Obama Continues Failed Bush-Era Policy on Cuba
Posted on: Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Today, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on a resolution calling for an end to the US embargo against Cuba. For the 18th consecutive year, a nearly unanimous grouping of nations came together to condemn this 47-year-old policy, now continuing under the Obama Administration.
MADRE joins the General Assembly in condemning this embargo, which has for nearly half a century prevented Cuba from purchasing necessities such as food and medicine. Even in the wake of Hurricane Ike in September 2008, which hit Cuba and Haiti with particular force, the US was unwilling to budge on lifting the embargo to allow in aid supplies.
The resolution gathered 187 votes in favor with only three nations—the US, Israel and Palau—voting against it. The Marshall Islands and Micronesia abstained. Meanwhile, there is worldwide recognition, even among traditional US allies, that the embargo is a failed and harmful policy that contravenes principles of international law.
President Obama has taken some piecemeal steps to shift US policy towards Cuba, such as relaxing regulations around family travel and remittances. In so doing, he has promised a “new beginning” in US-Cuba relations.
The trade embargo represents a direct obstacle to any “new beginning.” As a senator in January 2004, President Obama stated that it was “time to end the embargo with Cuba.” MADRE urges President Obama to recall his original convictions and take concrete steps to end the embargo now.