President Biden: Abstain at the June 23 UN Cuba Vote

June 7, 2021
President Joe Biden
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington D.C. 20006

Dear President Biden:

We are writing to express our concern that your administration has yet to take steps towards normalizing relations with Cuba, despite the fact that most of the previous administration’s policy changes can be reversed with a single executive order. On June 23, the U.N. General Assembly will vote to condemn the United States’ embargo on Cuba and call for it to be lifted, as it has done consistently since 1992.  We urge you to take the opportunity created by the upcoming vote — an event that typically leaves the U.S. isolated — to follow President Obama’s example by abstaining from the vote and to use the occasion to announce the measures your administration is taking to normalize relations with Cuba.

As you are certainly aware, during President Trump’s time in office, he reversed the gains made by the Obama-Biden administration in normalizing relations with Cuba, adding over 200 restrictive measures. Rather than suspending any of these cruel restrictions on a humanitarian basis due to the pandemic, Trump imposed dozens of additional restrictions or tightened existing ones, severely affecting the wellbeing of the Cuban people and the ability of their loved ones to help them with unrestricted remittances. 

We greatly appreciated your pledge as a candidate to reverse many of the Trump administration’s policies towards Cuba, and were greatly encouraged by your administration’s announcement of a review of “economic sanctions to evaluate whether they are unduly hindering responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.” But so far, your administration has not taken steps to reverse these harmful Trump policies, which continue to harm millions of Cubans, including by undercutting Cuba’s budding private sector just as key market-based reforms are being instituted. 

The upcoming U.N. vote calling for an end to the U.S. economic, trade, and financial embargo against Cuba risks damage to the U.S. leadership and credibility at a time when your administration has sought to reaffirm the US role in the global community. The resolution will include language opposing the embargo’s extraterritorial application, which has impaired the ability of even third country humanitarian efforts to supply medical assistance to Cuba in the middle of a pandemic. It will also denounce the embargo’s extraterritorial sanctions regime that blocks trade with third countries by imposing huge fines of billions of dollars, including on European banks, for assisting customers with non-military, purely commercial trade with Cuba. 

Every year, nearly every country in the U.N. votes to support the resolution and against the U.S.-imposed embargo.  In 2016, the Obama administration broke with 25 years of United States’ opposition to the resolution by abstaining on the UN vote, showing the world that the U.S. understood the need to lift the embargo. We call on you to follow President Obama’s lead by not opposing this year’s U.N. resolution, and instead to use the occasion to announce the measures that your administration will take – consistent with your pre-election promises and the results of your review of the impact of sanctions on COVID-19 response — to provide relief for the Cuban people and return to the path of normalization in our relationship with Cuba.

