By CARLOS LAGE DAVILA
Dr. Carlos Lage Davila, vice-president of the Republic of Cuba, addressed a session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva on March 24. The commission chairwoman drastically cut the time limit that Dr. Lage was allowed for his speech-and at one point interrupted his presentation and instructed him to quickly bring his speech to an end.
Dr. Lage then replied, “… we lament the fact that a besieged, threatened, blockaded country, subjected to a criminal policy of genocide, is not being allowed to conclude its remarks.”
The full text of the Cuban address, which was distributed to the UN delegates in writing, appears below in its English-language version.
Distinguished Mrs. Chairperson,
Distinguished members of the Chair,
We are here today to expose slanders, tell the truth, and defend ideas. For 40 years, we Cubans have been under a blockade, we have been attacked and consistently slandered, and more than once, we have been criticized and condemned for the laws and measures we have been forced to adopt in our defense.
Over the last few weeks, a lot has been said about the amendments to our Criminal Code and our Law on the Protection of the National Independence and the Economy of Cuba, both passed by our Parliament on February 16 last, and about a trial whereby, in full compliance with the law, four unpatriotic individuals were sentenced.
Amidst the resulting confusion, a rather large number of media reports have mixed up the new sanctions set forth in the amendments to the Criminal Code related to common crimes with the sentences applicable under a different law to those who act in the service of the enemy that wages a war against our nation.
The changes introduced in our Criminal Code are consistent with the characteristics and circumstances of the crime situation in the world today, and include three new crimes; i.e., money laundering, trafficking with persons, and the sale of minors. In addition, increased sentences have been established for crimes and other conducts with a most deleterious effect on the citizens peace, societal morale and ethical values, and people’s health.
Fidel observes battle during the U.S. organized invasion of Cuba in April 1961
We do administer the death penalty in extremely serious cases to the perpetrators of particularly obnoxious crimes-such as the use of our country for international drug trafficking-and serious acts of rape and corruption of minors, since under the prevailing global circumstances we deem it indispensable to discourage such repulsive behavior.
We respect those who, in many parts of the world, are opposed to capital punishment and share the hope that the day will come when such sanction will not be required in any society. However, as a country where contempt of court is encouraged from abroad through thousands of illegal broadcasting hours each week, Cuba cannot, for the time being, give up capital punishment, a sanction currently applied in other countries that have not been under similar hostility and siege.
The reforms to the Cuban Criminal Code are based on internationally accepted legal principles and are widely supported by our people who, accustomed to enjoy the safety provided for by the Revolution, has demanded more severe sanctions for the perpetrators of such transgressions.
On the other hand, the Law on the Protection of the National Independence and the Economy of Cuba has been described by those who exercise the monopoly of information as a piece of legislation that runs counter to the freedom of thought and expression. To imagine that this is possible would be tantamount to assume that a people used to championing its ideas can be meek and poor in terms of its human condition. No one is penalized in Cuba for thinking or speaking up.
This law is designed to penalize any citizen whose actions supplement the goal of the aggressive power in its economic warfare; i.e., destabilize the country, subvert domestic order and destroy the Revolution. This law defines crimes of collaboration with the enemy, rather than crimes of opinion, as some have deliberately misrepresented it.
The United States’ intense and unscrupulous war has prompted not only Cuba, but also the European Union and countries like Canada, Mexico, and Argentina, to pass legislation designed to protect their individual sovereignty and independence in the face of extraterritorial decisions adopted by the U.S. Congress.
Our new law protects not only the Cuban sovereignty and the rights of our country’s nationals, but also the citizens of other countries who have been particularly targeted by pressures, retaliation, and sanctions exercised as part of the blockade policy.
Orchestrated from the United States and for more than a year, a media campaign of malicious stories against the Cuban Revolution has been launched over the arrest of four citizens who were recently prosecuted for incitement to sedition and sentenced from three-and-a-half to five-years imprisonment.
Their fate would have been different had any American court prosecuted them. There, for just some of the crimes they committed in Cuba, they would have been considered transgressors of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations of the Treasury Department and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and forced to pay a $250,000 fine.
In fact, any attempt to contact a foreign government or agent, let alone try to subvert or plot against the government, is punished with a fine of up to $5000 and three years in prison under the Logan Act, in force for the last 200 years.
Their trial produced abundant evidence of their consistent collaboration with the enemy through the U.S. Interest Section in Havana, from which they received instructions, funds and means, aimed, among other goals, at obstructing foreign investments by resorting to all sorts of threats, internationalizing the criminal blockade suffered by our country, and upsetting domestic order.
