Statement by Ambassador Rodolfo Benitez Verson, Charge D´ Affairs of Cuba, at the General Debate of the UN Committee on Information. New York, 27 April 2011.
On behalf of the Cuban delegation, I congratulate you and the rest of the Bureau on your election.
Cuba fully supports the statement by Argentina on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and Chile on behalf of the Rio Group.
While we make statements in this room and listen to some enthusiastic references to the so-called “Information Society” in the 21st century, the reality of today’s world is worrisome.
We cannot talk seriously about an informed and participatory global society without first guaranteeing a world free of hunger, ignorance, insalubrity, and exclusion. Otherwise, we would be only repeating a deceitful slogan.
What do the 759 million adult illiterates and the 72 million children with no access to education need the new information technologies for? What can the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty and the 759 million hungry people do with a computer? How would the 1.5 billion persons without electric power use it?
There are ever more people connected to the Internet. However, the technology gap is not reduced and the countries of the South are again in the wrong side of the gap. The 2010 figures show that 63% of the 1.966 billion Internet users live in industrialized countries, where only 15% of the world population resides.
Developed countries are also the owners of three-quarters of the Internet infrastructure. They widely control the hardware and software industries, as well as the production of their contents, 70% of which is in English although there are over 6,000 languages worldwide.
More than 90% of the news circulating in the world comes from a small group of transnationals.
The achievements of the countries of the South are often distorted or simply silenced. Deceit becomes a daily practice. There are attempts to interpret and write history from the point of view of the powerful. Labels are placed and stereotypes are created according to their interests. They turn people into zombies and lie. Those are the sophisticated filters of the modern censorship.
In order to have access to the market of “freedom” of information, significant investments are necessary, which are unrealizable by alternative media that are marginalized to levels of little influence.
That is why Cuba considers a New World Information and Communications Order cannot be postponed.
Multinational projects at the regional and international levels are urgently needed. The Telesur experience, which sprang from the initiative by President Hugo Chávez, from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and promoted by various Latin American Governments, proves a new alternative is possible.
Amidst this situation, the United Nations must play a pivotal role in its mission to inform, spread and promote objective, balanced and impartial news to a public as broad as possible.
Since 21 March 1960, short after the Cuban Revolution, to date, successive US Administrations have resorted to radio aggression against Cuba, as part of the hostile blockade policy against the Cuban people. On 27 March 1990, television aggression was added to radio aggression against our country.
As a serious affront to the dignity and historical and patriotic legacy of the Cuban nation, the radio and television broadcast services designed and monitored from the US so as to promote the naïve intention to annex the island, were given, by the Government of that country, no other name than that of the Cuban National Hero José Martí.
The Cuban Government has constantly denounced these illegal and unjustifiable actions that openly violate the rules of International Law and breach the Constitution, Convention and Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to which the United States are party.
Not only is a radio and television programming that makes up lies with premeditation and incites to overthrow the constitutional order established by the Cuban people, transmitted to Cuba; also, the exercise of the right to self-determination of the Cuban people is sought to be restricted, by preventing it from managing with sovereignty its radio frequencies and space, as every country in the world, and deciding within its borders the broadcast mode and schedule of radio and television services.
The 53rd meeting of the ITU Radio Regulations Board once again concluded that US broadcasts cause a harmful interference in Cuban stations registered in the Master International Frequency Register; and called upon the US Administration to eliminate this harmful interference. Nonetheless, the aggression continues.
Every week, US-based radio and television stations broadcast to Cuba 2,258 hours on 29 medium and short wave, FM, and TV frequencies. From 258 to 272 hours of a programming having nothing to do with balanced and objective information, are daily broadcasted.
No other people in the world has ever been object, for so long, of so many lies and incentives to destruction and hatred being broadcast by a foreign power.
Several of these stations are owned by or render their services to organizations related to known terrorists who live in and act against Cuba from US territory, with the full consent of US authorities.
The US Congress passes annually a budget of over 30 million dollars of federal funds allocated to this sort of actions against Cuba.
The type of information the Cuban people wishes to receive is the sovereign decision of our country, not of those who from the US Government squander taxpayers’ money and conspire with terrorists in their failed attempts to overthrow the Cuban Revolution.
Once more, Cuba denounces and demands the immediate end of these aggressions. We will continue to exercise our sovereignty and independence, and take every possible measure to repel these actions. The Law of the Jungle cannot prevail. On the contrary, we will continue to advocate an international order based on the full respect for International Law. This is a paradigm of peaceful coexistence and justice in the planet, which cannot be waved.
The Cuban people, forged in both the armed struggle and the battle of ideas fought every day in the face of the media manipulation and the lies made up by the powerful disinformation machinery, is ready to successfully face any challenge.