Cuba's new president honors world's most famous political prisoner at United Nations

Diaz-Canel continues with Castros' condemnation of U.S. embargo at UN

By Hatzel Vela - Cuba Correspondent, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

UNITED NATIONS - Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel joined was among the dozens of speakers at the United Nations on Monday who commemorated the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth by honoring the world’s most famous political prisoner.

To set the stage for the opening of the 193-member General Assembly's meeting on Tuesday, the United Nations also adopted a political declaration resolving "to move beyond words" to end conflicts. 

During the summit, Diaz-Canel, who took over the presidency from Raul Castro in April, mentioned Mandela's struggles, but didn't talk about Cuba's political prisoners or reports on human rights. Instead, he said he was concerned about an "alarming" arms race "to the detriment of the enormous resources that are needed to build a world of peace."

Diaz-Canel is scheduled to speak again on Wednesday and will present a 27-year-old non-binding United Nations' resolution calling for the end of the U.S. embargo. He is not scheduled to meet with Trump, but according to Cuban diplomats he met with a group of U.S. lawmakers.

"During the meeting, I stressed the importance of continued dialogue and engagement between the U.S. and Cuba to benefit the citizens of both countries," Rep. Kathy Castor from Tampa Bay tweeted

Before his arrival to New York City on Sunday, he told reporters President Donald Trump's administration had "returned to the discourse of the cold war," and his goal during his first trip to the U.S. was to "denounce the aberrant policy" of the embargo. 

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