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  HOME | Cuba

UN Votes to End Economic Embargo on Cuba, but U.S. Says No

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations National Assembly overwhelmingly backed a resolution that Cuba has been submitting every year since 1992 demanding United States lift the economic embargo it imposed on the communist island.

191 of the 193 members of the United Nations voted in favor of the resolution, the first since Cuban-U.S. relations were restored in December 2014, with the exception of United States and its ally Israel.

Recent diplomatic thaw between the countries had led many to expect a change in U.S. position this year.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez told reporters he was disappointed the United States did not vote yes.

"We have to judge from the events. The fact is since Dec.17 (last year when the normalization of United States - Cuba relations was announced) there have been no significant changes in the application of the blockade," said Rodriguez.

He added Cuba will continue to take up the matter in the United Nations General Assembly till the blockade is lifted.

U.S. President Barack Obama's opposition to the economic embargo and his repeated appeals to the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress to lift it had raised expectations the United States could end up abstaining from voting in Tuesday's session.

U.S. envoy Ronald Godard hinted the resolution had been seriously considered but the final draft of the resolution had prompted the United States to oppose it.

"The text falls short of reflecting the significant steps that have been taken and the spirit of engagement President Obama has championed," Godard said.

"We find it unfortunate that despite our demonstrated bilateral progress the Cuban government has chosen to introduce a resolution that is nearly identical to those tabled in years past," he added.

The resolution by the Cuban authorities "warmly welcomes the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the governments of Cuba and the United States of America" and acknowledges Obama's willingness "to work for elimination of the economic, commercial and financial embargo."

However, it also reiterates concern for the continuity of the policy and the negative effects it has on the Cuban people and urges the United States to take measures "in the shortest possible time" to revoke the embargo.

Although, the vote is not immensely significant considering the resolution is non-binding, an abstention by United States would have sent a clear message to the Congress.

 

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