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Speech by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez at United Nations General Assembly on Friday, September 22nd

Mr. President:

Mr. Secretary General;

 

Allow me to reiterate to you Cuba's support to your work at the helm of the United

Nations and as a guarantor and advocate of international peace.

 

Heads of State and Government;

 

Distinguished delegates;

 

I would like to express my deep condolences to the relatives of the deceased and

the victims of hurricanes Irma and Maria, as well as our disposition to increase our

cooperation, to the extent of our modest possibilities, with the brother peoples and

governments of Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda, small Caribbean islands

which suffered a terrible devastation; with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico,

Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, Virgin Islands and Anguilla.

 

I call upon the international community to give the highest priority to this situation

and mobilize resources to assist the small Caribbean Island States and territories

which have suffered such devastation.

 

We would like to convey Cuba's warmest feelings of solidarity to the government

and people of Mexico, particularly to the victims and their relatives, who were

affected by both earthquakes, and reiterate to them our disposition to assist the

population and support the recovery works with our modest efforts.

 

We also want to express our sorrow to the US people, as well as our heartfelt

condolences to the relatives of the deceased and to all of the victims of hurricane

Irma.

 

Mr. President:

 

I want to convey the testimony of the people of Cuba, who are currently carrying

out a colossal effort to recover from the severe damages caused by hurricane Irma

to housing, agriculture, the power system and other services. Despite the all-

encompassing preventive measures - which included the evacuation of more than

1.7 million persons- and the full cooperation of all citizens, we suffered the loss of

ten persons.

 

The painful damages to services as well as the loss of social and personal goods

as well as the hardships endured by families that spent many hours without

electricity or water, contributed to strengthen the unity and solidarity of our noble

and heroic people.

The moving scenes of rescuers saving a girl and giving her back to her mother; of a

little boy picking up a bust of Jose Marti from the rubble; of students helping families

they had not met before; of soldiers from the Armed Forces and the Ministry of the

Interior doing the toughest jobs; of local leaders heading the most difficult tasks have

become all too familiar.

 

During a visit paid to the area that suffered the most severe devastation. President

Raul Castro issued an appeal which literally read, and I quote: "These have been

tough days for our people who, in only a few hours, have seen how what was built

with great effort has been destroyed by a devastating hurricane. The images

received during the last few hours are too eloquent, just as much as the spirit of

resilience and victory of our people that are reborn in the face of every adversity."

 

On behalf of the government and the people of Cuba, I sincerely appreciate the

genuine expressions of solidarity and affection expressed by numerous

governments, parliaments, international organizations and representatives of the

civil society.

 

I would like to convey my profound gratitude for the numerous offers of assistance

that we have received.

 

Mr. President:

 

I still keep vivid and emotional memories of the imposing presence of Fidel Castro

Ruz, the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution, and the great validity of the

ideas he expressed before this Assembly.

 

On behalf of our people and government, I would like to express our gratitude for

the feelings of respect, affection and admiration we have received from all

latitudes.

 

Mr. President:

 

On Tuesday last, President Donald Trump came here to convince us that one of

his purposes is to promote the prosperity of nations and persons. But, in the real

world, the wealth owned by eight men altogether is equivalent to the wealth shared

by 3.6 billion human beings, who make up the poorest half of humanity.

 

In terms of turnover, 69 of the 100 biggest entities of the world are transnationals,

not States. The turnover of the world's ten biggest corporations is higher than the

public revenues earned by 180 countries combined.

 

Seven hundred million persons live in extreme poverty; 21 million are victims of

forced labor. In 2015, 5.9 million children died of preventable or curable diseases

before reaching the age of 5. A total of 758 million adults are illiterate.

 

Eight hundred and fifteen million persons suffer from chronic hunger -tens of

millions more than in 2015. Two billion are undernourished. Even if the precarious

decreasing growth rate of recent years rebounds, 653 million persons will continue

to face hunger by the year 2030, and this will not be enough to eradicate hunger by

the year 2050.

 

There are 22.5 million refugees. Humanitarian tragedies associated to migrants

flows worsen and increase amidst a clearly unjust international economic and

political order.

 

The construction of walls and barriers as well as the laws and measures adopted

to prevent the waves of refugees and migrants have proved to be cruel and

ineffective. There is a proliferation of exclusive and xenophobic policies that violate

the human rights of millions of persons and fail to solve the problems of

underdevelopment, poverty and armed conflicts, which are the main causes of

migration and refugee claims.

