Time after time the United Nations has lobbied for an end to the United States’s blockade against Cuba only to have it overturned by the U.S. and its allies during the General Assembly.
Over the last year, Cuba has suffered a loss of US$4 billion due to the 1960’s blockade and the island is preparing to bring this fight to the UN General Assembly on October 31.
The blockade was first imposed under the Kennedy Administration on February 7, 1962, in an effort to overthrow Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution from within through extreme economic difficulties.
A previously confidential report from the U.S. Department of State from 1958 to 1960, said: "The majority of Cubans support Castro (...) the only foreseeable way to detract from his internal support is through the disenchantment and dissatisfaction that arise from the economic malaise and the material difficulties.”
After nearly 60 consecutive years, the economic, commercial, and financial blockade remains, despite calls from international groups denouncing it as an act of war and a violation of human rights, according to the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which was approved by the UN General Assembly in 1948.
A statement from the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization said, “This policy affects the development and health of the Cuban people, and obliges the national authorities to make double and triple efforts to keep the equipment running and guarantee the medicines that are needed."
For 26 consecutive years, the United Nations has expressed its unanimous rejection of the US blockade against Cuba in a nearly unanimous vote during the assembly.
Beginning in 1992, the international organization has consistently pressured the U.S. to remove the “embargo” only to have the initiative trashed during the assembly with a veto from the United States and at least one ally.
The world leaders have shifted from 71 abstentions in the early 90’s to full participation of all 193 members at the assembly last year. In 2016, during former President Barack Obama’s administration, the U.S. and Israel abstained from voting on the issue in an effort to thaw international relations, which led the General Assembly to adopt an annual resolution to call for the embargo to be lifted.
Trump has rebuked his predecessor’s decision to open relations with Cuba. The administration has re-imposed strict travel restrictions for U.S. citizens as well as numerous economic sanctions targeting agriculture, technology, and tourism.
An August report from Cuba’s Foreign Ministry branded the blockade "the most unfair, severe and prolonged system of unilateral sanctions that have been applied against any country.”
It added that the sanctions are the main obstacle to the development of all the potentialities of the Cuban economy as well as the United States' potential progress in international, commercial, and economic relations with the island.
The United States has lost nearly all international support for the blockade since the collapse of the Soviet Union.