The latest UN vote on Cuba could not be a better and more flagrant example of just how well democracy works in the world, and an even better example of just what value the UN has in upholding not only democracy but also the principles of international law on which the organisation is supposedly founded.
For the 21st year in a row, the overwhelming majority of the countries in the United Nations voted to lift the United States blockade on Cuba – this year the vote was 188 for, with three against (the US, Israel, and Palau).
For the 21st year in a row, we can probably rest assured that the US, Israel and quisling Palau will prevail DESPITE this international democratic decision, and the blockade on Cuba will remain in place, as it has done in face of the last 21 votes in Cuba’s favour.
The implications for the Middle East are considerable.
If the 50-year+ blockade on Cuba can remain in place despite 21 years of UN votes against it, what hope is there for Gaza, and the illegal and criminal siege to which they are currently subjected by Israel? For Iran, and its blockade under the guise of sanctions, merely for having the potential to do what the US and Israel have already done without censure or sanction?
If this is the outcome for much-touted ‘democratic processes’ and ‘international law’ elsewhere, why should the Middle East and its ‘Arab Spring’ think that its revolutions, its move from ‘tyrannical rule’ to ‘democracies’ will be subject to any less tyranny than that wielded over the entire world by the US, Israel and the Palau poodle?
Unless and until an international system is developed that is capable of breaking the hypocritical stranglehold over international mechanisms by the US, Israel and their pathetic puppy, and of ENFORCING the outcomes of their democratic processes as well as the principles of international law, nothing will change – except the names.
TEXT OF CUBAN EMBASSY PRESS RELEASE RE UN VOTE
13 November 2012
International community unequivocally rejects the blockade impose by the United States of America against Cuba.
For the twenty first consecutive time Tuesday November 13th, 2012, Cuba obtained a significant victory in the United Nations General Assembly, when once again the resolution entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba” was adopted with the almost unanimous support of UN Member States.
The resolution passed with a vote in favour of 188 countries. Only the USA, Israel and Palau voted in isolation against the text.
This result reaffirms once more the unequivocal rejection of the international community to the US blockade against Cuba and also shows its support for the just demand of the Cuban people to put an end to this illegal policy.
The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States government against Cuba has been maintained and further tightened despite the growing and categorical demand by the international community —in particular the United Nations General Assembly— for its elimination.
The blockade violates International Law, runs contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and constitutes a contravention of a sovereign state’s right to peace, development and security. In its essence and objectives, the blockade represents an act of unilateral aggression and a permanent threat against the stability of a nation. The blockade constitutes a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of human rights of the entire Cuban population. It also violates the constitutional rights of US citizens by denying them the freedom to travel to Cuba, and encroaches on the sovereign rights of many other states because of its extraterritorial nature.
The extra-territorial application of the blockade has been extraordinarily reinforced, as proven by the strengthening of the sanctions and persecution against third countries’ citizens, institutions and companies that establish or intend to establish economic, commercial, and financial relations with Cuba.
At the same time, the persecution of Cuba’s international financial transactions included those coming from multilateral organizations for the cooperation with the island, has been increased under the current US administration.
The blockade continues to be an absurd, illegal and morally unjustifiable policy which has not succeeded and never will succeed in undermining the Cuban people’s patriotic decision to defend its sovereignty, independence and right to self-determination. It has only succeeded in subjecting the Cuban population to shortages and needless suffering, in restricting and hindering the development of the country and in seriously damaging the Cuban economy. It is the main hindrance to Cuba’s economic and social development.
The direct economic damage to the Cuban people by the implementation of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States against Cuba until December 2011 based on the current prices and calculated in a very conservative way, amount to over 108 billion dollars.
The blockade policy is not only rejected by the overwhelming majority of the international community, but also is increasingly rejected within the United States. The United States must lift it immediately and unconditionally.
As the criminal Israeli attacks continue in Gaza, its targets reveal not only Israel’s cowardice and petty vindictiveness, but also their abject depravity.
Shelling grieving friends and family at a civilian wake must surely go down as one of the most evil acts in recent memory – if such was possible after the Samouni family massacre during Operation Cast Lead. Killing unarmed civilians at a funeral – really tough, guys.
Add schools – another civilian target. Perhaps they are afraid that the pen actually IS mightier than the sword…or are they just teaching those UNRWA upstarts a lesson for daring to criticise the unholy occupation last week?
Farms – business as usual. Gazans grow crops and livestock to feed their population, and favour buying local produce rather than eating Israeli dirt – gotta put a stop to that, and guarantee the Israeli captive market.
Factories – ditto. Can’t have a local economy developing.
And what sort of factories are coming under attack? Why, cement factories of course. Now let’s see them build those Qatari-funded buildings…build those Qatari-funded roads.
And that is what the sour grapes have been fermenting away in their craven craw over, intoxicating their already-feebled brains until their “liver swells with bile difficult to repress” and erupts into another all-out debauched assault on Gaza. How DARE Qatar break the Israeli siege! Just who do the big Q think they are?!
The big Q for the rest of the world is whether it will stand by yet again, and watch another few hundred, several thousand war crimes and crimes against humanity be committed by the biggest rogue state in the hemisphere.
Will Barack “Nobel Peace Prize” Obama finally do something to earn it, and rein in Bibi and his punch-drunk cowboys riding rough-shod on their election trail?
Will Britain have the moral backbone to acknowledge that Palestine, like Australia, was not terra nullius as the Balfour Declaration would have us believe, apologise, and ensure its return to its rightful owners?
