What to Expect from the G77 + China Summit in Cuba

By Alejandra Garcia on September 14, 2023 from Havana

Havana, photo: Bill Hackwell

Tomorrow the G77+China Summit will kick off in Havana, Cuba, with the attendance of heads of state and government from more than 100 nations. It will be an “austere” summit, as the island’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez recently described. But it will have a high presence of Cuban culture and broad participation of the Cuban people, who have also contributed to its preparation.

The summit seeks to discuss the main challenges and core issues of the southern nations. The draft final declaration of the G77 and China Summit, which will be signed at the close of the world meeting this Saturday, reflects the purposes and principles of the group and addresses the needs of developing countries.

 Part of the document contains demands to countries that do not belong to the Group, such as the call to change the international financial architecture or the transfer of technologies. In this sense, the challenge of the summit is how to ensure that the final Declaration does not remain just rhetoric, and how can the summit get the major foreign powers to pay attention to the urgencies of developing nations?

“This is an undemocratic world, but I hope there is a minimum of consideration from the rich, industrialized states. They should recognize that what happens to the nations of the South guarantees survival for those of the North as well. We are sailing in the same boat in stormy waters. Either we all save ourselves as a species in the international system, or not even the billionaires will be saved,” the Foreign Minister Bruno warned during a press conference on Wednesday.

The Group, that has a membership of 134 nations (80% of the world’s population), expects seriousness from the governments of industrialized countries, which have signed concrete commitments such as Official Development Assistance or funding for the climate cause.

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, photo: Yaimi Ravelo

“The moral value of a demand by three-quarters of the United Nations cannot be underestimated. Nor the political value of the message we will send to the world, to the peoples of the industrialized countries, including their poor citizens,” Rodriguez warned.

It is no coincidence that the meeting takes place just a few days before the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, to be held from September 18 – 26 in New York. Those “democracies,” those great powers, should pay attention to what the most vulnerable countries have to say.

Bruno went on to say that the Group has many strengths in its favor, like the breadth, magnitude, weight, and diversity of the Group is a virtue, a richness, and a strength. The Foreign Minister went on to point out that of those 134 nations 55 of them are from Africa, “African countries constitute an essential force in the G77, the G77 would not exist without the primordial and historical contribution of African countries for its creation”.

An Atmosphere of Mutual Respect is in the Air of the Summit

“The lack of coercive means of enforcement is a virtue of the G77 + China. It has never proposed to apply coercive measures unilaterally. It aspires to a multilateral world where there are no blockades, no brutal sanctions that harm people, that cause incalculable humanitarian damage, like death, poverty, disease, and exclusion,” he said.

The rich world must think about what happened in their countries during the pandemic, for example. They should question how much they could have done to help those most in need. And they should be ashamed of the selfishness with which they acted in relation to not just the countries of the South but the workers and the poor of their own countries.

The Minister’s final words during his lecture sum up the Group’s purpose. “Every word written in the Declaration was proposed by a delegation, and is the result of a universal agreement. I can say that there was not a single issue that constituted a disagreement; there was not a single negotiation in which a cordial, joyful, almost celebratory atmosphere did not prevail due to the proximity of this summit.”

There is unity, consensus, and respect. A journalist from the EFE news agency received an accurate answer upon inquiring why the Final Declaration alludes to the end of the blockade imposed by the United States on the island, but not to the exclusion of Cuba from the List of Countries Sponsoring Terrorism.

“Everything in the document is the result of the group’s agreement. Cuba never tried, nor proposed, to include any national interest. It does not usually do so in this type of organization, much less when Cuba holds its presidency. On the contrary, its intention is to subordinate any national interest to the interest of the Group. That issue was in no way a matter of discussion or disagreement,” he added.

The eyes of the world are on Cuba, which is optimistic and proud about holding this Summit in its homeland. The country welcomes visitors with its customary affection and a high level of information. Cuba is well aware of this responsibility of ours. When the most vulnerable unite against pain and injustice, the real possibility of a better future is ever closer.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – English