Statement delivered by H.E. Mr. Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba at the High Level Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals. New York, September 21, 2010.
In Cuba, the goals identified by the Millennium Declaration have been almost totally accomplished, and in some cases their attainment has been broadly exceeded. Our commitment goes beyond our national borders and has enabled us to contribute to the social development of other Third World Nations.
This has been a direct result of a Revolution whose top priority is the well-being of its people, in a climate of equity and social justice. This is the result of the society that we are building, based on solidarity. It is also a success achieved despite the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on the Cuban people for more than half a century by the US government.
We are encouraged and rejoiced by the high rates attained by the Venezuelan Bolivarian Revolution, thanks to the profound social policies developed by President Chavez, despite the attempts to destabilize that sister nation which struggles and moves on. We likewise feel great satisfaction about the significant results shown by Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador thanks to the commitment and actions taken by their respective governments.
The CARICOM member States have also attained some progress. The levels of fraternal cooperation and integration within ALBA have been a positive factor in this regard. The government of President Lula in Brazil has been able to attain tangible results in the social field which deserve commendation.
However, that progress has not depended on the international assistance by developed countries, which is almost inexistent; nor on any positive change in the global economic order, which continues to be an extremely unjust and plundering order that benefit rich countries.
Facts speak louder than words: the unequal exchange has continued to grow; the official development assistance has contracted in real terms; technology transfer continues to be very limited and highly conditioned; the markets of the most advanced economies cannot be easily accessed by the poor countries exports; the foreign debt has been paid several times, but is multiplying; and the financial de-regulation and corruption in developed countries have caused a global crisis with specially negative consequences for the underdeveloped economies.
Consequently, it is a shame to recognize that the number of persons living in extreme poverty increased by some 36 million between 1990 and 2005. The number of persons suffering from hunger in the whole world increased from 842 million between 1990 and 1992 to the record figure of 1.20 billion in the year 2009, while 2 billion persons suffer from nutritional deficiency. In Sub-Saharan Africa as well as in some regions of Asia, poverty and hunger have achieved such high levels that it is very difficult to cope with them.
And then we wonder: What kind of international cooperation are we talking about when not even by far are we able to meet the commitment of devoting 0.7 per cent of the GDP of developed countries to the official development assistance, while those same countries are the main responsible for a world military budget that tantamounts to the horrifying figure of 1.4 trillion dollars, which accounts for 2.4 per cent of the world’s GDP?
What kind of development goals are we discussing here when, due to the absence of political will on the part of developed countries, it is not even possible to reach substantial commitments for the reduction of green-house effect gases that jeopardize the climatic balance in the planet and are the most transcendental threat to the survival of our species?
Could we ignore the worsening of the food and water crisis in the face of an international demographic boom?
How could we speak about development and see to it if the modest goals of the year 2000 have been met, without remembering that during the Millennium Summit we also entered into a commitment in favor of peace? What kind of hope could we entertain to meet those goals by the year 2015 if, as Fidel Castro has been warning, there are increasing references to the possibility of a military aggression against Iran? Should this take place, there will be millions of deaths, the lives of billions of people will be affected and hunger and poverty will worsen in the planet.
What has happened with the commitments for a total nuclear disarmament, over and above the manipulation destined to reduce them to the dimension of non-proliferation? What is the rationale behind the preservation and continued development of 25 000 nuclear warheads whose power could multiply by 440 000 times the destruction caused in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? What would be the consequences of a nuclear conflict, whether local or regional, for the life in the planet?
The lack of solutions to the most serious development problems and the sufferings of billions of persons living in poverty and underdevelopment would also affect, as it is the case now, the industrialized societies, where the unemployed are on the rise and brutal migration policies are expanding. This problem will knock on the doors of all of us, whether through uncontrolled and unmanageable migration flows, by means of diseases and epidemics, as a result of the conflicts generated by poverty and hunger, or as a result of events which are today unforeseeable.
The United Nations will betray its very essence if they do not become aware of this reality and act now. We strongly believe that in order to ensure the survival of the human species, a new international economic and political order needs to be built, based on the principles of solidarity, social justice, equity and respect for the rights of peoples and every human being. It is still possible to do it if we join our efforts.
To achieve that, Cuba will do the impossible.
Thank you, very much.