Uganda and all African nations on Tuesday night voted against the US economic embargo against Cuba in an historic UN decision that many praised as an sign of solidarity between Africa and the Caribbean island.
The UN General Assembly voted 191-2 to condemn the US blockade of Cuba, with only the US and Israel opposed.
Washington voted against the resolution despite the recent renewal of diplomatic ties with Cuba and the push by President Barack Obama to lift the embargo first introduced a year before he was born.
Uganda just like many African states enjoys warm relations with Cuba. Uganda and Cuba have, over the past 40 years enjoyed close friendship which has stood the test of time. The two countries have supported each other at international fora through the Non Allied Movement, G77 and at the UN to defend and protect their strategic political and economic interests and partnerships.
The draft resolution urges all member states to “refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures” that furthering the blockade, and those that have such laws to “repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible.” It specifically cites the 1996 Helms-Burton Act as one such law, which affects the sovereignty of other states and legitimate interests of their citizens, as well as the freedom of trade and navigation. Helms-Burton penalizes foreign companies for doing business with Cuba.
Of the 193 member states at the General Assembly, 191 voted in support of the resolution, titled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”
Washington imposed the blockade in 1960, after Cuban revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro overthrew the regime of Fulgencio Batista, a US-backed dictator. It has been in place for over 55 years.
“The time has come to put an end to this unilateral embargo,” said the Paraguayan representative, speaking on behalf of Mercosur, a free trade block of seven South American nations.
“The continuation of the embargo is unjustifiable, and counters Cuba’s effort to achieve sustainable development,” said the Iranian representative, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
President Obama announced in December 2014 that he would be changing the US policy on Cuba, arguing that the blockade had not produced the desired effect. In May 2015, the US removed Cuba from the list of countries accused of sponsoring terrorism. The Cuban embassy in Washington reopened in July, and the US embassy in Havana followed suit in August.
Additional reporting from RT