Today’s UN vote on the US blockade of Cuba was a chance for President Biden to show global leadership. He failed miserably. BIden could have followed the lead of President Obama by abstaining in the UN vote on the US embargo of Cuba, and using the opportunity to announce the measure his administration would take towards the normalization of bilateral relations with Cuba. Unfortunately, Biden chose to position the US, along with Israel, as the only countries in the world to support the crippling U.S. embargo. The vote was 184 to 2. When it comes to Cuba, Biden is following the belligerent path of Donald Trump, not the path-breaking diplomacy of Barack Obama.
At the UN, Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez called Biden’s refusal to reverse Trump’s aggressive policies as “pernicious passivity.” We say it is more like active aggression, as it is really a form of warfare against 11 million Cuban people.
The world community has affirmed, as it has for the past 29 years, that the embargo against Cuba is an unjust and cruel policy. This year it is particularly inhumane because of the pandemic, when the blockade is crippling Cuba’s attempts to get the supplies it needs to vaccinate its people and make sure they have access to food, medicines and other basic needs.
Biden ignored a letter signed by nearly 140 organizations, representing millions of Americans, urging him to follow the lead of President Obama by abstaining in the UN vote. He ignored the request by 80 Members of Congress, who wrote to Biden in early March calling for immediate action to restore Obama’s policy towards Cuba and move towards ending the embargo.
Biden is not only out of step with the world community, but out of step with U.S. public opinion. A new poll by Data for Progress shows 57 percent of voters said Biden should support the UN resolution against the blockade, only 29 percent opposed. Biden seems to be listening to a small group of rightwing Cuban Americans in the hopes of gaining political points, particularly in southern Florida. But this is no time for callous, small-minded political speculation; this is a matter of life and death for the Cuban people.
In the light of this malicious UN vote and its policy implications, CODEPINK will step up its actions to pressure the administration and Congress, and to show solidarity with the Cuban people, such as the campaign to buy syringes to help Cuba’s COVID vaccination campaign. We call on peace-loving people throughout the United States to join us in our efforts to lift the blockade.