About 40 presidents, prime minister and foreign ministers from all five continents raised their voices to demand the elimination of a blockade that has been imposed and tightened by the last 11 U.S. administrations, despite international condemnation.
On a planet in the grips of wars, social evils and threats like terrorism and climate change, emphasis must be made on the fact that heads of State and Government, or their representatives, included the U.S. blockade in their brief speeches to expose priorities, concerns, denunciations and proposals.
During six days of speeches, the call to eliminate the blockade was present, with Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis as the first head of State to establish that stance on Tuesday, September 19, and Nicaraguan Deputy Foreign Minister Maria Rubiales as the last politician to make that call on Monday, September 25.
Solis warned about the high human, economic and social cost of the measure, while Bolivian President Evo Morales described the blockade as unfair and a failure on that same day.
The United States not only must lift the blockade but also compensate the Cuban people for the damage and return the Guantanamo naval base, Morales stressed.
In the last of 196 speeches given during the high-level debate, the Nicaraguan deputy foreign minister was categorical.
‘We united from this tribune the voices that in the world demand: No to the blockade of the heroic people of Cuba, of Fidel, of Raul, of Marti’. Other countries that demanded an end to the blockade at that major forum were, among others, Venezuela, Russia, Ecuador, Angola, Vietnam, South Africa, Namibia, El Salvador, Guinea Bissau, Vanuatu, Gabon, Bahamas, Lao, Jamaica, Chad, Uruguay, Tanzania, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
At the UN General Assembly, the U.S. blockade was described as unjust, criminal, cruel and inhumane and a return to the Cold War, and several speakers denounced it as an obstacle for Cuba’s sustainable development.
HISTORY OF THE VOTING
The 46th Session of the UN General Assembly in 1991 was the scenario, for the first time, of the presentation of the initiative to eliminate the blockade, but U.S. pressure on many countries let to the withdrawal of the document.
The next year, the draft resolution was introduced again at the UN and the General Assembly backed up Cuba’s demand to end the blockade, with support from 59 countries, the opposition of three nations and the abstention of 71, while 46 member countries did not participate in the voting. The abstentions and absences were undoubtedly the result of the White House’s pressure.
Since 1992, the world has strongly and increasingly demanded, year after year, an end to the unilateral and extraterritorial sanctions, and since 2012, at least 188 countries have voted in favor of Cuba’s resolution.
Never, more than four governments have opposed the initiative, which last year received unprecedented abstentions by the United States and Israel.
Suffice it to day that starting in 2005, always 182 countries or more have given green light to the necessity to end the blockade, an unprecedented consensus considering the matters being debated here.
It is unlikely that the United States maintains its abstention, which was decided by then President Barack Obama, in a context of bilateral rapprochement and its requests to Congress to lift the blockade, which was turned into a law in 1996.
In June, President Donald Trump announced his intention not only to continue the implementation of economic, commercial and financial sanctions but to tighten them.
In statements to Prensa Latina, the ambassadors to the UN from Venezuela, Rafael Ramirez, and Bolivia, Sacha Llorenti, condemned that stance, which ignores the world demand.
The diplomats insisted that the violations of human rights, international law and the UN Charter represented by the blockade lack justification and arguments to defend them.
For his part, the coordinator of the Cuba solidarity movement in New York, Ike Nahem, noted that Trump’s efforts to destroy the Cuban Revolution will not change the world’s rejection of the blockade.
The sanctions against Cuba are not welcome on the planet, including in the United States, and on November 1, the only ones who will be isolated once again will be Trump and Washington, he stressed.