Raul Castro Insists on Ending the US Embargo during His First UN Intervention

Raul Castro at the United Nations. Photo: cubadebate.cu
Raul Castro at the United Nations. Photo: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban president Raul Castro asked today in his first speech at the United Nations for the United States to drop its economic and trade embargo on the island.

Castro defined the thaw in relations between Cuba and the United States after more than a century of ideological confrontation as “an important step forward”, but stressed that the embargo in place since the 60’s remains in place.

Only the US Congress has the power to end the embargo, as requested by Cuba and President Barack Obama himself.

“The economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba for over half a century causes challenges and hardships for the Cuban people and is the main obstacle to the economic development of our country,” said Castro, who noted that the embargo is rejected by 188 Member States of the United Nations.

Castro, president of Cuba since 2008, made his first speech at the United Nations as part of the Sustainable Development Summit. On Monday he will address the plenary of the General Assembly, the first time in 15 years that a Cuban leader addresses the forum. Fidel Castro last spoke before the plenary in 2000.

The president of Cuba said today that “the gap between north and south and the polarization of wealth continues to increase.”

“Amid the current economic and financial crisis, the wealthy and the transnational companies will become increasingly richer while the amount of the poor, the unemployed and the homeless increases dramatically, due to cruel policies called “austerity,” he said.

“We have to build another international financial architecture; eliminate the monopoly on technology and knowledge, and change the current international economic order,” said the Cuban leader.


11 thoughts on “Raul Castro Insists on Ending the US Embargo during His First UN Intervention

  • September 28, 2015 at 2:47 pm
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    Terry, thank you your opening remark. I share the sentiment many Cubans hold. The embargo is a necessary evil to constrain the Castro regime from doing even more harm if they could with the additional hard currency that an unhindered Castro economy would have access to if and when there is no embargo.

  • September 28, 2015 at 10:17 am
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    Moses, that has to be one of the best and most considerate responses you’ve ever written here…and I don’t mean considerate of me. Moses, I want all of the same freedoms for the Cuban people that you’ve highlighted so eloquently. Where we have always differed is in the approach to obtain them… your government has tried to leverage those freedoms for the Cuban population by using them as ammunition. Indeed, your government’s policies have actually added to their daily dose of repression. Their daily repression and misery has also been sponsored by America by way of your government’s policies…and in truth, making the US partners in crime. You’ve indicated… “The US has a responsibility to do what we can to help bring democracy to Cuba”. I agree with you, whole heartedly…but to date, that “do what we can” policy has been a bit misguided, bass-akwards, and counterproductive when considering the people of Cuba. It’s the “do what we can” that needs to be modified to at least remove the bull’s-eye from the Cuban people and place is squarely on the government of Cuba where it belongs. The economic embargo and Helms-Burton act are relics of the cold war. Diplomacy is what is needed now to spare the Cuban population further injustice sanctioned by America.

  • September 27, 2015 at 1:10 pm
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    My company is involved with Agriculture and we are rapidly moving forward as if there are no sanctions at all. Just let me know if anyone wishes to participate with us totally under our banner of course, with no risk to you whatsoever. This is the way to get the embargo lifted as I’ve said for the last 40 years !!!

  • September 27, 2015 at 10:50 am
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    Hello- I’m American citizen ffom Baltimore Md, just
    returned from Cuba on yesterday, I highly recommend this book to those that
    might want inside information about the Cuba and US relationship. I got married
    on the 23th to a Cuban nation in Havana. (Back Channel To Cuba) by American
    University School of Public Affairs Professor William M. LeoGrande

  • September 27, 2015 at 9:18 am
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    I understand completely that the embargo is intended to PUNISH and that makes it wrong because the Cuban people are the victims of the embargo and the Castros are relatively untouched. I also understand that Cuba is the only dictatorship in this hemisphere and only 90 miles away from the US. The US has a responsibility to do what we can to help bring democracy to Cuba. Of course, I want to see open and independent elections, a free press, a market-driven economy and elected leadership in Cuba. Don’t you? Which of these freedoms that you enjoy do you believe Cubans to be undeserving?

  • September 27, 2015 at 7:34 am
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    Moses, did you not understand what Wayne wrote? You agreed with Wayne that the embargo is ‘WRONG’, but then you also made it clear that you support the demands of your government too. I’ll assume that you’re simply confused in a changing world and knee-jerked your same old tired response.

  • September 27, 2015 at 7:18 am
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    Carlyle, you continue to bring up and make a big deal out of the fact that Raul is wearing a suit and silk tie…how is that out of line? Are you trying to say that Cuba doesn’t deserve to have their head of state dressed appropriately? We’re talking about a suit and a tie…not a suit of armor made out of gold. Carlyle, I really appreciate your insights and opinions on many issues related to Cuba…and in many instances, you and I think very much alike. But on this one…I don’t follow you. This clothing obsession of yours seems to be more than a bit petty.

    And unfortunately, much of everything else you mentioned about Raul is pure sensationalism based on fantastical disingenuous speculation of what Raul thinks.

  • September 27, 2015 at 6:05 am
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    I agree. The Castros should make the necessary changes to get the embargo lifted as soon as possible. Open and independent elections, a free press, market-driven economy and new leadership. Sounds all good to me.

  • September 26, 2015 at 8:50 pm
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    The embargo is WRONG

  • September 26, 2015 at 8:49 pm
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    Well, there he is, Raul Castro dressed as forecast in a smart suit and wearing a silk tie. No fatigues for Raul’s attempt at respectability.
    As usual for the socialist thinkers, he presumes that technology and knowledge developed by and at the expense of others, should be contributed to his regime for nothing. He dreams of a change whereby the laws of economics are thrown aside and Cuba will thrive despite its continuous economic decline caused by the pursuit of “Socialismo.” His hands are obviously itchy to grasp the benefits of capitalism whilst retaining the power and control of a socialist totalitarian dictator.
    It could be that Raul is thinking that he ought to copy China – but take care Raul! By early July, over 90% of the 2,774 shares listed on Chinese exchanges were suspended or halted. The fall in share prices representing some $3.5 trillion.
    Now we can all look forward to his speech on the 28th September to the UN – wonder if he will wear a different suit and tie?

  • September 26, 2015 at 6:38 pm
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    Silly, empty-headed words. How do you “build another international financial architecture; eliminate the monopoly on technology and knowledge, and change the current international economic order,” without the money, technology and knowledge of the current economic order? It’s the same old socialist/communist claptrap. Let someone else do all the work and earn all the money, then in the name of ideology, steal it from them.

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