Cuban diplomats interrupt UN event
This wasn’t the “Missiles of October,” the famed nuclear showdown between Cuba and the United States in 1962, but tensions between the two countries were impossible to ignore at the United Nations Tuesday afternoon.
A US event meant to highlight the plight of Cuba’s political prisoners was drowned out by the noise of Cuban diplomats banging on tables and voices screaming, “Cuba yes, blockade no” across a large conference room, a reference to the US economic embargo against the island nation.
Cuban diplomats were using both hands to slap the rectangular table while others were yelling in Spanish, and although US Ambassador Kelley Currie repeatedly asked for security, officers stood watching the protest without intervening. Why? Because the protesters were accredited UN diplomats from Cuba, and yelling diplomats cannot be physically restrained based on UN security protocols.
The United States may be considered the most powerful member — financially and diplomatically — at the United Nations, but despite its status, security would not step into the fray.
The near 90-minute meeting was met with the sound of dissent by Cuban diplomats, with panelists trying their best not to acknowledge the uproar.
“I was ready to end the proceedings, but I’m damned if I’m going to do it for you. So I can sit here all day and let you shout yourselves silly,” Ambassador Michael Kozak told the protesters. Kozak, of the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, moderated a panel after Currie’s remarks.
“I have never in my life seen diplomats behave in the way the Cuban delegation did today,” Currie, the US representative on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, told reporters after leaving the conference room, calling protesters actions “shocking and disturbing.”
Continue reading Diplomatic showdown at the UN as Cuba interrupts US meeting