The 74th United Nations General Assembly is being held at the U.N. headquarters in New York. In the past few days, there have been several reports from nations’ representatives that the United States has acted aggressively and abused the use of sanctions against other countries. The latest to report this is Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez. In his speech at the General Debate of the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 28, he condemned criminal measures including the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad criticized the sanctions as "the privilege of the rich and the powerful," and called on the international community to seek ways to limit sanctions.
Russia and Iran, which have been subject to U.S. visa restrictions, have raised a related question: Since the United States is so hesitant to welcome visitors, should the United Nations headquarters be moved out of the United States? Some people have even begun to discuss better locations. In the opinion of analysts, although this proposal is still undeveloped, and even a bit Utopian, it does reflect the anger these countries harbor toward the United States.
Despite claims that it is willing to talk with Iran, the U.S. has drastically increased its sanctions, and this extreme pressure has made it even more difficult for Iran to make concessions. Some American analysts have also questioned the sanctions. The New York Times quoted former U.S. State Department Middle East official Andrew Miller as saying that the so-called maximum pressure campaign of the U.S. government not only “failed to secure a better deal with Iran, but actually created problems that did not previously exist.”
On Sept. 27, Prime Minister Mohamad criticized the sanctions on Iran at the U.N. General Debate. Although Mohamad did not name the United States explicitly, it is generally understood that he was referring to the U.S. Agence France-Presse reported on the Sept. 28 that Mohamad criticized the United States for trying to force all countries to cease economic trade with Iran, saying, "We do not know under what laws sanctions are applied. It appears to be the privilege of the rich and the powerful. If you want to have sanctions, let us have a law to govern them."
Mohamad complained that "when sanctions are applied to a country, other countries get sanctioned as well. Malaysia and many others lost a big market when sanctions were applied on Iran.” After his speech, Mohamad admitted to reporters that Malaysian companies have no choice but to obey U.S. sanctions on Iran for fear of being hit by sanctions themselves. The Associated Press reported that Mohamad paints a picture of wealthy nations doing whatever they want – formulating trade laws, imposing sanctions and pushing "democracy" – while weaker countries are struggling.
Countries directly impacted by U.S. sanctions are even angrier. During the General Debate, representatives from Venezuela, Cuba and other countries criticized the U.S. for abusing sanctions.Foreign Minister Rodriguez condemned the United States on Sept. 28 for imposing the blockade and other "criminal and non-conventional measures" that have hindered progress in Cuba. AFP reported that Rodriguez condemned the United States’ ban on the entry of Raul Castro, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, saying that “This is an action that is void of any practical effect, aimed at offending Cuba's dignity and the feelings of our people. On Sept. 26, in support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Washington announced that it would impose travel sanctions on Castro and his relatives and ban them from entering the United States.
According to a Russian News Agency report on Sept. 28, Russian Foreign Ministry Director of the Latin American Division Alexander Schetinin said that Russia believes United States sanctions against Castro are meaningless and indecent, and the United States is following a policy of "Monroeism.” This spirit forces its own views on the modern world, and Latin America in particular. A decent society should be ashamed of it. The international community almost unanimously opposes the U.S. blockade against Cuba, as shown by the annual vote of the U.N. General Assembly.