National Security

Haley Blasts United Nations for Emboldening Castro Regime With Support of Cuba Embargo Resolution

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blasted member states supporting a resolution condemning the U.S. embargo on Cuba, saying it was a waste of time and a boost to Cuba's authoritarian government.

As it has every year since 1992, the U.N. voted on a resolution calling for a lift on the embargo. Israel was the only country to join the United States in voting down the resolution on Thursday; the most countries to ever join the U.S. in voting down the solution was three. The only change this year was a series of proposed U.S. amendments condemning Cuba's human rights record.

Before the vote, Haley ripped into Cuba and the U.N. for emboldening the Castro regime.

"As this resolution is currently constructed, the United States will oppose it again today," she said. "Cuba and its allies do the same thing every year. They propose a resolution blaming Cuba's poverty, repression and lack of freedom on the United States.  They falsely blame America for all kinds of evil things, even genocide."

"This resolution changes nothing. It doesn't help a single Cuban family. It doesn't feed a single Cuban child. It doesn't free a single Cuban political prisoner. Those who support this resolution every year have it wrong. Our reason for the embargo is and has always been Cuba's denial of freedom and the denial of the most basic human rights for the Cuban people."

Haley said the U.S. was happy to stand alone for its ideals and would proudly do it again on Thursday. She said the most regrettable fact of this resolution was it's a "waste of everyone's time."

"It's one more time that countries feel they can poke the United States in the eye, but you're not hurting the United States when you do this," she said. "You're literally hurting the Cuban people by telling the regime that their treatment of their people is acceptable."

Haley said Cuba had responded to the softening of relations between the U.S. and Cuba under the Obama administration—many of the moves have been rolled back by the Trump administration—with further political repression of its people. Human Rights Watch's most recent report on Cuba panned the communist country's record, saying the government continues to punish dissent, control the press and engage in numerous repressive tactics.

Haley compared the suffering of the Cuban people under the Castro regime to that of the Iranians under the hardline mullahs. Each year, she noted, the U.N. General Assembly adopts a resolution condemning Iran, and the time had come for the body to do the same to Cuba.

"Like the Castro regime, the Iranian regime violently represses dissent, imprisons and kills its political opponents, and abuses women and religious and ethnic minorities," she said. "Like the Castro dictatorship, the Tehran government has rigged its economy in favor of its regime and its cronies."

"The United Nations does not have the ability or the authority to end the United States embargo of Cuba, but the United Nations has the unique ability to send a moral message to the Cuban dictatorship," she added.

Haley's speech came the same day National Security Adviser John Bolton is speaking in Miami, home to many Cubans who fled the island's repression, to discuss tougher administration positions on Cuba and Venezuela.