75 UNGA: Statement by the Cuban delegation at the General Debate of the Third Committee within the framework of the 75th session of the UNGA. New York, 5 October 2020

Madam Chair,

In addition to its health impact, the COVID-19 will bring about serious economic and social repercussions for all countries. Nevertheless, as is always the case in the current unjust international order, developing countries will be the ones to bear the highest costs.

We must prevent the pandemic from reversing the achievements in social development; the rights of women, children and indigenous peoples; self-determination; the elimination of racism and intolerance; the promotion and protection of human rights; crime prevention; and the global drug problem.

To this end, we must build a new international order, just and equitable, which does not place the poor in a subjugated position nor does it privilege the rich. Unilateral coercive measures must be removed.

The pandemic must not be used for mean interests, to advance unilateral agendas or to impose the views of a group of countries on others. There must be no room for selective practices, punitive approaches and double standards, particularly against the South. Issues as relevant as human rights and the protection of the most vulnerable groups must be addressed on objective and non-politicized bases. We must give priority to multilateralism, dialogue and cooperation.

Madam Chair,

The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba, in force for 6 decades, constitutes a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of the human rights of all Cubans. It violates the UN Charter and international law; and it is the main obstacle to our development.

In times of pandemic, the United States has tightened the blockade, thwarting Cuba's efforts to confront it and protect the health of its people, which confirms the criminal and genocidal nature of this policy.

In order to justify its criminal behavior, the United States has been manipulating the issue of human rights against Cuba for years. In clear violation of international law, it finances programs to subvert and change the Cuban constitutional order at its own whim.

Recently, it included Cuba on an alleged list of countries that violate religious freedom, for which it has no mandate or morality. The United States is the country that has demonized Islam and violated human rights, including the religious freedom, of millions of Muslims in its military adventures and on its own soil.

In the midst of the pandemic, the United States orchestrates a smear campaign against the Cuban medical cooperation, accusing the country of trafficking in humans and modern slavery, without any foundation whatsoever. It acts in this way because it cannot accept that, despite the blockade, Cuba has been able to send 52 medical brigades to 39 countries and territories, to contribute to the fight against the COVID-19. By attacking Cuba on this front, which is a genuine example of South-South cooperation, it stymies the access of millions of people around the world to quality health services.

The blockade affects the rights of US citizens, who, due to this policy have their freedom to travel to Cuba very restricted; and have not been able to benefit from the Cuban medical expertise and products, which is particularly relevant in light of the more than 200,000 lives lost to the COVID-19 in the United States.

The United States does not have the authority to judge us. It is the country whose police have already killed 164 black people in the first 8 months of 2020 (at least one per week); and which promotes racist and xenophobic expressions against other nations, to divert the international attention from its lousy management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its government does not decry white supremacism, which is part of its electoral base.

The crime that is being committed against Cuba with this hostile policy has the declared objective of breaking the will of Cubans and making us give up our freely chosen path. Its purpose is to punish us for the audacity of raising our own voices.

The United States forget that the most precious treasure of the Cuban people is its independence; which, to be achieved we have had to defeat two empires, including them; and that we have developed a culture of resistance and a capacity for sacrifice which that country will not be able to crush. Therefore, they are wasting their time and squandering their taxpayers' money.

Cuba will continue to advance along its chosen path, improving its development model, promoting greater well-being and building an increasingly fairer society. We will continue to defend the causes of the South, and offer our modest contribution to those who need it.

A longer version of this statement has been sent to the Secretariat.

Thank you.