End Cuba Embargo, Say Obama and Castro at United Nations

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President Barack Obama addressing the 70th United Nations General Assembly.
Source: United Nations, “United States of America,” gedebate.un.org, Sep. 28, 2015

US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro both called for the ending of the United States economic embargo against Cuba during the 70th United Nations General Assembly on Sep. 28, 2015.

The embargo has been in place since Feb. 1962, when President John F. Kennedy signed Proclamation 3447 declaring “an embargo upon all trade between the United States and Cuba,” and put in place economic sanctions and restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba. This past July the United States re-opened its Cuban embassy after officially reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, President Obama stated that over the past 50 years “the United States pursued a Cuba policy that failed to improve the lives of the Cuban people,” and that he was confident that although the United States continues to have differences with the Cuban government, “Congress will inevitably lift an embargo that should not be in place anymore.”

In his address, Cuban President Raul Castro stated that the resumption of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States was a first step in a “long and complex process,” but that normalization of relations between the two countries “will only be achieved with the end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba.” Castro also called for the return of the Guantanamo Naval base and the cessation of US destabilization programs against the Cuban government.

Marco Rubio, US Senator (R-FL) and Republican presidential candidate, criticized Obama’s statement and said any disagreements over the embargo “should be debated in the United States Congress – not at the United Nations General Assembly.”

Sources:

David Jackson, “Cuba to Obama: End Embargo and Close Gitmo,” usatoday.com, Sep. 29, 2015

Progreso Weekly, “Speech by Cuban President Raul Castro at UN General Assembly,” progresoweekly.us, Sep. 29, 2015

Marco Rubio, “As Obama Meets Castro, Rubio Urges Him Not to Cave on Embargo Vote at UN Too,” rubio.senate.gov, Sep. 29, 2015

White House Office of the Press Secretary, “Remarks by President Obama to the United Nations General Assembly,” whitehouse.gov, Sep. 28, 2015