Near-Unanimous UN Call to End Cuba Blockade

Thursday’s vote was 185-2. The only two “no” votes were those of the United States and Israel, with Ukraine and Brazil abstaining.

Havana, 2017. (Pedro Szekely, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

Peace advocates on Thursday said that the near-unanimous vote by United Nations member states to demand an end to the U.S. economic embargo of Cuba underscores the imperative for the Biden administration to lift the crippling 60-year blockade.

For the 30th straight year, U.N. General Assembly members voted in favor of a Cuban resolution condemning the embargo, first enacted during the administration of then-President John F. Kennedy, who according to close confidant and historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., wanted to unleash “the terrors of the Earth” on Cuba following Fidel Castro’s successful overthrow of a brutal U.S.-backed dictatorship.

Thursday’s vote was 185-2, with only the United States and Israel dissenting, and Ukraine and Brazil abstaining.

“The Biden administration talks about the need for a rules-based international order. Today’s U.N. vote clearly shows that the global community is calling on the U.S. to lift its brutal embargo on Cuba,” CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin said in a statement.

Benjamin added that U.S. President Joe Biden “should respect global opinion” and return to former President Barack Obama’s “policy of normalizing relations with Cuba.”

Manolo De Los Santos, co-executive chair of the People’s Forum, wondered, “What would Cuba be like today, if the blockade didn’t hinder its development?”

“It is impossible to quantify the pain generated by power cuts, long queues to purchase food, the obstacles to the life projects of families, particularly young people,” he added. “Cuba has a right to live!”

Speaking before the U.N. General Assembly Thursday, Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla noted that “more than 80 percent of the current Cuban population was born under the blockade,” which he called a “deliberate act of economic war” akin to “a permanent pandemic, a constant hurricane.”

Rodríguez said that since then-President Donald Trump rolled back most of the reforms set in motion by Obama, the United States “has escalated the siege around our country, taking it to an even crueler and more inhuman dimension, with the purpose of deliberately inflicting the biggest possible damage on Cuban families.”

Taking aim at Biden, Rodríguez added that “the current U.S. administration does not have a policy of its own toward Cuba. It acts out of inertia and continues the inhuman policy of maximum pressure instituted during the presidency of Donald Trump.”

Rodríguez said the embargo has cost Cuba more than $6.3 billion during the first 14 months of the Biden administration, or more than $15 million per day.  In 2018 a United Nations commission estimated the total cost to the Cuban economy of the 60-year blockade was at least $130 billion.

Rally against the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba outside the White House in Washington, D.C., Nov. 2, 2022. (CodePink)

CodePink has conducted rallies against the embargo, with protests to #LetCubaLive in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. over the past several days.

CodePink is set to cap a week of action Saturday by joining with the Cuban-American group Puentes de Amor to send a plane loaded with 8.5 tons of food and medicines to the besieged island.

“Unfortunately,” said CodePink Latin American coordinator Samantha Wherry, the shipment “represents a tiny gesture compared to the billions of dollars of harm caused by the U.S. blockade.”

The peace activists have three demands: An end to the U.S. blockade, lifting of all travel and economic restrictions on Cuba, and removal of Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Successive U.S. administrations backed a decades’ long campaign of exile terrorism against Cuba, attempted subversionfailed assassination attemptseconomic warfare and covert operations large and small in a fruitless policy of regime change.

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

15 comments for “Near-Unanimous UN Call to End Cuba Blockade

  1. Common Sense
    November 7, 2022 at 16:15

    Communist/ socialist countries would very likely do fine, if they would not be sanctioned for no reason by the west since decades.

  2. Solitary Rider
    November 5, 2022 at 19:44

    “perfect example of the US rules based order b#!!$#!t.”

    Is not “Rules Based Order” just another name for Fascism?
    Think about it.
    Really think about it.

  3. Solitary Rider
    November 5, 2022 at 19:41

    Too bad the UN is not a democracy.

    Especially, when its inability to act is leading the world to Global Nuclear War in the name of Democracy … and Freedom, can’t forget Freedom. We are all Free to die in a Democratic Armageddon. A Progressive Democratic Armageddon apparently, since the Pro-War-Gressives agree fully with blowing the Earth to Kingdom Come. As long as the picture that preserves the moment for Eternity shows a properly diverse group all pressing the Big Red Button together. Then its all OK, and we’ll all fly into Oblivion knowing that we’ve won.

  4. Brian Bixby
    November 5, 2022 at 13:47

    The embargo on Cuba may have a silver lining, compare the life of an average Cuban with that of an average Honduran or El Salvadoran.

  5. robert e williamson jr
    November 5, 2022 at 12:33

    Mr. Harrison makes the perfect example of the US rules based order bullshit.

    I’m getting old 73 3/4s, the US has had Cuba on it’s “Shit List” most of my life, all my adult life and the effort has done little but punish Cubans, especially the poor. Nothing new there, huh!

    It is has been said by Winston Churchill that one can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, that is of course after they have tried everything else.

    One would think that after a 185 to 2 drubbing someone would be getting a clue.

    My clue is that America with it’s rules based order “Bullshit” is something to fear.

