Pressure on US to end Cuba trade embargo mounts at UN

The UN General Assembly voted 188-2 on Tuesday to end a trade embargo that has lasted more than 50 years, with Havana calling the policy 'barbaric'.

The vote, which has continued without results for 22 straight years, is symbolic and unenforceable but diplomatic pressure from global powers is mounting.

"The call of the international community is getting louder and louder, demanding that the US government change its policy toward Cuba," said China's deputy UN ambassador Wang Min.

And European nations now oppose the embargo as US legislation punishes foreign firms for trading with Cuba.

While the US has eased travel restrictions on Cubans, the sanctions have remained firm.

Cuba has lost more than $1.1 trillion and anti-AIDS drugs for children are blocked from reaching the island as a result of the embargo, according to Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.

Cuba's nickel industry, key to the country's exports, is supported by Canadian miner Sherritt International. Sherritt runs one of Cuba's two nickel plants in a joint venture with Cubaniquel in the city of Moa.