As any other nation would do, we claim our right to penalize those who act at the service of a power that besets their own homeland.
As a result of the media power, interests at stake, confusing ideas, lack of information, and irresponsible behavior, the attacker’s lies earn more credibility than the evidence produced by those under attack.
We know that, based on comparisons with their home countries or other nations, there are people in the world, even friendly individuals, who have questioned the fairness of this legal proceeding conducted with full guarantees and respect for the human person.
However, when it comes to judging Cuba and its Revolution, it cannot be ignored that ours is not just any country. Cuba is a permanent target of hostility by the most powerful nation on earth, which has not ceased for a moment its threats and aggressions. We are a country blockaded by a superpower that forces us to be on the defensive and on the alert because we are determined not to add one more star to the U.S. flag.
No one has the right to attack a country for 40 years, nor try to criminally blockade it into submission, or finance the annexationist dreams and counter-revolutionary activities of isolated groups who are selling out their homeland, and accuse it later for having acted in its own defense.
If the Helms-Burton Act, the blockade, and the economic warfare against Cuba that together intend to break domestic order, destabilize our country, and liquidate Cuba’s socialist state and independence were not a fact, then the Law on the Protection of the National Independence and the Economy of Cuba would not have been required.
Only by recognizing both the unique conditions of our reality and the fact that no nation has ever been compelled to endure a most stubborn aggression by a voracious and powerful neighbor, can the current developments of our country be understood.
The war waged by the United States and its annexationist servants against Cuba is, indeed, one and the same. There is no watertight compartment. Psychological warfare, bombing, sedition, propaganda; anything is valid, and everything is used. The faces are many, the purpose only one.
One may wonder, in this Human Rights Commission, who has authorized the United States to seize the right to act, apparently for life, as a prosecutor against Cuba? Who gave the U.S. the right of self-appointment as “chief justice” for human rights worldwide also apparently for life?
Why should we accept that year after year, following a congressional mandate, the U.S. State Department drafts thick reports describing the human rights performance of every nation, except, of course, the United States itself?
How could we possibly accept that the U.S. passes its judgment on the world all through 5000 pages?
Must it be consented that a nation, whose unrestrained drug consumption encourages drug production and traffic, may unilaterally issue “poor conduct” certificates to drug producing, selling, or transshipment countries?
Why can the United States ignore the international community heedless of the fact that the General Assembly has voted time and again opposing the blockade policy against Cuba?
Why is the United States allowed to pass 61 unilateral sanctions against a number of countries that account for 42 percent of the world’s population, without even being admonished for it?
Why is the United States opposed to any Security Council expansion to include countries like India, Nigeria, South Africa, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, and others with the same prerogatives as the incumbent members?
In February, Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power overwhelmingly approved a new penal code to counter attempts to destabilize the country
The U.S. human rights record
The United States sets itself above everything and everyone to require accountability for human rights violations, while its records in that area leave much to be desired. In the U.S., the wealthiest and most powerful nation ever:
- Nearly one million people live on the streets, under bridges or in emergency shelters, while just one of its nationals amasses $80 billion.
- 43 million people, including 11 million children, have no health insurance.
- Millions of low-income people, ill persons, elderly, and single mothers have recently been excluded from welfare coverage.
In the wealthiest and most powerful nation ever:
- 20% of the total population are functional illiterates.
- 17 million women have been raped or sexually abused, and over half the female population has been victim of violence.
- The 45 million poor people in the United States are mostly Hispanics, Blacks, and children. Black children have twice as many chances to die in their first year of life as their white counterparts.
- The Black population has been used for government-sanctioned experiments that have caused premeditated health damage. The wealthiest and most powerful nation ever that attacks Cuba and asks you to condemn it:
- Is the leading drug consumer on Earth;
- Is characterized by police brutality against Blacks, Hispanics, and immigrants;
- Has the largest penal population in the world, and its prisons accord inmates inhuman and degrading treatment;
- Enforces the death penalty quite easily, albeit hardly ever-or exceptionally-against a purely Aryan-blood white national. The fact is that the electric chairs, gas chambers, and lethal injections are constantly and amazingly used against Blacks, Hispanics, and Third World immigrants.
