Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez addresses the UN General Assembly

President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez addresses the UN General Assembly Photo: Cubadebate

Madam President:

Mister Secretary-General:

It is impossible to be here, speak from this rostrum on behalf of Cuba, and not recall historic moments of the General Assembly which are also part of our dearest memories: Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Raúl Castro and the “Chancellor of Dignity”, Raúl Roa, just to mention the most significant, have brought here not only the voice of our people but also the voice of other Latin American and Caribbean, African, Asian, non-aligned peoples, with whom we have shared more than half a century of struggles for a fair international order, which is still far off being attained.

It is absurd but consistent with the irrationality of a world in which the richest 0.7% of the population owns 46% of all the wealth, while the poorer 70% of the population can access only 2.7% of it; 3.460 billion people survive in poverty; 815 million go hungry; 758 million are illiterate and 844 million lack basic services of drinking water. All these figures, by the way, are prepared and regularly used by global organizations, but it seems that they have failed to raise sufficient awareness of the so-called international community.

These realities, Madam President, are not the result of socialism, like the President of the United States said yesterday here. They are the consequence of capitalism, especially imperialism and neoliberalism; of the selfishness and exclusion that is inherent to that system, and of an economic, political, social and cultural paradigm that privileges wealth accumulation in the hands of a few at the cost of the exploitation and dire poverty of the large majorities.

Capitalism consolidated colonialism. It gave birth to fascism, terrorism and apartheid and spread wars and conflicts; the breaches of sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples; repression of workers, minorities, refugees and migrants. Capitalism is the opposite of solidarity and democratic participation. The production and consumption patterns that characterize it, promote plundering, militarism, threats to peace; they generate violations of human rights and are the greatest danger to the ecological balance of the planet and the survival of the human being.

No one should be deceived by anybody claiming that humanity lacks enough material, financial and technological resources to eradicate poverty, hunger, preventable diseases and other scourges. What is lacking is the political will of the industrialized countries, who have the moral duty, the historical responsibility and the abundant resources to solve the most pressing global problems.

The truth is that while it is claimed that there is a shortfall in funding to attain the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda or address the increasing impact of climate change, 1.74 trillion dollars were wasted in military expenditure in the year 2017, the highest figure since the end of the Cold War.

Climate change is another unavoidable reality and a matter of survival for the human species, particularly for Small Island Developing States. Some of its effects are already irreversible.

Scientific evidence indicates there is an increase of 1.1° C relative to pre-industrial levels, and that 9 out of 10 persons living in urban areas breathe polluted air.

However, the United States, one of the major polluters of yesteryear and today, refuses to accompany the international community in the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. It thus endangers the lives of future generations and the survival of all species, including humans.

In addition, and as if there were not enough threats to humanity and its dazzling creations, it is a fact that the military and nuclear hegemonism of imperialism is perpetuating itself and expanding to the detriment of the hopes of the majority of peoples for a general and complete disarmament. Cuba shares this ideal and, as testament of its commitment with this goal, on January 31, it became the fifth State to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

In this organization that was born out of the human desire to overcome the destruction left by a terrible war with the dialogue between nations, it is not possible to keep quiet about the danger looming over all of us, with the exacerbation of local conflicts, wars of aggression disguised as “humanitarian interventions”, the forceful overthrow of sovereign governments, the so-called “soft coups” and interference in other States’ internal affairs, recurrent forms of action by some powers, using the most diverse excuses.

The international cooperation for the promotion and protection of all human rights for all is a must. However, its discriminatory and selective manipulation with claims of domination, violates the rights to peace, self-determination and development of the peoples.

Cuba rejects the militarization of outer space and cyberspace, as well as the covert and illegal use of the information and communication technologies to attack other states.

The exercise of multilateralism and full respect for the principles and rules of International Law to advance towards a multipolar, democratic and equitable world, are required in order to ensure peaceful coexistence, preserve international peace and security and find lasting solutions for systemic problems.

Against that logic, the threat or use of force, unilateralism, pressures, retaliations and sanctions which increasingly characterize the behavior and rhetoric of the U.S. government and its abusive use of the veto power in the Security Council in order to impose their political agenda, pose huge challenges and threats within the United Nations itself.

Why don’t we just implement the promised strengthening of the General Assembly as the main organ of deliberation, decision and representation. The reform of the Security Council must not be delayed or prevented, as this organ is in need of adjusting to the times by democratizing its membership and working methods.

