|Cuba's resolution on the "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba" was supported overwhelmingly for the 27th time by member states at the United Nations on November 1. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 189-2, with only the U.S. and Israel voting against it, as occurred last year. There were no abstentions.
Speaking in advance of the vote, Cuba's Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, delivered a powerful speech in which he spoke about the damage the blockade has caused the Cuban people. He began with cases of children with serious life-threatening conditions who are unable to access needed treatments because the blockade prevents Cuba from purchasing drugs and medical equipment from U.S. companies.
He recalled the notorious classified memorandum issued in 1960 by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Lester Mallory, which he said continues as the basis of the U.S. policy towards Cuba. In it Mallory said: "[T]here is no effective political opposition ... the only possible means of alienating [the government] internally is by provoking disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. Every possible means must be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life ... denying money and supplies to Cuba to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government."
Minister Rodríguez denounced the U.S. attempt this year to fabricate a pretext to get an endorsement of its blockade by "amending" Cuba's resolution and calling on other UN members to support the cynical manoeuvre. He accused the U.S. of engaging in lies, deceit and immorality, spelling out the many ways in which it violates human rights at home and abroad -- committing crimes against humanity, breaking international treaties of all types, pursuing "so-called peace" based on force and much more -- showing that it does not possess any moral authority to judge Cuba, much less subject it to a genocidal blockade.
Since 1898 when the U.S. occupied Cuba militarily to prevent it from enjoying its hard-won independence, the relationship has been one marked by the determination of U.S. governments to control Cuba's destiny in opposition to Cubans' unwavering resolve to defend their independence and self-determination, Rodríguez said. Today, Cuba is "an absolutely independent nation and master of its own destiny that develops relations of respect and enjoys bonds of friendship and cooperation with all the countries of the world," he said. Pointing out that this has been achieved with the sacrifice of several generations, he said, Cubans will defend it, whatever the cost.
At sessions of the General Assembly on October 31 and November 1, member states were invited to speak prior to any votes being taken. More than 30 representatives spoke in support of ending the blockade on behalf of global and regional organizations or in their national capacity. No one but the U.S. spoke against Cuba's resolution.
Prior to the votes on the eight "amendments" drafted by the U.S., that raised issues related to "human rights" and the UN's sustainable development goals in a cynical ploy to twist Cuba's resolution into a condemnation of itself, a vote had to be taken to determine the majority needed for any of the amendments to be adopted. Cuba insisted that under General Assembly rules a two-thirds majority was required. The U.S. maintained that a simple majority was all that was needed. When the vote was taken, there was overwhelming support for Cuba's position -- the first of a series of defeats the U.S. would suffer.
Next, its eight amendments went down to defeat, one by one, with only Israel and Ukraine voting with the U.S. For the most part, 114 countries consistently voted against the amendments while 66 abstained. The biggest win for Cuba came in the vote on the resolution itself. When the results -- once again almost unanimous -- showed up on the display board, the General Assembly Hall erupted in sustained applause for Cuba. Meanwhile for all its trouble the U.S ended up not only isolating itself, it suffered ten defeats in one, as President Díaz-Canel put it in a tweet celebrating Cuba's 27th straight victory.
None of what took place sat well with U.S. representative Niki Haley who took it upon herself to reproach everyone else for what happened. Saying she was "taken aback by the applause here," she declared there had been no winners, just losers all round. She claimed the UN Charter had been betrayed -- of course not by her government or Israel's -- but, ridiculously, by all those who refused to support her government's attacks on Cuba and voted in support of ending the illegal blockade! She then tried to discredit the UN saying, "Faith in it is often misplaced." Finally, feigning concern for the victims of her government's genocidal blockade, she declared hypocritically that although the UN and "most world governments" have abandoned them, the Cuban people could count on the U.S. -- their true friend and neighbour and "fellow children of God" -- to stand with them. In contrast to the dead silence that greeted Haley's harangue, Cuba's delegation enjoyed the enthusiastic support of diplomats from many countries who filed by to congratulate and embrace Minister Rodríguez and Cuba's Permanent Representative at the UN, Anayansi Rodríguez.