The wealthiest and most powerful nation ever:
- Keeps in maximum-security institutions over 100 political prisoners, including 15 Puerto Rican men and women who have fought for the independence of their country;
This figure does not include the hundreds of thousands of people who have been punished with excessive harshness just for being Blacks, American Indians, mestizos, or Hispanics whose lives under discrimination and dire poverty have led them to commit real or imaginary misdemeanors.
- Silently allows the spread of neo-fascist and xenophobic groups that advocate discrimination and increase their violent actions;
- Has created the deadliest weapons of extermination and has failed to stop that hideous machinery;
- Among the industrialized countries, is the lowest contributor to development aid, and among the UN members, the biggest debtor to this organization.
The nation that intends to judge the world dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, invaded Cuba through the Bay of Pigs, and waged a war in Vietnam that killed almost four million sons and daughters of that courageous people.
It is the country that invaded the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama and Somalia; it is the country that waged a dirty war in Central America, supported the most genocidal dictatorships in our region and in CIA schools trained their most bloodthirsty leaders in methods of torture. The nation that intends to judge the world has unilaterally decided to make war and launched missiles in any direction then perhaps only later clarify any wrongdoings.
The blockade and the economic war constitute a true genocide. Universal consciousness cannot tolerate the attempt to annihilate a people from hunger and disease. Our homeland has endured it for 40 years. Has such a monstrous crime ever been subjected to analysis in this Commission?
It is very likely that in a few hours NATO, under the United States aegis, will undertake brutal air strikes against Serbia, whose people was the one to fight most heroically in Europe against the Nazi hordes during World War II.
The use, and abuse, of force cannot be the solution to the world problems. Who will defend the human rights of the innocent people who die under the missiles and bombs that would be falling on a small country in the cultured and civilized Europe?
If the world were to become a court, the United States would not be able to leave the dock for some centuries.
The U.S. government that portrays itself as a champion of human rights is aware of the existence of terrorist organizations based in its territory acting against Cuba; it keeps ties with them and benefits from their money. I will now elaborate on this assertion.
Bombing of hotels in Cuba
Recently, two court cases in Havana heard irrefutable witness and documentary evidence that executives of the well-known Cuban American National Foundation and its paid assassin, Luis Posada Carriles, have been involved in terrorist activities and other actions against Cuba, and are connected with U.S. institutions and authorities.
It must be recalled that Luis Posada Carriles, currently based in El Salvador, and Orlando Bosch, based in Florida, neither of whom have served their sentence, masterminded a sabotage against a Cubana airliner in midair that killed 73 people in October 1976.
Two Salvadoran nationals hired by notorious counterrevolutionaries of Cuban origin, with proven ties with both the CIA and the Cuban American National Foundation were indicted for planting several explosive devices in hotels in Havana, one of which killed a young Italian tourist and injured other Cubans and foreigners.
The face of a terrorist: Raul Cruz Leon (above) confessed to planting bombs in six Cuban Hotels. He was a member of the Miami based Cuban American Foundation.
(Right) Damage caused when Cruz’s bomb exploded in Havana’s Copacabana Hotel
The purpose was to damage Cuba’s growing tourist development. They also planned to set off bombs at sacred historical sites of our homeland, including the mausoleum where the remains of Ernesto Guevara have been laid to rest. The CIA killed Che Guevara, but it could not kill his ideas. He was buried together with his fallen comrades in unidentified grounds. Humanity rescued most of them from their neglected and scattered graves. Now, they intended to blast their remains.
We are aware that these trials and their resulting denunciations were scarcely covered by the media and had insufficient international repercussion.
This is why it must be reiterated here that the Cuban American National Foundation, a “non profit, philanthropic and educational” U.S.-registered organization, is in fact a terrorist Mafia whose large fortune of highly dubious origin has been amassed through fraud, misappropriation, perquisites and government support. This organization has covered the cost of expensive political campaigns to help elect United States mayors, congressmen, and even senators and presidents.
This organization, which has contributed funds to both the Republican and Democratic Parties, lobbies, promotes and causes the passage of genocidal laws against Cuba. It brings together and supports the worst CIA-trained terrorists, organizes and bears the cost of plans to assassinate Cuban leaders, and hatches and commits crimes against workers and tourists.
This organization has never refrained from supporting whatever project of aggression and military intervention could be devised against Cuba. This is its “biography.”
The terrorist groups acting from the U.S. to overthrow the Cuban Revolution find shelter in that country’s growing hostility against ours. From 1992 to date, the U.S. has passed more than 21 statutory provisions, including the Helms-Burton and Torricelli Acts. Warning letters have been sent, and U.S. entry visas have been denied to scare off foreign businessmen with investments in Cuba.
