WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, James Williams, President of Engage Cuba, a national coalition of private companies, organizations and state and local leaders working to lift the embargo, released the following statement on the first ever unanimous passage of the 25th consecutive United Nations General Assembly Resolution condemning the Cuban embargo.
The United States and Israel are the only two countries who have consistently voted to oppose the Resolution since 1992. Today, the United States and Israel abstained from voting, rendering the Resolution's passage unanimous for the first time ever.
"Year after year, the international community has condemned our failed unilateral sanctions that have caused great economic hardship for the people of Cuba and continue to put American businesses at a competitive disadvantage. The fact that the Administration and Israel abstained from voting for the first time ever demonstrates the growing recognition that the U.S. embargo on Cuba is a failed, obsolete policy that has no place in today's international affairs.
"The world is increasingly looking to Cuba as a key player in international affairs, through advanced medical aid, regional conflict mediation, and its re-entry in the global market. As Cuba continues to play a growing and constructive global role, our policy of isolation not only weakens our international credibility, but threatens our national security, as well as our economic and human rights interests in the region and around the world. The people of Cuba have endured severe economic hardship for 55 years to no end, and it's time for Congress to join the international community and the overwhelming majority of the American people and end this failed policy."
On the floor of the 32nd Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly, representatives from the international community cited the embargo as a glaring inconsistency with the recent changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba, including the reestablishment of diplomatic relations. Major U.S. trading partners in Europe and Latin America condemned the embargo as a imposition on their ability to engage directly with Cuba without facing trade penalties from the U.S.