NEW YORK — A total of 184 countries on Wednesday voted in favour of a resolution to demand the end of the U.S. economic blockade on Cuba for the 29th year in a row.
In a meeting held on Wednesday at UN headquarters in New York, three countries- Colombia, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates abstained from voting.
The United States and Israel voted against the resolution.
With overwhelming backing from the international community, the resolution has been approved ever since 1992.
It has been approved ever since 1992 when the General Assembly began to vote annually on the issue, with the sole exception of 2020, due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the assembly’s vote carries political weight in terms of international diplomacy, only the U.S. Congress can lift the economic, commercial, and financial embargo in place for five decades.
Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Parrilla, present during the vote in the General Assembly Hall, said that the blockade was a “massive, flagrant and unacceptable violation of the human rights of the Cuban people”.
He added that the embargo was about “an economic war of extraterritorial scope against a small country already affected in the recent period by the economic crisis derived from the pandemic”
Parrilla estimated the 2020 losses of the sanctions to be 9.1 million dollars.
The diplomat said that the sanctions had made it harder for his country to acquire the medical equipment needed to develop COVID-19 vaccines as well as equipment for food production.
“Like the virus, the blockade asphyxiates and kills, it must stop,” he urged.
Meanwhile, Political Coordinator for the U.S. Mission, Rodney Hunter, said during the vote that sanctions were “one set of tools in Washington’s broader effort towards Cuba to advance democracy.
“Also, to promote respect for human rights, and help the Cuban people exercise fundamental freedoms,” he said.
Hunter underscored that despite the blockade, the U.S. recognised “the challenges of the Cuban people” and therefore, the U.S. was “a significant supplier of humanitarian goods to the Cuban people and one of Cuba’s principal trading partners”.
“Every year we authorise billions of dollars’ worth of exports to Cuba, including food and other agricultural commodities, medicines, medical devices, telecommunications equipment, other goods, and other items to support the Cuban people.
“Advancing democracy and human rights remain at the core of our policy efforts,” he said.
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