June 17, 2014

Speech by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, during the Group of 77 + China Summit

Compañero Evo Morales Ayma, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia and president of the Group of 77 + China:

Your excellencies:

I thank compañero Evo Morales Ayma, President and illustrious representative of the original peoples of our region, for convoking this important Summit.

At the conclusion of the United Nations First Conference on Trade and Development, in June of 1964, a group of developing countries, conscious of the enormous challenge they would be obliged to face, decided to march forward together to confront a world economic system which has shown itself to be inequitable and unjust.

This group was responsible for the preparation, negotiation and approval, on May 1, 1974, 40 years ago now, of one of the most important programmatic documents in the struggle against under-development and for the achievement of international economic justice: the Declaration and Action Plan for the Establishment of a New International Order, I quote, “based on equity, sovereign equality, interdependence, mutual interest and cooperation among all states, whatever their economic and social systems may be, which will allow inequalities to be corrected and current injustices righted; growing disparities between developed and developing countries eliminated; and present and future generation guaranteed accelerating economic and social development in peace, and with justice…” (End of quote)

Shortly thereafter, approval was won for the Charter of Economic Rights and Responsibilities of States, which establishes the sovereign right of states to administer natural resources and economic activity in their territory.

These important documents remain absolutely germane, but the great paradox is that, today, no one wants to talk about them. They are described as ‘backward’ or ‘left behind by events.’

Yet the gap between the North and the South is now widening, and the deep global economic crisis has become the longest and most difficult of the last 80 years, as a result of the irreversible failure of neoliberalism imposed by the principal centers of power, with a devastating impact on our countries.

As the timeline for accomplishment of the Development Goals, agreed upon at the 2000 Millennium Summit, is almost concluded:

A total of 1.2 billion people around the world live in extreme poverty. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of poor has increased non-stop, growing from 290 million in 1990, to 414 million in 2010.

One of every eight persons worldwide faces chronic hunger.

Forty-five percent of children who do not reach five years of age die of malnutrition.

The external debt has reached unprecedented levels, despite the enormous interest payments we have made.

Climate change is being aggravated, fundamentally by the patterns of production and consumption in industrialized countries, which, if they are maintained, will require, by 2030, the equivalent of two planets’ natural resources.

Faced with these realities, the principle of common, but differentiated responsibility in addressing climate change and other environmental challenges remains fully applicable.

As compañero Fidel Castro Ruz has said, “The resources exist to finance development. What is lacking is political will on the part of governments in developed countries.”

A new international financial and monetary order must be demanded, as well as fair trade conditions for producers and importers, from the guardians of capital, concentrated in the International Monetary Fund and World Bank; and from the defenders of neoliberalism grouped within the World Trade Organization which attempt to divide us.

Only unity will allow us to ensure that our broad majority prevails.

This is how we must do it, if we want the post-2015 Development Agenda, which should include the Goals for Sustainable Development, to offer answers to the structural problems of our national economies; to generate changes which allow for sustainable development; to be universally applicable and respond to the needs of different levels of development.

Compañero President:

At this time, the sovereignty of states is being violated, the principles of international law and postulates of the New International Economic Order are being openly trampled; concepts are being imposed which attempt to legalize intervention; force is used and the threat of its use is made with impunity; the media is used to promote division. Still resounding in our ears is the threat by United States President George W. Bush against “60 or more dark corners of the world,” obviously all members of the Group of 77.

We must exercise our solidarity with those who are threatened with aggression. Today, the clearest case is that of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, against which the most sophisticated means of subversion and destabilization are being used, including attempted coups d’etat, in accordance with the precepts of non-conventional war which the United States is now implementing to overthrow governments, to subvert and destabilize societies.

For more than 50 years, we have been the victims of a genocidal U.S. blockade; of terrorist attacks which have taken the lives of thousands of our citizens, and caused significant material damage. The absurd inclusion of Cuba on the list of State Sponsors of International Terrorism is an affront to our people.

As we have denounced, the promotion of illegal, undercover, subversive actions is growing, as well as the use of cyberspace to destabilize our countries, not just Cuba, but any country whose government does not accept intervention or tutelage. In this way, any nation can be the target of cyber-attacks directed toward fomenting mistrust, destabilization and potential conflicts.

Over the years, we have always been accompanied by the strong solidarity of the Group of 77 member countries and China, for which I thank you, in the name of the Cuban people.

Let us take advantage of this 50th anniversary of the G-77 to renew our common commitment to join forces and close ranks to build a much more just world.

Thank you very much.