Speech by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez at the UN against the economic blockade imposed by the US on Cuba
New York, November 1st, 2018. Madam Chair: Your Excellences, Permanent Representatives: Ladies and gentlemen, delegates: On June 25th, 2018, baby Adam Lopez Macias, 181 days old, underwent an operation to correct a congenital defect of transposition of the heart great arteries, which threatened his life. The surgery lasted 5 hours. His delicate condition, a subsequent hypotension and bradycardia forced us to keep his small sternum open until day 29, that is to say 96 hours. The blockade prevents Cuban children who suffer from low postoperative cardiac output, a more frequent defect of cardio-pediatric surgery, to have the best treatment such as the “Advanced Pediatric Ventricular Support System” that the American companies Heart Ware International Inc. of Massachusetts and Thoratec Corporation of Pleasanton produce and protect with the use of patents. How can we measure their pain and that of their families? Adam recovered thanks to the professionalism and devotion of the Cuban health staff and the effort of a whole country. Rosa Esther Navarro Ramirez was born after 37 weeks of gestation. On December 13th, 2017, she was operated from Total Anomalous Drainage of the Pulmonary Veins; she was then 1 year and 2 months old. She suffers from a ventricular fibrillation. During 27 days of deep suffering for her parents, she is treated for pulmonary hypertension, and they cannot count on the ideal drug, nitric oxide, which cannot be quickly obtained by airplane due to its flammable and explosive nature, requiring special conditions for maritime transportation. If there were no blockade, we could buy from a US producer company the beneficial drug and its administration system, such as DATEX OHMEDA. Rosita was saved despite the cruelty of this policy. A girl, aged 13, from Guantanamo, with a malignant spinal tumor, and a 5-year-old child from Havana, with a tumor mass in the cranial fossa, whose names I should not reveal, could not be treated with the optimal drug, Temozolamide, produced in the United States. Fortunately they have overcome the disease. The Illumina Company is a world leader in Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) that assures the most accurate diagnosis of cancer, which is the basis for precision medicine and personalized treatment of patients. Providers of personalized medications usually require that type of diagnosis to supply them. In 2017, 224 out 100 thousand inhabitants died in Cuba for not having these treatments due to the blockade. Last year, more than 30 American companies such as Agilent, Cook Medical and Thermo Fisher Scientific refused to sell Medicuba, medicines, supplies and essential equipment for our health system or did not respond to its repeated request. The human damages caused by the blockade are incalculable, which is regarded as an act of genocide in accordance with subparagraphs b and c of article 2 of the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948. It is even a violation of International Humanitarian Law. Human suffering cannot be accounted for. The objective of the blockade, anchored in the Cold War, has not changed over time. The infamous classified memorandum by the Undersecretary of State, Lester Mallory, dated April 6th, 1960, guides the policy of the current government of the United States towards Cuba when it states, and I quote: “… there is no effective political opposition … The only possible means is making them lose the internal support (the government) by provoking disappointment and discouragement through economic dissatisfaction and hardship … We must quickly implement all possible means to weaken economic life … denying Cuba money and supplies in order to reduce nominal and real wages, with the aim of provoking hunger, despair and the overthrow of the government “. As an exception, we welcome the recent signing, under a specific license, existing since 2016, of a joint venture by the Marketing Agency of the Center for Molecular Immunology (CIMAB, by its acronym in Spanish) and the Rosewell Park Cancer Center that will allow the commercialization in the United States of therapeutic vaccines of Cuban technology for the treatment of head, neck and lung cancer as well as the sale to Cuba, under a specific license of the year 2017, of 81 thousand doses of hormonal contraceptive Mesigyna by a US branch of Bayer Company. On the other hand, the blockade is the main impediment to the flow of information and to the wider access to the Internet and information technologies of Cubans, by making it more difficult and expensive for the archipelago to connect, to impose specific conditions to access its platforms and technologies, and use the cyber-space for acts of “regime change”. It also hinders cultural, academic, scientific, sports and civil society links. In the exercise of this hostile policy, the US government, with incredible excuses and real political motivations, fails to comply with the number of migrant visas for Cubans agreed in the current migratory agreements; it makes family reunification more expensive and difficult, the temporary trips of Cubans to their territory and restricts family ties. The blockade constitutes a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the human rights of Cubans and has been and is an essential impediment to the welfare and prosperity aspirations of several generations. These policies also affect Cubans residing in the United States. The blockade is also oppressive for American citizens limiting, unfairly and arbitrarily, their freedom to travel to Cuba, the only destination forbidden to them on the planet. Madam President: The US government manipulates and politicizes, in such a poor way the universal desire of ensuring human rights to all the people and the Sustaniable Development Goals in the amendments that you have presented, for the sole purpose of adulterating the nature and the core of the resolution against the blockade, that the Assembly has adopted 26 times, in order to fabricate an excuse and obtain a kind of international endorsement to continue hardening it, that the Assembly is not going to give you, Madam ambassador. A shameless memorandum, given to diplomats accredited last week by the State Department (he shows it), says so, and I quote: “The amendments we have proposed are intended to address the underlying