Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez addresses the UN General Assembly meeting at the UN headquarters in New York, Nov. 1, 2018. (Xinhua/Xie E)
UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday adopted a non-binding resolution calling for lifting the U.S. embargo against Cuba.
The draft resolution, tabled by Cuba, received 189 votes in favor and two against at the 193-member General Assembly. Only the United States and Israel voted against it.
"The blockade is a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the human rights of Cuban men and women and has been an essential impediment to the aspirations of the wellbeing and prosperity entertained by several generations," Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said in his speech delivered before the voting.
"The quantifiable damages accumulated as a result of the blockade after almost six decades of its implementation amount to 933.7 billion U.S. dollars," he said.
Noting that the U.S. government "does not have the least moral authority" for criticizing Cuba or anyone else with regards to human rights, the Cuban foreign minister said that "we reject the repeated manipulation of human rights with political purposes as well as the double standards that characterize it."
Before the vote, there was debate on eight amendments proposed by the United States that criticized Cuba's human rights record and lack of civil liberties on the island. The amendments were all defeated by wide margins with only the United States, Israel and Ukraine consistently voting for them.
The General Assembly debate on "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba" began Wednesday.
Speakers on both Wednesday and Thursday overwhelmingly called on the United States to end its economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba as the General Assembly began its annual debate on the issue amid demands for the cessation of unilateral coercive measures.
Almost all speakers said the nearly six decades long blockade imposed on the Caribbean island by Washington impedes its right to development and its ability to participate fully in the global economy. They stressed that the United States must heed the Assembly's repeated calls to lift its restrictive policies.
China's permanent representative to the UN Ma Zhaoxu told the General Assembly that the U.S. embargo against Cuba should cease.
"All countries should uphold the process of mutual understanding and development for all peoples," he said.
"The international community must tackle issues together," he said, urging Washington to cease the unilateral coercive measures.
The General Assembly has adopted resolutions repeatedly to have the embargo dropped, yet it still has not ended, said the ambassador, noting that the blockade "is contrary to the principle of the United Nations Charter and creates huge financial and economic damages for Cuba."
"It hinders Cuba's ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals," Ma noted.
On the same day, Russia's UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called the embargo an "abhorrent relic of the Cold War" and said it "hobbles" Cuba's ability to engage in global financial markets and to participate in international credit institutions.
Iranian ambassador to the UN Gholamali Khoshroo said the blockade is a "vivid example of the unilateral way in which the United States acts in the world."
"Rather than drawing lessons from their short-sighted and disastrous policies towards Cuba and the Middle East, United States officials have intensified the blockade against the island to put more pressure on the Cuban leadership under far-fetched pretexts," he said.
Thursday's vote marked the 27th consecutive year in which Havana has tabled the resolution.
The only time that the United States didn't cast a no vote was in 2016 during the Obama administration's opening toward Cuba when both the United States and Israel abstained.
Two weeks ago, a U.S. sponsored campaign aimed to criticize the human rights situation in Cuba encountered fierce protest at the UN.