Above Photo: Twitter
The Cuban President delivers a forceful speech at the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, in Baku, Azerbaijan
Dear President Ilham Aliyev,
Distinguished heads of state and government,
Delegates and guests:
With sincere emotion, I am grateful for the warm welcome given us by the people and government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, with whom we are joined by 27 years of uninterrupted relations. It has been a long but essential journey.
We reached the beautiful, prosperous Baku, after traveling more than 11,300 kilometers, breaking the blockade’s barriers – which in recent months have been brutally reinforced – because the current serious challenges require us to retake the role required of the Non-Aligned Movement in the international arena, as the organization that represents the majority of the planet.
Again, as in 1961, it is crucial that we work together, upholding the founding principles of Bandung, for peace and development of our peoples. Because it is our responsibility as political leaders, and because no one else will do it for us.
Before the open contempt for the just demands of the nations of the South by the United States and other governments; in the face of obscene politicization of human rights and flagrant disrespect for the right of peoples to choose their own political, socio-economic, and cultural systems; in the absence of a commitment to multilateralism and international treaties, others may be indifferent. We are not. Because all these actions are directed against our peoples.
The nations which, with their blood, their sweat, and their suffering have paid the highest price for progress, emerging from colonial exploitation and plunder, from centuries of economic and social relegation, have every right to ask:
Why do military expenditures continue to increase irrationally, while investments for development and cooperation are cut?
Why underestimate the seriousness of climate change that has endangered the existence of small island states and the survival of humanity itself?
Why are weapons not silenced and the most backward and impoverished nations compensated for their looting with fair, special, differentiated treatment?
Cuba is honored to have been the first Latin American country in the Non-Aligned Movement. This grouping of free nations that operates under democratic rules and without veto, is what we defend and dream of seeing one day at the UN. Given the strength of these values, we reiterate here:
Our solidarity with all peoples struggling for the recognition of their right to self-determination.
Our condemnation of unilateral decisions by the United States in support of Israel and against Iran, which increase instability in the volatile region of the Middle East.
Our call to end the war against the Syrian people and to find a comprehensive, fair, lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Our welcome to the process of rapprochement and inter-Korean dialogue and our condemnation of unilateral sanctions against the DPRK.
Our energetic rejection of U.S. campaigns against political forces, left leaders, and progressive governments in Latin America and the Caribbean
Our firm solidarity with the constitutional President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, the Chavista Bolivarian Revolution and the civic-military union of the people, who have managed to defend the country’s sovereignty against great threats and dangers.
We also reaffirm our support and solidarity with the Nicaraguan government in the face of U.S. attempts to destabilize this sister nation.
Our congratulations to the people of the Plurinational State of Bolivia for their active participation in the electoral process and to President Evo Morales Ayma for his re-election.
We denounce the attempted coup and campaign of misinformation, destabilization, and violence unleashed by sectors of the opposition and instigated by the United States against peace and citizen security in Bolivia. The Bolivia of native peoples, vilified for centuries, which was placed by its extraordinary leader among the countries, with the greatest growth and reserves in our region
And, in particular, given the serious dangers it entails for our region and for the world, we reject the decision to activate the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR), aimed at militarily supporting the U.S. desire to revive the Monroe Doctrine, in an irrational effort to “Make America Great, at the price of recovering the continent’s free nations as their backyard.
Dear leaders present here:
During the Cold War they called us the Third World. It was assumed that by not belonging to one bloc or another, we would be free from war. But our people know, because we took the deaths and the losses, since, if the weapons ever cooled, it was only among the powerful.
There is practically no nation in Africa, Asia, or Latin America, which has not suffered the painful cost of war, of liberation or intervention, of low, medium, or high intensity, during the second half of the 20th century, to this day.
Even where there was no death and destruction, there were high costs, when the prices of what we bought skyrocketed and the price of what we sold fell; when the dictatorship of the dollar and abusive financial institutions born of the so-called Bretton Woods agreement were imposed, that great scam to ensure that the world revolved around the vicissitudes of imperial politics.
The powerful, from their comfortable armored spaces, have made our countries laboratories and marketed their weapons, leaving us with millions dead, displaced, homeless, hungry, victims of violence.
They dictate rules of universal conduct that they constantly violate, and draw up lists to exclude us or punish us, if we do not submit to the blind laws of the market and imperial hegemony.
World War III is not the next war. There is a war underway with no beginning date or estimated conclusion, which for years has bled noble and peaceful nations, with weapons of imperial armies, mercenary soldiers, and terrorists disguised as liberators, in the name of the fight against terrorism, the defense of democracy, freedom, or human rights. Lies!
More lies than ever before told, with greater disdain and a more terrible cost to the vast majority of humanity, in the interest of a minority that has taken their luxuries to mind-boggling excesses.
In the 21st century, threats and aggressions of varying degrees are launched against all sovereign governments that refuse to serve the hegemonic power as sites for military bases, hand over resources, or yield to their mandates.
There is heroic Venezuela, for decades looted of its almost infinite energy reserves, until the Bolivarian Revolution recovered them, to put them at the service of its people, and regional and international solidarity and cooperation.
Against a Venezuela that resists, wielded are the most perverse accusations, psychological warfare techniques, and destabilization plots, in a thousand-times-failed attempt to provoke an internal conflict.
