“Older than Barack Obama”

Earlier today, for the 17th consecutive year, the UN General Assembly adopted by a margin more overwhelming than ever a resolution that invokes the "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba." — This year’s vote was 185 Member States in favor, and only 3 opposed (the U.S., Israel, and Palau).

The U.S. embargo of Cuba is "older than Barack Obama and my entire generation," Cuba‘s Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said before the General Assembly. — The rest of the planet earth (including a lot of people I know) may believe that with the U.S. National Elections just six days away (and counting), a strong whiff of dramatic change in how the United States conducts it affairs hangs in the fall air, compliments the Democratic candidate.  But the rest of the planet earth very well may be badly mistaken. 

During the 17 years the General Assembly has voted on this same measure, there has never been a single year in which those Member States opposed to ending the U.S. embargo of Cuba (i.e., in favor of maintaining the embargo) exceeded four votes, and this total of four has occurred in only five of those 17 years (1993, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007). 

Nor has there ever been a single vote cast in opposition to lifting the U.S. embargo (i.e., in favor of violating the "principles enshrined" in the UN Charter, including illegal "regulations whose extraterritorial effects affect the sovereignty of other States") in which the United States was not joined by  Israel. — For all intents and purposes, all of the other Member States either have voted in favor of lifting the embargo, or sat on their hands when the time came to cast their ballot, cowed by Washington.  Which means that across the entire world, only the U.S. - Israeli tag-team has supported the U.S. embargo of Cuba.  Which also means (I’m guessing, because checking 100 percent of this is quite arduous) that in the diplomatic parlance of "I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine," the United States has voted against every  General Assembly resolution calling upon Israel to lift the punishing sanctions that it imposes upon the conquered Palestinian Territories, and vetoed every or pretty close to every Security Council resolution as well.  Quite a team.

Below you will find all of the General Assembly’s resolutions calling on the United States to end its embargo of Cuba, dating back to the very first of them, in 1992.  

In each case, I’ve provided the hyperlink to the General Assembly’s resolutions; and beginning with 1997′s, I’ve also provided the hyperlink to the relevant press release that accompanied each vote.
(Note that GA votes are recorded as those Member States "in favor," those "opposed," those which officially "abstain," and those which are "absent." — Insofar as these data are readily available, I’ve also reported them below.)

What remains to be seen is (a) whether the establishment U.S. media will report on the Washington-unfriendly outcome of this vote?  And (b) if some of them do, beyond the wire services, how accurately will they report on it, and how thoroughly?

In past years, these votes have been virtually ignored.  (About which, see "Strange Logic," ZNet, November 2, 2004.) 

So if there really is something new blowing in the wind, today’s General Assembly vote against the status quo United States policy towards Cuba is as good as any test case with which to begin checking for it.

("A useless embargo," Editorial, Los Angeles Times, October 29; "Massive UN vote in favor of lifting U.S. embargo on Cuba," Agence France Presse, October 29; "UN resolution urges U.S. to lift Cuba embargo," Associated Press, October 29; "UN votes against US embargo on Cuba for 17th year," Reuters, October 29; "UN General Assembly demands U.S. lift embargo on Cuba," RIA Novosti, October 29; and "UN adopts resolution urging end to U.S. embargo on Cuba ," Xinhua, October 29.)

* 1992 (A/RES/47/19):  59 to 3 (71 abstentions).

* 1993 (A/RES/48/16): 88 to 4 (57 abstentions).

* 1994 (A/RES/49/9): 101 to 2  (48 abstentions).

* 1995 (A/RES/50/10): 117 to 3  (38 abstentions)

* 1996 (A/RES/51/17): 137 to 3  (25 abstentions).

* 1997 (A/RES/52/10GA/9349): 143 to 3 (17 abstentions; 15 absents).

* 1998 (A/RES/53/4GA/9479): 157 to 2  (12 abstentions; 6 absents).

* 1999 (A/RES/54/21GA/9654): 155 to 2  (8 abstentions; 12 absents).

* 2000 (A/RES/55/20GA/9814): 167 to 3  (4 abstentions; 7 absents).

* 2001 (A/RES/56/9GA/9979): 167 to 3  (3 abstentions; 6 absents).

* 2002 (A/RES/57/11GA/10097): 173 to 3  (4 abstentions; 7 absents).

* 2003 (A/RES/58/7GA/10203): 179 to 3  (2 abstentions; 7 absents). 

* 2004 (A/RES/59/11GA/10288): 179 to 4  (1 abstention; 6 absents). 

* 2005 (A/RES/60/12GA/10417): 182 to 4  (1 abstention; 4 absents).

* 2006 (A/RES/61/11GA/10529): 183 to 4  (1 abstention; 4 absents).

* 2007 (A/RES/62/3GA/10649): 184 to 4  (1 abstention; 3 absents).

* 2008 (A/RES/63/7 – GA/10772): 185 to 3  (2 abstentions; 2 absents).

"Strange Logic," ZNet, November 2, 2004



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