The U.S. embargo has cost Cuba roughly $833.7 billion over five decades, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez asserted in a news conference Wednesday. Rodriguez said Havana will once again ask the United Nations to vote on a resolution calling for an end to the embargo.
The U.N. General Assembly voted last year overwhelmingly in favor of ending the U.S. embargo. Only the United States and Israel voted against the resolution. The U.N. has said the policy cost Cuba $117 billion between 1960 and 2014, a small faction what Rodriguez claimed. “A claim by the international community to lift the blockade is indispensable,” said Rodriguez this week, Telesur reported.
Rodriguez also alleges that the embargo violates international law. Another General Assembly debate and vote is expected to take place Oct. 27. "Seventy-seven percent of the Cuban population was born and has lived under the cruel effects of the blockade, the humanitarian impact and damage is extreme and cannot be measured (only) in numbers," Rodriguez said.
The draft resolution is titled: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”
Pope Francis is expected to detail the Vatican's opposition to the U.S. embargo against Cuba during his trip to the island this week. The pope arrives in Havana on Friday before traveling to the U.S. next week. Francis last year helped broker renewed relations between Washington and Havana, which were frozen for decades. Full diplomatic relations were restored in July.
"Francis is as strongly opposed to the embargo as his predecessors," a Vatican official told Reuters on Wednesday. "The pope is going to Cuba at a crucial time in its history. He wants to show his closeness to the Cuban people, and that means acknowledging the hardships they have endured under the embargo," another official said.
Republican leaders in Congress oppose lifting the embargo, and some presidential candidates, like Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, vow to reverse the recent opening if elected. Pope Francis is scheduled to address Congress on Wednesday.