Statement by Cuban President Miguel Díaz Canel for the General Debate of UN General Assembly

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, Raul Castro and the “Chancellor of Dignity”, RaCil 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 to be 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 inherentto 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 on 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 lack 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 triilion dollars were wasted in military expenditure in the year 2017, the highestfigure since the end of the Cold War.

Climate change is anotherunavoidable reality and a matter ofsurvival 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 breath 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 like there were not enough threats on 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 ofthe hopes of the majority ofpeoples for a general and complete disarmament. Cuba shares this ideal and, as testament of its commitment with this goal, on last 31 January, 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, violatesthe rights to peace, self-determination and development ofthe peoples. Cuba rejects the militarization of outer space and cyberspace, as well as thecovert 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 advancetowards 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 US government and its abusive use ofthe 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.

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