Mr. Chairman, H. E. Mr. Jorge Arreaza, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,
Cuba is grateful for the convening and holding of this meeting on such an important and sensitive issue for a group as culturally diverse as the Non-Aligned Movement.
Cultural diversity as the common heritage of humanity must be valued and preserved for the benefit of all. Promoting respect for culture, history, different religions and the distinctiveness of each nation is our duty and our right.
For Cuba, a country´s culture is a collective right for the enjoyment of all, as is respect for the right of each State in preserving its cultural heritage and diversity and implementing its own cultural policies.
It is an essential component of sovereignty. Strong people are those who claim and defend their culture, and respect cultural multiplicity. Maintaining, developing and preserving the cultural heritage and traditions is crucial for our nations and is becoming vitally urgent in an increasingly globalized world, in which a unique cultural model is attempted, thus limiting our right to cultural identity as individuals and nations.
Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban Revolution, expressed in 1998 at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, and I quote:“…a terrible problem that we are suffering is the aggression against our national identities, the ruthless aggression against our cultures, as has never happened in history, the tendency towards a universal monoculture. Can a similar world be conceived? It is not about a world that combines the wealth and culture of many countries, but a world order that, by definition, destroys culture, a globalization that inexorably destroys culture. What is Homeland, if not a culture of its own? What is national identity, if not a culture of its own?" (End of quote)
The cultural heritage of our nations is in danger, and it is our duty to fight intelligently and tenaciously, in defending the right of our peoples to preserve the legacy of our history and our culture for future generations.
The people who forget their culture, their roots and their history are increasingly vulnerable to the aggression of the major media belonging to those who pursue universal domination. Suffice it to recall the nearly monopolistic control by a handful of transnational corporations of two-thirds of what is read or heard on the Planet.
The commodification and privatization of most cultural production has been imposed! Numbing banality advances over the art that makes you think! It is about imposing homogenizing mediocrity over cultural diversity! The aim is to present the privileged and parasitic consumerism of an elite as a synonym of development!
Faced with this reality, the defense of ethical and aesthetic values and the linkage of culture with the safeguard of the identity of each people is an imperative. Full respect for political, economic, cultural, social and religious diversity, in strict accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, is critical.
As clearly set forth in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, signed at the Second CELAC Summit in Havana in 2014, our nations have "the commitment (...) to fully respect the inalienable right of each State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system, as an essential condition to ensure peaceful coexistence among nations ".
It is a duty of the Member States of the Non-Aligned Movement to oppose uniculturalism. We must continue to foster dialogue among religions, cultures and civilizations on the basis of equality and respect for the dignity of all through widespread international initiatives and the promotion of respect for diversity, the culture of peace and interfaith dialogue. In doing so, we will be making a valuable contribution to peace, security and development, just as we did in promoting culture and cultural diversity as transcendent elements in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Cuba is committed to the values of cultural diversity, which we demonstrate on a daily basis with our participation and positions in UNESCO. Cubans favor a genuinely emancipatory cultural atmosphere, where protagonism, creativity and the active involvement of communities, the spaces for communication and information, and the development and strengthening of artistic and literary creation are priorities.
Our results in this field have been achieved despite the fierce and cruel economic, commercial, financial, political and cultural blockade imposed on our Island for nearly six decades.
Cuba recognizes that promoting and preserving our cultural diversity will require efforts but, above all, political commitment to materialize concrete actions that give content to the decisions to be adopted in this High-Level Meeting. We are optimistic and trust in the strength of our unity, in the richness of our diversity and in the shared willingness to fight for our right to a world with peace and justice for all.
Defending cultural diversity today is equivalent to defending our right to preserve the future of humanity. In this, as in other battles to claim the aspirations of the peoples of the South, the Non-Aligned Movement will always be able to count on Cuba´s support.
Thank you very much