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Posted October 29, 2009 by publisher in US Embargo

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By Sebastian Smith | AFP

The UN General Assembly called overwhelmingly Wednesday on US President Barack Obama’s administration to end Washington’s Cold War-era trade embargo against Cuba.

This was the 18th year running that the UN General Assembly condemned US trade restrictions on the communist-ruled island.

The non-binding vote was backed by 187 countries, ranging from Latin American neighbors of Cuba to members of the European Union and other close US allies.

Only Israel and tiny Palau supported the United States, while Micronesia and the Marshall Islands abstained.

The margin of opposition to the US embargo has grown steadily since 1992, when 59 countries voted in favor of the resolution. The figure was 179 in 2004, 182 in 2005, 184 in 2007, and 185 last year.

The embargo was imposed nearly five decades ago at the height of the Cold War when Cuba was a Soviet client state.

Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, called the embargo “an absurd policy that causes scarcities and sufferings. It is a crass, flagrant and systematic violation of human rights.”

He told the General Assembly that despite signs of a US-Cuban thaw since Obama’s election last year “there has not been any change in the implementation of the economic, commercial and financial blockade.”

Voting for the UN resolution would be “an act against aggression and the use of force. It would be an act in favor of peace,” he said.

However, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, dismissed the “painfully familiar rhetoric.”

“The hostile language we have just heard from the foreign minister of Cuba seems straight out of the Cold War era and is not conducive to constructive progress,” she said.

Rice said Washington was offering Havana “a new chapter” in their relations but had as yet received no answer.

She rejected assertions that the US embargo was responsible for Cuba’s crushing poverty, blaming the near permanent economic crisis in the country on government control over the economy and society.

“There are many things the government of Cuba could do,” she said. “Positive measures could include liberating the hundreds of prisoners of conscience in Cuban jails (and)... demonstrating greater respect for freedom of speech.”

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly reinforced Rice’s statement saying the US would consider lifting the embargo “when the government of Cuba starts to make some positive steps toward—toward loosening up its repression of its own people.”

Kelly said in Washington that the yearly UN vote “obscures the facts that the United States is a leading source of food and humanitarian relief to Cuba” that last year totaled 717 million dollars.

The US economic, trade and financial sanctions were imposed 47 years ago following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of the Caribbean island nation by US-backed Cuban exiles.

Since taking office in January, Obama has moved to ease tensions with small steps such as relaxing rules on visits and money transfers to the island.

But so far, the US administration has not taken major strides in its approach to the Americas’ last remaining communist regime.

In July, the two countries officially restarted a dialogue on migration issues which had been suspended since 2003, and talks are also under way aimed at restarting bilateral mail service which was cut off in 1963.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on October 30, 2009 by pipefitter with 275 total posts

    How does the U.S. vote square with this:
    “In 2009 a great power does not show strength by dominating or demonizing other countries. The days when empires could treat sovereign states as pieces on a chess board are over. The persuit of power is no longer a zero-sum game-progress must be shared. Now let me be clear: America will not seek to impose any system on any other country, nor would we presume to choose which party or individual should run a country. America will never impose a security arrangement on another country. Every country charts it’s own course.”
    Barack Obama, July 09/ 2009 in Europe

  2. Follow up post #2 added on October 31, 2009 by paul

    Cry about it, how about that? the credit blockade ain’t going away, and we’ll still continue being one of Cuba’s biggest cash based trading partners.


    700million last year in trade with Cuba.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on October 31, 2009 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    The embargo is just pure propaganda. Firstly for Castro to further oppress the Cuban people. For over 40 years now, whenever something happen in Cuba the first thing they point is the embargo or “blockade” as they call it. Secondly for a bunch of right extremists that uses it as collection agent “to fight Castro”.

    The fact is that the US is one of their first commercial partners with over USD 500 Million a year in exports to Cuba. 

    The embargo must be lifted once and for all, not because it is causing any damage, (the damage in Cuba is clearly caused by Castro and his cronies) but because continue to being used as oppression tool against the Cuban people.

