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Cablegate: Instructions for Cuba Embargo Resolution

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DE RUEHC #0442 2992358
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TO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0000
INFO RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
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UNCLAS STATE 110442

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNGA ETRD PHUM UN CU
SUBJECT: INSTRUCTIONS FOR CUBA EMBARGO RESOLUTION

1. The Department instructs USUN to vote against the
resolution, "Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial,
and Financial Embargo Imposed by the United States of America
against Cuba," scheduled for consideration by the UN General
Assembly on Wednesday, October 28, 2009. USUN should draw on
the following points in making its intervention during the
debate.

2. Begin points:

-- Madam Chair/Mr. Chairman,

-- In the course of this debate, we will hear about division
and differences. We must, however, not lose sight of one
important commonality - the United States, like most Member
States, is firmly committed to supporting the desire of the
Cuban people to determine freely their country's future.

-- The United States of America, like all Member States, has
the sovereign right to conduct its economic relationship with
another country as it sees fit. The U.S. economic
relationship with Cuba is a bilateral issue and part of a
broader set of relations. For example, in recent months, the
United States has undertaken several steps to promote family
visits and the free flow of information to and from the Cuban
people. The United States lifted restrictions on family
visits and remittances and expanded the amounts of
humanitarian items that the American people can donate to
individuals in Cuba. The United States has enhanced the
ability of U.S. telecommunication companies to pursue
agreements to provide service to Cuba and has made it easier
for U.S. agricultural producers to pursue contracts with
Cuban buyers.

-- We have done so while maintaining our firm commitment to
encouraging the Cuban government to respect basic norms
embodied in the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

-- Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are part
of this organization's core values. We should not lose sight
of that in a debate mired in rhetorical arguments of the past
and focused on tactical differences. That is a debate that
does nothing to help the Cuban people.

-- Madam Chair/Mr. Chairman,

-- I must address two significant distortions in the Cuban
position. First, my delegation regrets that the delegation
from Cuba continues to label inappropriately and incorrectly
U.S. trade restrictions on Cuba as an act of genocide. Such
an egregious misuse of the term diminishes the real suffering
of victims of genocide elsewhere in the world. Secondly, it
is erroneous to charge that U.S. sanctions are the cause of
deprivation among the Cuban people. The U.S. maintains no
restriction on humanitarian aid to Cuba. In fact, the United
States is a major source of humanitarian assistance to the
Cuban people and the largest provider of food to Cuba.

-- In 2008, the United States exported $717.6 million in
agricultural products, medical devices, medicine, wood, and
humanitarian items to Cuba. In agricultural products alone,
the United States sold $700.1 million of goods to Cuba. Once
again, in 2008, the United States was Cuba's fifth largest
trading partner.

-- Madam Chair/Mr. Chairman,

-- It is equally important to note that the United States has
demonstrated that we are prepared to engage the Government of
Cuba on issues that affect the security and well-being of
both our peoples. Specifically, we have resumed bilateral
discussions on migration, we have initiated talks to
re-establish direct mail service between the United States
and Cuba, and we stand by to provide assistance should Cuba
be ravaged again by hurricanes as it was in 2008. We believe
that any resolution commenting on the relationship between
Cuba and the United States of America should reflect the
current tenor of these constructive exchanges between our two
countries. Sadly, the resolution under discussion fails in
that regard.

-- As we have sought to advance toward a new era in relations
with Cuba and reached out to the Cuban people, we have called
upon the Cuban government to take steps to respond to the
desire of its citizens to enjoy political, social, and
economic freedom. There are many things the Government of
Cuba could do to signal its willingness to engage
constructively with its own people and with the United
States. Positive measures could include liberating the
hundreds of prisoners of conscience in Cuban jails, ratifying
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR), reducing the excessive charges on remittances
flowing into the country, demonstrating greater respect for
freedom of speech, ending the practice of arresting political
opponents on vague and arbitrary charges such as "social
dangerousness," and permitting the visit of UN rapporteurs on
human rights and torture.

-- As other delegations consider this resolution, we hope
that they will not be distracted from the fact that the Cuban
government's airtight restrictions on
internationally-recognized social, political, and economic
freedoms are the true source of deprivation and obstacle to
development in Cuba.

-- Mr. Chairman/Madam Chair,

-- My delegation will vote against this resolution. The
United States will continue to work to expand opportunities
for the people in Cuba to empower themselves through access
to information and resources. We will also continue to
engage the Government of Cuba on issues of mutual concern and
national security. We feel it is high time for this body to
recognize the situation in Cuba for what it is and to abandon
the rhetorical posturing of the past.

-- Thank you, Madam Chair/Mr. Chairman.
CLINTON

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