Those trading with Cuba have been black-listed, and licenses for flight connections with Cuba and exhibitions of medical equipment and medicine in Cuba have been withheld. Criminal lawsuits have been filed, threats have been made, and fines have been enforced against U.S. firms and individuals for their relations with Cuba, and even medical donations have been turned down.
Can a country sit idly by while its neighbor passes legislation time and again, and enforces measures time and again to colonize it anew?
Incredibly enough and in spite of the above, reference has been made to an easing of the policy towards Cuba. The purpose is to stem a growing rejection against the blockade by the public opinion, both inside and outside the U.S. Also, demobilize the increasingly strong movement of solidarity with our country, nullify the patriotic content of our resistance and deceive those who may want, or find it in their interest, to be deceived.
That is the real objective of the measures announced by President William Clinton on 5 January last that purposefully or not, many press agencies, governments and personalities have welcomed and described as a gesture to moderate the blockade.
As the U.S. President has no executive power on this issue because he relinquished it, the White House spokesman was categorical when he made it clear that these measures did not represent changes in the policy towards Cuba and even the Secretary of State herself quickly moved to ratify it.
It would be fitting to recall that months before, in March 1998, the U.S. administration had announced a new series of measures, also of a delusive and deceptive nature.
The alleged easing of restrictions is but a plan to finance and support their agents in the island and to try to subvert domestic order in our country. They have not sold u.s. a single aspirin nor has the Western Union Company been able to open a bureau in Havana as expected to organize the sending of family remittances. Neither can these remittances be sent out without restrictions nor have the trips of citizens of Cuban origin been facilitated and, furthermore, even the phone calls between both countries are being hampered.
In the face of such a criminal, failed and ridiculous policy, with the Cold War over and enjoying absolute hegemony, many in the world wonder why the United States does not put an end, once and for all, to such an obstinate policy and turns this sordid page of history.
The true reason is the corruption of the U.S. political system, the same one they want to impose upon us as a model as well as the prevalence of shady politicking interests over, and above, basic ethical principles that the policy of a country which pretends to set itself up as a paradigm should not renounce under any circumstances.
Simple equations suffice: Congressmen to be re-elected or congressional hopefuls are compelled to raise substantial resources to finance their electoral campaigns. As an average, the cost of a Senate race in the United States is no less than $3 million. Who contributes to them? All sorts of enterprises and organizations.
Some of the same kind as the Cuban American National Foundation, that later on, in the best style of the “Mafia godfathers,” will claim a vote in favor of a bill or an amendment, the signing of another, the condemnation of the inconceivable, tolerance towards organizing and training for terrorist action and the fabrication of “shows” at international agencies. A give and take, like a child’s game. That is the usual procedure, except honorable and well known exceptions that, given their prestige, overcome such adverse circumstances, or those who have enough personal resources to finance their campaigns.
Otherwise, what could one think of an article published in El Nuevo Herald’s issue of 5 March last, under the heading “The Foundation meets with Clinton”, reporting on a fund raiser “for the political campaign of Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli in New Jersey”? How could one understand this audience given by the President of the United States to members of the Board of the Cuban-American National Foundation, when the U.S. officials and institutions know best who they are and what they do? What could the Cuban people think of a President who befriends such people?
Is it so that these facts and this complicity will not be condemned? At times it would seem as if condemnations against United Nations member states are only reserved for, and successful against, underdeveloped countries.
Many more falsehoods could be disclaimed and injustices denounced in this hall, which has witnessed successive and outrageous vendettas against Cuba, based on the politicized and selective manipulation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with which the powerful victors of the cold war have decided to subjugate our people and lacerate its sovereignty and self-determination.
It already happened once that, a paralytic invented by U.S. propaganda was walking briskly through the corridors of this very same hall, a man who, in addition, was handed the title of poet and Ambassador. Only his Muse was never able leave the wheelchair.
Truth is our weapon
Those who are a bit familiar with the history of the Cuban Revolution know that, from the very days of the liberation struggle, we have never lied.
Truth has always been our main weapon. With it, we have won the respect of even our enemies. It is for the sake of truth that we are here. The truth had been weakening the United States’ vicious stand until 1998 when, after seven years, 19 Member States of this Commission rejected the anti-Cuban resolution.
But we knew that would not be the end of the battle and that the United States would continue to extort other states to resume its shameful efforts against Cuba.
