Cuba courts Botswana for key UN sanctions vote

Cuban Ambassador Juan Carlos Arencibia Corrales
Cuban Ambassador Juan Carlos Arencibia Corrales

Cuba is hoping its long economic and social history with Botswana will secure one more vote to end the decades-long economic blockade policy imposed by United States.

The UN General Assembly is due to vote on ending the blockade on October 25 and vice president, 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.

Yesterday, 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”.

Presenting the draft to the media, Corrales said Botswana, as a member of the UN was important in the normalisation of bilateral relations between the two long-time rivals.

“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.

The envoy said the international community’s mobilising role is essential and will be an important factor in support of President Barack Obama and some of the US congress who favour the end of this cruel policy in face of their adversaries and critics.

Earlier this year, Obama signalled a change of US policy towards Cuba and the possible end of the economic embargo.

“Botswana as part of the large international community has been supporting the lifting of the blockage imposed against Cuba,” he said. Corrales said the international solidarity and support Cuba has received “all along these long and tough years” was crucial in the change of the US Cuba policy.

Corrales said the new draft resolution that will be presented at the general assembly would welcome the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and recognise the willingness expressed by Obama.  “The blockage against Cuba should cease. It is the most unjust, severe and long-lasting system of unilateral sanctions ever applied to any country,” 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. “Obama has urged the US congress to put an end to the policy because it is harmful to the Cuban people,” he said.

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