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us cuba relation


For the first time in 25 years, the US abstained from voting on the annual UN resolution calling for an end to America’s economic embargo against Cuba.

The US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, said the historic decision reflected the new policy of engagement over isolation.

Diplomatic ties with Cuba were restored in 2015, but Republican-controlled Congress opposes lifting the longstanding embargo.

The vote passed overwhelmingly, with the support of 191 countries.

Only Israel abstained alongside the US.US lifts Cuba embargo 2015

The UN General Assembly has voted to approve the resolution every year since 1992, and the US has always strongly opposed it.

“After 55-plus years of pursuing the path of isolation, we are choosing to take the path of engagement,” Samantha Power said.

She added, however, that the abstention did “not mean that the United States agrees with all of the policies and practices of the Cuban government”, including “serious human rights violations”.

The decision at the UN General Assembly led to immediate protest from US politicians opposed to lifting the embargo.

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz tweeted that the act imposing sanctions on Cuba was “the law of the United States, which should always be defended and upheld”.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said Cuba was “grateful” for Samantha Power’s efforts.

“A change in vote by the United States is a promising signal,” he said.

“We hope it will be reflected in reality.”

While UN resolutions of this type are non-binding and non-enforceable, the annual resolution has for 25 years allowed Cuba to demonstrate that global opinion is against America’s Cuba policy.

Cuba says the embargo prevents sick people from being treated with much-needed US medical equipment and farmers from modernizing their agricultural methods.

A US Congressional delegation has arrived in Havana in the first such visit since the United States and Cuba agreed to restore ties severed in 1961.

The Democrat politicians plan to meet Cuban officials and civilian leaders to discuss practical measures required for the normalization of relations.

The thaw in relations was announced on December 17 by President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro.

Earlier this week, Cuba completed the release of 53 political prisoners.

The measure was agreed as part of the agreement.

“We have all been to Cuba before, and we strongly support the president’s new direction for our policy towards Cuba,” said Senator Patrick Leahy.

New travel and trade rules between the US and Cuba came into effect on January 16, also as part of the historic deal.American delegation in Cuba

Americans will be able to take home up alcohol and tobacco from Cuba up to the value of $100.

US credit and debit cards can be used there and there will be no more limits on how much money US citizens can spend in Cuba each day.

While ordinary tourism is still banned, the new regulations will allow US citizens to travel to Cuba for any of a dozen specific reasons without first obtaining a special license from the government.

Although the latest moves put a large dent in the US trade embargo against the island’s communist government, only Congress can lift it completely.

The first high-level talks between Cuba and the US will be held in Havana on January 21 and 22.

The US delegation will be led by Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson.

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