Posted on Thu, Nov. 09, 2006
End Cuban embargo, U.N. urges U.S.
BY EDITH M. LEDERER
NEW YORK - The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to urge the United States to end its 45-year-old trade embargo against Cuba after defeating an Australian amendment calling on Fidel Castro's government to free political prisoners and respect human rights.
It was the 15th straight year that the 192-member world body approved a resolution calling for the U.S. economic and commercial embargo against Cuba to be repealed ``as soon as possible.''
Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque told the assembly ``the economic war unleashed by the U.S. against Cuba, the longest and most ruthless ever known, qualifies as an act of genocide and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and the charter of the United Nations.''
Delegates in the General Assembly chamber burst into applause when the vote in favor of the the resolution flashed on the screen -- 183-4 with one abstention. That was a one-vote improvement over last year's vote of 182-4 with one abstention. Joining the United States in voting ''no'' were Israel, Marshall Islands and Palau, while Micronesia abstained.
The assembly voted on the resolution soon after adopting a resolution to take ''no action'' on the Australian amendment, which meant it could not be added to the Cuban draft. That vote was 126-51 with five abstentions.
The proposed amendment stated that the U.S. laws and measures ``were motivated by valid concerns about the continued lack of democracy and political freedom in Cuba.''
It would have had the assembly call upon ``the Cuban government to release unconditionally all political prisoners, cooperate fully with international human rights bodies and mechanisms, respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and comply fully with its obligations under all human rights treaties to which it is a state party.''