India condemns continuing US blockade of Cuba

"Cuba has had to pay enormous extra cost, in the last five decades for sourcing products, technology and services from third countries located thousands of kilometers away," Communist Party of India leader D Raja, told the UN General Assembly yesterday.
"The extra territorial application of the US embargo has discouraged investment, technology transfer, and sale and other forms of business collaborations between Cuba and third countries," Raja said.

India joined other countries in voting for a resolution that called for an immediate end to the US embargo on Cuba. The US and Israel voted against the resolution.
"Permit me to reiterate India's opposition to unilateral measures by countries, which impinge on the sovereignty of another country," Raja said.

The Indian parliamentarian also pointed out that this was the nineteenth year that the General Assembly was debating the economic, commercial and financial embargo on Cuba.

"In all these years, this Assembly has repeatedly rejected the imposition of laws and regulations with extra territorial impact and all forms of coercive economic measures that hurt the progress and prosperity of the world," he said.

For two decades, the US has ignored General Assembly resolutions that have called on Washington to end the embargoes that have been in place since the 1960s.
Defending the persisting restrictions on Cuba, US representative, Ambassador Ronald D Godard said, "The US, like all Member States, has the sovereign right to conduct its economic relationship with another country."

"The US economic relationship with Cuba is a bilateral issue and part of a broader set of relations meant to encourage a more open environment in Cuba and increased respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms," he added.

Godard also stressed that the debate in the General Assembly was not helping Cubans and slammed Havana for labeling the trade restrictions as genocide.

"We should not lose sight of that in a debate mired in rhetorical arguments of the past and focused on tactical differences-a debate that does nothing to help the Cuban people," the ambassador said.

"My delegation regrets that the delegation from Cuba continues, year after year, to inappropriately and incorrectly label US trade restrictions on Cuba as an act of genocide."
Godard further said the US sold USD 533 million in agricultural products, medical devices, medicine, and wood to Cuba in 2009 – a year in which Cuba reported that the United States was its fifth largest trading partner.

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