Today we have come to reiterate what Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz said on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the UN, which summarizes the most noble aspiration of the majority of humanity, and I quote: “We want a world without hegemonistic practices, without nuclear weapons, without interventionism, without racism, without national or religious hatred, without violations of the sovereignty of any country, with respect for independence and the free self-determination of peoples, without universal models that do not take into account the traditions and cultures of all components of humanity at all. Without cruel blockades that kill men, women, children, the young, and the elderly like silent atomic bombs”.

More than 20 years have elapsed since that demand was made and none of those ills have been cured; in fact, they have exacerbated. We have every right to ask why. And we have the duty to insist on effective and equitable solutions.

Madam President:

Our America is currently undergoing a stage of persistent threats, inconsistent with the “Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace”, signed in Havana by the Heads of States and Government on the occasion of the 2nd Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, in 2014.

The current U.S. administration has proclaimed the relevance of the Monroe Doctrine and, in a new deployment of its imperial policy in the region, is attacking Venezuela with special cruelty.

It is in this threatening context that we wish to reiterate our absolute support to the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution, the civic-military union of the Venezuelan people and its legitimate and democratic government, led by the constitutional President Nicolas Maduros Moros. We reject the intervention attempts and sanctions against Venezuela, aimed at suffocating her economically and hurting Venezuelan families.

We likewise reject the attempts at destabilizing the Nicaraguan government, a country of peace that has made remarkable social, economic and public safety progress in favor of its people.

We denounce the politically-motivated imprisonment of former president Luiz Incicio Lula da Silva, and the decision to prevent the people from voting and electing Brazil’s most popular leader to the Presidency.

We stand in solidarity with the Caribbean nations who demand legitimate reparation for the horrible effects of slavery as well as the fair, special and differential treatment that they deserve.

We reaffirm our historic commitment with the self-determination and independence of our brother people of Puerto Rico.

We support Argentina’s legitimate sovereignty claim over the Malvinas Islands, South Sandwich and South Georgia Islands.

We reiterate our unrestricted support to a comprehensive, just and lasting solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of the creation of two States, allowing the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and to have an independent and sovereign State based upon the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We reject the unilateral action of the United States to establish their diplomatic representation in the city of Jerusalem, which heightens even more the tensions in the region. We condemn the barbarities of the Israeli forces against the civilian population in Gaza.

We reaffirm our steadfast solidarity with the Saharan people, and support the search for a final solution to the question of Western Sahara, which will allow the exercise of self-determination and to live in peace in their territory.

We support the search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the situation imposed in

Syria, without foreign interference and with full respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We reject any direct or indirect intervention, carried out without the legitimate authorities of the country.

The continued expansion of NATO towards Russian borders is causing serious threats, worsened by the imposition of arbitrary sanctions, which we reject.

We demand compliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear deal.

We welcome the process of rapprochement and dialogue among the Koreas. This is the way to achieve a lasting peace, reconciliation and stability in the Korean peninsula. At the same time, we strongly condemn the imposition of unilateral and unfair sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and foreign interference in Korean internal affairs.

The violations of the rules of international trade and the sanctions against China, the European Union and other countries will bring about harmful effects, particularly for developing States.

We favor dialogue and cooperation, thanks to which we can report today that the Cuba-EU Agreement on Political Dialogue and Cooperation has provisionally entered into force and is a good foundation to develop beneficial ties between the Parties.

Madam President:

The government of the U.S. maintains an aggressive rhetoric towards Cuba and a policy aimed at subverting the political, economic, social, and cultural system in my country. Contrary to the interests of both peoples and giving in to the pressures of minority sectors, the new U.S. government has devoted itself to artificially fabricate under false pretexts, scenarios of tension and hostility that serve nobody’s interests.

This in contrast to the fact that we have formal diplomatic relations and mutually beneficial cooperation programs in a limited number of areas.

Our peoples share increasingly closer historic and cultural bonds, which are expressed in the arts, sports, science, the environment, among others. The potential for a fluent business relationship is well known and a genuine and respectful understanding would be in the interest of the entire region.

However, the essential and defining element of the bilateral relationship continues to be the blockade, which seeks to suffocate the Cuban economy in order to generate hardships and disrupt the constitutional order. It is a cruel policy, punishing Cuban families and the entire Nation.

It is the most comprehensive and long-standing system of economic sanctions ever implemented against any country. It has been and continues to be a major obstacle to the country’s development and to the realization of the aspirations to progress and well-being of several generations of Cubans.

As has been said for so many years in this same place, due to its aggressive extraterritorial implementation, the blockade seriously damages the sovereignty and interests of all countries.