 

Military expenditures have increased to 1.7 trillion dollars. That reality belies those

who claim that there are not enough resources to eradicate poverty.

However, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development lacks the means for its

implementation, due to the egoism and lack of political will of the United States and

other industrialized countries.

 

What is the miraculous recipe that President Donald Trump recommends to us in

the absence of the financial flows of the Marshall Plan? Who will contribute the

resources for that? How can this be reconciled with the "America First" idea

advanced by Presidents Reagan and Trump?

 

President Trump ignores and distorts history and portraits a chimera as a goal to

be pursued. The production and consumption patterns proper of neoliberal

capitalism are unsustainable and irrational and will inexorably lead to the

destruction of the environment and the end of the human species.

 

Can anyone forget about the consequences of colonialism, slavery, neocolonialism

and imperialism?

 

Could the several decades of bloody military dictatorships in Latin America be

referred to as an example of a successful capitalism?

 

Does anyone know of any recipe of neoliberal capitalism that has been better

applied than those which destroyed the Latin American economies in the 1980s?

 

It is both indispensable and urgent for the United Nations to work in order to

establish a new participatory, democratic, equitable and inclusive international

economic order, as well as a new financial architecture that take into account the

needs and peculiarities of developing countries and the asymmetries that exist in

world trade and finances as a result of centuries of exploitation and plundering.

Industrialized countries have the moral duty, the historical responsibility as well as

sufficient financial and technological means for that.

 

Not even the rich will enjoy the announced prosperity if climate change is not

stopped.

Cuba regrets the decision taken by the government of the United States, which has

been historically the principal greenhouse gas emitting government in the planet, to

withdraw its country from the Paris Agreement.

 

In 2016, and for the third consecutive year, the average global temperature

increase records have been broken, which confirms that climate change is a threat

to the survival of humanity and the sustainable development of our peoples.

We reiterate our solidarity with the Small Island Developing States, particularly

from the Caribbean and the Pacific, which are the most affected by climate change

and for which we claim a just, special and differentiated treatment.

 

Mr. President:

 

The US government has come here to tell us that, in addition to prosperity, the

other two "beautiful pillars" of international order are sovereignty and security.

We all share the common responsibility to preserve the existence of human beings

in the face of a nuclear threat. An important contribution to the achievement of that

goal was the historical adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear

Weapons under the auspices of the United Nations, which proscribe the use and

the threat of use of those weapons that have the capacity to annihilate the human

species.

 

Obviously, the United States strongly opposed this treaty. It announced that it will

invest 700 billion dollars in military expenditures and is developing an extremely

aggressive nuclear and military doctrine based on the threat to use and the use of

force.

 

NATO member States attempt against international peace and security and

International Law by promoting military interventions and non-conventional wars

against sovereign States.

 

As was pointed out by the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel

Castro Ruz: "Let the philosophy of plunder disappear and the philosophy of war will

also disappear!"

 

The illegal imposition of unilateral coercive measures and the use of financial,

legal, cultural and communicational instruments to destabilize governments as well

as the denial of peoples' right to self-determination have become customary.

The covert use of ICTs to attack other States increases, while several developed

countries strongly oppose the adoption of international treaties that would regulate

cooperation in order to achieve a safe cyberspace.

 

The US President manipulates the concepts of sovereignty and security to his

exclusive benefit and to the detriment of all others, including his allies.

 

The attempt to resort to military threats and force to stop the irreversible world

trend to multi-polarization and polycentrism will seriously jeopardize international

peace and security, which should be defended and preserved through international

mobilization.

 

The principles of sovereign equality, respect for the territorial integrity and non

interference in the internal affairs of States should be observed. The UN Charter

and International Law admit no re-interpretation.

 

The United Nations reform should pursue the principal goal of responding to the

pressing needs of peoples and the great disadvantaged majorities. Multilateralism

should be protected and reinforced in the face of the imperialist interests of

domination and hegemony.

 

The democratization of the Security Council, both in terms of its composition and

its working methods, is a most urgent task.

 

The strengthening of the General Assembly and the recovery of the functions that

have been usurped from it are indispensable.

 

Mr. President:

 

The "patriotism" invoked in the US statement is a perversion of humanism, the love

and loyalty to the homeland and of the enrichment and defense of national and

universal culture. It embodies an exceptionalist and supremacist vision of ignorant

intolerance in the face of diverse political, economic, social and cultural models.

