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Decades-long battle to end U.N. gathering

UNITED NATIONS — The 2012 United Nations General Assembly debate ends Monday and is likely to be highlighted by the continuing battle between the White House and Cuba.

Last, but not least, Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, a former U.N. ambassador, is scheduled to take to the podium Monday, and if past records are any indication, it will be another laundry list of U.S. “crimes” against Havana.

The Cuban foreign minister will again complain about the “criminal” economic embargo against his nation which has been imposed for more than 50 years, dating back to the Kennedy administration.

Havana has been successful in prodding the U.N. General Assembly to call an annual special session on the “embargo” where a non-binding resolution usually is approved by more than 95 percent of the GA members.

It is little more than a public relations stunt, with Washington sitting in opposition joined by a small group of nations such as Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and Israel.

But the public relations value far outweighs any legal impact.

However, the White House usually reserves the right to reply to the Cuban protests, and if the past is any indication, it will do the same on Monday evening.

Among those carefully listening in will be the Cuban communities in Florida and New Jersey. Both states are key in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, and Florida could prove pivotal as it was back in 2000.

The Cuban community continues to grow in both states, with its political influence correspondingly on the rise.

Most pollsters believe the U.S. Hispanic community could decide who wins the White House in 2012. While the majority predict Democratic candidates will win most of the votes, the GOP has made significant inroads in recent years.

As such, the Cuban speech and U.S. reaction will be closely analyzed.

Another problem for the White House could be closing remarks by officials from war-ravaged Syria and the communist regime in North Korea.

The “pile on the U.S.” efforts come as U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice is under fire for making misleading statements pertaining to the attack on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Egypt and Libya on Sept. 11.

Those attacks left four dead, including U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

While Rice insisted that the attacks were spontaneous and not instigated by any terrorist group, subsequent intelligence suggested otherwise and that Rice may have known this when making her public statements.

Rep. Peter King , R-N.Y., chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and a member on the Select Committee on Intelligence, has demanded Rice’s resignation.

The U.S. diplomat, on a short list to become the next secretary of state in a second Obama administration, rejected King’s accusations and said she has no intention of resigning.