The UN General Assembly has voted to call for an end to the US embargo on Cuba for the nineteenth consecutive year. The non-binding measure drew support from 187 countries, with the US joined only by Israel in opposition. The US Ambassador for Western Hemispheric Affairs, Ronald Godard, defended the US embargo before the vote.
Ronald Godard: "It is the view of the United States that a new era in US-Cuban relations cannot be fully realized until the Cuban people enjoy the internationally recognized political and economic freedoms that this body has done so much to defend in other countries around the world. Mr. President, my delegation will vote against this resolution. Indeed the United States believes that it is high time for this body to focus its energies on supporting the Cuban people in their quest to freely decide their own future and move beyond the rhetorical posturing that this resolution represents."
The two "no" votes marked a decline from last year, when the US and Israel were also joined by the tiny island nation of Palau. Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla criticized the Obama administration for extending the embargo.
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla: "The policy of the United States against Cuba is devoid of any legal or ethical ground, nor does it have any credibility or support. This has been evidenced by over 180 votes in the General Assembly, which for the past years have been calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade."