UNITED NATIONS - By a vote of 191 to 2, the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday deplored a U.S. trade embargo on Cuba for the 24th year in a resolution that Washington voted against despite improving ties and a push by President Barack Obama to remove the economic restrictions.
The resolution, which is non-binding, was adopted by the 193-member General Assembly with only Israel joining the United States in voting no. In July, the United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations after a 54-year break. Obama told the U.N. General Assembly last month that he was “confident our Congress will inevitably lift an embargo that should not be in place anymore.” The resolution welcomes the renewed ties and recognizes “the expressed will” of Obama to end the embargo.
It urges all member states to “refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures” that furthering the blockade, and those that have such laws to “repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible.”

It specifically cites the 1996 Helms-Burton Act as one such law, which affects the sovereignty of other states and legitimate interests of their citizens, as well as the freedom of trade and navigation. Helms-Burton penalizes foreign companies for doing business with Cuba.
Washington imposed the blockade in 1960, after Cuban revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro overthrew the regime of Fulgencio Batista, a US-backed dictator. It has been in place for over 55 years.
“The time has come to put an end to this unilateral embargo,” said the Paraguayan representative, speaking on behalf of Mercosur, a free trade block of seven South American nations.
“The continuation of the embargo is unjustifiable, and counters Cuba’s effort to achieve sustainable development,” said the Iranian representative, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
 President Obama announced in December 2014 that he would be changing the US policy on Cuba, arguing that the blockade had not produced the desired effect. In May 2015, the US removed Cuba from the list of countries accused of sponsoring terrorism. The Cuban embassy in Washington reopened in July, and the US embassy in Havana followed suit in August.