 

In developed countries, the loss of legitimacy of political systems and parties

worsens and electoral abstentionism is on the rise. Corruption, whether legal or

illegal, has turned into metastasis. So is the extreme case of the so called "special

interests" or corporate payments in exchange for benefits in the country that

spends the highest amount of money in electoral campaigns and where,

paradoxically, a candidate with the lowest number of popular votes can be elected

or entitled to govern with a negligible support by voters.

 

There has been and increasing and unheard-of use of science and technology to

exercise hegemony, mutilate national cultures and manipulate human behavior, as

is the case of the so called "big data" or psychometry, used for political and

advertising purposes. Seven consortia keep a strict control of whatever is read,

watched or heard in the planet. Technologies are being monopolized. The

governance of digital networks is dictatorial and discriminatory and, despite

appearances, the digital divide between rich and poor countries is increasing.

The opportunities and rights of youths, migrants and workers are curtailed and their

human rights are openly and systematically violated.

 

The day before yesterday, the US Vice-president, Michael Pence, ridiculously

ignoring the functions of the Security Council and attempting to establish new

prerogatives, said that this organ should modify the composition and methods of

the UN Human Rights Council, which "doesn't deserve its name" because "a clear

majority of the Human Rights Council members fail to meet even the most basic

human rights standards". I suppose he is not including, in this case, his own

country, which will in fact deserve to be included because of its pattern of

systematic violations of human rights, namely the use of torture, arbitrary

detentions and imprisonment -as occurs at the Guantanamo Naval Base-, the

assassination of African Americans by law enforcement agents, the killing of

innocent civilians perpetrated by its troops and the xenophobia and repression

against immigrants -including minors- as well as its scarce adherence to

international instruments.

 

Mr. President:

 

We reaffirm our strongest condemnation against all forms and manifestations of

terrorism and reject the double standards in combating them.

 

The urgent search for a just and lasting solution to the conflict in the Middle East is

based on the exercise of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-

determination and the existence of a free and independent State within the pre-

1967 borders, with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

 

The situation in Western Sahara requires an effort in conformity with the UN

resolutions to guarantee the Saharan people's exercise to self-determination and

respect for their legitimate right to live in peace in their own territory.

 

Cuba reaffirms its support to the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to

the war in Syria without any foreign interference and with full respect for its

sovereignty and territorial integrity.

 

The threats to international peace and security resulting from the expansion of

NATO's presence along the Russian borders are on the increase. We continue to

reject the unilateral and unjust sanctions imposed against that country.

 

We demand respect for the so called Nuclear Agreement signed with the Islamic

Republic of Iran.

 

We reject the threat to totally destroy the Democratic People's Republic of Korea,

the home to 25 million human beings. War is not an option in the Korean

peninsula; it would threaten the existence of hundreds of millions of persons in this

area as well as in neighboring countries; it would lead to a nuclear war of

unpredictable consequences. Only through dialogue and negotiation would it be

possible to achieve a lasting political solution that should take into account the

legitimate concerns of all the parties involved.

 

We support the total denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, without any foreign interference, with

absolute respect for sovereign equality and territorial integrity of States and strictly

abiding by the principle of not using or threatening to use force.

 

Mr. President:

 

New threats are hovering over peace and stability in Latin America and the

Caribbean, in open disrespect for the "Proclamation of Latin America and the

Caribbean as a Zone of Peace" signed in Havana by the Heads of State and

Government of our region in January, 2014, on the occasion of the Second Summit

of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

 

We reiterate what was expressed by President Raul Castro Ruz about the

Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on July 14 last: "The aggression and putschist violence against Venezuela harms all of Our America and only serve the interests of those set on dividing us to exercise their control over our peoples, unconcerned about causing conflicts of incalculable

consequences in this region, like those we are seeing in different parts of the

world.

 

"Today we warn that those attempting to overthrow the Bolivarian and Chavista

Revolution through unconstitutional, violent and putschist methods will shoulder a

serious responsibility before history (…)."

 

We strongly reject the military threats against Venezuela, the Executive Order that

designates it as a threat to the national security of the United States and the

unilateral, unjust and arbitrary sanctions applied against it.

 

We reiterate our unwavering solidarity with the Bolivarian and Chavista

government and people and its civic-military union led by the constitutional

President Nicolas Maduro Moros.