And it searched for and found a good go-between to take on the immoral objectives and assume the blame for whatever results: an embarrassing defeat or a Pyrrhic victory. We are not surprised at the one chosen. There always has to be someone who, in return for alms, will carry out any despicable act, forgetting that in certain occasional alliances, “he who plants winds, harvests storms”.
Many representatives present here will find it difficult to stand in favor of a text that condemns Cuba, for they are not foreign to all that has been done in Cuba in favor of the human rights of its people. They know that to accuse us of violating them is an infamy because they have more than enough examples of how, being a country without large material resources, and even in the present stage of difficulties and shortages, it has managed to extend solidarity.
We are accused of violating human rights in a text that has inherited the same perverse manipulation of its predecessors.
In spite of living under a blockade and under a siege, with much less resources than others:
- Where, in Cuba, are the illiterates, the children without schools, and the teachers without classrooms?
- Where is there a single citizen without health care coverage?
- Where are the handicapped without opportunities to study and work?
- Where can you find in Cuba a retired person without a pension or an unprotected elderly?
- Where are the women who get lower salaries than men for equal work?
- Where is racial discrimination or xenophobia?
- Where in Cuba are the workers fired without guarantee or protection?
- Where is there a fellow countryman left to fare for himself?
- Where can you find, from coast to coast in Cuba, one person who has been tortured or assassinated or anyone who has been vanished?
- Where in Cuba are there death squads and out-of-court executions?
People like the Cuban people, educated under the principles of the Revolution, the ethics and the morale of the Revolution, can come here with its head up high and a clear conscience.
The Cuban people know very well that with the Revolution the true enjoyment of the widest of freedoms was implemented for the first time in history. We have made it possible for our citizens to have a real participation in the affairs of the state and in key decision-making processes.
We have organized workers, farmers, intellectuals, young adults, students, women, neighbors, and even children within their own associations that with full autonomy represent the interests of their sectors and add to the common effort. We are not ashamed of our media, scarce but clean, and above petty objectives.
Our elections are transparent. The candidates are nominated by the people and in the ballot boxes guarded by our children 98 percent of the electorate votes. There is not even a glimpse of fraud, and the counting of votes is public.
Yes, we do have a single party. But that Party does not nominate or chose the first places in the lists, nor does it elect before hand the members of Parliament. In our country, from the grassroots level, the people nominate and elect their representatives.
We prefer this Party that unites us over fragmentation and division. But just as we respect the system that each nation has chosen, we demand respect for ours.
The United States does not condemn or persecute the allied nations that lack both, parties and democracy. If we are not understood, that is no reason to sell ourselves out. Let us recall that centuries passed but the Church ended up by acknowledging that Galileo had been right.
Cuba is committed to human rights
Our commitment to human rights transcends the borders of our homeland, without charging a dime and with the greatest unselfishness ever:
- More than 25,000 Cuban doctors have carried out internationalist missions in the most remote places on the globe and more than 14,000 children affected by the Chernobyl catastrophe have received medical care in Cuba.
- Thousands of Cuban teachers have taken their knowledge to other countries, and more than 41,000 adolescents and young adults of 120 countries of the world have studied or are studying in Cuba. When there was a cruel massacre in Kasinga, a Namibian refugee camp for civilians in the South of Angola, the surviving orphans, children and youngsters, found a home and school in Cuba. Many of them today are outstanding and prominent professionals in their country.
- While others traded with, and even backed, the racist regime in South Africa, Cubans shed their blood to contribute to the independence of Angola and Namibia.
At the same time-together with the Angolans, Namibians, and ANC combatants-they dealt a crushing blow to the obnoxious apartheid regime, a blow from which it could never recover. Cuba does not have oil, diamonds, businesses, factories, or even a screw in Africa nor did it ever intended to in exchange for its generous sacrifice.
How many among those who pretend to judge us can make similar claims?
- Hundreds of doctors and health care personnel have been going to the farthest and most inhospitable areas devastated by the forces of nature in Central America, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti, and thousands have volunteered to go to these and other countries of our region and of Africa enduring the permanent hurricane of poverty, underdevelopment and lack of health care that kills millions of children and adults in the world. This we have done during the 40 years of the Revolution.
- Cuba is offering today 1000 scholarships annually for Latin American students to be trained as health care professionals and all scholarships required by Caribbean students to pursue university studies in any field.