On behalf of the Cuban people, I would like to thank this General Assembly for the virtually unanimous rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against my country.

Nevertheless, the actions of the U.S. government against my country go farther. They include public and covert programs of gross interference in Cuba’s internal affairs. To this end, tens of millions of dollars that are officially allocated in its budget are used, in violation of the standards and principles upon which this organization rests, and in particular, of Cuba’s sovereignty as an independent nation.

Cuba stands ready to develop respectful and civilized relations with the U.S. government on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect. This is the will of the Cuban people and we know this is a shared aspiration by most U.S. citizens and, particularly, by Cubans living there.

We shall continue to tirelessly demand the end of the cruel economic, commercial and financial blockade, the return of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base and adequate compensation to our people for the thousands of dead and disabled and for the economic and property damages caused to Cuba over so many years of aggression.

Cuba will always be willing to engage in dialogue and cooperate on the basis of respect and an equal footing. We shall never make concessions affecting our sovereignty and national independence, we shall not negotiate our principles nor shall we accept conditionalities.

In spite of the blockade, the hostility and the actions carried out by the United States to impose a regime change in Cuba, the Cuban Revolution is right here, alive and strong, faithful to her principles!

Madam President:

The generational change in our government should not raise the hopes of the enemies of the Revolution. We are the continuity, not a rupture. Cuba has continued taking steps to improve its model of economic and social development in order to build a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable Nations. This is the path that our people has freely chosen.

The country will not go back to the opprobrious past that it shook off with the greatest sacrifices during 150 years of struggle for independence and full dignity. By the decision of the overwhelming majority of Cubans, we shall continue the work that started almost 60 years ago.

In this conviction, we began a constitutional reform process, a truly participatory and democratic exercise, through popular discussion of the draft which will eventually be approved in a referendum. I am certain that there will be no changes in our strategic objectives and that the irrevocable nature of socialism will be ratified.

The principles of foreign policy will remain unchanged. As the First Secretary of our Party, Raúl Castro Ruz, said in his statement on the occasion of the 70 anniversary of the United Nations, and I quote: “The international community will always be able to count on the Cuba’s sincere voice against injustice, inequality, underdevelopment, discrimination and manipulation; and for the establishment of a fairer and more equitable international order, truly focused on human beings, their dignity and well-being”.

The Cuba on behalf of which I speak today is the proud successor of that independent, sovereign, fraternal and solidarity policy with the poorest of this world, producers of all the wealth on the planet, although the unequal global order has sentenced them with dire poverty on behalf of words like democracy, freedom and human rights, words which the rich have actually emptied of meaning.

It has been exciting and pleasant to take the floor at the same rostrum from which Fidel expressed powerful truths 58 years ago that still continue to shake us, in front of representatives of more than 190 nations who, rejecting extortion and pressures, every year fill the voting screen of worthy green lights of approval for our demand for the end of the blockade.

I bid you farewell in the hope that the noble aspirations of most of Humanity will be achieved before younger generations take this rostrum to demand the same as we do today, and our historic predecessors did in yesteryear.

Thank you very much.

Lula to Latin America: We Will ‘Defeat Neoliberalism Again’

Source:  TeleSUR
November 16 2017

lula nov 2017Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva declared that the struggle against neoliberalism in Latin America will continue. | Photo: EFE

Thousands of leftists from across Latin America amassed in Uruguay to march “against neoliberalism” and “in defense of democracy.”

“Temer out!” and “Macri out!” were among the demands chanted by thousands of Latin Americans marching in the name of progress through Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, on Thursday.

RELATED:  Mujica: ‘Militant’ Latin America Must Reject Neoliberalism

The mass mobilization, part of the three-day Continental Conference For Democracy And Against Neoliberalism, drew thousands to rally “against neoliberalism” — including free trade agreements — and “in defense of democracy.”

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, in a message broadcast to the assembled crowds, said: “In all our countries we have already defeated the neoliberal project once and I have no doubt that we will be able to defeat it again.”

It was da Silva, along with late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and late Brazilian president Nestor Kirchner, who 12 years ago defeated the U.S.-initiated Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

Chavez Kirch Lula.jpg

Latin American countries fought together “to defeat the military dictatorships of the continent” and “the disastrous neoliberal governments of the ’80s and ’90s,” da Silva continued.

“Union movements, social movements and progressive parties were building the great popular victories of the last decade. The progressive governments of the region, in close harmony with the popular movements, resolved to promote great economic, social and cultural changes conquering an unprecedented dignity for our peoples.”  Da Silva also noted that the lessons of yesterday are just as relevant today: in particular in Brazil, which experienced “a violent blow to democracy” during last year’s right-wing coup.

