By Toni Frederick
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- St Kitts and Nevis added its voice to the call to end the US blockade of Cuba.
Speaking at the 68th Session of the United Nation General Assembly on Friday, Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas, after urging the Assembly to admit Taiwan to UN agencies, said that the Cuban embargo also remained a grave concern to his government.
St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas addresses the United Nations General Assembly
"Germane to this concept of exclusion from the international trading arrangement is the trade embargo imposed on Cuba at the height of the Cold War which remains a matter of concern for St Kitts and Nevis -- as it does to the vast majority of nations represented in this important institution. Our position is based on our commitment to international law, the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and our obligations under same. We, therefore, like so many in this chamber, are concerned over the extraterritorial application and effects of national legislation on the sovereignty of states.
“This is a contravention of the tenets of international law regarding the sovereign equality of states, non-interference in the internal affairs of states, and harmonious coexistence. In light of the vast number of nations that share this view, therefore, I urge, in the interest of international peace and understanding, that this august body explore new and imaginative means of convincing all involved to bring to a close this unfortunate chapter in hemispheric relations," Douglas said.
"The government of St Kitts and Nevis reiterates its support for General Assembly Resolution 67/4 on the ‘Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba’, and once again calls for an immediate end to this unilateral action,” he added.
There are 193 member states in the United Nations, but the overriding power resides in the five permanent members of the Security Council who each hold veto power; the United States is one of them. Last November, 188 nations voted for an end to the blockade.
The Cuban embargo imposed by the United States in 1960 as a response to the nationalization of American property in Cuba under the newly installed Castro regime.
Today it has been codified into law with the stated purpose of maintaining economic sanctions, and imposing travel restrictions and international legal penalties so long as the Cuban government continues to refuse to move toward "democratization and greater respect for human rights.”
President Barack Obama has outlined a series of steps that Cuba could take to demonstrate a willingness to cooperate including releasing political prisoners, allowing US telecommunications companies to operate on the island and ending government fees on US dollars sent by relatives in the United States.
Despite the existence of the embargo, the United States is the fifth largest exporter to Cuba; however, Cuba must pay cash for all imports.
For over 20 years, the Assembly has been voting for an end to the blockade, and as the 68th General Assembly session continues, a resolution calling for an end to the US blockade of Cuba is expected to once again be presented.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network