The UN General Assembly will discuss on Wednesday for the 27th consecutive year a resolution calling for the end of the US embargo on Cuba, imposed more than half a century ago. But Washington will seek to boycott the vote by presenting amendments that demand greater freedom on the communist island.
The United States plans to present eight amendments to the draft Cuban resolution condemning the embargo focused on the defense of freedoms on the communist island and the request for the release of political prisoners.
"Last year, we reversed Obama's policy on Cuba at the UN, which did not defend the United States when Cuba condemns us," a US diplomat told AFP, who requested anonymity.
- "One more step" -
"This year, we take a step further, using amendments to illustrate why our position against the Cuban dictatorship still exists," the diplomat added.
The amendments call on Cuba to put an end to the restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly and the persecution and harassment of dissidents and urge it to free political prisoners.
They also claim that Cuba violates the UN's sustainable development goals in the wake of "the absence of women in the most powerful decision-making bodies", the "total absence of judicial independence" or government interference in union negotiations, as well as the prohibition of the right to strike.
The eight amendments will be discussed and voted on individually, which according to Cuban and US diplomats will possibly delay Thursday's vote to condemn the US embargo.
"We hope that others will join us in condemning things in Cuba that the UN routinely condemns in other parts of the world," said the US diplomat.
- "A pretext to harden the blockade" -
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez denounced on Tuesday at the UN that with the amendments the United States seeks to "create a pretext to tighten the blockade against Cuba", "try to present the illusion that there is international support for this policy" and "to disturb, consume time, create confusion and hinder "the approval of the condemnation of the embargo.
The Cuban government says that since US President John F. Kennedy imposed the embargo on Cuba in February 1962, less than a year after Fidel Castro declared the socialist nature of the Cuban revolution, it has caused damage to the island for more than 134,499 million dollars at the current exchange rate.
The resolution calling for the end of the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba has been approved every year since 1992 in the UN General Assembly by overwhelming majority. Last year, it was supported by 191 votes against two, those of the United States and Israel.
In 2016, for the first and only time, the United States abstained from voting against the resolution in a context of bilateral approach of the Barack Obama government to the island after more than half a century of enmity between Washington and Havana, which included the reopening of Embassies in both capitals in 2015.
But after the arrival in the White House of the Republican Donald Trump in January 2017 and the denunciations of "acoustic attacks" against a score of US diplomats and their families in Havana, the relations between the two countries are tense and the respective embassies work to the minimum.
A little over two weeks ago, Cuba and the United States had an unusual confrontation at the UN.
With screams, hitting desks with punches and thick books, fifteen Cuban diplomats boycotted a session called by the United States to expose the situation of about 130 political prisoners on the island.
The embargo on Cuba was approved by law and only the US Congress can put an end to it, to which it has always refused.