The Cuban Embassy in Phnom Penh announced Thursday that Cuba would once again be submitting a draft resolution to the UN General Assembly condemning the 47-year-old US economic embargo on the island nation, and praised Cambodia for its continued support.
Cuban Ambassador Barbara Gilda Lopez Armenteros and the US Embassy didn’t mince words Thursday regarding their views of the embargo.
“Last year, 183 member states voted in favor of this resolution, which constitutes an almost unanimous proof of the international community’s rejection towards the genocidal policy of the US government against Cuba,” Armenteros said during a press conference. She went on to accuse the US of using the economic embargo as a means of forcing Cuba “to surrender through hunger and diseases,” adding that in 2006 Cuba suffered an estimated $1.3 billion loss in trade due to the embargo.
Armenteros added that Cuba enjoys an excellent relationship with Cambodia, which has supported Cuba’s resolution submissions to the UN for the past 15 years.
In an e-mail Thursday, US Embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle described Cuba’s government as “an oppressive, totalitarian regime which denies its citizens basic human rights” and said that the embargo against Cuba was set up to deny resources to the Cuban dictatorship, but provide assistance and support to the Cuban people.
“We encourage all countries, including Cambodia, to become more active in supporting democratic transition in Cuba,” Daigle said, adding that the amount of US humanitarian aid sent to the island makes the US the world’s fourth largest exporter to Cuba.
Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said by telephone Thursday that Cambodia stands by its decision to support Cuba. “Cuba is not a threat to the US anymore because there is no Russian support,” he said. “We know that the sanctions would not kill the [Cuban] government, but it will affect the people.”