For 14th Year, UN General Assembly Urges U.S. To End Embargo Against Cuba

Posted on Tuesday, November 08 at 16:15 by jensonj
The resolution is not legally binding and Cuba's Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque noted that the U.S. government has ignored it for the last 13 years. But he said that didn't diminish "the legal, political, moral and ethical importance of this vote." In Cuba, hundreds of government supporters in Havana's convention centre shouted in glee and jumped up and down when the result was announced. State-run television showed several high-ranking officials among those who had gathered to await the news, though Cuban President Fidel Castro did not appear to be at the centre. In the streets of the capital, other Cubans expressed satisfaction with the outcome. "It's time for them to stop this shamelessness," said Fidencio Alonso, referring to those keeping the embargo alive. "What they are doing tramples us." Bolton, who chose to attend a Security Council meeting to vote on an Iraq resolution rather than the General Assembly vote on Cuba, told reporters "this is a complete exercise in irrelevancy." The fact that "this exercise in Cuban propaganda" was adopted by a General Assembly that has not yet seriously attempted to reform the UN Human Rights Commission or engage in the management reforms supported by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "tells you something," he said. Cuba launched a broad public relations campaign drawing attention to its complaints against the embargo, and speaker after speaker in the General Assembly debate opposed the U.S. sanctions imposed after Fidel Castro defeated the CIA-backed assault at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. The embargo, aimed at toppling Castro's socialist system, has been steadily tightened under U.S. President George W. Bush's two terms. Perez Roque said "most likely" Bush will tighten the blockade even further. "Never before, as in the last 18 months, was the blockade enforced with so much viciousness and brutality. Never before had we seen so cruel and relentless a persecution by a U.S. administration against the economy and the right of the Cubans to a dignified and decent life," the Cuban minister said. "The blockade is an economic war enforced with incomparable zeal at a global scale," he said. "Now Cuba has two obstacles to overcome: the helpless imperial haughtiness of President Bush, which has taken him farther than anyone else in this madness, and the ever-increasing globalization of the world economy." But Perez Roque stressed that "the U.S. government is delusional with the idea that it can overthrow the Cuban revolution." Jamaica's UN Ambassador Stafford Neil, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, which includes 132 mainly developing countries and China, said its members oppose "unilateral coercive measures against developing countries." The Group of 77 recognizes "that the embargo has caused huge material losses and economic damage to the people of Cuba" and has repeatedly demanded that the United States lift it, he said. [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on November 9, 2005]


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