Press Room: Press Releases

The US Does Right at the UN

Elizabeth Newhouse


The surprising vote by the United States this week to abstain from the annual UN resolution denouncing the U.S. embargo on Cuba reaffirmed to the world the Obama Administration’s resolve to repair relations with Cuba. The abstention—the first such U.S. vote in 25 years—made it clear that even though bound by law to uphold the embargo, this administration regards it as outmoded, counterproductive, and in need of repeal. As Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor, tweeted: “There is no reason to vote to defend a failed policy we oppose.” 

    In announcing the abstention, UN Ambassador Samantha Power drew cheers from the General Assembly. Since first introduced in the UN in 1991, the anti-embargo resolution has been overwhelmingly supported, clear evidence of the folly of our decades-long effort to isolate the island. This year’s historic vote of 191-0 sends another strong message to the U.S. Congress that there is neither sympathy nor support anywhere on earth for continuing the embargo. 

    For more than 25 years, the Center for International Policy has advocated for lifting this relic of the Cold War as an ineffective policy tool and highly damaging to the Cuban people.  Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez, welcomed the abstention but asserted that lifting the embargo remains a key step to fully normalized U.S.-Cuba relations.