Resolution on Cuba embargo ignores new "spirit of engagement" says US

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A view of the voting panels. UN Photo/Cia Pak

The United Nations resolution passed on Tuesday, condemning the US embargo against Cuba, ignores the new "spirit of engagement", said a senior US official.

The US was one of only two countries voting against the General Assembly resolution.

It was the 24th year in a row that the blockade has been criticized at the UN, and it comes amidst a thaw in US-Cuba relations that began last December.

Matthew Wells has more:

The financial embargo, as Washington refers to it, has been in place since 1960, and Cuba estimates that it has cost the country more than US$800 billion in lost revenue and trade.

The Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, told UN delegates that despite the renewed diplomatic ties and new business links with the US, the blockade remained in place.

"We should not confuse reality with wishful thinking, or expressions of goodwill. And facts show crystal clear, that the economic, commercial and financial blockade is being fully and completely implemented."

Obama administration officials have said often since December that the blockade is a failed policy, but it was put in place by the US Congress, and legislators must be persuaded to lift it.

Pointing to that political reality, the administration's senior representative present, Ronald Godard, said it was a matter of regret that Cuba had brought the resolution forward:

"The text falls short of reflecting the significant steps that have been taken, and the spirit of engagement President Obama has championed. As a result, the US cannot support it. If Cuba thinks this exercise will help move things forward in the direction both governments have indicated they wish, it is mistaken."

Many speakers in the debate applauded the thaw in relations, but said the embargo remained illegal under international law and still deserved condemnation. Jamaica, speaking for the Caribbean trading bloc, said it was standing in the way of the whole region's growth.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’43″

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