Ambassador Ronald Godard today stressed that the United States is “open to a new relationship with Cuba” if the Cuban government starts taking proper steps to open up its own country and provide the space and the respect for human rights that will allow the Cuban people to determine their own destiny.
In his explanation of his vote at the UN U.S. Mission to the UN General Assembly meeting on the Cuba embargo, Mr. Goddard said the Assembly is taking up a resolution designed to confuse and obscure.
“But let there be no confusion about this: the United States, like most Member States, reaffirms its strong commitment to supporting the right, and the heartfelt desire, of the Cuban people to freely determine their future. And let there be no obscuring that the Cuban regime has deprived them of this right for more than half a century.” -Mr. Goddard
He stressed that the United States strongly asserts its sovereign right, on the same basis as other Member States, to determine its bilateral policies, including its economic relationships with other countries, in accordance with its own national interests and values. He added that this includes its economic relationships with other countries.
“The U.S. economic relationship with Cuba is a bilateral issue, and is not appropriately a concern of this Assembly. The embargo represents just one aspect of U.S. policy toward Cuba, whose overarching goal is to encourage a more open environment in Cuba and increased respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms – principles to which this organization is also dedicated.” -Mr. Goddard
Mr. Goddard underscored that the annual exercise attempts, to no good end, to obscure some fundamental truths. He added that the Cuban government’s own policies – not any action of the U.S. government – are the greatest obstacle to Cuba’s economic development. He stressed these policies concentrate political and economic decisions in the hands of the few, stifling economic growth.
“They ignore the basic principle, so effectively demonstrated in many countries, that policies that allow individual freedom unleash the creativity of people, foster innovation and entrepreneurship, and are the best means to achieve sustainable economic development.” -Mr. Goddard
Mr. Goddard explained that the exercise conceals the fact that the United States is a leading source of food and humanitarian aid to Cuba. He reported that the United States does not restrict humanitarian aid to Cuba. Cubans receive food, medicine, other forms of assistance, and remittances from the United States. In 2010, the United States government authorized $3.5 billion in total sales to Cuba of U.S. goods. In agricultural products alone, the United States exported $361.7 million in goods to Cuba in 2010, including poultry, soy bean products, corn, wheat, feed products, pork, and other items.
“Indeed, as the Cuban government itself has repeatedly indicated, the United States has for years been one of Cuba’s principal trading partners. In total, the United States in 2010 also authorized $861million in private humanitarian assistance in the form of gift parcels filled with food and other basic necessities, as well as non-agricultural and medical donations.” -Mr. Goddard
He noted that the figures alone are sufficient to rebut the spurious allegations of genocide against the Cuban people in previous resolutions recalled in the current draft, and to demonstrate that this calumny greatly misuses this important term and insults the true victims of genocide.
He emphasized that the Cuban government also needs to release unconditionally and immediate the 62-year-old American citizen Alan Gross, whom it sentenced to 15 years in prison for the crime of trying to connect Cuba’s Jewish communities to the Internet.
“Because this resolution does not reflect present realities, my delegation will vote against it. We strongly believe that this body, instead of engaging in such meaningless exercises, should dedicate itself to supporting the efforts of the Cuban people to freely determine their own future. Only by this course can this body truly advance the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.” -Mr. Goddard