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The House of Representatives has approved a resolution supporting the removal of the trade embargo on Cuba by the United States.
The vote was timely, as it came only a day before the United Nations’ General Assembly voted for the 18th year in a row to condemn the 47-year embargo. The UN draft resolution was passed by a vote of 187-3, with 2 abstentions. Only the United States, Israel and Palau voted against.
Although the vote has become almost an annual ritual, it has not shaken the United States’ determination to maintain the embargo until the Cuban administration shows greater respect for human rights.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Dr. Kenneth Baugh, assured the House that Jamaica would vote ‘yes’ on the United Nation’s resolution against the embargo.
“Jamaica believes that the continued unilateral application of the embargo by the United States against Cuba, affects the free flow of trade not only in the region, but in the hemisphere,” Dr. Baugh said.
“To this end, the Government has not promulgated any law or measure that would obstruct the freedom of commercial activity, trade and economic co-operation, or which would be in violation of the sovereignty and the rights of the Cuban people,” he added.
Dr. Baugh also noted that Jamaica has affirmed the position of the Group of 77, and the non-aligned countries, opposing the embargo.
“I want to reiterate we have continued to escalate the trading and the co-operation between Cuba and Jamaica. Jamaica maintains that constructive conversations remain the most acceptable means for advancing peace and stability in the region, as in any other part of the world,” Dr. Baugh said.
Opposition Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Anthony Hylton, who moved the resolution, stated that the embargo has continued to stifle the full potential of Cubans, “many of whom count among their descendants persons from Jamaica, and the rest of the Caribbean.”
“The assumption that a blockade against Cuba only affects Cuba is quite wrong. We in Jamaica and throughout the region and the wider international community continue to pay a price, as long as the extra-territorial application of United States laws, such as the Helms-Burton legislation which restricts investment and commerce with third countries, remain in the US statute books,” Mr. Hylton said.
He added that if Cuba is to be fully integrated into the region, the hemisphere and the international community, the blockade and its supportive policies remain a hindrance and an obstacle to achieving those objectives.

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