UN General Assembly condemns US Cuba embargo
Oct. 28, 2014
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly voted Tuesday for the 23rd year in a row to condemn the U.S. commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba.
The symbolic vote passed 188-2, with only the U.S. and Israel voting against it. Three nations abstained: Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.
General Assembly resolutions are unenforceable but the vote has given Cuba an annual stage to demonstrate the isolation of the U.S. on the embargo.
The embargo was enacted in 1960 following Cuba's nationalization of properties belonging to U.S. citizens and corporations. Sanctions were strengthened to a near-total embargo in 1962.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said 77 percent of Cubans have been born under the embargo "that has seriously impeded the economic development of the country."
"Although our social and health system have prevented the loss of lives, no honest person, in the world or in the United States, can support its devastating consequences," he said.
Ronald D. Godard, a senior U.S. adviser for Western Hemisphere affairs, defended the policy and said "the Cuban government uses his annual resolution in an attempt to shift blame for the island's economic problems away from its own policy failures."
But U.S. attitudes towards the embargo are rapidly changing. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke out in favor of lifting it in her recent book "Hard Choices," saying it is longer useful to American interests or promoting change on the communist island. A recent Florida International University poll showed that about half Cuban-Americans surveyed in Miami support an end to the embargo.