  4. Follow up post #4 added on October 31, 2009 by pipefitter with 275 total posts

    The U.S. will some day have to open it’s eyes and step inio the 21st century. The embargo does nothing more than hurt the Cuban and American people and serves to push Latin America farther away from the U.S. The 700 million in trade is one way trade for cash, not any humanitarian gesture. The Cuban Gov. will no doubt be trying to reduce that 700 million to zero by shifting it/s trade to more friendly countries.

  5. Follow up post #5 added on October 31, 2009 by paul

    The main cause of suffering for the Cuban people is the Cold War relic AKA Communism. Every liberal that decries the credit blockade, should be just as loud about being against authoritarianism. That’s the real oppression tool.

    Cuba trades with tons of countries and it’s still authoritarian, so I know that it will be the same, credit blockade or not. They (Castro Mafia) control the social change, not their trading partners.

    If trade was the catalyst, then it’d already be less authoritarian with all that trade with Canada, Europe and the rest of the world. A little internet access and cell phones isn’t enough, and it should offend any Canadian, American and European that Cuba’s mafia extols that as something considered change.

    They (Castro Mafia) know this, hence why they push for credit access, so that they can borrow from American companies, default on payments, and nationalize or stop paying foreign businesses in Cuba whenever they please.

  6. Follow up post #6 added on October 31, 2009 by pipefitter with 275 total posts

    Socialism is not a cold war relic as anyone can see with the shift to the left of many governments in Latin America and around the world. Cuba trades with many countries yes, and just how does that benefit America? The U.S. also pressures companies in other countries to not trade with Cuba. Have you not heard of the case of Philips? Cuba has a lot of medical equipment made by philips and the U.S. stopped them from selling spare parts to repair their equipment. How humanitarian of them. Some companies like Delta Hotels had to sell their 7 or more hotels in Cuba or they would get huge fines from the U.S. Gov. Luckily,some companies have been threatend likeSherrit Int. and others have told them to go to hell. Their executives have been told they can’t travel or do buisiness in the U.S. Now who looks like Maffia? Cuba is changing,
    in case you didn’t notice, but I guess you get all your info from the Miami Herald, Yoani, or the Huffington Post.

  7. Follow up post #7 added on October 31, 2009 by paul

    Socialism is not Social Democracy. Many global govt’s are majority led by social democrats, and that is fine. THE PEOPLE have chosen those majorities to rule alongside Christian Democrats, Liberals etc…NOT a military government that rules over the entire Cuban island.

    Socialism and Communism are absurd Cold War relics.

    You can’t recognize the Cuban govt as a mafia because you sympathize with it. People with your politics are the types in the “global community” that are against the “evil” credit blockade, but not a quantifiable authoritarian govt.

  8. Follow up post #8 added on November 01, 2009 by pipefitter with 275 total posts

    Cuba has a communist government along with the Peoples Republic of China, Peoples Republic of Korea, Laos and Vietnam. The U.S. does’t have any economic blockades or travel restrictions on these other countries, oh, maybee it’s because the others have such a good human rights record or in the case of China it couldn’t be because they have lent the U.S. so much money they almost own it. There are quite a few populist leftist governments in Latin America, now why does the U.S. dislike them so much if they were elected by their people? I guess thats why the U.S. just signed a deal with the so called “democratic"and “humanitarian” right wing government in Columbia to install 7 U.S. military bases on their territory, maybee to monitor mosquito populations? This makes Obama’s nice speech quoted above to be nothing more than empty words.

  9. Follow up post #9 added on November 01, 2009 by paul

    And of course you reply with red herrings. The blockade is there to stay, keep crying about it, loser. The US and Israel are the only opinions that matter on this issue anyways. Your country aka our hat, will continue to comply with whatever we say.

    How’s that for democracy? bon appetit. It’s like in Cuba, whatever the boss says, goes.

  10. Follow up post #10 added on November 01, 2009 by pipefitter with 275 total posts

    All I can say to that is to quote your congressman Bobby Rush who said, “wisdom removes hate”.

  11. Follow up post #11 added on November 01, 2009 by paul

    Which is the typical communist, dog lying on it’s back reply.

    Funny how left wing fascists are absolute brutes when they have power, but are always asking the democratic world to have “wisdom and understanding” towards them.

    So where is that wisdom with the Cuban government then? because they spread hate to however disagrees with them.

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