Sincerely,

  • ACERE (Alliance for Cuba Engagement and Respect)
  • Alianza Americas
  • Alianza Martiana
  • Afro Latin Jazz Alliance
  • Alliance of Baptists
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • American Public Health Association (APHA)
  • Americas Program
  • Amnesty International
  • Asian Solidarity Collective
  • Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
  • Asuntos Cubanos
  • Aztlan Media 
  • Belly of the Beast
  • Black Alliance for Peace
  • Building Relations with Cuban Labor
  • Bwana Foundation
  • Caribbean Agroecology Institute/Cuba-US Agroecology Network
  • Center for Cuban Studies
  • Center for Democracy in the Americas
  • Center for Economic and Policy Research
  • Center for International Policy
  • Charity and Security Network
  • Church World Service
  • CODEPINK
  • Colombia Support Network
  • Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice
  • CovertAction Magazine
  • CUBAmistad
  • Cuban Americans for Normalizing Relations with Cuba
  • Democratic Socialists of America/DSA
  • Espíritu Travel
  • Federación Estudiantil Universitaria
  • Foundation for the Normalization of US-Cuba Relations (FORNORM)
  • Freedom Archives
  • Friends Committee on National Legislation
  • Friends of Cuba Libro
  • Friends of Latin America
  • Global Exchange
  • Global Health Partners
  • Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
  • International Tribunal of Conscience of Peoples in Movement
  • Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace
  • Just Foreign Policy
  • Latin America Working Group (LAWG)
  • Labor Against Racism and War
  • Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
  • LELO (A Legacy of Equality Leadership and Organizing)
  • MADRE
  • Marazul Tours, Inc
  • Marazul Travel
  • Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC)
  • Mennonite Central Committee US
  • Ministers for Peace
  • MoveOn
  • National Council of Churches
  • National Lawyers Guild 
  • National Network on Cuba
  • NOME No Embargo on Cuba Movement
  • Our Revolution
  • Oxfam America
  • Partners in Healthy Communities
  • PazAmor
  • Peace Action
  • PeaceHost.net
  • Platform for Innovation and Dialogue with Cuba
  • Presbyterian Church USA
  • Project Blueprint
  • Proximity Cuba
  • Puentes de Amor
  • Radio Miami
  • RESPECT (Responsible Ethical Cuba Travel)
  • RootsAction.org
  • Son Dos Alas
  • Task Force On The Americas
  • The People’s Forum
  • The Prison Educational Foundation
  • The School of Sacred Knowledge
  • United Church of Christ Cuba Study Seminar
  • United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
  • US Women and Cuba Collaboration
  • US-El Salvador Sister Cities
  • Venceremos Brigade
  • Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
  • Win Without War
  • Witness for Peace
  • Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective
  • Women Against Military Madness
  • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom US
  • World Beyond War
  • Your Tour Guide to CubaLocal organizations:
  • Baltimore Nonviolence Center
  • Bay Area Saving Lives Committee
  • Bay Area Venceremos Brigade
  • Berkeley-Palma Soriano Sister City Association
  • Bomba Marilé, Utah
  • Capital District Socialist Party of New York
  • Centro CSO
  • Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America
  • Doctors4Detroit/Justice for Cuba
  • Faith in Action Committee, Unitarian Universalist Church, Santa Monica
  • Friends of Blackwater
  • Gallatin Valley Friends of Cuba, Montana
  • Hilton Head for Peace
  • July 26.org/Boston-Cuba Solidarity Coalition
  • Juvenile Education and Awareness Project – Passaic, NJ
  • Labor Community Alliance of South Florida
  • Latin America Solidarity Committee- Corvallis
  • Latin America Solidarity Committee of Western Massachusetts
  • Latin America Solidarity Committee-Milwaukee
  • Let Cuba Live Committee of Maine
  • Los Angeles Hands Off Cuba
  • Maine Veterans for Peace
  • Martinez Arts Consulting, ALC
  • Minnesota Cuba Committee
  • Mt. Tabor Neighbors
  • National Lawyers Guild – Milwaukee
  • National Lawyers Guild – San Diego
  • Pacific Green Party, Linn-Benton (Oregon) Chapter
  • Pax Christi USA, New Orleans
  • Peace Action Baltimore
  • Peace Action Wisconsin
  • Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister Cities Partnership
  • Richmond, CA – Regla, Cuba Friendship Committee
  • Seattle Cuba Friendship Committee
  • Shepherdstown Friends Meeting (Quakers), West Virginia
  • Slow Food East End
  • Solidarity Committee of the Capital District, NY
  • United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee
  • US Hands Off Cuba and Venezuela, South Florida Coalition
  • US Hands Off Cuba – Los Angeles
  • Veterans for Peace – Milwaukee Chapter 102
  • Veterans for Peace – Linus Pauling Chapter 132
  • Warrior Productions
  • West Valley Neighborhoods Coalition
  • Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations With Cuba
  • Witness for Peace Midwest
  • Witness for Peace Southeast
  • Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective – Northwest

Cc: Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S Ambassador to the United Nations

2 Replies to “President Biden: Abstain at the June 23 UN Cuba Vote”

  1. I totally support the plea to Mr. President Joe Biden for the lifting of the US economic and financial embargo on Cuba, that has provoked so much suffering to the Cuban people for 60 long years. It is time to extend bridges of live between our two countries.

  2. Please President Biden discontinue this unjust Embargo. As a Catholic priest who visited Cuba in February 2015, we need to do our part in being friends to the Cuban people. They are suffering as a result of our embargo. Please do the right thing, not the political thing.

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