José Juan Ortiz Brú presented the Children’s Progress report whose central theme is reaching the Millennium Development Goals. The UNICEF official said that Cuba has always prioritized children, even during its most difficult times during the Special Period that followed the collapse of the Eastern European Socialist Camp
By: Ana María Domínguez Cruz – JR
“Cuba is an example of how much can be done with limited resources, when there is a high degree of determination to prioritize the future of our nation, the children, adolescents and young people,” said the representative for the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in Cuba, José Juan Ortiz Brú, on Tuesday in Havana.
José Juan Ortiz Brú presented the Children’s Progress report whose central theme is reaching the Millennium Development Goals. The UNICEF official said that Cuba has always prioritized children, even during its most difficult times during the Special Period that followed the collapse of the Eastern European Socialist Camp.
“Cuba has been able to do this through political will, more than because of technological development or monetary wealth; always aware that the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are within our own hands,” said Ortiz Brú.
During the meeting, it was noted that after a decade since the MDG’s were first approved and with only five years left in the time frame it sets out, the world is a far way from achieving them and public policy has not shifted their focus on the more vulnerable sectors of society.
“To speak of equity implies doing so based on social development policies that prioritize citizenship, and the wellbeing and participation of citizens in the building of their project. What worth does technology have if millions of children and adolescents remain outside the education system and the most basic healthcare services?” said Ortiz Brú.
The UNICEF official said that the situation that faces governments is critical with the new generations representing the largest sector of society that suffer from poverty, hunger and illnesses.
“It is not only a question of singling out the most affected regions in Africa or Latin America, but also of singling out those countries that have in their hands the power to make decisions that would close the gaps in the dominant economic system that has shown itself not capable of generating equality or of building a sustainable world.”
The Cuban People Have Chosen Sovereignty
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla’s address at the 65th period of sessions of the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2010
The first speech in this hall by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro took place exactly 50 years ago yesterday, with that memorable phrase: “Erase the philosophy of dispossession and the philosophy of war will be erased!”
Sixty million people had to die in World War II so that the leaders at that time created the United Nations with the objective of “protecting future generations from the scourge of war.”
Today, the children and grandchildren of that generation realize that the human species is in risk of disappearing. In a few decades, the degradation of living conditions on the planet will be irreversible. The same thing would occur in a few hours if only a small part of the nuclear arsenal was used.
Those who met in San Francisco to write the UN Charter could not even imagine the threat of global warming or the nuclear winter.
While we debate here, as comrade Fidel has warned, powerful and influential forces in the United States and Israel are preparing the scenario for a military attack against the Islamic Republic of Iran. For its part, the Security Council, possibly with the hope of preventing it, advances in the implementation of sanctions against that country, which, together with those of a unilateral nature illegally established by a group of states, are attempting to strangle the Iranian economy.
The recent and politically biased report by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency has contributed to add tensions and contributed pretexts for a warlike escalation.
If the aggression is carried out, it would constitute a crime against the Iranian people and a charge against peace and international law, which will detonate a conflict that will almost certainly reach nuclear dimensions. The cost will be millions of lives, and the impact for the world environment, economy and stability, incalculable.
Who, and on the basis of what guarantees, could assure the opposite? How can someone argue that current actions move the planet away from a war in the Middle East?
We’re talking about a threat that is too serious to trust on the ability of the Security Council, where the principal responsible for the crisis has had the capacity to impose its plans.
The wars against Iraq and Afghanistan show that we shouldn’t entrust to a single government or to a few governments the power to determine –once all diplomatic ways to prevent a war have been exhausted- when the use of weapons is irremediable, when the death of hundreds of thousands or of millions of people is inevitable and the destabilization of a large region of the planet or of the entire planet.
Sanctions, siege and confrontation are not ways to preserve international peace and security. On the contrary, talks, negotiations and acting in accordance with the principle of the sovereign equality of the states are the only ways to prevent a war.
Cuba praises and encourages the efforts of countries like China, Russia, Brazil and Turkey, which insist on finding a peaceful solution, and call on the international community to support these initiatives. It’s the duty of this General Assembly to formally back those attempts.
A radical reform of the United Nations and the reestablishment of the powers of this General Assembly is urgent. It’s indispensable to re-found the Security Council. It’s necessary to reiterate that the UN Secretary General and all the top officials of international organizations, including the IAEA, have a duty to the will of all member states, expressed in clear mandates and adopted in accordance with the Charter and procedural norms.
The serious dangers posed by nuclear weapons will be solved only by their total elimination and by establishing an absolute prohibition of them. Manipulations about non-proliferation, based on double standards and political interests, on the existence of a club of privileged people and on the denial to countries of the South of their right to a peaceful use of nuclear energy, should cease.
We urge the United States, the main nuclear power, to stop opposing negotiations of binding accords that make it possible to get rid definitively of such a threat in a predetermined period.
