Cuba ratifies at CELAC its commitment to Latin American and Caribbean unity

Sep 29, 2020 by

Cuba ratifies at CELAC its commitment to Latin American and Caribbean unity

Speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, at the XX Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)

H.E. Mr. Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, President Pro Tempore of CELAC

Dear Chancellors, friends all:

A little more than a decade after the historic founding of CELAC, our desire to achieve unity in diversity persists in order to advance, through political consensus and solidarity, the sustainable development and well-being of the peoples of the region.

The spread of COVID-19 has deepened inequalities in the most unequal region of the planet, where 30% of the population has no access to medical care for economic reasons. The pandemic is expected to cause the largest economic contraction in the history of Latin America and the Caribbean, with a decrease of no less than 9.1% of the regional GDP and an increase in poverty for nearly 45 million people, adding to the 186 million people who lived in that situation before the pandemic; as a result of decades of failed neoliberal policies. It is estimated that 18 million more people, according to data surely underestimated, will be unemployed.

These devastating effects underscore the urgency of strengthening multilateralism and cooperation. United, without exclusions of any kind, complementing each other and sharing the resources at our disposal, we can better face common challenges.

Even in these circumstances, the government of the United States has intensified its arbitrary unilateral coercive measures against some of our countries, which are holding back their development, hindering responses to the pandemic and violating international law, the postulates of the United Nations Charter and the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.

The aggressiveness of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba, today more than ever, in an unprecedented way, constitutes a determining impediment to the sustainable development of the Cuban people and causes enormous economic and human damage.

We reaffirm our support to President Nicolás Maduro and to the civil-military union of the Bolivarian and Chavista people in the face of the illegal measures imposed by the United States against Venezuela.

Likewise, we stand in solidarity with the people and government of Nicaragua and reject the measures against the right of that brotherly country to well-being, security and peace.

The disrespect and the growing manipulation of the international organizations is unacceptable. I denounce that the government of the United States, as part of its dishonest and mendacious campaign to discredit Cuba’s international medical cooperation, imposed on the Pan American Health Organization, without any mandate from the member states, an evaluation of its role in the More Medical Program in Brazil, an initiative of the then popular government of the PT in that country, which benefited broad sectors of its population.

Dear colleagues:

We reaffirm the confidence placed in fraternal Mexico to revitalize CELAC, inspired by the commitment of the Unity Summit. We reiterate our support for the exercise of your Pro Tempore Presidency and we support its extension for another year. We welcome the initiatives for the regional confrontation of COVID-19 and its efforts to fulfill the Work Plan for 2020.

In our opinion, it is essential to resume consultation and make effective the management of CELAC in multilateral forums, as one of its founding mandates. The beginning of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly is a propitious occasion for this. In this regard, we warmly welcome the Special Declaration on the Question of the Malvinas Islands, adopted by the Community. It is also necessary, when health conditions permit, to relaunch the regional political dialogue at the highest possible level.

As Army General Raúl Castro Ruz expressed at the CELAC Founding Summit in Caracas in 2011 and I quote: “The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States is our most precious work. Symbolically, it consolidates the concept of a united and sovereign region, committed to a common destiny”. End of quote.

We have the duty to strengthen this mechanism of genuinely Latin American and Caribbean coordination, which is truly independent and inclusive. Let us honor its founding purposes by the unity and development of “Our America”.

Thank you very much.

Havana, September 24, 2020.

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