reason for the embargo.” Later, with great cynicism, the State Department points out, and I quote: “Last year a direct reference was made to the Assembly that the embargo undermines collective efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The memo reads: We listen to you perfectly, loud and clear. Cuba’s actions clearly threaten these Objectives (SDGs) and, in order to fully implement them, we need your support for the amendments. “It recognizes the lack of respect of the ambassador and the Department of State for the United Nations and multilateralism. It is a real mockery of multilateralism, international coexistence and to this Assembly. It also calls my attention that the memorandum uses the misleading resource of presenting the text of the amendments as a previously agreed language, to subtly introduce contents referring to another topic by another instance and on another country. Again, it is the practice of the lie, deception and amorality in the political discourse. The document L.7, with a single amendment of 8 paragraphs, was then turned into 8 separate amendments with the sole purpose of creating confusion, abuse of time and fatigue, it is a ruse, Mrs. dishonest ambassador. If the US government wants to debate and vote on human rights initiatives or the Sustainable Development Goals, we are ready to do so immediately in any organization, at any time and under any pertinent agenda item. We will continue encouraging dialogue and cooperation as the only path to promote progress in the exercise of human rights and we will maintain our active and constructive participation in the Human Rights Council, in its exercise of Universal Periodic Review and in cooperation with all, absolutely everyone, its universal mechanisms. The US government has no moral authority to criticize Cuba or anyone else on human rights. We reject the repeated manipulation on it for political purposes and the double standards that characterize it. Your government is responsible for crimes against humanity. It was the one who used the nuclear weapon against the civilian population. It is the one that develops weapons of mass extermination, initiates a new arms race, perfects nuclear weapons, the conventional ones of great lethality, the autonomous ones and militarizes cyberspace and outer space. Your government is the one that established military dictatorships and organized bloody coups. In recent years, millions of deaths, many of them innocent people, and waves of refugees with the consequent human suffering have been caused by your wars. Your government has used extrajudicial executions, kidnapping and torture and keeps prisoners indefinitely in a legal limbo, without defense, courts, or due process, in the prison of the Naval Base of Guantanamo that illegally usurps our territory. The US government is the author of human rights violations of its own citizens, especially African-Americans and Hispanics, minorities, refugees and migrants. In the middle of the opulence of that country, 40 million Americans live in poverty and 52 million in impoverished communities. More than half a million of its citizens sleep in the streets and you say nothing about it. 12% of citizens lack health insurance and millions of low-income people will be deprived of it. Quality education is not accessible to the majorities who are neither represented nor defended by your government. Equality of opportunity in the United States is a chimera. The government that you are part of is a government of millionaires that imposes savage policies. Women receive, for equal work, 82% of men’s wages; if they are African-American, 64%, and if they are Latin Americans, 62%. The complaints of sexual harassment are widespread. The average wealth of white families is 7 times greater than that of Afro-descendant families. Twice as many African-American children under one year of age die as white children. African-American mothers are 3 to 4 times more likely to die in childbirth than white mothers and half of them could be saved with better care than the Department of State ever claims. There is a differentiated racial pattern in the American prison population, in the duration of sanctions of confinement, in the execution of the death penalty, applicable to minors and the mentally handicapped; and in the atrocious deaths by police shots. Your government builds walls, separates emigrant parents from minors, even small children who have been locked in cages. The United States is part of only 30% of human rights instruments and does not recognize the right to life, peace, development, security, food or the rights of children. Not surprisingly you have abandoned the Human Rights Council. The “special corporate interests” have hijacked the political system, corrupt by definition, of the United States. Words and political discourse do matter. By demonizing and turning into enemies, through propaganda, political opponents, institutions, social groups and nations, they are fed and rooted in division, violence, hate crimes and wars. The impunity of the arms lobby is responsible for the increase in homicides, even on adolescents. Dirty politics, indecency, amorality, lies, the redesign of electoral districts are exacerbated by political convenience, and the manipulation of voters. A 6 million low-income Americans were prevented from voting in the last presidential election and will probably be prevented from voting next Tuesday. In Florida, 21% of African-American voters are deprived of suffrage. Dirty politics, indecency, amorality, lies, the redesign of electoral districts for political convenience, and the manipulation of voters are exacerbated. 