Castro denounces globalisation at Millennium Summit

 FRFI 157 October / November 2000

`There is nothing in the existing economic and political order that can serve the interests of mankind,' Cuban president tells UN conference

The UN Millennium Summit was held in the United States at the beginning of September and attended by over 100 world leaders, including the president of Cuba, Fidel Castro. Amid the pious bleatings of Western leaders about the need to reduce world poverty and disease, he was the only world leader to point a finger directly at those responsible - the handful of robber baron nations that dominate the world, squeezing the lifeblood out of the oppressed nations. In contrast to the hypocritical handwringing of the imperialists in the face of the genocidal spread of AIDS through Africa - even while they back the multinationals who refuse to allow cheap drugs to be made available to those devastated countries - Cuba has offered 3,000 doctors to help combat the spread of AIDS and other diseases in Africa. Despite being limited to only five minutes in which to speak, Castro continued to show the lead Cuba offers the oppressed with a clear and concise indictment of globalisation and the destruction it brings for the majority of mankind. He also continued Cuba's campaign to expose the undemocratic nature of the United Nations as simply a mouthpiece for the rich and powerful. Below, we reproduce the text of his speech. 

`Excellencies, there is chaos in our world, both within the countries' borders and beyond. Ignorant laws are offered like divine norms that would bring peace, order, well-being and the security our planet so badly needs. That is what they would have us believe. 

Three dozen developed and wealthy nations that monopolise the economic, political and technological power have joined us in this gathering to offer more of the same recipes that have only served to make us poorer, more exploited and more dependent. 

There is not even discussion about a radical reform of this old institution formed over half a century ago, when there were few independent nations, to turn it into a true representative body of the interests of all the peoples on Earth, an institution where no one would have the irritating and undemocratic right of veto and where a transparent process could be undertaken to expand membership and representation in the Security Council, an executive body subordinated to the General Assembly, which should be the one making the decisions on such crucial issues as intervention and the use of force. 

It should be clearly stated that the principle of sovereignty cannot be sacrificed to an abusive and unfair order that a hegemonic superpower uses, together with its own might and strength, to try to decide everything by itself. That, Cuba will never accept. 

The poverty and underdevelopment prevailing in most nations as well as the inequality in the distribution of wealth and knowledge in the world are basically at the source of the present conflicts. It cannot be overlooked that current underdevelopment and poverty have resulted from conquest, colonisation, slavery and plundering in most countries of the planet by the colonial powers and from the emergence of imperialism and the bloody wars motivated by new distributions of the world. Today, it is their moral obligation to compensate our nations for the damages caused throughout centuries. 

Humanity should be aware of what we have been so far and what we cannot continue to be. Presently, our species has enough accumulated knowledge, ethical values and scientific resources to move towards a new historical era of true justice and humanism. 

There is nothing in the existing economic and political order that can serve the interests of humankind. Thus, it is unsustainable and it must be changed. Suffice it to say that the world population is already six billion, of whom 80% live in poverty. Age-old diseases from Third World nations such as malaria, tuberculosis and others equally lethal have not been eradicated, while new epidemics like AIDS threaten to exterminate the population of entire nations. On the other hand, wealthy countries keep investing enormous amounts of money in the military and in luxurious items and a voracious plague of speculators exchange currencies, stocks and other real or fictitious values for trillions of dollars. 

Nature is being devastated. The climate is changing under our own eyes and drinking water is increasingly contaminated or scarce. The fisheries are being depleted and crucial non-renewable resources are wasted in luxury and triviality. 

Anyone can understand that the United Nations' basic role in the pressing new century is to save the world not only from war but also from underdevelopment, hunger, diseases, poverty and the destruction of the natural resources indispensable to human life. And it should do so before it is too late! 

The dream of having truly fair and sensible rules to guide human destiny seems impossible to many. However, we are convinced that the struggle for the impossible should be the motto of this institution that brings us here today.'