By Rodrigo Campos
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday adopted a resolution calling for an end to the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, with the United States voting against it after abstaining last year for the first time in 25 years.
The 193-member General Assembly passed the resolution with 191 votes in favor. Israel, as it has done in the past, voted in line with its top ally.
The non-binding resolution urges the United States to repeal the embargo on Cuba as soon as possible. The U.N. vote can carry political weight, but only the U.S. Congress can lift the full embargo, put in place more than 50 years ago.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called the plenary meeting on this subject “political theater.”
“The Cuban regime is sending the warped message to the world that the sad state of its economy, the oppression of its people, and the export of its destructive ideology is not its fault,” Haley told the General Assembly.
The U.S. position had been announced on Tuesday at the State Department.
Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said Haley and the United States lack “the slightest moral authority to criticize Cuba,” calling her remarks “disrespectful” against Cuba and its government.
Tensions have flared recently between Washington and Havana, which forged a closer relationship under former U.S. President Barack Obama and reopened embassies in both countries in 2015.
Haley said the diplomatic status between both countries is not changing.
U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier this month he believed Havana was responsible for a series of alleged incidents that Washington says harmed 24 of its diplomats, while Cuban officials said last week talk of acoustic strikes was “science fiction.”
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)