In a U.N. vote that has become something of a tradition, only one country agreed with the United States that its embargo of Cuba should continue. The final count in the General Assembly vote was 188-2.
NPR’s Michele Kelemen reports for our Newscast unit:
“For the 22nd year in a row, the U.N. General Assembly approved a mainly symbolic resolution that condemns the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. This year’s tally was 188-2, with three abstentions. Only Israel sided with the U.S. this time.
“State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki brushed off the news, saying the U.S. has a right to make its own decisions about its economic relations with other countries. She says the U.S. doesn’t think this annual U.N. debate does anything to advance a constructive discussion about the issue.”
The three nations that abstained from today’s vote were Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau, all of which have opted out of voting on the issue in previous years.
The embargo has stood since 1960.
“The U.S. policy against Cuba is suffering from an absolute international isolation and discredit and lacks every ethical or legal ground,” Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla said, according to Agence France-Presse. He said that while some restrictions have eased somewhat, “sanctions remain intact and are being fully implemented.”
According to a report introduced by Parrilla (and reproduced online by Cuba’s state agency Granma), the embargo has cost Cuba more than $1.1 trillion since it first began.
“Because of its declared purpose, the political, legal and administrative framework on which the blockade rests qualifies as an act of genocide,” the report says.
U.S. Ambassador Ronald D. Godard, the senior area advisor for Western Hemisphere affairs, issued the U.S. interpretation of the issue. “By the Cuban government’s own account, the United States is one of Cuba’s principal trading partners,” he said.
Godard noted, “In 2012, the Cuban people received more than $2 billion in remittances and other private support from the United States. This was made possible by U.S. policy choices.”