HAVANA, Cuba, Sep 22 (ACN) Cuban president Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez participated Tuesday at the General Debate of the 75th Regular Session of the UN General Assembly.
The Cuban News Agency broadcasts below the speech of the Cuban leader at the meeting, which due to the COVID-19 pandemic was held online.
Mr. Secretary General:
A global epidemic has dramatically changed daily life. From one day to the other, millions are infected and thousands of people whose life expectancy was higher due to development die. High-level hospital systems have collapsed and health structures in poor countries are chronically affected. Drastic quarantines turn the most populous cities into virtual wastelands. Social life does not exist outside the digital networks. Theaters, discos, galleries, even schools, are closed or restructured.
Our borders have closed, our economies are contracting, our reserves are running out. Life suffers the radical redesign of ancestral customs and uncertainty replaces certainty. Even the best friends are unknown under the masks that save us from contagion. Everything changes.
As well as the solution to the pandemic, the democratization of this indispensable Organization is now urgent, so that it may respond effectively to the needs and aspirations of all nations.
The longed-for right of humanity to live in peace and security, with justice and freedom, the basis of the unity of nations, is constantly threatened.
More than 1.9 billion dollars are being wasted nowadays in a senseless arms race based on the aggressive and warlike policy of imperialism, whose top exponent is the current U.S. government, responsible for 38 percent of global military spending.
We are talking about a markedly aggressive and morally corrupt regime, which disdains and attacks multilateralism, employs financial blackmail in its relations with the agencies of the United Nations system and with an arrogance never before seen, withdraws from the World Health Organization, UNESCO and the Human Rights Council.
Paradoxically, the country hosting the UN headquarters also withdraws from crucial international treaties, such as the Paris Agreement on climate change; it repudiates the consensual nuclear agreement with Iran; it fosters commercial wars; it ends its commitment to international control tools in disarmament; it militarizes cyberspace; it multiplies coercion and unilateral sanctions against those who do not yield to its designs and sponsors the overthrow by force of sovereign governments through unconventional war methods.
In this line of behavior, separated from the old principles of peaceful coexistence and respect for the right of self-determination as a guarantor of peace, the government presided over by Donald Trump, furthermore, manipulates cooperation in democracy and human rights for subversive purposes, while in its own territory, expressions of hatred, racism, police brutality and irregularities in the electoral system and the right to vote of citizens proliferate practically without control.
There is an urgent need to reform the United Nations. This powerful organization, which arose from the millions of lives lost in two world wars and as a result of universal understanding of the importance of dialogue, negotiation, cooperation and international legality, can no longer wait to be updated and democratized. Today's world needs the UN as much as the world in which it was born.
Something very special and deep has failed, when the principles of the UN Charter are violated on a daily and permanent basis, and the use or threat of force in international relations is increasingly frequent.
There is no longer possible to sustain, as something natural and immovable, an unequal, unjust and undemocratic international order, which puts selfishness before solidarity and the narrow interests of a powerful minority before the legitimate aspirations of millions of people.
Despite the frustrations and the demands for transformation that we, along with other states and millions of citizens of the world, are asking of the United Nations, the Cuban Revolution will always defend the existence of the body to which we owe the little but essential multilateralism that survives imperial arrogance.
More than once, before this same forum, Cuba has reiterated its willingness to cooperate with the democratization of the UN and with the defense of the international cooperation that only it can save. As the first secretary of the Cuban communist party, Army General Raul Castro Ruz, said, and I quote: "The international community can always count on Cuba's sincere voice in the face of injustice, inequality, underdevelopment, discrimination and manipulation; and for the establishment of a more just and equitable international order, in which the human being, his dignity and well-being, are truly at its core. End of quote.
Returning to the severity of the present moment, which many attribute exclusively to the COVID-19 pandemic, I consider it fundamental to warn that its impact goes far beyond the health field.
