The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution condemning the United States’ sanctions regime against Cuba.
On Thursday, the Assembly adopted the annual resolution by an overwhelming 191 votes in favour of putting an end to a decades-long US economic embargo against Cuba.
The measure was met for the first time in 25 years with an abstention by the US itself, which had vehemently opposed the Resolution over the years.
The Cuban ambassador to The Gambia, His Excellency Lázaro Herrera Martínez in his reaction to this latest development remarked: “I thank all of you and expressed my deepest gratitude for the unshakable support of The Gambia in this battle against the blocade, on behalf of the Cuban people, the Cuban government and on my own behalf.”
Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez described the US shift as positive, but said that Washington must take concrete steps that go beyond the “vote of one delegation in this forum.”
“The blocade continues to be a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of all Cuban men and women and qualifies as an act of genocide,” Rodriguez said.
The United States broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 and placed an official embargo against the country in 1962. The two countries became ideological foes soon after the 1959 revolution in Cuba, which brought Fidel Castro to power, and their ties remained hostile even after the end of the Cold War.
Washington and Havana, however, restored diplomatic relations after 18 months of secret talks that led to a joint announcement on December 17, 2014.
The United States and Cuba officially restored diplomatic relations on July 20, 2015. Nevertheless, Washington continues to maintain its commercial, economic, and financial embargo, which makes it illegal for US corporations to do business with Cuba.
Barack Obama, who visited Havana in March, has been the first sitting US president to visit Cuba in nearly a century.
by Musa Ndow