Statement by the Delegation of Cuba on agenda item 62 A) and B) New Partnership for Africa’s Development: Progress in Implementation and International Support; Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa. Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly. New York, 14 October 2010.
Last 10 October, our country celebrated the beginning of the First Independence War in 1868. This historical event that marked forever the course of our national History, was accompanied by one of the most momentous acts of justice of our history: Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, known as the Father of the Cuban Homeland, set his slaves free.
Independence and African heritage are therefore inextricably linked to the Cuban nationality. As President Raúl Castro stated: Africa is not a legend far-off in space and time…it is dignity, sacrifice, courage and endurance.
Over one and a half million enslaved Africans arrived in our island, coming from territories occupied today by a great number of African countries, like Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Togo.
Therefore, we are proud to declare that the Cuban people has directly and naturally inherited the gallantry, bravery and the culture of resistance of Africa, which has been heroically fighting for centuries to overcome challenges that today still remain.
The deepest internationalist convictions of the Cuban Revolution have made possible for our country to be always at the side of Africa; from the unconditional support to the anti-colonial struggles, to the cooperation projects in several fields of the economic and social development of the continent.
Over 381,000 Cuban soldiers and officials fought selflessly for the defense of the integrity and sovereignty of sister African nations for almost three decades. From Africa they returned with only the remains of our fallen comrades and the honor of having fulfilled our duty.
Today, more than 2 400 Cuban collaborators render their service in 35 African nations, in order to promote their development in such diverse areas as public health, education, agriculture, sports, construction, among others.
As in the past, our country will continue contributing its human capital and experience in the collaboration with numerous countries of the continent. In the Comprehensive Health Program alone, around 1 120 Cuban doctors and healthcare technicians are working in 23 African countries, offering their service to a population of over 48 million people.
At present, more than 2,200 youths from 45 African countries are studying in our universities and polytechnic institutes. To date, over 32 thousand youths from that continent have graduated in Cuba, in different specialties.
Cuba has always been with Africa, and Africa with Cuba. In more than 50 years of unjust and cruel blockade imposed against Cuba, the African Governments and peoples have closed ranks to demand, in 18 occasions before this General Assembly, the right of the Cuban people to determine its destiny.
The statements we make in this room are to no avail, if then the African countries are forced to spend five times more resources in opprobrious foreign debts than in health and education programs.
It is imperative to change the current international order where powerful multinationals strive to control the mineral resources of the African continent, and rich countries, with a few exceptions, fail to meet the modest commitments of official development assistance and cling to the unjust patent and trade regime hindering the development of African nations.
To address the African problems, it is necessary to eliminate profit-at-all-cost philosophy supporting the current international system.
Our country will continue supporting the African Union and all regional coordination mechanisms in their endeavor to find their own solutions to the African problems.
However, Africa also needs the firm support of the international community. Africa needs from the United Nations an integrated approach for the solution of problems related to the peace, security and development of the continent.
We do not demand paternalism for Africa, but equality of opportunities, as part of a more just and equitable international order. That is what is required for Africa and the rest of developing nations to face the challenge to work for the well-being of our peoples.
Africa requires and deserves above all solidarity and respect.