My (big) island home
Much as expected, the United Nations voted overwhelmingly today to call on the United States to lift the commercial embargo on the Castro regime.
For the 15th consecutive year, the vast majority of UN members voted in favour of the motion, with only four nations voting against it: the US, Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau.
What was not expected was a last minute move by the Australian Government to amend the resolution to include a paragraph about human rights in Cuba.
The amendment called on Havana “to release unconditionally all political prisoners, cooperate fully with international human rights bodies and mechanisms, respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and comply fully with its obligations under all human rights treaties to which it is a state party."
Which makes absolute sense to me.
However, the Australian proposal infuriated the Castro representatives in New York, especially as the amendment was backed by the European Union. Amazing, I know ...
Apparently, the Cuban Minister for Foreign Affairs, the ever-loyal Felipe Perez Roque, went troppo, idiotically describing Australia variously as a US puppet (of course), an “accomplice of American imperialism” (naturally), lacking moral courage (really?) … and on and on.
Sadly, the Australian amendment was lost 126 votes to 51, as you can read in this dispatch.
But I tell you what, it makes me proud to be an Aussie.
PS: If you want to contact the Australian Prime Minister, Hon John Howard, MP, to let him know what you think of the amendment, drop him a line here.