The conference is set to continue for the next two days, attempting to interlink “struggles against the offensive of conservative and capitalist sectors in the continent,” according to the official website.

RELATED:  Lula’s Caravan of Hope Reaches Final Destination

Last week, former Uruguay President Jose ‘Pepe’ Mujica called on “militant” Latin American organizations to join the meeting in order to share their knowledge of the various struggles on the continent and how best to win them.

The conference’s organizing group, comprising dozens of leftist organizations from across the continent, first met in November 2015 in the Cuban capital, Havana. In 2016, the same groups organized actions in a number of countries to mark their reorganization

Lula Draws Biggest Crowd Yet and Blasts ‘Sellout’ Temer Government

Source:  TeleSUR
28 August 2017

lula caravan of hope 3.jpgFormer Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva cheers supporters of Landless Workers Movement (MST) during a rally in the northeast. | Photo: Reuters

 

“Brazil was a source of pride, today that period is over and its leaders are demoralized – this pack of stray dogs,” he told his supporters.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was enthusiastically greeted by about 30,000 people in Mossoro, the second most populous city in the state of Rio Grande do Norte.

RELATED:  Brazil Government ‘Sells Country Like Real Estate’: Lula

Now they want to sell everything

The crowd was Lula’s largest audience yet in his “Caravan of Hope” bus tour across northeastern Brazil. A much poorer region than the rest of the country, the northeast has been a reliable base for the Workers Party and Lula, who was born in the poverty-blighted state of Pernambuco.

“What is at stake today is Brazil and the defense of our sovereignty,” Lula told the crowd, noting that his administration managed to save the country’s Federal Savings Bank, known in the country as Caixa, as well as Brazil’s National Bank for Economic and Social Development or BNDES.

“Now they want to sell everything,” he added, pointing to the stated intention by President Michel Temer to sell Electrobras as a sign that the massive sale of public assets has begun.

Last Wednesday, the neoliberal Temer administration announced that 57 public companies and airport terminals would be privatized with the objective of reducing the country’s fiscal deficit, which amounts to nearly US$500 billion. The comment drew fire from ex-President Lula, who told media outlet Globo that “when they have nothing to sell, they are going to sell their souls to the devil.”

RELATED: Temer Government Takes its Orders from Washington and Wall Street: PT

Brazil was a source of pride

Lula was clearly in his element as he fired up the Mossoro crowd, who were drawn from the region’s rural poor and urban working class.

“When I left the presidency, we were not only self-sufficient in oil – we had the second largest oil company in the world,” he explained to the people of the oil-rich region.

“Brazil was a source of pride, today that period is over and its leaders are demoralized – this pack of stray dogs,” he added.

“Brazil only has a nation if it has people, and that is what this government is destroying and selling out to foreign companies!”

 

Sao Paulo Forum: LatAm countries must build stronger ties, push for integration

sao palo forum in bolivia 2014The annual Sao Paulo Forum was held in La Paz, Bolivia on Thursday August 28th. It was attended by Bolivia’s Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, who gave a speech highlighting Bolivia’s “Process of Change” while highlighting the importance of international collaboration.

Each year, left-wing political parties and social movements from across Latin America and the Caribbean gather to debate contemporary issues facing the region while developing strategies and coordinating efforts to construct alternatives to capitalism.

Sharing successes

In his speech, Linera  explained that, “There are revolutionary and progressive Continue reading

Cuba: Group of 77 Must Close Ranks and Build a Fairer World

Source: Radio Havana Cuba

Cuban president Raul Castro called on the Group of 77 plus China, whose summit was held June 15 an 16 in the Bolivian city of Santa   Cruz, to join efforts and close ranks in order to build a fairer world.

raul 1Speaking at the plenary session of the Summit of the Group of 77, which marked its 50th anniversary, Raul Castro said that the gap between North and South continues to widen and a deep global economic crisis resulting from the failure of neo-liberalism, imposed from main centers of power with devastating effects on South nations, has become the longest and most complex of its kind in the past 80 years.

The Cuban leader noted that as the deadline given to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals comes to its end,

  • there are still 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty in the world;
  • 45 percent of the children who died before turning five years of age, were victims of malnutrition;
  • the external debt of countries has gone up to unprecedented levels;
  • climate change worsens as a main result of production and irrational consumption patterns in industrialized nations.

In the face of this reality, the Cuban president noted, the principle of the common compromises gains significance, though on different stands in terms of the ways of facing climate change and other environment-related challenges.

