75 UNGA: Statement by Cuba at the Open Debate of the Security Council on "Maintenance of international peace and security: implementation of resolution 2532". New York, 17 February 2021

Mr. President;

Seven months after the Security Council adopted resolution 2532 (2020), the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a global challenge that has sparked a crisis of manifold and ravaging effects, not only for health, but also for the economy, trade and our societies at large.

The pandemic has worsened an international scenario characterized by the fragility of health systems and the hoarding of scientific and technological breakthroughs in the pharmaceutical business and the commercialization of medicine, instead of giving priority to human well-being and life.

The current international order, where serious disparities persist between societies and nations, reproduces the privileges of the rich, while condemning the majorities to poverty, food insecurity, underdevelopment and exclusion.

COVID-19 has led to the loss of millions of jobs and the worst economic collapse in nine decades. Still, the world´s 500 richest people experienced the largest growth in their wealth in eight years. Neoliberalism has failed to tackle the pandemic and inequality. There is also an urgent need to implement comprehensive policies that place human beings first and not economic profits or political advantages.

It is alarming that barely 10 countries have purchased 95 percent of the vaccines produced against COVID-19, as reported in January by the World Health Organization. A global and joint response is necessary to ensure equitable access to immunization. The international community must work together, based on cooperation and solidarity, to develop effective and affordable vaccines for all. Otherwise, we run the risk of exacerbating inequalities, conflicts and political tensions, particularly in developing countries.

Mr. President,

Due to its severe and multidimensional impact on our societies, the pandemic poses a threat to the sustainable development of the peoples and an additional challenge to the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda.

A deep economic downturn is looming ahead in which the countries of the South will be the hardest hit. We are all experiencing the global economic contraction, but only some of us bear the additional burden of criminal unilateral coercive measures which violate International Law and the United Nations Charter. The impact of such measures has exacerbated the difficulties faced by the countries subject to them in combating the pandemic and on the path to recovery.

The United States government intensified the protracted and genocidal economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba with new measures which have impacted on the national effort to confront the pandemic. The emphasis on hindering our country's main sources of income, crippling fuel supplies and thwarting our trade relations, reached a level of infamy, which ended with the arbitrary and unjustified inclusion of Cuba in the spurious list of State sponsors of terrorism, which is drawn up unilaterally and without any legitimacy whatsoever by the State Department.

Our country has attained positive results in preventing and tackling the pandemic, based on a universal, quality and free health system; highly specialized human resources; a robust system of science and technological innovation and a prestigious biotechnological and pharmaceutical industry. Cuba will be one of the first countries to immunize its entire population against COVID-19, using its own vaccine production and distribution capabilities.

At the same time, we have been able to contribute to the fight against the pandemic in all continents. In addition to the medical cooperation already in place in 59 nations, 56 brigades of the Henry Reeve International Contingent have been sent to 40 countries and territories.

No action serving political purposes and using fallacious pretexts against Cuba´s medical cooperation will stop our humanistic, altruistic and supportive vocation.

Mr. President,

It is up to the United Nations General Assembly, as the most representative and democratic body of the Organization, to assume the central role in coordinating international efforts to address the pandemic and its consequences. The Security Council's interference in matters outside its competence must cease, particularly in those that fall within the mandate of the Assembly and other specialized agencies of the UN system, in this case the World Health Organization. 

The reality we face concerns all of us and requires that we put the will to act and solidarity before inaction and selfishness. Mankind calls for an effective solution.

Thank you