Spotlight: Cubans hail UN vote against U.S. embargo

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-02 14:15:21|Editor: Chengcheng
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by Noemi Galban, Raimundo Urrechaga

HAVANA, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Cubans hailed another diplomatic victory on Thursday after receiving overwhelming support from the international community at a United Nations vote condemning U.S. trade embargo against the Caribbean island.

Havana once again submitted a resolution to the UN General Assembly that calls on the United States to lift the economic and financial sanctions imposed on Cuba for more than half a century.

The non-binding resolution received 189 votes in favor and two against. Only the United States and Israel voted against it.

"We are very satisfied and happy. Once again the nations of the world backed Cuba and demanded the United States put an end to this obsolete policy that damages our economy so much," Nilexys Cardenas, an industrial engineering student at the Technological University of Havana, told Xinhua.

Generations of Cubans have been born under the sanctions that have had a stranglehold on Cuba's economy since the 1960s.

Nowadays, Cuban youth have taken the lead in organizing large-scale rallies against the policy. At events like "Wasp against the blockade," young Cubans have had the chance to express their anger and frustration at seeing their country's economic development systematically undermined.

"Despite the diversity of interests among our people, this issue unites all Cubans. It's something that affects all of us and we can't expect anything less than a resounding rejection from our students and young people in general," Raul Palmero, president of the Federation of University Students, told Xinhua.

Washington proposed eight amendments to the resolution that questioned the situation of human rights in Cuba as well as the Caribbean nation's alleged failure to meet the UN's 2030 sustainable development goals.

Each of the U.S. amendments was rejected by a majority of countries.

"Despite the intentions of the United States this year to obstruct the Cuban resolution, once again most of the world's countries demanded President (Donald) Trump end the economic blockade against our country," said Isidro Sanchez, a university professor.

In spite of the impact the blockade has on the nation's economy, Cubans are optimistic and confident of their government's ability to carry out its development plans.

"The blockade has stopped Cuba from fully developing all its potential but it has served to show us we can do more in tough times with our own abilities and move forward as a country," said Maria Martin, a public-sector worker.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel thanked the 189 countries who supported the island's resolution.

"The countries of the world voted in Cuba's favor because they know our cause is truly just," he said via Twitter.

The nearly six-decade long blockade hampers Cuba's development and its capacity to participate fully in the global economy.

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.