Tia Belau Editorial, November 4, 2013 —-
After 19 years of independence, Palau seems to be gaining maturity – albeit slowly – in conducting its world affairs.
Reuters news agency reported that “The U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly for the 22nd time to condemn the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba, whose foreign minister said the American policy in place since 1959 was barbaric and amounted to genocide.
There were 188 votes for the non-binding resolution, entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba,” in the 193-nation General Assembly.
The only country that joined the United States in voting against the resolution was Israel.
Last year, there were the same number of votes for the resolution, though the tiny Pacific island nation of Palau voted with Israel and the United States against the resolution. This year, Palau abstained, along with fellow Pacific island nations Micronesia and Marshall Islands.”
Yes, the Republic of Palau abstained. That is after almost two decades of voting alongside the United States on the issue of Cuban embargo. Next to Israel, Palau has voted with the United States the highest number of times.
Palau is taking a realist view in its foreign policy approach. Its decision to abstain was made to placate the Cuban government, because nine young Palauans are in Cuba for medical studies on Cuban government scholarships.
Medicine, law, and engineering have been identified as essential field of study for our national development, and in which the Cuban government scholarship is addressing one of them. In the next seven years, Palau could see nine of its young with doctors of medicines, who hail from one of the top medical school in Cuba – and the world.
Palau’s decision to abstain was a wise one. We know that giving our full support to Cuba, and therefore, further isolate the United States our closest and strongest ally, may be not an option at this time, but at least we are becoming more comfortable casting our vote in the world stage.