To advance in this endeavor, the Movement of Non Aligned Countries has made a proposal that has not been considered, which includes a plan of action with the creation of nuclear weapon-free zones. It’s urgent to establish it in the Middle East, where Israel is the only country opposing it. To achieve this would represent a real contribution to abolish the threats of war and of nuclear proliferation, and achieve lasting peace in that region.
Given the huge lethal nature and the constant development of conventional weapons, it will also be necessary to struggle for general and complete disarmament.
The floods that hit Pakistan, Central America and many countries in the most diverse latitudes and the droughts and extreme temperatures that have devastated Russia are a dramatic reminder of the dangers of climate imbalance.
In the face of such a serious risk, mean interests and limited political agendas preventing the adoption of concrete and binding accords in the next Conference of the Parties of the UN Draft Convention on Climate Change should not prevail. Developed nations, the main countries responsible for global warming, should accept more ambitious goals for the reduction of emissions of greenhouse effect gases and give up the pursuit of their objective of destroying the orderenance established by the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol.
It would be a lack of responsibility that the governments of industrialized countries ignored the rightful demands of non-governmental organizations and social movements, brutally repressed in Copenhagen, which met in Cochabamba scarcely five months ago in defense of Mother Earth; or that they tried to deceive public opinion once again, blaming emerging economies.
For Venezuela, a country that is struggling, we ask for all the solidarity of the international community. The victory in yesterday’s parliamentary elections shows the majority support of the people for President Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution, which is facing US interference and the campaign of lies and disinformation of oligarchic groups and media empires.
Now that television cameras have left Haiti, we demand the materialization of the promises of international aid. The noble Haitian people needs resources for reconstruction and resources for development.
The US government is aware of Cuba’s willingness to coexist in a climate of peace, respect and sovereign equality, which we have informed in an expressed way through official channels and that on behalf of President Raúl Castro I reiterate here.
I’m convinced that the development of bonds based on international law and the purposes and principles of the United Nations would allow Cuba and the United States to deal with many of their differences and resolve others; it would contribute to create a favorable atmosphere to try to solve the problems of our region and, at the same time, it would make a substantial contribution to the interests of our respective peoples.
The agenda for talks and the initiatives for bilateral cooperation presented to the government of President Obama on July 14, 2009, which I made public in this hall exactly a year ago, has not yet been responded to.
The US government has not shown its willingness to tackle the essential matters of the bilateral agenda, so the official talks held, without any major progress, have been limited to specific issues.
Contrary to expectations created, even inside the United States itself, his government doesn’t seem to be willing to even rectify the most irrational and universally condemned aspects of its policy against Cuba.
The basic element in the bilateral relations is the economic, commercial and financial blockade the US government imposes on my country, directly and by way of the extraterritorial implementation of its laws. It has been the object of 18 resolutions that, with the almost unanimous support of member states, have strongly demanded its elimination.
However, over the last two years that policy of blockade and subversion against Cuba has remained intact, even though it is known that the president of that country has enough prerogatives to produce a real change, for which he has the majority consensus of the US people.
For US citizens or for foreigners living in that country, traveling to Cuba continues to be illegal.
It’s not possible to sell Cuban products, or products having Cuban components or technology to the United States.
It’s forbidden to purchase there or in third countries products having a fraction of US elements or technology, with very limited exceptions.
Financial transactions made in US dollars and are somehow related to Cuba, are the object of confiscation or freezing and banks carrying them out are sanctioned.
Multi million fines on US and foreign companies for violations of the venal laws of the blockade continue to be applied.
In addition, in an open disrespect of international norms, Cuba’s radio space continues to be violated and radio and television broadcasts with subversive purposes continue to be used, while millions of federal funds continue to be devoted to cause political destabilization in my country.
Part of Cuba’s territory is seized and a military base in Guantánamo is imposed on the country, a base that has become a center for torture and of exclusion of humanitarian international law.
The US migratory policy towards Cuba, based on the “Cuban Adjustment Act,” is a politically motivated exception encouraging illegal emigration and costing human lives.
It’s profoundly immoral that the United States arbitrarily places Cuba on the spurious list of states sponsoring international terrorism. Our demand and the universal call for the immediate release of the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters incarcerated in that country for 12 years now is well known. That would be an act of justice that would allow President Obama to show a real commitment in the combat against terrorism in our own hemisphere.
The President of the United States still had the opportunity of making the historic rectification of a criminal policy, a remainder of the cold war and totally unsuccessful, which has lasted fifty years. It would be an act of determination that could only have the support of those who elected him for change and of the community of nations voting for it every year.
In any case, the Cuban Revolution will maintain, unyielding and determined, the path our people have chosen in a sovereign way and will not cease in its determination, following the ideas of Marti and Fidel, of “achieving total justice.”