UN Overwhelmingly Condemn U.S. Embargo Of Cuba

Cuba Embargo

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted its annual resolution calling on the U.S. to end its decades-long economic blockade of Cuba. The document, which has been adopted for the 31st time, received nearly unanimous support, with only the U.S. and Israel opposing it out of the 190 nations present at the vote. Ukraine was the only member to abstain.

The UNGA document urges every country to “refrain from promulgating and applying” any economic sanctions against Cuba and states that the UNGA is “concerned” over the fact that “the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba is still in place.” 

The UNGA resolution also calls on any country that continues to uphold such restrictions against Havana to “repeal or invalidate” them “as soon as possible.”

Last year, the U.S. and Israel were also the only two nations that voted against the document, while Brazil joined Ukraine in abstaining from the vote.

Speaking at the UNGA ahead of the vote, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said that Washington’s policies amounted to “an act of economic warfare, in times of peace.” Cuba is not a threat to the U.S. and United States’s “illegal, cruel and inhumane policy” is nothing but an attempt to destroy Cuba’s constitutional order, he added.

The Cuban minister said that the “tightening economic siege” had recently been accompanied by a disinformation campaign against his nation, seeking to discredit it.

Cuba’s top diplomat also expressed his support for the people of Palestine and demanded that Israeli bombardments of Gaza cease. “These barbaric acts must stop,” he said.

Following the vote, a U.S. representative at the UN, Paul Folmsbee, simply stated that “the U.S. opposes this resolution,” adding that sanctions are just “one set of tools” in America’s arsenal. He also said that Washington merely seeks to encourage Cuba to “advance democracy.”

The U.S. initially broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1960, after Fidel Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba took over the U.S.-backed military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959. Washington also imposed a military blockade of the island in 1962, during a nuclear missile crisis with the Soviet Union. The economic blockade has been in place ever since.

U.S. restrictions were eased during Barack Obama’s presidency, but were reimposed under Donald Trump’s administration. Joe Biden and his administration have given no indication of ending the trade restrictions, despite decades of international condemnation. Washington leveled further sanctions against Havana in 2021, after the authorities suppressed anti-government riots that they claimed were backed by the U.S.

In early October, Havana accused the U.S. of provoking an economic crisis in Cuba. Washington’s sanctions policies have led to critical shortages of food, fuel, and medicine on the island, leading to massive emigration, it said.

Cuba Blames U.S. For Migrant Exodus

An earlier media report said:

Cuba accused the U.S. of fomenting an economic crisis on the island and driving a record-breaking spike in outward migration through Central America, in a statement released in October. 

“During the last months and weeks, the irregular migratory flow of Cuban citizens through the Central American corridor bound for the United States has experienced noticeable growth,” the country’s Foreign Ministry said. 

A record number of Cuban immigrants – 250,000, or more than 2% of the island’s population – arrived at the U.S. southern border last year, mostly coming by land via Nicaragua and Mexico, according to U.S. government data.

While the number of Cubans entering the U.S. diminished slightly for a few months this year, as many opted for a new legal path to entry established by the administration of President Joe Biden, that “parole” pathway cannot accommodate all the Cubans fleeing economic disaster in their homeland, Havana warned.

“The economic blockade, reinforced in recent years, causes extraordinary limitations to the Cuban economy and the population’s standard of living, which stimulates the migration,” the ministry’s statement continued. The number of departures exceeds the total outward migration of the 1980 Mariel boatlift and the 1994 rafter exodus combined and constitutes the largest migration event in Cuba’s modern history.

While the administration of former President Barack Obama had begun normalizing relations with Cuba after decades of the crippling Cold War economic embargo, his successor Donald Trump reversed that process, reimposing a policy of “maximum pressure” on the Caribbean island. 

The Biden administration has given no indication it plans to end trade restrictions despite decades of international condemnation. It leveled further sanctions against Havana in 2021 after authorities suppressed anti-government riots, which they claimed were U.S.-backed. As a result, the island is facing critical shortages of food, fuel, and medicine, spurring record numbers of Cubans to leave home in search of economic opportunities abroad.

An unprecedented number of illegal immigrants have flowed into the U.S. during the Biden administration, with 260,000 migrant encounters reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection last month alone – the highest monthly total ever recorded by the agency. There were a record 1.6 million crossings in 2022.

While Biden has grudgingly reimposed some of the strict border policies of his predecessor, he has also broadened legal avenues for migrants from certain countries considered unfriendly by the U.S. – Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba among them – to enter legally.

Cuban Embassy In U.S. Attacked With Petrol Bombs

A media report in September 2023 said:

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez has blamed U.S. authorities for failing to act against groups hostile to his government following an alleged petrol bomb attack on the island nation’s Washington embassy.

In September 2023, “the Cuban embassy in the U.S. was the target of a terrorist attack by an individual, who launched two Molotov cocktails,” Rodriguez wrote on X (formerly Twitter) shortly after the claimed incident.

None of the embassy workers were hurt, the minister said, adding that the details are currently still being established.

“The anti-Cuban groups resort to terrorism when feeling they enjoy impunity, something that Cuba has repeatedly warned the U.S. authorities about,” he stated.

The episode happened during a week when high-level leaders were visiting the UN General Assembly, including Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel. His arrival in New York was met with small-scale protests by Cuban immigrants, who marched through Manhattan, chanting “Freedom for Cuba” and “Down with Communism.”

Rodriguez recalled that the Cuban mission in Washington had been attacked previously in April 2020. A Cuban-born man suffering from mental health issues fired at the embassy using an AK-47 type rifle. Court documents indicated that he shouted, “Shoot me if you want to shoot me! I’m here! I’m American! I’m a Yankee!” According to Havana, the perpetrator had attended gatherings of groups that promote “aggression, hostility, violence, and extremism against Cuba.”

Two Molotov cocktails were also tossed at the Cuban embassy in Paris in July 2021. Rodriguez said at the time that the attack was due to Washington’s anti-Cuban polices, and that the U.S. opposes the island’s socialist government and maintains harsh sanctions against the country. “I hold the U.S. government responsible for its continued campaigns against our country that encourage this behavior and for its calls for violence, with impunity, from its territory,” the minister stressed.

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