Vote against the US blockade in UN

The United Nations will hold a mostly symbolic vote Tuesday to call for an end to the decades-long Cuban embargo, marking the first vote since the U.S. shift in policy toward Cuba.

Cuba, as it has for the last 23 years, is expected to introduce a resolution at the General Assembly criticizing the embargo and demanding its end.

The United States has lost each vote by increasingly overwhelming and embarrassing margins. Last year’s tally was 188–2 in favor of Cuba with only Israel siding with the U.S.

The Associated Press reported last month that the U.S. was considering an historic move to abstain from the annual vote this year, potentially clearing the way for the U.N. to condemn the embargo without a fight.

President Barack Obama has been urging Congress to scrap the 54-year-old embargo since December, when he announced that Washington and Havana would normalize diplomatic relations. The two countries re-opened embassies in August, and Obama has chipped away at U.S. restrictions on trade and travel to Cuba, using executive authorities. But the embargo stands.

General Assembly resolutions are unenforceable. But the annual exercise has given Cuba a stage to demonstrate America’s isolation on the embargo, and it has underscored the sense internationally that the U.S. restrictions are illegitimate.

If passed, the symbolic U.N. vote could further amplify pressure to get rid of the embargo. Obama supports the move, but the decision is ultimately up to Congress.