 

We denounce and condemn the NICA Act Initiative, promoted in the US Congress

as part of an interventionist behavior which is intended to impose an economic

blockade against the people and the government of Nicaragua, to whom we

reiterate our support.

 

We express our solidarity with former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, victim of

a political persecution intended to prevent him from running for direct elections by

means of a judicial disqualification. Lula, President Dilma Rousseff, the Workers

Party and the Brazilian people will always find Cuba on their side.

 

We reiterate our historical commitment with the free determination and independence

of the Puerto Rican people.

 

We support the legitimate claim of Argentina for the sovereignty over the Malvinas,

South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands.

 

Cuba will continue to contribute, to the extent possible, and at the request of the

parties involved, its efforts to achieve a stable and lasting peace in Colombia.

 

We will uphold our commitment to share our modest achievements with the

peoples of the South, including the efforts of the 41 652 cooperation workers

deployed in 63 countries to struggle for the life and health of human beings.

 

Mr. President:

 

On June 16 last, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, announced the

new Cuba policy of his administration, which is a setback in US-Cuba bilateral

relations and undermines the bases established two years ago to advance towards

a new type of relation between our countries, characterized by respect and

equality.

 

The US Government has decided to tighten the economic, commercial and

financial blockade by imposing new obstacles to the already limited possibilities its

business community had to trade with and invest in Cuba as well as additional

restrictions on US citizens willing to travel to our country.

 

Those decisions ignore the support from broad sectors in the US, including the

majority of Cuban emigres, to the lifting of the blockade and the normalization of

relations. They only serve the interests of a group of Cuban origin, based in South

Florida, which is an ever more isolated and minoritarian group that insists in

harming Cuba and its people for having decided to defend, at all costs, the right to

be free, independent and sovereign.

 

Today we reiterate our condemnation of the measures aimed at tightening the

blockade and reaffirm that any strategy intended to destroy the Revolution will fail.

Likewise, we reject the manipulation of the human rights issue against Cuba, which

has a lot to be proud of and has no need to receive lessons from the United States

or anyone.

 

This time we would like to express our strongest condemnation of the disrespectful,

offensive and interventionist statement against Cuba and the Cuban government,

made three days ago at this rostrum by President Donald Trump. We remind him

that the United States, where flagrant human rights violations are committed, which

raise deep concern among the international community, has no moral authority to

judge my country. We reaffirm that Cuba will never accept any preconditions or

impositions, nor will it ever renounce any of its principles.

 

Regarding the alleged incidents that would have affected US diplomatic officials in

Havana we categorically affirm that the Cuban government rigorously and seriously

abides by its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations in

relation to the protection and the integrity of all diplomats without any exception,

including those from the United States. Cuba has never perpetrated nor will it ever

perpetrate actions of this sort. Cuba has never allowed nor will it ever allow its

territory to be used by third parties with that purpose.

 

The Cuban authorities, based on the preliminary results of the priority investigation

that is being carried out, with a high technical component, following instructions

from the top level of our government, and which has taken into account the data contributed

by the US authorities, have so far found no evidence whatsoever that could

confirm the causes or the origin of the health disorders referred to by US diplomats

and their relatives. The investigation to clarify this issue continues, and in order to

be able to arrive to a conclusion, it will be crucial to count on the cooperation of the

US authorities. It would be unfortunate if a matter of this nature is politicized.

 

As was expressed by the Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz, Cuba is willing to

continue negotiating all pending bilateral issues with the United States, on the

basis of equality and absolute respect for the sovereignty and independence of our

country; and maintaining a respectful dialogue and cooperation in areas of

common interest with the US government.

 

Cuba and the United States can cooperate and coexist, respecting their differences

and promoting everything that benefits both countries and peoples, but no one

should expect Cuba to make concessions that affect its sovereignty and

independence.

 

Mr. President:

 

The Cuban people will not cease in their legitimate claim for the lifting and total

elimination of the economic, commercial and financial blockade and will continue to

denounce the strengthening of that policy. On November Cuba will once again present

to the United Nations General Assembly the draft Resolution entitled "Necessity of ending t

he economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America

against Cuba."

 

While inequality, the opulence of a few and the marginalization of many are

growing in today's world, the Cuban people will keep up its struggle to achieve the

most just society possible. We will continue to steadily advance down the path of

revolutionary transformations that has been sovereignly chosen by all Cubans to

further improve our socialism.

 

Thank you very much.

Edited by Ed Newman
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