Diplomats stage protest during US event on Cuba at UN

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UNITED NATIONS, Oct 17 (APP):A group of diplomats accredited to the United Nations disrupted a US-organized meeting on the plight of Cuban political prisoners at the United Nations on Tuesday, shouting down a US diplomat who demanded that security guards remove them from the hall.
About 15 diplomats shouted “Lift the blockade of Cuba!” and noisily thumped tables in the UN’s Economic and Social Council chamber while the US representative to ECOSOC, Kelley Currie, struggled to be heard at the even despite strong objections from Cuba.
Member of the 125-member Non-Aligned Movement stay away from in solidarity with Cuba, which insisted that the meeting was in violation of UN rules.
“Can you please remove them from the room,” Kellie said, pausing during her remarks. “I’m going to pause while security removes the disruptive elements from the room.”
UN security guards repeatedly asked the diplomats to stop their protest, which continued for the duration of Kellie’s remarks.
The event entitled “Jailed for What?” was to draw attention to the plight of an estimated 130 political prisoners held in Cuba.
Cuba had formally protested the meeting, sending a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres requesting that the event be cancelled because it was in violation of UN rules about the use of its premises.
UN rules are vague and specify only that meetings and events held on UN premises must be “consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations” and be non-commercial.
The meeting came just weeks before the General Assembly is scheduled to hold its annual vote on ending the US embargo on Cuba, which last year was adopted by a vote of 191 to 2, with only the United States and Israel voting against.
In 2016, the US abstained, marking a major shift as the administration of former president Barack Obama worked to end decades of enmity with Havana.