Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Cuban President Raul Castro Addresses Non-Aligned Movement, April 29, 2009

Thursday, 30 April 2009


Key Address at the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement


Distinguished participants in this ministerial meeting:

It is an honor for our people and government to again host
a high level meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement. Two years
and seven months have passed since the celebration in this
same hall of the 14th Summit of Heads of State or
Government in September 2006. On that occasion I said:

"On the sound foundations of our historic victories in the
struggle for decolonization and the removal of apartheid
and with the rich experience of our efforts in favor of a
New International Economic Order and of peace, disarmament
and the true exercise of the right to development, the
Non-Aligned Movement shall now wage heroic battles against
unilateralism, double standards and the impunity of the
powerful; for a more just and equitable international order
to tackle neoliberalism, plundering and pillage; for the
survival of the human species instead of the irrational
consumerism of the wealthy nations."

The challenges identified then are not only still standing
but they are now more dangerous and pressing. Therefore,
the necessity for NAM to act in a coordinated fashion is
today more imperative and crucial. We are currently
afflicted by a deep economic, social, food, energy and
environmental crisis that have become global. The
international debates are multiplied but they do not engage
every country. There is a growing awareness that solutions
must be found shortly; however, just and lasting solutions
seem elusive. If we fail to act firmly and expeditiously
our peoples stand to suffer again the worst consequences of
this crisis, and for a longer period of time.

It is impossible to sustain the unfair and irrational
consumption patterns that served as the basis to the
current international order imposed by a few that we have
been forced to respect. A global order inspired in
hegemonic pretenses and the selfishness of privileged
minorities is neither legitimate nor ethically acceptable.
A system that destroys the environment and promotes unequal
access to riches cannot last. Underdevelopment is an
unavoidable result of the current world order.

Neoliberalism has failed as an economic policy. Today, any
objective analysis raises serious questions about the myth
of the goodness of the market and its deregulation; the
alleged benefits of privatizations and the reduction of the
states' economic and redistribution capacity; and the
credibility of the financial institutions.

In 1979, thirty years ago, when Cuba first assumed the
chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement, the leader of the
Cuban Revolution comrade Fidel Castro alerted on the
negative consequences of spending over 300 billion dollars
in weapons and on the existence of a foreign debt of the
underdeveloped countries that amounted to almost as much.

On that occasion comrade Fidel estimated that, at the time,
that figure would have allowed: ".to build in one year 600
thousand schools to teach 400 million children; or 60
million comfortable houses for 300 million people; or 30
thousand hospitals with 18 million beds; or 20 thousand
factories providing jobs to over 20 million workers; or
placing 150 million hectares of land under irrigation which
with an adequate technical level could feed one billion

Of course, nothing was done and the situation has
aggravated dramatically. Suffice it to say that currently
the annual military expenses exceed the figure of one
trillion dollars; the number of unemployed in the world
could rise to 230 million during 2009; and in hardly a year
-during 2008-the number of people starving in the world
mounted from 854 million to 963 million.

The UN has estimated that 80 billion dollars a year for a
decade would be enough to eradicate poverty, hunger and the
lack of health and education services and houses all over
the world. That figure is three times lower than what the
South countries spend every year to pay their foreign debt.

The international system of economic relations requires
fundamental changes. This was demanded almost 35 years ago
by the member countries of our Movement in the Declaration
and Plan of Action for the Establishment of a New
International Economic Order adopted in the 6th Special
Session of the United Nations General Assembly in May 1974.

The solution to the global economic crisis demands a
coordinated action with the universal, democratic and
equitable participation of all countries. The response
cannot be a solution negotiated by the leaders of the most
powerful nations without the participation of the United

The G-20 solution calling for the strengthening of the role
and functions of the International Monetary Fund, whose
nefarious policies had a decisive effect on the emergence,
aggravation and magnitude of the current crisis cannot
solve inequality, injustice or the unsustainability of the
present system.

The UN High Level Conference on the Economic and Financial
Crisis and its Impact on Development scheduled for June 1
to 3, 2009, is the indispensable context to debate and try
to find solutions by consensus to this grave situation, and
the Non-Aligned Movement should support it.

From its inception, this Movement has shown its willingness
to work for peace and security for the community of nations
and for defense of International Law. The removal of the
weapons of mass destruction, and foremost nuclear
disarmament, is still a priority.

The practice of multilateralism requires absolute respect
for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the states
and for the self-determination of the peoples. It also
demands to dispense with threats and the use of force in
international relations, and to do without hegemonic
aspirations and imperial behavior. It requires to put an
end to foreign occupation and to deny impunity to such
criminal aggressions as those of Israel against the
Palestinian people.

The Movement should engage in every major debate of the
international agenda, in the different venues and
multilateral forum and with the broadest participation of
its member countries, not to compete with other groups of
South countries but to strengthen and complement them.

We need to continue permanently improving the Movement's
working methods. The fulfillment of the Plan of Action we
have adopted shall be an indispensable tool to determine
our priorities and our tasks.

We should all start working right away to ensure a
successful 15th Summit of Heads of State or Government in
Egypt next July. We should make a critical analysis of
everything done until today and set ourselves new goals and
objectives in compliance with current and future problems
and challenges.

Finally, on behalf of Cuba I wish to express the
appreciation of our government and our entire people for
the steadfast and unwavering solidarity of the Non-Aligned
Movement with the Cuban Revolution, and particularly for
its permanent call for the lifting of the unfair U.S.
economic, financial and commercial blockade. Although the
measures recently announced by President Obama are positive
they are of limited scope. The blockade remains intact.
There is no political or moral pretext that justifies the
continuation of that policy.

Cuba has not imposed any sanction on the United States or
its citizens. It is not Cuba that prevents that country's
entrepreneurs from doing business with ours. It is not Cuba
that chases the financial transactions of the American
banks. It is not Cuba that has a military base in the U.S.
territory against that people's will, and so on and so
forth, --to avoid making an endless list-- therefore, it is
not Cuba that should make gestures.

And if they want to discuss everything, as we recently said
at an ALBA summit in Venezuela, that is, to discuss
everything, everything, everything, we can discuss
everything related to us but also everything related to
them, on equal footing.

We have insisted that we are willing to discuss everything
with the United States government, on equal footing; but we
are not willing to negotiate our sovereignty or our
political and social system, our right to
self-determination or our domestic affairs.

The greatest strength of our Movement lies in its unity
within our characteristic diversity. Such has been the
major premise of the Cuban presidency in the almost three
years of its mandate.

I have no doubt that the Non-Aligned Movement will continue
to play a fundamental and constructive role in the
international debates. Cuba will keep up its efforts to
contribute to that objective.

I wish this Ministerial Meeting every success.

Thank you very much.

Posted by Sukant Chandan at 20:04

1 comment:

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