The UN General Assembly voted on ending the blockade on October 25 and vice president of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has assured the Cuban government of Botswana’s support in the Caribbean island’s process of re-establishing diplomatic relations with the US.
Cuban Ambassador to Botswana, Juan Carlos Arencibia Corrales shared with the media a draft resolution on the “necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”.
“We will be able to count once again on the support of the Botswana government where this issue is discussed. Cuba reiterates its gratitude for the continued support given by the Government of Botswana to the Cuban people’s call for the ceasing of this illegal, genocidal and extraterritorial policy, which will never prevent the Cuban people from defending their sovereignty and their right to freely decide upon their future,” he said.
“Botswana as part of the large international community has been supporting the lifting of the blockage imposed against Cuba,” he said.
“The economic damages have been set at US$833.8 billion.” He said while Obama had opened a new chapter in the relations between both nations, the implementation of the blockade against Cuba had remained unchanged.
The United States embargo against Cuba is a commercial, economic, and financial embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba. An embargo was first imposed by the United States on Cuba on 19 October 1960 when the U.S. placed an embargo on exports to Cuba except for food and medicine after Cuba nationalized American-owned Cuban oil refineries without compensation. Cuba nationalized the refineries following Eisenhower’s decision to cancel 700,000 tons of sugar imports from Cuba to the U.S. and refused to export oil to the island, leaving it reliant on Russian crude oil. All American oil companies refused to refine Russian oil, leading the Cuban government to nationalize the refineries. On 7 February 1962 the embargo was extended to include almost all imports.
The UN General Assembly has, since 1992, passed a resolution every year condemning the ongoing impact of the embargo and declaring it to be in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international law. In 2014, out of the 193-nation assembly, 188 countries voted for the nonbinding resolution, the United States and Israel voted against and the Pacific island nations Palau, Marshall Islands and Micronesia abstained. Human rights groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have also been critical of the embargo.