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U.S. to call out Cuban rights abuses before U.N. vote on embargo

By Nicholas Sakelaris
U.S. to call out Cuban rights abuses before U.N. vote on embargo
U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley will call out Cuba's human rights abuses at the U.N. Thursday. Photo by Mark Wilson/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will accuse Cuba of human rights abuses Thursday and ask other countries to acknowledge them before the annual vote encouraging the U.S. to lift its embargo on the communist nation.

In a series of tweets, the U.S. Mission to the U.N. called for Cuba to grant the freedom of assembly, expression and access to information to its citizens.

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"Every year Cuba puts forth a resolution that blames Cuba's poverty, repression and lack of freedom on the United States," the U.S. Mission to the U.N. tweeted Wednesday. "Tomorrow the U.N. will hear what we have to say about that and countries will have to vote between Cuba or the U.S. Who will vote with us?"

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Every year since 1992, Cuba has asked the U.N. to condemn the U.S. embargo and request that it be lifted. Every year, it passes with only a handful of countries, notably the United States and Israel, voting no. The exception was in 2016 during a warming of relations between Cuba and the Obama administration, when the U.S. abstained from the vote. Diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana have cooled again during the Trump administration.

Haley, who announced she will step down at the end of the year, will take a different approach this year by proposing eight amendments that draw attention to human rights violations and the lack of civil liberties on the island.

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Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said he's not worried about Haley's plans.

"We are sure the amendments will be rejected and that the resolution will receive overwhelming majority support as has happened in the past," he said. "We don't think anyone in the hall will buy this attempt to deceive."

The U.N. vote will coincide with National Security Adviser John Bolton's trip to Miami, home of many Cuban exile families, where he will outline the Trump administration's plans to put pressure on Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

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Two weeks ago, U.S. officials were talking to the U.N. about political prisoners in Cuba when Cuban and Bolivian delegations caused a disturbance, pounding on their desks and yelling.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called it a "childish temper tantrum."

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