Speech of Cuban Minister for Foreign Affairs

2005-03-19

Richard Moore

--------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 17:17:52 -0500
From: Lee Lorch <•••@••.•••>
Organization: Mathematics & Statistics, York University,4700 Keele 
        St,Toronto,Ontario,M3J 1P3,Canada
To: SfP <•••@••.•••>
Subject: [Sfpnotices] [Fwd: Speech of Cuban Minister for Foreign Affairs at
 the Human Rights Commission.]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Speech of Cuban Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Human
         Rights Commission.
   Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 16:09:55 -0500
   From: "Consulate General of Cuba in Toronto" <•••@••.•••>
     To: "Asoc. Chile-Canada Salvador Allende" <•••@••.•••>

F.Y.I.

Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Commission on Human
Rights in Geneva

Statement delivered by Felipe Pérez Roque, minister of Foreign
Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, at the High-Level Segment of
the 61st session of the Commission on Human Rights

Geneva, 16 March 2005

(Original in Spanish. Check against delivery)

Excellencies:

The Commission on Human Rights - despite the efforts by those
who honestly believe in its importance and wage a battle to
return it to the spirit of respect and cooperation of its
founders - has lost legitimacy. It is not credible. It allows
the impunity of the powerful. It is handcuffed. In it, there
are plenty of lies, double standards and empty speeches by
those who, while enjoying their wealth, squander and pollute,
look the other way and pretend not to see how millions of
human beings endure the violation of the right to life, the
right to peace, the right to development, the right to eat, to
learn, to work; in brief, the right to live in dignity.

We all knew that the Commission on Human Rights was victim to
the political manipulation of its work because the Government
of the United States and its allies have used the Commission
as if it were their private property - and have turned it into
some sort of inquisition tribunal to condemn the countries of
the South and, particularly, those who actively oppose their
strategy of neocolonial domination.

But in the course of the last year, two events took place that
change the nature of the debate that we will hold these days.

The first was the European Union's refusal to co-sponsor and
vote in favour of the draft resolution that proposed to
investigate the massive, flagrant and systematic human rights
violations still committed today against over 500 prisoners at
the naval base that the United States keeps, against the will
of the Cuban people, in the Harbour of Guantanamo. The
European Union, that always objected to no-motion actions, was
willing this time to present it in order to even prevent any
investigations whatsoever against its ally. In terms of
hypocrisy and double standards, it was the straw that broke
the camel's back. What will it do this year, after the
dissemination of the heinous pictures of tortures at the
prison of Abu Ghraib?

The second event was the release of the report presented by
the High-Level Group on Threats, Challenges and Change, set up
at the initiative of the UN Secretary-General. It
categorically states that "the Commission cannot be credible
if it is seen to be maintaining double standards in addressing
human rights concerns." Should we then wait for the
representatives of the United States and its allies to come up
with self-criticisms at this plenary session and undertake to
work with us, Third World countries, to rescue the Commission
on Human Rights from disrepute and confrontation?

Mr. Chairman:

The guarantee of the enjoyment of human rights today depends
on whether you live in a developed country or not - and it
also depends on the social class that you belong to.
Therefore, there will be no real enjoyment of human rights for
all as long as we fail to achieve social justice in the
relations among countries and within countries themselves.

For a small group of nations represented here - the United
States and other developed allies - the right to peace has
already been achieved. They will always be the attackers and
never the ones under attack. Their peace rests on their
military power. They have also achieved economic development,
based on the pillage of the wealth of the other poor countries
that were former colonies, which suffer and bleed to death for
those to squander. However, in those developed countries,
incredible as it may seem, the unemployed, the immigrants and
the impoverished do not enjoy the rights that are most
certainly guaranteed for the rich.

Can a poor person in the United States be elected Senator? No,
they cannot. The campaign costs, on average, some US$ 8
million. Do the children of the rich go to the unjust and
illegal war in Iraq? No, they do not go. None of the 1,500
American youths killed in that war was the son of a
millionaire or a Secretary. The poor die there defending the
vested interests of a minority.

If you live in an underdeveloped country the situation is
worse, because the overwhelming majority, poor and hopeless as
it is, cannot exercise their rights. As a country, there is no
entitlement to peace. It can be attacked under the accusation
of being terrorist, of being an "outpost of tyranny" or under
the pretext that it is going to be "liberated." It is bombed
and invaded to "liberate it."

Nor can the over 130 countries in the Third World exercise the
right to development. Beyond their efforts, the economic
system imposed on the world prevents so. They have no access
to markets, to new technologies; they are handcuffed by a
burdensome debt that has already been paid off more than once.
They just have the right to be dependent countries. They are
led to believe that their poverty is the result of their
mistakes. In those countries, the poor and the indigent, who
account for the majority, do not even have the right to life.
For that reason, every year we see the death of 11 million
children under five years of age, a portion of which could be
spared with barely a vaccine or oral rehydration solutions -
and also the death of 600,000 poor women at childbirth. They
have no right to learn to read and write. It would be
dangerous for the owners. They are kept in ignorance to keep
them docile. That is why this Commission should be ashamed of
the nearly 1 billion illiterate people in the world. That is
why in Latin America 20 million children endure ruthless
exploitation as they work on the streets instead of going to
school.

