28th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 74th Session

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07-Nov-2019 02:08:20
General Assembly adopts annual resolution calling on United States to end embargo against Cuba, Brazil rejects text for first time at 28th plenary meeting.

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The General Assembly today adopted its annual resolution to end the United States longstanding embargo against Cuba, with Brazil voting against the text for the first time.

The action came on the second day of the Assembly’s debate on the matter, which began on 6 November. (For more information, see Press Release GA/12211.)

By a recorded vote of 187 in favour to 3 against (Brazil, Israel, United States) with 2 abstentions (Colombia and Ukraine), the Assembly adopted the resolution titled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” (document A/74/L.6).

Through the terms of the text, the Assembly reiterated its call upon all States to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures of the kind referred to in the text’s preamble, in conformity with their obligations under international law and the Charter of the United Nations, which reaffirm the freedom of trade and navigation. The Assembly also urged States that have and continue to apply such laws and measures to take the steps necessary to repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible in accordance with their legal regime.

Cuba’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla, said that in the last few months, President Donald Trump’s Administration has begun escalating its aggression against Cuba through non‑conventional measures to prevent the arrival of fuel shipments to the island country through sanctions and threats against vessels as well as shipping and insurance companies.

In April, the United States announced it would allow lawsuits to be filed before United States courts against Cuban and foreign entities under Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996 (Helms‑Burton Act), he said. The blockade has caused incalculable humanitarian damages and qualifies as an act of genocide under 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

“For almost six decades, Cuba has been victim to the most unjust, severe and longest‑lasting system of sanctions ever applied against any country,” Mr. Rodriquez said, noting that the accumulated damages as a result of the blockade amount to more than $138.8 billion at current value. “There is not a single Cuban family that has not endured its consequences.”

The persecution of Cuba’s banking relations with the rest of the world continues, he said. Remittances sent to Cuban citizens have been further restricted and the granting of visas further reduced. The United States Government is set on sabotaging Cuba’s international cooperation in healthcare as well. Cubans have no access to Government or private credit and are required to pay in cash for merchandise upon its arrival in port. He asked: “Who in the world could trade under such conditions?”

The representative of the United States said that her country has a sovereign right to choose which countries with which to trade. “So it is worrying that the international community, in the name of protecting sovereignty, continues to challenge this right,” she said. The Assembly continues to entertain the claim, made explicitly and implicitly during the last 24 hours, that the Cuban regime has no other choice than to abuse its own people in response to the embargo.

The Cuban Government has arbitrarily arrested more than 50,000 human rights activists, journalists and others since 2010, she said. That Government also deprives people of their right to free choice of employment, as well as freedom of opinion and expression. In Cuba, all political parties besides the Communist Party are outlawed, political activists are silenced, and the country’s media is entirely controlled by the State. All of these are choices that are not forced upon them by the United States embargo. The country is also an active contributor to regional instability, collaborating with the former Maduro regime in Venezuela.

Venezuela’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arreaza Montserrat, said that Latin America and the Caribbean will never be trampled by imperial powers. “We are free people,” he stressed. Calling the United States blockade against Cuba “imperial arrogance”, he said governmental elites use economic strangulation to cause the suffering of the Cuban people. “This is collective punishment because of the whims, capriciousness and arrogance of those who believe they are superior,” he said.

Bolivia’s delegate said that despite all the difficulties they have faced, the Cuban people continue to show solidarity with other countries, including in the face of racism and imperialism in Africa and Ebola inflicting the world’s poorest people. “Today we are not just speaking about Cuba, we are speaking about the multilateralism that is under attack,” he stressed, pointing to the United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change, the worrying developments in international courts, and an overall resurgence of unilateral action.

Iran’s delegate said the United States “has been addicted to imposing unilateral sanctions when it comes to States that do not submit to, or follow, its contradictory and expansionist policies.” Iran and Cuba are paying the price for their resistance and insistence on their independence from the United States colonialist policies. Iran has experienced unlawful sanctions for 40 years. Defying international norms, the sanctions have targeted the import of medicine and medical equipment, hurting women and children most.

Also speaking today were representatives of Namibia, Egypt, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Solomon Islands, Equatorial Guinea, United Republic of Tanzania, Cambodia, Zambia, Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Antigua and Barbuda.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 8 November, to fill the vacancies of its subsidiary organs and hold a joint debate on implementation of United Nations resolutions and revitalization of the Assembly’s work.

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