US embargo on Cuba slammed by UN for 21st year

The UN has urged the US to lift the 52-year trade embargo with Cuba in an almost-unanimous vote. Cuba likened the blockade to “genocide” and said it was disappointed that Obama had not taken measures to lift the disputed embargo, according to Russia Today.

Of the 193 members of the UN assembly, 188 voted to abolish what is widely perceived as an illegal blockade. The only two nations that got behind the US were "Israel" and the Pacific nation of Palau, while two countries abstained from the vote.

 This is the 21st year running that the UN has decried the American economic sanctions against the island nation.

 Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez addressed the assembly, voicing Cuban disappointment that despite Obama’s pledge to open a new chapter in Cuban-American relations on assuming office four years ago, no steps had been taken the lift the crippling embargo.

"The reality is that the last four years have been characterized by the persistent tightening of …the embargo," he said.

 The Cuban government has calculated that since the blockade was enforced in 1960 the total financial damage to Cuba’s economy is around US$3 trillion.

Rodriguez qualified the maintenance of the embargo as tantamount to “genocide” and a “massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights” of the people of Cuba.

He criticized America for what he called a “costly double standard” for wasting “hundreds of millions of dollars from the taxes that are paid by US citizens in the useless and illegal subversion against Cuba.”

Minister Rodriguez’s speech was greeted by thunderous applause.