The Cuban people strongly believe in freedom, democracy and
human rights. It took them a lot to achieve them and are aware
of its price. It is a people in power. That is the difference.

There cannot be democracy without social justice. There is no
possible freedom if not based on the enjoyment of education
and culture. Ignorance is the cumbersome shackle squeezing the
poor. Being cultivated is the only way to be free! - that is
the sacred tenet that we Cubans learned from the Apostle of
our independence.

There is no real enjoyment of human rights if there is no
equality and equity. The poor and the rich will never have the
same rights in real life, proclaimed and recognized as these
may be on paper.

That is what we Cubans learned long ago and for that reason we
built a different country. And we are just beginning. We have
done so despite the aggressions, the blockade, the terrorist
attacks, the lies and the plots to assassinate Fidel. We know
that the Empire is chagrined by this. We are a dangerous
example: we are a symbol that only in a just and friendly
society; that is, socialist, can there be enjoyment of all
rights for all citizens.

Therefore, the Government of the United States attempts to
condemn us here at the Commission on Human Rights. It is
afraid of our example. It is strong at the military level but
weak on the moral front. And morality, not weapons, is the
shield of the peoples.

Perhaps this year President Bush will find some Latin American
country - of the few docile ones that are left - to present
the notorious resolution against Cuba. Or perhaps it will
return to an Eastern European government like the Czech, which
enjoys as nobody else its condition of satellite of Washington
and Trojan Horse within the European Union. Or perhaps it will
be presented by the very Government of the United States,
which is now blackmailing, threatening and counting
endorsements to know if Cuba's condemnation can be achieved.

Everybody in this hall knows that there is no reason to
present a resolution against Cuba at this Commission. In Cuba,
there is not a single - and there has not been ever in 46
years of Revolution - an extrajudicial execution or a missing
person, not even one! Let anyone come up with the name of a
Cuban mother who is still looking for the remains of her
murdered son or daughter! Or a grandmother searching for her
grandchild handed over to another family following the
parents' murder! Let anyone here come up with the name of a
reporter killed in Cuba - and 20 of them were murdered in
Latin America only in 2004! Let anyone come up with the name
of a prisoner vexed by his keepers, a prisoner ordered down on
his knees, prey to terror, in front of a dog trained to kill!

Excellencies:

President Bush has a plan for Cuba, but we Cubans have a plan
of a different sort. We Cubans have a clear idea about our
course. And nobody will move us away from it. We will build an
even more just, more democratic, more free and more cultivated
society. In brief, more socialist.

And we will do so although President Bush threatens us with
aggressions, to return to colonized Cuba, to oust Cubans from
their homes, their land and their schools to turn them over to
the former Batista-style owners who would come back from the
United States. We will do so despite his plan to privatize
health and turn our doctors into unemployed beings; we will do
so despite the plan to privatize education and make it
accessible only to the elite, as it was in the past; we will
do so despite the plan to auction off our wealth and the
heritage of all the people to US transnational corporations.
Despite the plan to remove the rewards from our retirees and
pensioners to force them back on a job, according to the
so-called Plan of Assistance to a Free Cuba.

The Cuban people are entitled to defend themselves from
aggression and they will. And I must say it clearly: in Cuba,
we will not allow the establishment of organizations and
mercenary parties financed by and at the service of the US
Government. We will not allow newspapers and TV networks
funded by the US Government to uphold its policies of blockade
and its lies among ourselves. In Cuba, the press, the radio
and the TV are owned by the people and serve and will serve
their interests.

We will not cooperate with the Representative of the High
Commissioner or with the spurious resolution behind her. Why
is not such a prestigious lawyer appointed Special
Representative of the High Commissioner to the Guantanamo
Naval Base? Why is she not asked to investigate the flagrant
violations of the rights of five courageous and pure Cuban
youths imprisoned in the United States and their families?
Because it cannot be done. Because it is about the human
rights violations committed by the United States and they are
untouchable. It can be done against small Cuba but not against
the United States.

But Cuba will not give up on its fight, Excellencies. Nor will
it surrender. Nor will it make concessions or betray its
ideals.

And we will see if a free, cultivated and united people can be
defeated! We will see if they can overthrow a government of
the people, whose leaders walk among them with the moral
authority derived from the total absence of corruption and the
full dedication to their duties!

We will see if they can deceive everybody all the time!

Excellencies:

The Commission on Human Rights before us today is illustrative
of the unjust and unequal world in which we live. There is no
longer nothing left in it from the friendly and respectful
spirit that brought its founders together after the victory
over fascism.

Therefore, the Cuban delegation will cease to insist that we
must transform the Commission. What we have to change is the
world, go to the roots. A Commission on Human Rights without
selectivity, politicization, double standards, blackmail and
hypocrisy will only be possible in a different world.

Cuba does not consider that to be a dream, but a cause well
worth fighting for. That is why it fights and it will continue
to do so.

Thanks.

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