Remarks by Ambassador Pedro L. Pedroso Cuesta at the Webinar on the Normalization of Relations between Cuba and the United States

November 15, 2020

Amb. Pedro L. Pedroso Cuesta, Photo: Prensa Latina

Dear friends of Cuba in the United States, Canada and the rest of the world, who are participating in this important event. Your call could not have been timelier. I extend a warm greeting to the fellow country men and women who, from Cuba, are attending and have joined the forum.

Thank you for inviting me to address you on Cuba’s role and priorities within the framework of the United Nations, in this International Conference against the blockade and for the Normalization of the Relations between Cuba and the United States. It is an honor that this is practically the first activity I attend outside the United Nations, in this new normal which has made screens an indispensable form of communication.

It was not until the triumph of the Revolution that Cuba became a truly sovereign State and that, consequently, it was able to develop an independent foreign policy in defense of its national interest, guided by the principles of anti-imperialism; internationalism, solidarity and cooperation; as well as the unrestricted respect for the principles of International Law.

From this emanates the universal dimension of an inclusive, comprehensive policy, based on the respect for sovereign equality, independence, and the right to self-determination of the peoples and inspired, at the same time, by the never-ending pursuit of peace, justice, and progress for all.

Since then, among the priorities of Cuba’s foreign policy we can underline the consolidation of the Cuban Revolution and the defense of the country in all forums; the confrontation with the permanent policy of aggression of the United States in all fields of the foreign activity; the expansion and diversification of our international relations; the development of ties of all kinds, including integration, with Latin America and the Caribbean; the development and strengthening of friendly and cooperative relations with Third World countries; and the promotion of multilateralism and the defense of the observance of the principles of international law, independence and the right to self-determination of the peoples.

All of these postulates were outlined by Fidel, in an exemplary way, in his first and masterful speech before the United Nations General Assembly on September 26, 1960, whose 60th anniversary we recently celebrated.

The priority Cuba grants to the struggle for peace, to issues relating to disarmament, including nuclear disarmament, and the pressing disparities affecting the world would also be reflected in Fidel’s address to the 34th Session of the General Assembly in 1979, when in his capacity as Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, he stated, and I quote:

“Enough of the illusion that the problems of the world can be solved by nuclear weapons! Bombs may kill the hungry, the sick and the ignorant; but they cannot kill hunger, disease and ignorance. Nor can they kill the righteous rebellion of the peoples. And, in the holocaust, the rich will also die, who are the ones who have the most to lose in this world”.

The recognition and support that Cuba arouses in the United Nations is due to the ethics of the Revolution and to a foreign policy based on principles and on the permanent advocacy for the most just causes.

The chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement on two occasions, the holding of the First South Summit in Havana in 2000 and, more recently, the election of Cuba as a member of the Human Rights Council with 170 votes, despite the smear campaign mounted by the United States, show Cuba’s leadership and activism in the multilateral sphere and the fairness of our struggle in favor of the interests of developing countries.

Our country’s vast experience in terms of international cooperation, which has allowed more than four hundred thousand Cuban health professionals to work in the health programs of 164 countries of the South, the significant contribution of the Henry Reeve Contingent in the fight against Ebola in Africa, and today in the fight against the most serious pandemic that has impacted humanity in a hundred years, just to mention a few examples, make Cuba a prestigious speaker in the promotion of the South-South cooperation within the United Nations system.

These 60 years of multilateral revolutionary diplomacy also record Cuba’s coherent support for the cause of decolonization and the right of peoples to self-determination.

In that context, the struggle to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which would allow the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and to establish an independent and sovereign State on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and which would guarantee the right of return for the refugees, has found in Cuba one of its most unwavering supporters.

Cuba has also reiterated its permanent support for a just and final solution to the question of Western Sahara, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

The recognition of Cuba’s steadfast position is evident, year after year, when representatives from many countries of the world explain their vote in favor of the General Assembly Resolution which calls for the unconditional lifting of the US blockade against Cuba. This becomes especially more significant because no other country has endured for so many years such a comprehensive set of economic sanctions by any power ever, as has happened to Cuba.

That means that almost 80% of the Cuban population was born and has lived all its life under the effects of the blockade. Three generations of Cubans have suffered just for having chosen to live in the country and under the political, economic, social and cultural system that we freely decided to give ourselves in the exercise of our right to self-determination.

As it was clearly explained yesterday, the plentiful regulations and provisions issued by the United States Government against Cuba reached unprecedented levels of hostility under the current administration. The possibility of filing lawsuits under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act; the increased persecution of Cuba’s financial and commercial transactions; the banning of flights from the United States to all Cuban provinces except Havana; the persecution and intimidation of companies sending fuel supplies to Cuba; and the slanderous campaign against Cuba´s medical cooperation programs are some of the most distinctive examples.

No citizen or sector of the Cuban economy escapes the effects stemming from the blockade. The blockade against Cuba constitutes the main obstacle to the development of all the potentialities of the Cuban economy, and also constitutes a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of all Cubans.

Due to its declared purpose and the political, legal and administrative framework on which it is based, it is considered as an act of genocide in accordance with the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The genocidal nature of this policy has been intensified in the midst of the fight against the new coronavirus. The United States government has used this policy, and in particular its extraterritorial component, to deliberately deprive the Cuban people of mechanical ventilators, masks, diagnostic kits, protective glasses, reagents and other supplies necessary for the treatment of this disease. The availability of these resources can make the difference between life and death for patients carrying the virus, as well as for the health personnel who treats them.

At the current juncture, in which humanity is facing an economic and social crisis deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic, whose dimensions no one is capable of predicting with accuracy, it is more necessary than ever that the international community calls for the lifting of the blockade imposed by the government of the United States against Cuba.

Defeating the blockade will continue to be for many years to come the main battle of the Cuban foreign policy. Hence, in May, next year Cuba will call again before the United Nations General Assembly for the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the United States against Cuba.

We are convinced that the international community, just as it has done on 28 previous occasions, will again and overwhelmingly support this just demand by Cuba. You are part of this battle.

We will be here to continue resisting and overcoming. We do so also with the humility of knowing that we can count on the resolute support and solidarity from all of you.

Nothing and no one can change what Cuba is and represents: we will continue to uphold our sovereign right and our independence, to raise our voice against injustice, inequality and for the right to a more just and equitable international order.

That is our legacy. That is the path we have decided to follow.

Source: Cuba Mission to the UN