo was first partially imposed in 1960, just after Fidel Castro staged his revolution, turned into law in 1962 and is now the biggest remaining hangover from the Cold War. The United States bans trade with and most travel to Cuba.

US President Barack Obama last year called for a "new beginning" with communist Cuba. But the island`s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez told the UN assembly the blockade has been "tightened" this year and that the US government did not want to end the measures.

"There is not even a sign showing that its government is willing to dismantle the most irrational aspects of what is already the most comprehensive and long-lasting set of sanctions and coercive measures ever applied against any country," he added.

"Its everyday impact continues to be visible in all aspects of Cuban life," the minister said, listing medicines that Cuban children get no access to, which Havana claims is due to the sanctions.
Rodriguez estimated that the blockade had cost Cuba more than 750 billion dollars at current values. He called the blockade "an act of economic warfare and genocide."

Washington wants "a pro-Yankee government but that is not going to happen."

Ron Godard, a US mission representative, called the annual motion "rhetorical posturing" and condemned what he called "the egregious misuse" of the term genocide.

The US official also highlighted some of the changes made since Obama took power.
He said the United States sold 526 million dollars in agricultural products to Cuba in 2009 and a few million dollars in medical devices and medicine. It had ended restrictions on family visits and expanded the amounts of humanitarian items that Americans can send to Cuba.