- Effective health programs have been undertaken in Haiti and more recently in Niger, two of the countries with the lowest health rates in the world. No less than 500 doctors were offered to each, or as many as necessary, to save 100,000 lives yearly, among them more than 60,000 children.
All that I have said is offered at absolutely no cost, contributing the valuable human asset created by the Revolution. This is irrefutable proof that even under a blockade and economic warfare a lot can be done with very little.
From the rich industrialized countries a minimum of the indispensable medicine is expected. Many non-governmental organizations are already contributing what they can. Human rights are not defended by granting surpluses with strings attached but by sharing unconditionally what you have and is needed.
To us human rights are more than just the principles stated in their Universal Declaration. Human rights mean social justice, real equality, and a fair distribution of wealth.
This Commission’s time and that of other agencies of the United Nations system should not be wasted by those who accuse us out of resentment but rather it should be used to find solutions to the huge problems facing the world.
Let us discuss and find solutions for the 60 percent of the world population that is poor and for the 25 percent living in extreme poverty; for the 800 millions who go hungry and for the 2 billions suffering from nutritional anemia.
Let us consider the 30 million Africans who suffer from AIDS and have no access to medications.
We should ask ourselves if it is fair to collect the debt owed by the countries where these human beings live, which in many cases accounts for more than half of their limited incomes, while in the U.S. alone $8 billion are spent in cosmetics; in rich countries, $17 billion are spent in food for pets, and in the whole world $400 billion are spent on narcotics.
Almost $800 billion are invested every year in the world to manufacture weapons, of them more than $300 billion in the United States, while every 24 hours, 68,000 new beggars are added to the human family and 25,000 children die of curable diseases.
Twenty percent of the world population who live mainly in developed countries accounts for 86 percent of the total consumer goods expenditure. The 225 wealthiest people in the world have fortunes equivalent to the annual income of 2.5 billion human beings. The three most affluent have assets larger than the Gross Domestic Product of the 48 least developed countries.
Deforestation is concentrated in poor countries but more than half of the wood and three-fourths of the world paper is used in the rich countries. Predatory activities have depleted many sea species and raised their prices, making fish inaccessible to the poor.
Fumes from developed countries pollute the atmosphere to the detriment of the environment that belongs to all while the country whose polluting emissions amount to 25 percent of the total refuses to reduce them.
While the gap between the rich and poor countries widens, thousands of Central Americans are deported from the United States, even if their countries have been devastated by a hurricane. Meanwhile, walls are built like the one on the border with Mexico, where the number of Latin Americans who die every year is higher than the total number of all who died at the well-known Berlin Wall.
The Resolution against Cuba circulated in this Commission is not a consequence of alleged violations of human rights, or the trials and sentences against unpatriotic citizens and terrorists, or the laws in defense of our independence.
What brings us here today is the United States’ pathological obduracy against Cuba dating back to the first half of the 19th century, for even then the annexation of Cuba was a longed-for objective envisaged in that country’s expansionist plans.
What brings us here today is the impotence of a powerful neighbor that has not been able to take over Cuba as it did with Puerto Rico and more than half of Mexico, much less destroy its heroic and exemplary Revolution born in 1959, not even after the demise of the Soviet Union and the socialist community.
What brings us here today is the United States’ reaction to world opposition in the United Nations General Assembly where, during the past seven years and in an ever increasingly overwhelming manner, the blockade against Cuba is condemned.
One of the recurrent weapons of the Empire against the Cuban Revolution has been the lies unscrupulously spread throughout the world. It has even been said that our government is engaged in drug trafficking and that Fidel Castro has one of the largest fortunes in the world.
We can say here that Cuba is possibly the country in the world least affected by narcotics, that our government is a thousand light years away from the corruption that is spreading today as an uncontrollable after-effect of neo-liberalism, and that our president is one of the earnest and most extraordinary political leaders of this century, who has dedicated his life to his people and all peoples of the world with as much passion and resolution as austerity and personal honesty.
It is morale that sustains the socialism we defend. The world knows that those of us in positions of responsibility in the country do not have private businesses and live on our work. We are not struggling to protect personal properties but to defend our ideas. There will be neither inheritances nor privileges for our children, only examples.
The slanders and lies may continue, and before them-as Cubans do many times-we quote Martí: “A just principle, from the very bottom of a cave, is more powerful than an army.”
No nation should be condemned for defending its independence. The globalized world, in which it has been our lot to live, cannot be developed based on only one shade of thought and one hegemonic power.
Cuba struggles and will continue to struggle for a just world. Thank you.