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Jamaica parliament approves motion urging US to lift trade embargo against Cuba

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Oct 28, CMC – The Jamaica parliament has unanimously approved a motion calling on the United States to lift its decades’ old economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba.

The motion, piloted by Attorney General, Marlene Malahoo Forte, is in support of a resolution submitted by Cuba to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), entitled ‘Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba’.

It seeks to provide support for the complete removal of the restrictions imposed on Cuba for more than 50 years despite the fact that 191 member states of the UN, including Jamaica, representing the vast majority of the international community voted last year in favour of the resolution.

Malahoo Forte said the blockade continues to hinder the normalisation of relations between the two countries, noting that it also goes against many charters and norms governing international trade.

“The blockade is the most unjust, severe and prolonged system of sanctions ever imposed on any country, and it remains a flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of the Cuban people,” she said.

She said it constitutes the greatest obstacle to developing the full potential of the economy and well-being of the Cuban people and to the island’s economic trade and financial relations with the US and the rest of the world.

Malahoo Forte noted that while there has been relaxation of a few rules regarding telecommunication, trade, remittances, travel, the reopening of embassies and the visit of President Barack Obama to Cuba, which was a positive move towards the re-establishment of bilateral relations, more still needed to be done.

Opposition spokesman on Foreign Affairs, Dr Morais Guy, said that the blockade has created undue hardship for the Cuban people and economy.

He added that it has also created barriers for other countries wanting to trade with the island nation.

Dr Guy noted that Jamaica and other Caribbean countries have been the beneficiaries of Cuban kindness, since the 1970s.

“We, as a country, have turned to Cuba to provide doctors and specialist nurses. Our other nearest neighbour, Haiti, when hit by Hurricane Georges in 1998 had the support of Cuban doctors, who went to assist in the relief efforts.

“In 2010 when there was the massive earthquake, more medical specialist were sent and even after Hurricane Matthew hit that country last month, Cuba sent another 38 doctors, who specialise in disaster management, to Haiti,” he added.

Earlier this week, The United States abstained from a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) vote on a resolution calling for an end to the embargo.

“Abstaining on this resolution does not mean that the United States agrees with all of the policies and practices of the Cuban government. We do not,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told the UNGA.

Washington has over the past 24 years consistently voted against the resolution and for the 25th consecutive time, the UNGA adopted the resolution with 191 votes in favour.

Israel, which has always supported the United States position in the past years and opposed the resolution last year, also abstained on Wednesday.

While the resolutions are non-binding, political observers say they do carry political weight.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries which have always supported the resolution to end the embargo have repeatedly called on Washington to end the embargo that can only be lifted by the United States Congress.

Washington and Havana began warming in their relations in 2014 but the Republican-led Congress has rebuffed calls from President Obama to lift the more than 50 year old trade and economic embargo that Havana said has cost it billions of dollars.

  • Countries: Jamaica

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