Speech by the President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers Raúl Castro Ruz during 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, September 28, 2015
Speech by the President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers Raúl Castro Ruz during 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, September 28, 2015 Photo: Estudios RevoluciónZoom
(Stenographic version - Council of State)
Esteemed heads of state and government,
Distinguished heads of delegations,
Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations,
Seventy years ago, on behalf of their peoples, the member states of this organization signed the United Nations Charter. We pledged to protect future generations from the scourge of war, and to build a new type of relationship guided by a set of principles and purposes that could bring about an era of peace, justice and development for all of humanity.
However, since then, there have been constant wars of aggression; interference in the internal affairs of states; violent overthrowing of sovereign governments; so-called “soft coups,” and the re-colonization of territories. All of these perfected with non-conventional strategies and new technology, under the guise of alleged human rights violations.
The militarization of cyberspace, and the covert and illegal use of information and communications technologies to attack other states is unacceptable, as likewise is the distortion of the advancement and protection of human rights used with a selective and discriminatory approach to justify and impose political decisions.
Despite the fact that the Charter calls to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person,” to millions of people the fulfillment of human rights remains a utopia.
Humanity is denied the right to live in peace, and the right to development. It is in poverty and inequality where the cause of conflicts should be sought; conflicts generated first by colonialism and the plundering of original peoples, and later by imperialism and the distribution of spheres of influence.
The pledge made in 1945 “to promote social progress and better standards of living” for the peoples, along with their economic and social development, remains an illusion when 795 million people go hungry, 781 million adults are illiterate, and 17,000 children perish every day from curable diseases, while annual military spending worldwide amounts to more than 1.7 trillion dollars. A mere fraction of that figure could resolve the most pressing problems afflicting humanity.
Even in industrialized nations, the “welfare society”, usually presented as the model to imitate, has practically disappeared. The election systems and traditional parties that rely on money and publicity, are growing increasingly detached and distant from the aspirations of their peoples.
Climate change is threatening the very existence of the human species, and states must assume common but differentiated responsibility for this, in light of the indisputable reality that not every country is equally accountable, and not all of us waste natural and human resources to irrational and unsustainable consumerism.
The consequences of climate change have a particularly devastating effect on small island nations and bring additional tension to bear on their fragile economies. And, the same is happening in Africa with the relentless advance of desertification.
We stand in solidarity with our Caribbean brothers, and demand that they are treated in a special and differentiated way. We also support African countries and demand fair treatment for them, as well as the transfer of technology and financial resources. (Applauses)
The establishment of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and especially the signing by the heads of state and government in January 2014 of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Peace Zone, shows that we can move beyond our differences toward unity, and the achievement of common goals while respecting our diversity. (Applauses)
In the Proclamation, we reaffirm our steadfast commitment to the principles established in the United Nations Charter and in international law to settle disputes by peaceful means, and our belief that full respect for the inalienable right of every state to choose its own political, economic, social and cultural system is an essential premise to ensure peaceful coexistence between nations. We advocate adherence to these principles by other states in their relations with our region.
We reaffirm our full solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela regarding attempts to destabilize and subvert its constitutional order, and destroy of the work undertaken by President Hugo Chávez Frías (Applauses) and continued by President Nicolás Maduro Moros for the benefit of the Venezuelan people.
Likewise, our firm and unlimited solidarity goes to the Republic of Ecuador, its Citizens’ Revolution and leader, Rafael Correa, who has become the target of the same destabilization strategy used against other progressive governments in the region. (Applauses)
We stand in solidarity with the Caribbean nations demanding fair reparation for the horrors of slavery and the slave trade, (Applauses) in a world where racial discrimination and repression against communities of African descendants have increased.
We reaffirm our conviction that the people of Puerto Rico deserves to be free and independent, after more than a century of colonial domination. (Applauses)
We stand in solidarity with the Republic of Argentina in its fair claim of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. (Applauses)
We reiterate our support to and solidarity with President Dilma Rouseff and the Brazilian people in the defense of social achievements and the stability of the country.
We reaffirm our rejection of the intention to expand the presence of NATO up to the Russian borders, as well as of the unilateral and unfair sanctions imposed on that nation.
We welcome the so-called nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which shows that engagement and negotiation are the only effective tools to settle disputes between states.
We restate our confidence that the Syrian people are capable of resolving their own disputes, and demand the end of external interference.
A fair and lasting solution in the Middle East conflict unquestionably requires the true exercise, by the Palestinian people, of its inalienable right to build their own state within the borders existing prior to 1967, and its capital in East Jerusalem, which we strongly support. (Applauses)
For the past few weeks we have been moved by images of waves of migrants arriving in Europe, a direct result of the destabilization promoted and executed by NATO in countries of the Middle East and North Africa, and of poverty and underdevelopment prevailing in countries of the African continent. The European Union must take full and immediate responsibility for the human crisis that it helped generate.
After 56 years, during which the Cuban people put up a heroic and selfless resistance, diplomatic relations have been reestablished between Cuba and the United States of America.
Now, a long and complex process begins toward normalization that will only be achieved with the end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade; the return to our country of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo Naval Base; the suspension of radio and TV broadcasts, and subversion and destabilization attempts against the Island; and, when our people are compensated for the human and economic damages they continue to endure. (Applauses)
As long as the blockade remains in force, we will continue to introduce the Draft Resolution entitled “Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Embargo imposed by the United States of America on Cuba.”
To the 188 governments and peoples who have backed our just demand, here, and in other international and regional forums, I reaffirm the eternal gratitude of the Cuban people and government for your continued support.
Cuba is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Organization with profound commitment. We acknowledge that efforts have been made throughout these years, although not enough has been done, to save present and future generations from the scourge of war, and to protect their right to sustainable development, without exclusion. The United Nations must be saved from unilateral action, and deeply reformed to democratize and bring it closer to the people.
As Comrade Fidel Castro Ruz, the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, stated in this same hall fifteen years ago: “Anyone can understand that the fundamental objective of the United Nations, in this critical century that is just beginning, is to save the world not only from war but also from underdevelopment, hunger, diseases, poverty and the destruction of the natural resources indispensable to human existence. And it should do it soon before it is too late!”
The international community can always count on Cuba to lift its sincere voice against injustice, inequality, underdevelopment, discrimination and manipulation; and for the establishment of a more equitable and fair international order, truly focused on human beings, their dignity and well-being.
Translated by ESTI