Watch the United Nations next week.
On Wednesday, October 29, the UN General Assembly will vote for the seventeenth consecutive year on a resolution condemning the United States’ embargo on Cuba. Last year, the resolution was adopted by a vote of 184-4. The outcome, this year, is not really in doubt. The question, as before, is whether anyone in our government – now, or in the next administration – is listening.
Our nation has tried for fifty years to replace Cuba’s government with one more to our liking. Diplomatic and economic sanctions have been the principal instrument of this policy. Ten American presidents, starting with Eisenhower, have pursued this goal. President Bush will leave office having tried and failed to achieve regime change. The next president will inherit a failed and futile policy that hurts Cubans and sullies our nation’s image around the world.
The UN debate takes place against the backdrop of Cuba recovering from four hurricanes and tropical storms that caused $5 billion and more in devastation.
Our discredited sanctions policy is now being used to block the sale of construction materials to repair Cuba’s housing stock, and to block Cuban-American families from helping their relatives on the island with the process of recovery. Only a few US hard-headed policy makers are hard-hearted enough to view a policy like this with satisfaction. More and more of us view it as a national disgrace. A strong majority of Americans want our Cuba policy to change.
The vote in the General Assembly also comes six days before our election. In years past, Americans have held the UN in low regard and paid it little heed. This year could be different. Our policy toward Cuba leaves the United States increasingly isolated at a moment in our history when we can ill afford to go it alone. Were the United States to replace our policy of sanctions with one of engagement, we would have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
We are reminded of these issues by these highlights in our news summary:
• The UN providing $30 million more in hurricane relief
• Cuba and European Union reestablish cooperation
• Cuba and Mexico sign new migration agreements
• Cuba speaks out on the upcoming UN vote
This week, in Cuba news…