Cuban President Raul Castro called for an end to the U.S. imposed economic blockade on his country in a searing speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, adding that the United States should immediately close its military base in Guantanamo bay.
“Normalization of relations with the United States will be achieved once the economic blockade against Cuba is lifted,” he said.
President Castro also expressed solidarity with leaders of progressive Latin American governments such as Ecuador and Venezuela.
“Venezuela will always be able to rely on the solidarity and support of Cuba,” Castro declared.
The Cuban president criticized efforts to try to destabilize and undermine progressive governments throughout the region.
Throughout his speech, Castro raised serious issues confronting the world, urging the international community to resolve them.
Castro also reiterated calls to reform the U.N. Security Council, arguing that the institution must reflect the world’s current geo-political realities.
The council is the U.N.'s most powerful body as it helps to shape international law. It is the first to respond to crises and can make binding decisions concerning war and peace.
The Security Council comprises 15 members: the United Kingdom, France, China, the United States and Russia all have permanent seats, while the remaining 10 are non-permanent members that serve two year terms on a rotational basis, without veto power – one of the more contentious issues.
However, any plan to transform the council requires endorsement by two-thirds of the U.N. member states to amend the United Nations charter.