Displaying the worse infamy and cynicism, the empire accuses the Bolivarian government of being an instrument of Cuba.
As they do not practice or understand solidarity, blinded by maliciousness and impotence, they accuse our health workers of being disguised military personnel, pursue and block trade between our nations, affecting the vitality of our economies.
They break agreements, and unleash commercial, electronic, and media wars. They close doors, erect walls, confiscate assets, steal funds, prohibit exchanges. They ignore and violate international law. They promise to make America great – their America, not ours – at the cost of reducing what is available for the rest of the planet.
“They go to the heavens engulfing worlds,” our José Martí would say.
It is time to respond.
The Non-Aligned represent more than two thirds of the United Nations and close to 55% of the world’s population. We bring together nationalities, cultures, identities, human and political forces of all tendencies, lovers of peace intent upon achieving their own development, but without exclusion or hegemony.
A review of our common history, of the words and agreements of our leaders over six decades, has taught us, first of all, the libertarian, anti-imperialist vocation of the movement and the extraordinary force that can emerge from our solidarity and cooperation.
Together we have defeated colonialism and apartheid; we have faced aggression and interference, famines and natural disasters, epidemics, economic and political blockades.
We thank the Non-Aligned Movement for its longstanding position of condemnation and rejection of the blockade, of more than five decades, against our country and the Helms-Burton Act, with a marked extraterritorial nature, which reflects the increasing hostility of the United States in the face of our people’s resistance.
This criminal policy is the main obstacle to our development, but it is also an expression of disrespect, by a great power, for the human rights of Cubans, international law, and free trade.
Against all human logic of coexistence with respect for differences, the blockade is intensified day after day. Barely a week goes by, without the announcement of new measures to asphyxiate our economy.
Like pirates from other times, the current government of the United States has extended its blockade policy to the sea, pursuing and punishing companies, ships, and shippers involved in the transportation of fuel to Cuba.
Today we would like to reiterate to you that we will not give in to threats and pressures, and that we will not cease in our effort to move forward on our project of building a prosperous and sustainable nation. More prosperous and more sustainable, as we are more free, independent, socialist, and sovereign.
On behalf of Cuba, I would like to recognize the work of the Presidency of Venezuela at the head of the Movement, amidst the most complex and harsh circumstances created by imperial political attacks.
At the same time, we commit all our support to the work of the Republic of Azerbaijan, during the 2019-2021 triennium.
If you allow me, I will refer to a small page from the long history of the Non-Aligned, to return to its essence. This is part of a speech by Fidel Castro, historical leader of the Cuban Revolution and one of the bravest and boldest defenders of non-alignment. Fidel said, at the Sixth Summit in Havana, in 1979, (and I quote):
“The strength of our united countries is very powerful. Those gathered here represent the vast majority of the peoples of the world. Let us all unite tightly together, concentrate the growing forces of our vigorous Movement at the United Nations and in all international forums to demand economic justice for our peoples, so that dominion over our resources and theft of our sweat cease! Let us unite to demand our right to development, our right to life, our right to the future! ”
Let us not wait for the bombs to fall on Venezuela or on Cuba, as they already fall on Syria, and before on Iraq and Libya, to support their reconstruction. Let us prevent aggression. Let us stop the runaway ambition and arrogance of the empire in time.
Cuba is proud to have been the scene of the Proclamation of Latin America as a Zone of Peace, and to have welcomed in our homeland the talks to end the long conflict in Colombia, today also at risk, given the constant attempts to destabilize the region that the United States promotes there, where it maintains nine of the 76 military bases it has across Latin America.
I would also like to remind you of the permanent disposition of our country to dialogue without conditions and based on reciprocal respect. Three years ago, during the previous summit, just 21 months had elapsed since the restoration of relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
There on Margarita Island, Venezuelan territory, our Army General reaffirmed Cuba’s “… will to maintain relations of civilized coexistence with the United States,” but at the same time warned, “Cuba will not renounce a single one of its principles, nor make concessions inherent to its sovereignty or independence. We will not yield in the defense of our revolutionary, anti-imperialist ideals, or in supporting the self-determination of peoples. ”
We confirm the decision to continue cooperating with peoples who request it, under the principle of sharing what we have, not giving what we have left over, since all we have in abundance is our courage.
We come to reaffirm to the NAM that Cuba’s new generations of leaders will give continuity to the principles that for almost 60 years we have sustained in the community of nations of which it is composed, and that we accept the challenge and have the strength to correct the imbalances that today endanger world peace.
I say, like José Martí referring to Our America, to the member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement:
“We can no longer be the people of the leaves, who live in the air, among flower-laden treetops, crackling or buzzing, as a capricious light caresses us, and storms topple or cut us. The trees must line up, so that the giant of the seven leagues cannot pass! It is the hour of recounting, and of united march.”
They have the strength of weapons. We, the strength of the peoples.
There is a historically postponed world waiting for our agreement and action.
I propose to align ourselves, but only around our own consensus:
No to war, yes for peace
No to hegemony, but for multilateralism
No to interference, but for sovereignty
No to exclusion, but for inclusion
No to hate, but for solidarity
No to the control of the world by the powerful, but for true freedom and the democratization of the United Nations and international relations.
Only unity can save us. There are more of us. Let us do more.