    60 years of bullying a tiny nation for doing nothing more that the US has been doing in Ukraine, no less.

    WTF Joe!

    Thanks CN

  6. Jeff Harrison
    November 5, 2022 at 11:40

    This, of course, shows the BS claims of the US about a rules based international order are just that bullshit. When the US says rules based international order, they mean doing what the US tells you to do. The US does this under the rubric that he who has the gold makes the rules. Unfortunately, the US no longer has the gold.

  7. Packard
    November 5, 2022 at 08:32

    After sixty years of American led blockades & trade embargoes, maybe it is long past time to simply let Cuba become just another dysfunctional Latin American autocracy? What would be the harm?

    Cuba, Nicaragua, Columbia, Haiti, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, or Guatemala; for all practical purposes, does anyone in this country even notice the differences in how these places are each governed?

    Aside from our open southern borders and the millions of illegals attempting to flee these various countries, does anyone in America really care how the US State Department, Joe Biden, or Liz Cheney care to politically characterize Cuba or any of the other 3rd world countries to our south?

    Asking for a few million ideally curious friends.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      November 5, 2022 at 12:51

      Dysfunctional autocracy? No doubt you are talking about the US. Cuba has FREE education; FREE medical service; highest literacy rate in all of the Americas. No one sleeps in tents on streets. No mass shootings. The world would be so much better off if the frigging Yanx would mind their own business.

    • Cara
      November 5, 2022 at 13:50

      A literal flood of people from Canada and the U.S. are entering Mexico trying to flee the cruel dysfunction of their neoliberal governments. So many people are expatriating that Mexican Consulates in the U.S. have had to halt issuing visas. The dysfunctional autocratic West is declining while the East and Global South are rising. The ignorance of your comment is mind-boggling.

    • robert e williamson jr
      November 7, 2022 at 18:19

      Packard, interesting you would frame your comment in this manner. You could have written after sixty years of US illegal interventions in Nicaragua, Columbia, Haiti, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela and Guatemala has anyone noticed Cuba is the only county that has been immune to US efforts to overthrow said government!

      Seems very telling to me, as with you complete failure to mention the School of the Americas or the CIA.

      You can find much of this history at your finger tips, just google , which has this history on file.

      In closing I might add your “Does anyone in America really care how the US State Dept. . . .”, reference misses Victoria Nuland and Antony Blinken and you totally miss the fact that Americans not really caring Is the problem.

      I’d like your summarization of just why it is do you think all these people are trying to escape these hell holes the US government helped create.

      Facts man, nothing but the facts.

      Thanks CN

  8. Andrew Nichols
    November 5, 2022 at 05:49

    Vulgar yanks bully other nations into compliance any sanctioning companies and individuals going there. I’m a kiwi and have a daughter in the US . we travel to the US on an ESTA visa free. We thought of going to Cuba after our Christmas visit this yr , but the moment the US Gestapo aka Homeland Security find out we lose our visa free status forever and have to travel from the deep south of NZ to the Consulate in Auckland to have a visa interview for any future visits. It’s this sort of vulgar behaviour that makes civilised folks hate the US.

  9. Rebecca Turner
    November 5, 2022 at 03:59

    This British citizen is surprised by my own government of right-wing Tories voting against the USA on anything, and even more so on this. Yet there it is in black and white in the UN resolution: “The United Kingdom calls upon the United States to end its economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba. We consider the embargo to be harmful and counterproductive. It negatively affects the living standards of the Cuban people and impedes the political and economic development of the country.”

    However: “…the embargo is having a negative impact on the nascent private sector of Cuba” explains this vote. As many socialists have realised, the embargo is indeed deeply harmful, but also is to a substantial degree helping the Cuban government to stay in power by uniting the people against an obvious enemy. This means that it can employ socialist economics to make a much more caring society than, say, the one in the USA or here in the UK; when the embargo ends, it is likely that the private sector will explode, destroying many of the gains made since 1959 and probably resulting in a change of government. How long will the excellent Cuban health system survive the end of sanctions?

    That is, of course, what the embargo itself was supposed to make happen: the destruction of socialism in Cuba. Clearly, the Tories know this: “We consider that the United States embargo has the effect of making economic reforms, which will serve the best interests of the Cuban people, more difficult to achieve.” Which means, obviously, “… the United States embargo has the effect of making widespread privatisation and austerity against the working class, which will serve the best interests of international capital, more difficult to achieve”.

    For the Cuban people, as for everyone, the only thing worse than not getting what you want… is getting what you want.

  10. Tony Kaku
    November 4, 2022 at 22:10

    Why do Cubans still use those American gas-giant cars? Why don’t they buy some cheap Japanese, Korean, or Chinese cars? Serious question.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      November 5, 2022 at 12:48

      Why? Those cars you talk about cost money – something Cubans are not exactly swimming in. And for as long as the US can, their cruelty will persist. So much for ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’.

    • November 7, 2022 at 20:44

      In the USA people who have these “classic cars” are elitist collectors. For the most part, in Cuba, it is “classic of necessity” or nothing.

Comments are closed.