$100 Billion Lawsuit Against US For Cuban Embargo
For the eighth consecutive year in a row the United Nations have called for the United States to end the 40 year old economic embargo against Cuba. Jonathan Hill reports.
The vote on the resolution came on Tuesday with 155 votes favouring the motion, two opposing and eight abstentions. Even traditional allies of the United States such as Australia, Canada, Norway and the European Union voted against the embargo. Only Israel voted with the US.
The strong opposition to the embargo is largely due to its effect of punishing non US companies that wish to trade with Cuba.
The US State Department has rejected the resolution saying the Cuban embargo is a bilateral issue that was no business of the UN General Assembly. “The trade embargo is U.S. law which we will enforce," a spokesperson said.
In beginning the debate on the UN resolution the president of Cuba's National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcon, announced Cuba’s intention to file a lawsuit against the US for over US$100 billion ($200 billion NZD) in compensation for the damages the US embargo has caused Cuba.
Last week a Cuban court upheld a claim for $181.1 billion by Cuba against the US for what it said were the deaths and injuries caused by 40 years of hostility such as the CIA driven 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.
"I am officially announcing to this Assembly that a lawsuit will be filed for compensation of over US$100 billion on account of the enormous damages caused to the people of Cuba by the blockade," said Alarcon. He also said said it had been the U.S. objective since 1959 "to destroy the Cuban people."
"It is genocide, purely and simply. For four decades that blockade has deliberately been sustained against the Republic of Cuba and all of its people, thus causing illnesses and deaths, pain and suffering to millions of Cubans, victims of a policy still in force."
The U.S. deputy representative Peter Burleigh said the resolution was incorrect in its assumptions. "The contention, implicit in the resolution, that the United States forbids others from trading with Cuba is simply wrong," he said, adding that the embargo was just "one element in a policy of promoting democracy in Cuba".
He said the Clinton administration had significantly relaxed the conditions of the embargo.