U.N. officials urged the United States to end certain aspects of the 52-year-old embargo against Cuba, throwing support behind a resolution that asks Washington to lessen trade restrictions.
The embargo, which has had little effect in ending Cuban communism, was enacted under President John F. Kennedy after Cuban dictator Fidel Castro made the decision to align his country with the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.
“We hope that after the US government eases its embargo in certain areas – in particular, on US citizens’ visiting relatives in Cuba, as well as on making money transfers and postal orders. Other steps for the final lifting of the embargo will follow,” said Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, when addressing the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday.
On Tuesday, 188 U.N. member nations voted in favor of the resolution calling for the embargo to be lifted as soon as possible; the United States, Israel and Palau voted against the document.
Washington has taken steps in recent years to make limited travel and money transfer to Cuba easier, but many parts of the original American embargo remain in effect. U.N. member nations say that influencing the Cuban people’s choice of whether to strive for a new model of governance could be more easily accomplished by taking some economic pressure off of the nation.
American sanctions “have shown that it is impossible to influence the Cuban people’s sovereign choice of their [preference] for a development model,” Churkin noted, which only serves to “deteriorate the living conditions of the island’s population.”