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UN Vote Recognition of Cuba's Struggle against Blockade

by Elson Concepción Pérez

"For everyone, the victory in the United Nations was historic and capped a major diplomatic effort. It was recognition of the resistance of the Cuban people and Fidel Castro. It was a sign of the moral authority and prestige of Cuba and the accomplishments of its revolution," said Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque on the prime time TV and radio program 'The Round Table', on Thursday evening.

The United States government tried everything from pressures to blackmail to threats. Its representatives first asked other delegations to vote against Cuba, then to abstain and finally to be absent at the moment of the vote on the resolution calling for an end to the US Blockade of Cuba.

Pérez Roque said there were two big victories. One when two-thirds of the UN General Assembly rejected an amendment drafted by Washington and put forth by Australia trying to manipulate the topic of human rights against Cuba. The second was when the vote against the blockade drew a record 183 votes in favor to 4 against.

The foreign minister said, "The support and solidarity shown our country was impressive. Representatives from many delegations came to congratulate us. They said they were with us and that they supported us."

"They also asked us about Fidel, his health, and wished him a speedy recovery."

In analyzing the vote, the foreign minister noted that Montenegro and Morocco were two new countries to vote with Cuba. He said that one African country, Ivory Coast, was absent instead of voting with the island because of US threats to veto the continuing presence of UN peacekeeping troops in that country, which would open the door to further conflict.

Pérez Roque said there was an explosion of spontaneous applause when the final 183-4 vote flashed on the tabulation screen. While the Cuban delegation was congratulated by representatives of many countries, the US representatives were all alone and finally scurried out of the hall, he noted.

He added that the truth about Cuba is making headway. "There is much recognition of the work of Cuban doctors saving lives in dozens of countries and of those serving in the Operation Miracle eye surgery program."

"We are very happy," said Pérez Roque, "these victories are recognition of Cuba's solidarity and internationalism in its willingness to share what it has with other countries."

Deputy Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla also spoke on the Round Table program. He noted that 115 of the 126 countries that voted against the US's anti-Cuba amendment presented by Australia are members of the Group of 77 and the Non-Aligned Movement.

"The vote showed that 126 countries said No to the United States slanderous manipulation of the issue of human rights," said Rodriguez.

Other defeats for Bush

Moderator Randy Alonso and journalists Reinaldo Taladrid, Eduardo Dimas and Lazaro Barredo referred to the other coinciding defeats suffered by President Bush: the loss of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate and the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

However, Piero Glijeses, an Italian researcher and author living in the United States, told the Cuban audience by telephone that the Democrat's victory doesn't mean there will be big changes in US policy. Regarding Iraq, he said the change would only be in the tactics used. Glijeses said the Democrats do not have a defined strategy and that the vast majority are afraid of being labeled as supporters of an abrupt withdrawal from the occupied Arab nation.

At the end of the program, Pérez Roque said Daniel Ortega's victory last Sunday in Nicaragua took place amid scandalous interference by the US, which threatened to cut off family remittances sent home by Nicaraguans living in the US, to deport illegal immigrants and to cut off trade.

The foreign minister noted that gains by the Democrats in the US legislative elections should not be overvalued nor bring excessive hopes.

While pointing out that 60 percent of the US electorate didn't bother to vote, he said the elections were more than anything a defeat of Bush and the conservative group that holds power.

Pérez Roque said the results are a demonstration that when the US people know the truth they won't support a government that tries to deceive them.

"Vast segments of the United States have become aware of this situation and were willing to put national issues, like the handling of the war in Iraq and the corruption and lack of ethics shown by the Republicans, above local issues," said the Cuban foreign minister on the Round Table program.

"This defeat of Bush has been well received by almost the entire world."


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