UN General Assembly again calls for lifting US embargo against Cuba


UNITED NATIONS, Nov 2 (APP):The United States Wednesday reverted to its opposition of an annual General Assembly resolution condemning the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, a year after having abstained from the vote for the first time.
The turnabout, which left the United States isolated on the issue at the United Nations, reflected the toughened attitude toward Cuba by President Donald Trump, who has distanced his administration from the historic thaw in relations begun by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
The vote on the resolution in the 193-member General Assembly was 191-2. The United States and Israel, which often acts in concert with its US ally, were the lone dissenters.
“The United States does not fear isolation in this chamber or anywhere else,” a defiant U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations , Nikki Haley, said in a speech before the vote.
In the resolution, the Assembly reiterated its call to all UN Member States to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures not conforming with their obligations under the UN Charter and international law, which reaffirm freedom of trade and navigation. The Assembly once again urges States that have and continue to apply such laws and measures to take the necessary steps to repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible, the resolution added.
In her hawkish speech, Haley called the long-standing debate political theater.
Let’s be honest about what we really see going on here, she said. This assembly does not have the power to end the U.S. embargo. It is based in U.S. law, which only the United States Congress can change.
Haley said the United States opposed the resolution to demonstrate “continued solidarity with the Cuban people and in the hope that they will one day be free to choose their own destiny.”
She also said she wanted to clear up any questions about why the United States would change its vote on the same resolution just a year later. She acknowledged some will not understand how the United States could passively accept this resolution last year and energetically oppose it this year.
To those who are confused as to where the United States stands, let me be clear: as is their right under our Constitution, the American people have spoken, Haley said. They have chosen a new president, and he has chosen a new ambassador to the United Nations.
Under Obama, the United States restored diplomatic relations with Cuba, easing five decades of enmity with the island nation of 11 million.
Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, who also spoke before the vote, denounced the United States and Haley for what he described as her disrespectful remarks, and said the Trump administration lacked “the slightest moral authority to criticize Cuba.”
The atmosphere was in sharp contrast to the vote in 2016, when former President Obama’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, abstained, breaking with precedent and receiving sustained applause.