Amid NAM objections, US set to launch campaign on Cuban political prisoners’ plight

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UNITED NATIONS, Oct 16 (APP):”Members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) are expected stay away from a controversial side-event the United States is scheduled to hold Tuesday (around 11 PM PST) to launch a campaign at the United Nations on the plight of Cuban political prisoners, according to informed sources.
NAM’s Coordinating Bureau, which met Monday, decided not to join the formal launch of the campaign entitled “Jailed for What?” at U.N.’s Economic and Social Council Council (ECOSOC) chamber, sources said.
NAM has 125 of the United Nations’ 193 members.
Cuba had strongly protested the U.S. move to organize the event, arguing that it was in violation of UN rules about the use of its premises.
In fact, Cuban Ambassador Anayansi Rodrigues Camejo wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres demanding cancellation of the event, but the move reportedly did not succeed.
A United States’ spokesman said the event will go ahead as scheduled on Tuesday to draw attention to the plight of an estimated 130 political prisoners held in Cuba.
At the NAM meeting, according to sources, several members criticized the US-sponsored event to discuss Cuba’s internal matters and expressed solidarity with the Latin American country.
Ambassador Camejo accused the U.S. of itself violating human rights, especially in the use of torture, detention and “arbitrary deprivation of liberty” at its Guantanamo military base, where terrorism suspects have been held for years. She also pointed to U.S. immigrant policies that have separated parents and children.
“The United States lack the morals to give lessons, much less in this matter,” she asserted.
At tonight’s meeting, the US representative to ECOSOC, Kelley Currie, will deliver remarks.
The US move comes 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.