10/29/13 - Pakistan Daily Times - United States snubbed for 'hostility' towards Cuba
By Haider Rizvi
NEW YORK: The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday snubbed the United
States for its hostility towards Cuba, amid fresh calls for an end to the
51-year economic and financial embargo imposed on the socialist island.
As many as 188 countries voted in favour of a General Assembly resolution
demanding the US lift restrictions on international trade with Cuba.
Out of 193 member nations of the United Nations, only Israel voted against
the resolution. After the vote, speaker after speaker deplored the US
policy and said the sanctions against Cuba violated international law and
the UN Charter. Explaining why the entire Latin American block voted in
support of the resolution, a diplomat from Argentina described the US
embargo as "a rule of jungle" and "unilateral aggression". Though critical
of the Cuban human rights record, the European Union representative from
Lithuania said the US policy of embargo "contributed to the economic
problems of Cuba."
The embargo provisions contained in the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act and the
1996 Helms-Burton Act put limits on EU countries' trade relations with
Cuba. The EU has been consistent in raising questions about the unilateral
measures imposed by the US, which target other countries for having trade
relations with Cuba. "We reject such measures," the EU representative said
of the sanctions against Cuba.
Speaking on behalf of the African block, the Tanzanian representative said,
"It's time to bring sanctions to an end because they have no evident effect
except to curtail the Cuban [struggle] for prosperity and happiness."
Before and after his entrance into the White House, President Barack Obama
had given an impression that he was likely to change the US policy towards
Cuba, but it seems the anti-Castro elements in Florida remain as
influential in Washington as they have been for years, observers say.
Obama's predecessor, George W Bush had also left no stone unturned to
appease the Cubans in Florida. In a 2007 statement, he described Cuba as a
"tropical gulag" and signalled his administration's readiness to take more
hostile measures to force an economic and political change on the island's
For their part, Cuban leaders have said the US is trying to harass their
nation and threatens its entity as an independent and free nation. The
Cuban government says the commercial and financial blockade imposed by the
US since 1962 has caused losses of hundreds of billions of dollars.
Meanwhile, the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Pakistan said in a
statement that Cuba obtained a significant victory in the United Nations
General Assembly when once again the resolution entitled "Necessity of
ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United
States of America against Cuba" was adopted with the almost unanimous
support of UN member states.
"This result reaffirms once more the unequivocal rejection of the
international community to the US blockade against Cuba and also shows its
support for the just demand of the Cuban people to put an end to this
illegal policy," the embassy said. "The blockade violates International
Law, runs contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations
Charter, and constitutes a contravention of a sovereign state's right to
peace, development and security. In its essence and objectives, the
blockade represents an act of unilateral aggression and a permanent threat
against the stability of a nation.
The blockade constitutes a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of
human rights of the entire Cuban population. It also violates the
constitutional rights of US citizens by denying them the freedom to travel
to Cuba, and encroaches on the sovereign rights of many other states
because of its extraterritorial nature."
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