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Cuba and U.S. spar over U.N. resolution calling to end embargo

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration on Thursday voted against a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for an end to the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, leaving relations frosty between the two longtime rivals.

November 4, 2022
4 November 2022

HAVANA, Nov 3 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s
administration on Thursday voted against a U.N. General Assembly
resolution calling for an end to the U.S. economic embargo on
Cuba, leaving relations frosty between the two longtime rivals.

The non-binding resolution was approved by 185 countries and
opposed only by the United States and Israel, with Brazil and
Ukraine abstaining. It was the 30th time the United Nations has
voted to end the embargo.

Biden has eased some sanctions on communist-run Cuba
implemented by his predecessor, Donald Trump, loosening tough
U.S. restrictions around remittances, flights, tourism, and
migration.

But U.S. Political Coordinator John Kelley told the U.N.
General Assembly Thursday that the United States would hold the
Cuban government accountable for alleged human rights violations
following widespread protests on the island in July of 2021.

“The United States opposes this resolution, but we stand
with the Cuban people and will continue to seek ways to provide
meaningful support to them,” Kelley said.

“We join international partners in urging the Cuban
government to release political prisoners immediately and
unconditionally and to protect the freedoms of expression and
peaceful assembly of all individuals in Cuba.”

Cuba’s representative at the United Nations, Yuri Gala,
lashed back during the U.N. session in New York, calling U.S.
allegations of rights violations false.

“Cuba does not need lessons on democracy and human rights,
much less from the United States,” Gala said.

“If the United States government was really interested in
the welfare, human rights and self-determination of Cubans, it
could lift the blockade.”

The trade embargo was put in place following Fidel
Castro’s 1959 revolution and has remained largely unchanged,
though some elements were stiffened by Trump. The web of U.S.
laws and regulations complicate financial transactions and the
acquisition of goods and services by the Cuban government.

The long-running dispute between the two countries shows
little sign of detente, despite some modest gestures of goodwill
in recent months.

The Biden administration in October offered $2 million to
Cuba for emergency relief efforts following Hurricane Ian. It
also donated firefighting equipment after a blaze destroyed a
oil tank farm on the island in August.
(Reporting by Dave Sherwood and Nelson Acosta; Editing by
Rosalba O’Brien)

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