By José R. Oro / November 2, 2018
The General Assembly is the main organization of the United Nations. All member states are represented on it, each with the right to vote on important issues, such as peace and security, entry of new members and budget issues. These are decided by a two-thirds majority. The others, by simple majority. Later we will see why I mention this detail. It is in this world forum where the denunciation of the US blockade against Cuba takes place annually.
The cruel economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States government against Cuba for almost six decades is the most hateful, implacable and lengthy system of unilateral sanctions that has been applied against a country throughout history.
During the last 12 months, the blockade policy has been tightened and is applied with even more intransigence. The government of President Donald Trump, with the signing of the “ Presidential Memorandum on National Security on Strengthening the US Policy towards Cuba,”* on June 16, 2017, intensified the blockade against the island.
In November of last year, the Departments of Commerce, Treasury and State further restricted the right of Americans to travel to Cuba and imposed additional impediments to the limited opportunities of the United States business sector on the island. They established a list of 179 Cuban entities with which US institutions and natural or legal persons are prohibited from carrying out transactions of any kind.
This year, the US delegation made a major effort to torpedo the resolution that condemned them.
They wanted to create on October 16 in the ECOSOC room an anti-Cuban show on human rights, which was rejected at its very root. They tried to introduce eight amendments to the resolution against the blockade, deferring their vote one day, in order to exert more pressure on the voting countries. They even managed to have each of the eight amendments voted separately, preconceiving that for many countries voting eight times on the same day against the powerful US would be impossible. But each amendment was rejected with a large majority in favor of Cuba.
The atmosphere of tension in the spacious meeting room was clearly perceived, no photos were allowed, unlike the same session a year ago. Diplomats went from table to table constantly. At the table in Cuba where our Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parilla and Ambassador Anayansi Rodríguez were sitting, representatives of various countries came and went to the UN, to greet them and talk with them.
There are already 27 resolutions that have been adopted within the framework of the UN General Assembly and we saw once again the repudiation of the entire world of this policy that not only persists, but also worsens and worsens. All the resolutions denounced the aggressive and illegal nature of the blockade. These convictions have occurred during the administrations of Bush father and son, Clinton, Obama and now Trump. The only time no country voted against it was in 2016, Obama’s final year, when the US and Israel abstained.
How did the session of October 31 in the General Assembly went?
On this occasion, I had a magnificent seat (for the early riser, God helps him), directly on the balcony in front of the Presidency of the General Assembly, from where the Ecuadorian politician and diplomat María Fernanda Espinosa led the session with sobriety and good organization. Then on the second day she became very nervous.
All the guest seats were taken, there was no room for a soul. There was considerable expectation among the guests, especially after the very fierce confrontation between the US and Cuba , in Ecosoc, two weeks earlier. Those present were wondering if Nikki Haley (who arrived at 8:45 am in a black van to the US Mission building), would make one of her last presentations before her departure as the US representative. ., and how strong his insults would be against Cuba and other countries.
The session began at 10:00 am, Egypt (representing the G-77 + China), Morocco (representing the Organization of African Unity), Venezuela (representing the NAM), El Salvador (representing CELAC) took the podium ), Bolivia, Singapore (featuring Southeast Asian countries), Russia, China, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belarus, Kenya, Tanzania, Suriname, Caricom, ICO (International Trade Organization), Vietnam, DPRK, Jamaica, India, South Africa, Namibia, Mexico, Algeria, Iran, Zimbabwe, Syria, Belize, Laos, Bahamas, Angola, Gabon, Ivory Coast (for the Organization of Islamic Unity) and the last speaker (perhaps also the brightest) was the representative of Nicaragua.
At that time, the president of the General Assembly closed the session, announcing that it would continue the next day at 10:00 am.
Very noteworthy were the interventions of Vietnam, Mexico, Namibia, Algeria, Venezuela, Jamaica and Belarus. All, without exception, condemned the Blockade and proposed to adopt the Resolution in its original text, without any amendment.
What differences did I observe in the interventions of this 2018 session compared to previous years?
