We appreciate the kind invitation conveyed by the People’s Republic of China to exchange on the best experience achieved in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and the prospects for cooperation during the recovery stage. We would like to commend the work carried out by the Mexican Pro Tempore Presidency of CELAC.
We would like recognize the cooperation offered by the People’s Republic of China to 27 countries of our region to confront the COVID-19 epidemic and the more than 30 exchanges on the best practices for preventing and treating this disease.
Politically motivated campaign and stigmatization plus a xenophobic and discriminatory approach have not been able to discredit the achievements attained by China in the control of and recovery from the devastating effects of this disease.
Esteemed Foreign Ministers:
In Latin America and the Caribbean, COVID-19 has meant an additional challenge. Neoliberal policies have intensified underdevelopment; one third of the population is suffering from food insecurity and economic growth has been the lowest in more than half a century.
Added to this are the unpayable external debt weighing down on our countries and the illegal unilateral coercive measures some of us are subject to, which jeopardize people’s progress and hamper the capacity of governments to cope with this pandemic.
Our joint efforts would make it possible for us to be in a better condition to confront the effects of COVID-19. It is imperative to strengthen the national health systems to ensure universal access to quality services. Political differences should be set aside. Unity amidst diversity should be reinforced.
We need dialogue and solidarity as well as to reaffirm multilateralism and uphold our commitment to international organizations, particularly The World Health Organization.
Despite the restrictions resulting from the tightening of the long-lasting economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States and the failed disparagement campaign launched against Cuba’s international cooperation, we have managed to control the epidemic and help, to the extent of our possibilities, other peoples and governments by providing medical assistance, advisory and medicines.
In response to requests received by our country, 44 brigades of Cuban medical professionals have contributed to combat the epidemic in 37 countries and territories, which add up to the ones that had already been offering these services in 59 nations.
In Cuba, the adoption of a correct strategy to cope with the pandemic has been crucial: a free and universal public health system; highly skilled medical personnel; scientific development and citizens’ responsibility and contribution.
The country has intensified the production and distribution of innovative and efficient biotech products against COVID-19, thus proving the worth of a science dedicated to the people’s wellbeing. People’s access to food and staple commodities has been guaranteed. Social security has protected everyone, giving priority to highest risk or more vulnerable groups.
Esteemed Foreign Ministers:
We reiterate our firm commitment to Latin American and Caribbean integration.
The strengthening of our relations with China, whose maximum expression is the China-CELAC Forum, will contribute to the sustainable development of our peoples based on respect, equality, plurality, inclusion and the observance of the tenets contained in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.
Cuba will continue to promote solidarity and humanism and contribute, to the extent of its possibilities, to the global efforts against the pandemic and its devastating economic and social consequences.
Thank you, very much.