The General Assembly today adopted its annual resolution calling for an end to the United States-led embargo on Cuba, with speakers emphasizing how urgent it is to end the restrictive economic policies in light of crippling COVID‑19 challenges and the mounting global food, fuel, and inflation crises.
The action came on the second day of the Assembly’s debate on the matter, which began on 02 November. (For more information, see Press Release GA/12464.)
By a recorded vote of 185 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (Brazil, Ukraine), the Assembly adopted the resolution titled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” (document A/77/L.5).
Through the terms of the text, the Assembly reiterated its call on all States to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures of the kind referred to in the text’s preamble, in conformity with their obligations under the United Nations Charter and international law. It also urged States that have and continue to apply such laws and measures to take the steps necessary to repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible in accordance with their legal regimes.
Cuba’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla, who introduced the text, said that more than 80 per cent of the country’s current population was born under the blockade. Since 2019, the United States Government has escalated the embargo. Its cumulative economic damage has amounted to $154.22 billion at current prices.
During the pandemic, the blockade was further tightened, causing more delays in the delivery of necessary medical equipment. But despite limited resources, Cuba cooperated with other countries, sending medical brigades to provide aid. Equally unceasing, he said, is the fraudulent inclusion of Cuba in the United States Department of State’s unilateral list of countries that allegedly sponsor terrorism. This forces Cuba to pay twice the usual price for commodities on the international market. Cuba has rejected all forms of terrorism.
The current United States Administration does not have a Cuba policy, he said. Rather, it continues to exert the “maximum pressure” policy developed under the Donald Trump Administration. Over the last few months, it has taken positive steps to alleviate certain restrictions, but the blockade continues to be the central element defining Cuba-United States policy.
During the two-day discussion, Member States condemned the economic embargo against Cuba, calling it cruel, inhumane and punitive. They urged the United States to begin a dialogue with Cuba based on the equality of States and respect for sovereignty and independence.
Representatives of several developing States also thanked Cuba for providing them with much-needed medical aid, nurses and vaccines at the height of the pandemic. Nicaragua’s delegate said that Cuba, thanks to its revolutionary spirit and socialist conviction, has been able to stand alongside the developed countries that sanction it by producing vaccines and helping “our developing peoples”.
Speakers for several Caribbean countries pointed out also that the United States blockade has had widespread implications and consequences and was stifling not only Cuba’s growth but that of the entire region. Several delegates questioned how the world could commit to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development while locking out one country from fairly participating in its own socioeconomic development.
No nation should be punished and exploited by another, Gabon’s representative said. Cuba is peaceful and cooperative and deserves the continued support of the international community in calling for an end to the embargo.
Member States also questioned how they could overwhelmingly call for an end to the embargo year after year for decades without any results. “Every year, we speak about the devastating impact of the embargo on the people of Cuba, but we see no effort to remove the restrictions,” Zimbabwe’s delegate said.
The speaker for the United States said that his country opposes the resolution but stands with the Cuban people. The embargo includes exemptions relating to exports of food, medicine and other humanitarian goods to Cuba. The people and organizations of the United States donate a significant amount of humanitarian goods to the Cuban people, and the United States is one of Cuba's principal trading partners. He urged the Cuban Government to release political prisoners immediately and protect the freedom of expression and right to peaceful assembly of all Cuban people.
Also speaking today were representatives of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, South Africa, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Peru, Ethiopia, Congo, Angola, Jamaica, Panama, Algeria, Belize, Fiji, Timor-Leste, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Nauru, Indonesia and the Czech Republic (on behalf of the European Union). The representative of Cuba also spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, 4 November, to elect a member to the International Court of Justice.