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U.S. and Cuba relations still strained, difficulties arise at United Nations meeting

Although the relationship between the United States and Cuba has improved recently, allowing U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba,   there are still disagreements between the two countries. The embargo made in the 1960s has changed over the years, but it still prevents Cuba from importing and exporting goods that it needs.

At the recent United Nations meeting on Tuesday, a vote was made to end the embargo; unfortunately, the embargo will still remain for the time being, partly because the U.S. and Israel voted against it.  Although President Obama favors ending the embargo, the U.S. congress seems to block him from achieving this and many other things.

Karen DeYoung from The Washington Post reported the following:

“For the 24th year in a row, and by a wider margin than ever before, the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to urge the United States to end its economic embargo on Cuba. Despite the Obama administration’s professed eagerness to do precisely that, the United States was one of only two nations to vote no.”

Part of the reason the U.S. turned down the vote was because of Cuba’s attitude toward the embargo, which Cuban officials call a Blockade.

Elise Labot and Richard Roth from CNN reported the following in more detail:

“The U.S. had considered taking a less emphatic stance on the resolution in light of the new opening of diplomatic relations between the two countries. U.S. officials said they decided to cast a ‘no’ ballot because the text did not fully reflect the spirit of the recent opening between the two former enemies.

Only Israel joined the U.S. in opposing the resolution, with 191 voting for it.

The resolution, introduced by Cuba, demanded an end to the embargo — which it refers to as ‘blockade.’ The resolution also calls on all U.N. members to refrain from interfering in other countries’ internal affairs as well as the freedom of international trade and navigation.

U.S. delegate Ronald Godard told the U.N. that ‘we find it unfortunate that despite our bilateral progress, Cuba introduced a resolution nearly identical to those in years past.’….

….The statement read out by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla concerning the vote also struck a harsh tone.

‘The blockade is a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the human rights of all Cubans; it is contrary to International Law; it has been described as a crime of genocide,’ the statement declared.”

Things are slowly improving for Cuba. Like most U.N. votes, this vote is not enforceable. Fortunately, many expect things to continue to improve even though the U.S. voted against lifting the embargo.  BBC news reported the following:

“According to the BBC’s Will Grant in Havana, there had been speculation that the US might abstain from the UN vote this year, thereby isolating the US Congress in the eyes of the world – and pressurising them to lift the embargo….

…Our correspondent says the vote is unlikely to derail the process of normalisation between the US and Cuba on its own.”

Political change takes time.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  The Cold War took years to end, and some problems still remain in Ukraine from that era.  With Cuba it will take time, but hopefully things will get better for the Cuban people. Maybe at next year’s U.N meeting the U.S and Israel will finally vote against the embargo, and maybe congress will finally agree to abolish it.

About Jason Edgerton

Jason Edgerton
Mr. Edgerton holds a university degree in philosophy. He aims to provide valuable news content for Youth Independent readers.