UN General Assembly Votes on US Cuba policy; Embargo loses in a landslide

Dear Friend:

This week at the United Nations, those of us who care about
America’s image in the world were provided a powerful reminder of what
has been and an equally powerful warning of what could come.

Six days before the presidential election, the General Assembly voted on our Cuba policy and we lost in landslide, 185-3.

There are countless reasons to oppose the embargo – the cruelty it
imposes on the Cuban people, the restrictions it imposes on the
constitutional rights of Americans who wish to visit Cuba, the economic
impact on the island and here in the United States, and the lost
opportunities we see, time after time, day after day, to cooperate with
the government of Cuba on problems that matter to us both.

But the cautionary note sounded in New York was about what the
embargo does to our national image not only in Latin America but across
the world. While our fellow citizens don’t always take the UN
seriously, it is long past time to pay attention.

From problems ranging from the global financial crisis to global
climate change, the U.S. cannot continue acting as if it can go along.
What our allies and adversaries think of us matters enormously. When
all of Europe; when the G-7; when Brazil, Russia, India and China; when
most of our largest recipients of foreign aid; when countries we helped
gain their independence-when these and others all vote against us on a
policy that helps no one and hurts so many, it begs the question of why
we continue to cling to our position.

That’s what the next U.S. president needs to think about, whoever he may be.

The United States should not be coming back to the United Nations,
year after year, losing votes and defending a Cuba policy that has
failed us for almost fifty years.

The next US president should break from the past, start listening to
the rest of the world, and get to work on measures – like legalizing
travel to and trade with Cuba – that will lead to the embargo ending,
once and for all.

We’ve just lost the last embargo vote on George Bush watch. Now, the problem belongs to his successor.

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