6 million low-income Americans were prevented from voting in the last presidential election and will probably be prevented from voting next Tuesday. In Florida, 21% of African-American voters are deprived of suffrage. The false information and the monopoly of the technological platforms of the communication and the generation of contents grow together. The US government intervenes without scruples in the electoral processes and in the internal affairs of most of the states of the planet. It tries to overthrow by force the legitimate government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, using against it a brutal campaign of defamation and the military threat, while calling for violence and a coup d’état. It intervenes and tries to destabilize the Republic of Nicaragua. Performs acts of interference in the internal affairs of the Plurinational State of Bolivia It pretends to exercise imperial domination in “Our America” and invokes again the old-fashion, aggressive and dangerous Monroe Doctrine and the “diplomacy of the Firearms “. Redisplays its IV Fleet and increases the amount and power of its military bases in the region. Madam Chair: The quantifiable damages, accumulated by the blockade during almost six decades of its application, reach the figure of 933 thousand 678 million dollars, taking into account the depreciation of the dollar against the value of gold. Calculated at current prices, has caused damages for more than 134 thousand 499 million 800 thousand dollars. Only in the last year, it caused losses to Cuba in the order of 4.321.200.000.000 dollars. With the income lost due to exports of goods and services and the costs associated with the geographical relocation of trade, which requires us to have high inventories, the Gross Domestic Product of Cuba would have grown, at current prices, in the last decade, around 10% as the average annual rate. Facing the difficulties, Cuba has made progress in its economy and offers extensive and supportive international cooperation despite the blockade and the prohibition of multilateral credits, at the same time that it has reached levels of human development and social justice that are universally recognized. The blockade continues to be the fundamental obstacle to the implementation of both the National Plan 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. It violates the exercise of the right to self-determination, peace, development, security and justice of the Cuban people. The blockade constitutes a violation of the Purposes and Principles of the Charter of Nations and International Law. It is an act of aggression and economic warfare that breaks peace and international order. It also infringes the universally recognized rules of commerce and freedom of navigation. It harms the principles of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace and it opposes the consensus of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, and of the world. It causes isolation and discredit to the United States government and calls for the fair rejection of the international community. Madam Chair: We live in a time of increasing threats to international peace and security, proliferation of unconventional wars, gross violations of the sovereignty of States, policies of domination through the use of force, attempts of re-imposition the unipolar order, infringements of International Law, threatening and arbitrary rupture of international treaties; multiplication of unilateral sanctions and commercial wars, essentially provoked by the predatory and supremacist nature of US imperialism, inclined to neoliberal fundamentalism to “the philosophy of dispossession” and the so-called “peace based on force”. As a consequence of this scenario, serious international problems are becoming more acute, poverty and inequality increase, the irrational and unsustainable patterns of production and consumption of capitalism are accentuated, climate change is inexorable with all its negative consequences and the nuclear threat is exacerbated. The extraterritorial application of the blockade has also been intensified fiercely, and especially the persecution of financial transactions and the banking and credit operations of Cuba on a global scale. More than a hundred banks have requested the closure of accounts of our embassies and representations of Cuban entities abroad, have withheld funds destined for Cuba or have refused to make transfers to or from our country, even of a humanitarian nature such as associated with the impact of Hurricane Irma in Cuba or solidarity projects of Cuban cooperation in other nations. The blockade is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations, to International Law and its aggressive extraterritorial application, damages the sovereignty of all states. Madam Chair: Since the military occupation of Cuba, in 1898, by the United States, to prevent our independence, already won in a prolonged epic, this has been a relationship marked by the determination of the US governments to control the destiny of Cuba, against the unwavering determination of Cubans to defend their independence and self-determination. Today, Cuba is an absolutely independent nation, owner of its destiny, which develops relations of respect and enjoys bonds of friendship and cooperation with all the countries of the world. It is a conquest achieved with the sacrifice of several generations, which we will defend by all means necessary. We have diplomatic relations with the United States, some episodes of official dialogue and we have developed some mutually advantageous cooperation in a limited group of areas. But the sign of the bilateral relationship continues to be the economic, commercial and financial blockade that punishes all the people of Cuba, inspired by feelings of domination, ideological intolerance and political revenge. We have a disposition for peaceful coexistence, within the deep differences with the government of the United States, which is based on mutual respect, sovereign equality and the benefit of both peoples. The Cubans continue to freely decide our internal affairs in close unity, as we do in the popular discussion of the draft new Constitution and we will do in the next referendum to adopt it. There is not a space for the intrusion of a foreign power. I must denounce the escalation of pronouncements, acts and threats of United States government against Cuba has no other objective that leads to a climate of greater bilateral tension and at that moment, is increasingly visible the characters who have a long history of conspiracy to cause bilateral crises. As I express on this same podium, on September 26, President Miguel Diaz-Canel, quote: “Cuba is always willing to dialogue and cooperate for respect and treatment between equals. We will never make concessions that affect national sobriety and independence, we will not negotiate our principles, nor will we accept conditions.” Cubans of all generations will keep unwavering loyalty to the example of José Martí to proclaim with equal conviction: “To give up in my effort to make the homeland free and prosperous, first the Southern sea will be united to the North Sea and then a snake will be born from an eagle’s egg” Thank you so much.