In its devastating aftermath, the staggering number of deaths, the damage to the global economy and the deterioration of social development, the expansion of the epidemic in recent months has brought suffering and despair to leaders and citizens of almost every nation.
But the multidimensional crisis that has unleashed it clearly demonstrates the deep fault of the dehumanizing policies imposed at all costs by the dictatorship of the market.
Today we are painful witnesses to the disaster to which the irrational and unsustainable system of production and consumption of capitalism has led the world, decades of an unjust international order and the application of a crude and unbridled neo-liberalism, which has aggravated inequalities and sacrificed the right to development of the people.
Contrary to exclusive neo-liberalism, which separates and rejects millions of human beings, condemning them to survive with the leftovers from the feast of the richest one percent, the virus of COVID 19 does not discriminate between one and the other, but its devastating economic and social impacts will be lethal among the most vulnerable, those with the least income, the same in the underdeveloped world as in the bags of poverty of the large industrialized cities.
According to forecasts by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the 690 million people who were hungry in 2019 could be joined by 130 million as a result of the economic recession caused by the pandemic. Studies by the International Labor Organization (ILO) state that more than 305 million jobs have been lost and more than 1.6 billion workers have their means of subsistence threatened.
We cannot face COVID-19, hunger, unemployment and growing economic and social inequality among individuals and among countries as independent phenomena. It is urgent to implement comprehensive policies that put the human being first, and not economic gains or political advantages.
It would be criminal to put off until tomorrow decisions of yesterday and today. It is imperative to encourage solidarity and international cooperation to soften the blow.
Only the United Nations, with its universal membership, has the necessary authority and scope to resume the just struggle to eliminate the unpayable foreign debt which, aggravated by the socio-economic effects of the pandemic, threatens the survival of the countries of the South.
The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 and the first signs that it threatened to cause a pandemic did not take Cuba unawares.
With the experience of decades of confronting terrible epidemics, some of them deliberately introduced as part of the permanent war against our political project, a group of measures based on our essential capacities and strengths were immediately put into practice: an organized socialist state, responsible for ensuring the health of its citizens, with highly qualified human capital and a society with a high degree of popular participation in decision-making and in the solution of its problems.
The application of these measures, along with the knowledge acquired in more than 60 years of enormous efforts to create and strengthen a health system of quality and universal scope, as well as scientific research and development, have made it possible not only to preserve the right to health of all citizens, without exception, but to confront the pandemic in better conditions.
We have achieved this despite the harsh restrictions of the prolonged economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States government, which has been brutally tightened during the last two years, even in times of pandemic, as proof that this is the essential component of its policy of hostility towards Cuba.
The aggressiveness of the blockade has reached a qualitatively new level, which reinforces its condition as a real and determining impediment to the management of the economy and the development of our nation. The US government has especially tightened the persecution of Cuba's financial transactions and, since 2019, has been adopting measures in violation of international law, to deprive the Cuban people of the possibility of acquiring the fuel they need for their daily activities and their development.
With the aim of damaging and demonizing the Cuban Revolution and others it considers enemies, the United States publishes spurious lists lacking legitimacy, with which it claims the right to impose unilateral coercive measures and unfounded qualifications on the world.
Not a week passes without that government issuing statements against Cuba or imposing new restrictions. However, it is paradoxical that it has refused to classify as terrorist the attack perpetrated against the Cuban embassy to Washington, on April 30, 2020, when an individual armed with an assault rifle fired more than 30 rounds at the diplomatic headquarters and later confessed his intention to kill.
We denounce the double standards of the US government in the fight against terrorism and demand that this brutal attack be publicly condemned.
We demand that the hostility and the slanderous campaign against the altruistic work of Cuba's international medical cooperation, which, with high prestige and demonstrable results, has helped to save hundreds of lives and to reduce the impact of the disease in different latitudes, ceases. International personalities and social organizations of outstanding prestige have recognized the humanistic work carried out by the International Medical Brigade Specialized in Disaster Situations and Serious Epidemics ¨Henry Reeve¨ advocating for the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize.
