United Nations: The UN General Assembly voted
overwhelmingly on Wednesday to condemn the US embargo against Cuba
for the 20th year in a row.
The final tally was 186-2, with only Israel joining the
United States as it did last year.
The small Pacific nations of Palau, Micronesia and the
Marshall Islands abstained as they also did last year.
Last year`s tally for the symbolic measure was almost
identical, 187-2, with three abstentions.
Envoys for Vietnam, Russia, Nicaragua and many other
countries, as well as the 120-member Nonaligned Movement,
spoke today in favour of the measure calling for the end of
the American embargo against the Caribbean country.
"The only consequences of the sanctions are the
deterioration of the living standard of the Cuban population,
creation of artificial barriers to its economic growth and
infringement on the rights and interests of third countries,"
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said that the
sanctions have caused direct economic damages of close to USD
1 trillion to the Cuban people over nearly half a century.
The United States has not eased the embargo in the nearly
three years since President Barack Obama`s election raised
hopes for a change in policy, he added.
"Despite the false image of flexibility that the current
US 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 US problems and leave us Cubans alone to solve ours in
The United States has made clear it is not prepared to
lift the sanctions entirely until the communist-run nation
makes more far-reaching political and economic changes.
American Ambassador Ronald D Godard, US Senior Area
Adviser for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said the embargo is a
bilateral issue and "not appropriately a concern of this
Godard said the sanctions represent "just one aspect of
US policy toward Cuba, whose overarching goal is to encourage
a more open environment in Cuba and increased respect for
human rights and fundamental freedoms."