- Much stronger denunciation of the extraterritorial nature of the blockade, by practically all the speakers
- The regional impact that affects not only Cuba, but other countries (Jamaica, Nicaragua, Mexico and El Salvador were very critical of this point).
- The blockade and any unilateral sanctions policy of one country against another impede the fulfillment of the sustainable development and poverty elimination agenda by 2030, being an open contradiction not only to the Charter but to the main strategic objectives of the UN, highly emphasized by most countries and organizations.
- In general, the interventions were harsher and more critical against the US, compared to last year, particularly Vietnam, Russia, Namibia, Mexico and other countries.
Day Two: Nine Crushing Victories!
Impressive intervention by the great Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla , strong denunciation of the cruel blockade, and expressed “there is and will not be space in Cuba for the interference of a foreign power.” He also denounced “characters who have been attacking Cuba for a long time.” The ovation was tremendous at the end.
Immediately the minister returned to the podium to present Cuba’s proposal, and “on behalf of the heroic and self-sacrificing people of Cuba” asked to vote for the Resolution denouncing the Blockade. The applause returned.
Nikki Haley reported that the US was going to vote against the Resolution, calling Israel “good company” and the Resolution “a waste of time and that it is voted to insult the US.” He went on to criticize the countries that showed support for Cuba , and asked them to vote for the amendments. She was dismissed with low applause.
The delegations explained their votes from the tables, Austria began (for the European Union). He recognized the damage of the blockade to the Cuban people and called for its end, in a clear way. Zambia mentioned Nelson Mandela with the word “Ubuntu” which means “humanity” or “conscience”. The US Blockade denies the very concept of “Ubuntu.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba asked for the floor and explained his rejection of the amendments, unrelated to the subject matter and an attempt to dilute the universal denunciation of the Blockade. and requested that the votes, in accordance with the provisions of the UN, should be taken with a two-thirds majority.
Nikki Haley attacked Cuba again and called for a simple majority. He did not get it.
The amendments were voted one by one, quite an absurdity. Only three countries (the US, Israel and Ukraine) voted in favor of the amendments, which were crushingly defeated, one by one. Uruguay sounded false. He said that the amendments were incorrect and inappropriate, they could not support them, but they did not want to vote against what the amendments said.
The Resolution was voted on: In favor of Cuba, 189, against 2, abstentions 0!
Indonesia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, (brilliant, mentioned President Varela attending FIHAV) criticized the US and the blockade. Macri’s Argentina spoke out very clearly against the blockade! Australia too, although it said it understood some of the amendments, considered them inappropriate. Peru was more or less along the same lines, as if apologizing to the US for voting against the blockade.
Opinions in the public were very clear. The prominent Argentine journalist Anahi Rubin noted “another crushing defeat, incredible 189 – 2 – 0. Complete victory for Cuba.” A Cuban resident in New England, Eulices Antón exclaimed his joy because “the United States threatened and orchestrated traps of all kinds, but lost the vote in a devastating way, both on the Resolution and on each of the eight amendments.” One American, Mary Ann Brennan, said: “I am tired of seeing my country lose face in the international community. It is not necessary to change the ambassador, it is necessary to change of policy, to happen to the good sense and the common sense ”.
This is how many people expressed themselves, Cubans residing in the United States, Latin Americans and especially a Cuban born in 1936 in Cerro, who traveled from afar to witness Cuba’s victory. “I have lived in New York for 70 years, but I am still Cuban from head to toe. Cuba yes, Blockade no! “, He said.
A large number of diplomats went to the Cuban table to congratulate the Foreign Minister and Permanent Representative Anayansi Rodríguez Camejo. It was 12:45 pm, and another complete defeat of the Blockade had ended. This time with the maximum effort, maneuvers of all kinds, pressure on the countries, in short, a multitude of tricks from the US to avoid it.
They wanted Donald Trump’s representatives to avoid another overwhelming vote against the US, and the result was nine landslide votes against the blockade and amendments!
Taken and tranlated from: www.cubadebate.cu