Will the United Nations have the strength of purpose to enforce its myriad Security Council Resolutions against Israel – as it does by applying economic, diplomatic, military and financial sanctions against other countries to force their co-operation with international law, or to contain a threat to peace?
Will the international community have the guts to stand up to the Zionist pretenders, and end its abject hypocrisy by turning its attention to the only country in the Middle east that DOES have a nuclear arsenal, and place at least the same, if not even more stringent, sanctions against Israel than it already has against Iran, for merely having the potential to do what Israel has already done without the slightest international censure?
Will the Arab countries stand by Gaza this time?
Unless the answer to all of the above is yes, the Arab Spring will be followed by a very bitter Palestinian winter – and they will all pay the price.
Expert in Israeli affairs Dr Adnan Abu Amer said at a press conference in Gaza City today that 100 days out from their elections, Israel is again beating the drums of war. With the prospect of US support for a strike against Iran fading fast, Netanyahu is turning his attention to Gaza in a bid to whip up an excuse for a display of strength, and the resulting votes, particularly from the southern settlements.
At the event held at the Government Media Office, Dr Abu Amer noted the increased presence and duration of the activity of Israeli forces on the Gaza borders, in military exercises that normally last four days to a week but which now persist.
Observing that the Israeli government needs something to increase its popularity with voters, he predicted they will resort to their traditional strategy of spilling Palestinian blood in the name of security.
While Syria, Lebanon and Iran have taken up much of Israel’s attention in recent months, muddying the waters in anticipating a possible Gaza strike, the latest attacks on Al Jihad and Al Qassam could well impact on the Israeli/Palestinian equation, he said.
He mentioned Israeli involvement in the Syrian situation, whereby Israel played a secret role when the internal civilian struggle first began, thus guaranteeing that what it wants from Syria is already happening without costing it anything. This has been followed by the second issue on the Israeli agenda, Lebanon, with the assassination of the Lebanese police intelligence chief two days ago – which many have attributed to Israel because of the meticulousness with which the operation was carried out, suggesting the involvement of highly professional state security services.
Abu Amer suggested that Israel may target one of the Al Qassam leaders to provide the justification it needs to start its war against Gaza.
“ Israeli F16 warplanes have not left the Gaza skies for days, and what they are up to we do not know,” he said.
A surprise attack on Gaza would be the “least expensive option” for Israel both economically and politically, but a land-based military operation is unlikely given the proximity of the southern settlements to Gaza, he considers.
A lightning-strike air offensive would be cheaper, more effective, and avoid dragging the country into a prolonged war during the electoral process. It would also serve the double purpose of creating heroes out of the air force, and of Netanyahu, who would be perceived by voters, especially in the southern settlements, as the emperor of security.
Dr Adnan Abu Amer noted the need for the Palestinian resistance factions to form a united operations team to be ready for any escalation of the situation, and to counter the inevitable asymmetrical warfare whereby Israel mobilises excuses and reasons to market in the external media, thus win over world public opinion against the Palestinians.
“Palestinians have several options to take a united stance to ensure Gaza is not left up for grabs by the hands of the occupation by a busy world which considers other regional issues more important,” he concluded.
Translation: Fatma Al Hasham
After this morning’s event I took up the Rafah issue with another attendee, Dr Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas co-founder and politburo member.
“Firstly, we need to make it clear that we appreciate and understand that President Mursi has many internal troubles, and he is concentrating on his own country’s national and global interests. Perhaps we were a bit too optimistic. The old regime is still running many things, like security, and no change is possible yet. We need to wait, and not pressure them,” he told me.
“The Free Trade Zone was not an official proposal, it was a Muslim Brotherhood project, but they started talking about it in the media.”
What about the closure of the tunnels we have been reading about, I asked. Is this going to create shortages in Gaza?
“The only tunnels being closed are those being used for illegal purposes, so we are happy about that, the ones being used to bring in drugs, weapons and for other illegal purposes. Egypt will not allow the closure of tunnels to such an extent that it causes food shortages,” he replied.
“1500 people daily are passing through Rafah now, it is open seven days a week. There are still some restrictions, though – the list of names of people banned from crossing is still reliant on Fatah information given to the old Mubarak regime, and the list has to be gone through one by one because many people have similar or the same names – sometimes even babies are banned. The names have to be confirmed, or cancelled, and many have been, but Egyptian security has other priorities than updating the lists.”
The events in Tahrir Square last Friday indicate that despite the lip-service paid to democracy, many are reluctant to accept the results, and subsequent decisions taken by majority governments. Does this suggest that the notion of democracy itself needs attention?
“We need to distinguish between the instruments or models of democracy, and its conceptualisation. In the Arab world we are moving from dictatorships to elected presidents, and building our own models will take time. We are not just adopting a US model, we are developing our own. It is not just how we choose our representatives, but also how we punish wrongdoers, how we reward people who succeed in doing well, the sort of administrations we create to enable public participation and to end corruption. President Mursi has achieved a lot of successes already. Sudan and Syria are much bigger problems for him right now than Palestine,” Dr Zahar said.
How do you see Egypt’s role in relation to Syria?
“ Egypt has a big role to play as the peacemaker in Syria, with the help of Iran and Turkey. I think the current situation between Turkey and Syria will finish. Turkey and Iran and Egypt are all seeking a political solution, and that will enable the Syrian regime to be replaced with a democratic administration. Recovery will take time.”
So the Rafah situation will not change quickly?
“We need to speak to the people around the President, he is surrounded by groups from the old regime who don’t understand, or don’t want to change. We need to wait.”