While the United States government ignores the call to join efforts in the fight against the pandemic and withdraws from the WHO, Cuba, in response to requests received and guided by the deep solidarity and humanistic vocation of its people, reinforces its cooperation by sending more than 3,700 collaborators, organized in 46 medical brigades, to 39 countries and territories affected by the COVID-19.
In this sense, we condemn the gangster blackmail with which the United States has pressured the Pan American Health Organization with the purpose of using this regional organization as a tool of its sickly aggression against our country. Always, the force of truth will shatter lies, and history will put facts and protagonists in their place. Cuba's example will prevail.
Our devoted health workers, the pride of a nation educated in Martí's ideology that Homeland is Humanity, will receive or not the prize that their virtue deserves, but it has been years since they won the recognition of the blessed people for their health work.
The US government makes no secret of its intention to apply new and tougher aggressive measures against Cuba in the coming months. We declare once again before the international community that our people, proud of its history and committed to the ideals and work of the Revolution, will know how to resist and win.
The attempts to impose neocolonial domination on Our America, publicly declaring the validity of the Monroe Doctrine, contradict the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.
We want to publicly ratify in this virtual scenario, that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will always count with the solidarity of Cuba in the face of the attempts to destabilize and subvert the constitutional order, the civic-military joint and to destroy the work initiated by Commander Hugo Chavez Frias and continued by President Nicolas Maduro Moros in favor of the Venezuelan people.
We also reject the actions of the United States aimed at destabilizing the Republic of Nicaragua, and we reaffirm the unwavering solidarity with its people and government, led by Commander Daniel Ortega.
We stand in solidarity with the nations of the Caribbean who demand just reparations for the horrors of slavery and the slave trade, in a world where racial discrimination and repression of communities of African descent have been on the rise.
We reaffirm our historic commitment to the self-determination and independence of the brotherly people of Puerto Rico.
We support Argentina's legitimate claim to sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia.
We reiterate the commitment to peace in Colombia and the conviction that dialogue between the sides is the way to achieve a stable and lasting peace in that country.
We support the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the situation imposed on Syria, without external meddling and with full respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
We demand a just solution to the conflict in the Middle East, which involves the real exercise of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to build their own State within the pre-1967 borders and with its capital city of East Jerusalem. We reject Israel's attempts to attach new territories to the West Bank.
We express our solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran in the face of the aggressive escalation of the United States.
We reaffirm our unwavering solidarity with the Saharawi people.
We strongly condemn the unilateral and unjust sanctions against the DPRK.
We reaffirm our rejection of the intention to extend the presence of NATO to the borders of Russia and of the imposition of unilateral and unjust sanctions against that nation.
We reject foreign meddling in the internal affairs of the Republic of Belarus and reiterate our solidarity with the legitimate president of that country, Aleksandr Lukashenko and the brotherly Belarusian people.
We condemn the interference in the internal affairs of the People's Republic of China and oppose any attempt to harm its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The current worrisome circumstances have forced us, for the first time in the 75-year history of the United Nations Organization, to meet in a non-presential way.
The Cuban scientific community, another pride of the nation that since the triumph of the Revolution of the fair, announced to the world its purpose of becoming a country of men and women of Science, is working tirelessly on one of the first vaccines that are in the clinical trial phase in the world.
Its creators and other researchers and academics, in coordination with the health system, are developing protocols for caring for infected people, those who have recovered and the population at risk, which have allowed us to keep the statistics of the epidemic at around 80 percent of infected people saved and a mortality rate below the continental and world average.
"Doctors and not bombs", announced one day the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution and main pioneer of the development of Sciences in Cuba, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz. That is our slogan. Saving lives and sharing what we are and have, at the price of any sacrifice, is what we offer the world from the United Nations, to which we only ask for a change in line with the magnitude of the moment.
We are Cuba.
Let us fight together for the fostering of peace, solidarity and development.
Thank you very much.