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U.N. Calls Cuba Embargo the ‘Most Unjust, Sanctions Ever Applied Against a Country’

A man carries a gas cylinder on the back of his bicycle as he passes a billboard that reads in Spanish "Blockade: The longest genocide in history" in Havana on Jan. 26, 2016. Desmond Boylan AP
A man carries a gas cylinder on the back of his bicycle as he passes a billboard that reads in Spanish “Blockade: The longest genocide in history” in Havana on Jan. 26, 2016. Desmond Boylan AP

WASHINGTON — For the first time in more than a quarter century, the United States refused to oppose a United Nation resolution condemning the American trade embargo against the communist island.

“The United States has always voted against this resolution. Today, United States will abstain,” U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said to applause from the UN General Assembly.

For the 25th consecutive year, the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly Wednesday for an end to the U.S. policy that restricts trade between the countries. The final vote was 191 in favor, with two abstentions – the United States and Israel.

The U.S. abstention aligns the Obama administration with the international community against U.S. laws against Cuba, which continues to be supported by the Republican-led Congress.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls the embargo the “most unjust, severe and long-lived system” of sanctions ever applied against a country.

Power called it a “small step” toward the United States eventually lifting the embargo.

Bruno Rodriguez, the foreign minister of Cuba, called the United States’ decision to a “positive step” for the future of improving relations between the two nations. But he said the vote doesn’t change the fact that the embargo is still in place and continues to hurt the Cuban people.

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