Resources exist to finance development but the political will is missing 

The Cuban leader recalled the statement by Fidel Castro when he said that there are resources to finance development; what is missing is political will on the part of the governments of developed countries.

Unity is the only factor that will allow the prevalence of our large majority, said Raul Castro and he referred to the implementation of the post-2015 Development Agenda, which will include the Sustainable Development Goals.

The head of state recalled that at present the sovereignty of the states is being violated as well as the principles of international law and the postulates of the New International Economic Order. New precepts are being imposed to legalize foreign interference, as force and threats are used  in an unpunished manner as well as the media to promote divisions.

Solidarity with Venezuela

The Cuban president called for solidarity with those who are under threat of aggression. The clearest case is Venezuela, he pointed out and went on to denounce that the most sophisticated means of subversion and destabilization are being used against that country, including coup attempts, which respond to the non-conventional warfare that the United States currently uses to overthrow governments and destabilize societies.

Speaking about Cuba, Raul said that his people have been the victims of a criminal US blockade, terrorist actions that have claimed thousands of lives and have inflicted huge material damage. The absurd blacklisting of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism is an offence to the Cuban people, he stressed.

 The use of the Internet for subversive plans

He also referred to recent denunciations against the promotion of illegal, covert and subversive acts, as well as the use of the Internet for destabilization plans, not only against Cuba, but also against countries, whose governments do not accept interference or tutelage. For this reason, any country may be the target of informatics attacks aimed at encouraging distrust, destabilization and potential conflicts.

Finally, the Cuban president expressed, on behalf of the Cuban people, his gratefulness to the Group of 77 plus China for its firm support of the island and he said “let’s take the opportunity of this 50th anniversary of the Group of 77 to renew our common compromise of joining efforts to close ranks in order to build a fairer world,” he concluded.

 

Samir Amin: The Russia-Ukraine Crisis and the Triad Imperialist Policies

samir amin 3Source: Monthlyreview

by Samir Amin

Moscow, March 2014

1. The current global stage is dominated by the attempt of historical centers of imperialism (the US, Western and Central Europe, Japan — hereafter called “the Triad”) to maintain their exclusive control over the planet through a combination of:

  1. so-called neo-liberal economic globalization policies allowing financial transnational capital of the Triad to decide alone on all issues in their exclusive interests;
  2. the military control of the planet by the US and its subordinate allies (NATO and Japan) in order to annihilate any attempt by any country not of the Triad to move out from under their yoke.

In that respect all countries of the world not of the Triad are enemies or potential enemies, except those who accept complete submission to the economic and political strategy of the Triad — such as the two new “democratic republics” of Saudi Arabia and Qatar!  The so-called “international community” to which the Western medias refer continuously is indeed reduced to the G7 plus Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  Any other country, even when its government is currently aligned with the Triad, is a potential enemy since the peoples of those countries may reject that submission.

2. In that frame Russia is “an enemy.”

Whatever might be our assessment of what the Soviet Union was (“socialist” or something else), the Triad fought it simply because it was an attempt to develop independently of dominant capitalism/imperialism.

After the breakdown of the Soviet system, some people (in Russia in particular) thought that the “West” would not antagonize a “capitalist Russia” — just as Germany and Japan had “lost the war but won the peace.”  They forgot that the Western powers supported the reconstruction of the former fascist countries precisely to face the challenge of the independent policies of the Soviet Union.  Now, this challenge having disappeared, the target of the Triad is complete submission, to destroy the capacity of Russia to resist.

Continue reading

The Education Revolution: Cuba’s Alternative to Neoliberalism

“In fact, as discussed in this book, Cuba is the only country in the entire history of civilization to establish a high quality, WHO-validated, 6 year medical training programme – entirely free and with full food and board – for any adequately schooled person from anywhere in the world, but who cannot afford medical school in their own country.”  (Author, Professor Theodore MacDonald)

the education revolution

Emeritus Professor Theodore H MacDonald, former Director of Postgraduate Studies in Health at Brunel University, has years of experience in the fields of education, health promotion and equality. He has used his extensive knowledge of a number of education systems, gained by living and working in Cuba, Australia, US and the UK to write about the development of the Cuban education system. 

In The Education Revolution – Cuba’s Alternative to Neoliberalism, published in association with the National Union of Teachers, Professor MacDonald gives a carefully chronicled account of the development of Cuba’s education system from the first vestiges of a national literacy campaign through to the current state of education in Cuba today, adding analysis and critique as he follows the timeline of development.

Read more at: The Education Revolution