U.N. again calls for U.S. to end embargo against Cuba
November 9, 1999
From staff and wire reports
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The U.N. General Assembly, for the eighth consecutive year, overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Tuesday calling for the end of the 40-year-old U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.
A record 155 members voted in favor of the measure while eight abstained. The majority was even larger than last year's 152-2, with 12 abstentions. Like last year, only Israel voted with the United States.
Many member nations supported the Cuba-sponsored resolution because they consider their own sovereignty infringed by the "extra-territorial" effects of the embargo in punishing non-U.S. companies that trade with Cuba.
The resolution refers particularly to the 1996 "Helms-Burton Act" that allows U.S. citizens who were Cuban citizens before President Fidel Castro's 1959 communist revolution to file suit in U.S. courts against international companies or individuals who "traffic" in confiscated property.
Cuba to sue U.S. for $100 billion
Opening the debate, the president of Cuba's parliament, Ricardo Alarcon, announced Cuba would file a lawsuit against the United States seeking compensation for the "enormous damages" caused by the embargo.
"I am officially announcing to this assembly," Alarcon said in a speech Tuesday, "that a lawsuit will be filed against the government of the United States for compensation of over $100 billion on account of the enormous damages caused to the people of Cuba by the blockade."
He did not say in which court the suit would be filed. Officials in Havana have told CNN the government is working out the details of where to file the suit.
A Havana court last week upheld a $181.1 billion compensation claim by Cuba against the U.S. government for deaths and injuries it said were caused by four decades of hostilities, including the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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