75 UNGA: Statement by the delegation of Cuba. Fifth Committee. Main session. 75th Session of the General Assembly. Organization of work. New York, 5 October 2020.

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to begin by congratulating you and the members of the Bureau for your election. My delegation, as always, remains committed to the work and successful development of the functions of this Committee, based on cordiality, transparency and respect for the established rules and practices.

I would like to acknowledge Mr. Lionelito Berridge and the excellent team, which under his skillful leadership makes up the Secretariat of this Committee. Without you, our work would be impossible. Likewise, we acknowledge the rest of the Secretariat staff who make our work possible. Thank you all for your efforts so that, despite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations continues to work.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation endorses the statement delivered by the distinguished delegation of Guyana on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. At the same time, we would like to make some comments in our national capacity.

We are concerned that in this session it is intended that most of the items on the agenda are not to be presented in a formal meeting. We understand the concerns that delegations may have regarding a COVID-19 infection, but we believe that you, Mr. President and the Secretariat, have created the conditions for all possible face-to-face meetings to be held without risking everyone's health. We hope that the program of work to evolve in this regard.

In connection to this, we very much regret that no space was given in the program of work for the presentation of the report of the 75th session of the Committee on Contributions or the report of the Secretary-General on multi-year payment plans.

We deeply appreciate the expert work of the Committee on Contributions. In the context of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, developing countries will face increasing obstacles in meeting our financial obligations. For this reason, we fully agree that the sister nations of Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia and Comoros must retain their right to vote in our Assembly since the circumstances that have led them to be in arrears with the Organization are beyond their control.   

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation would like to refer now to the request made by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the Committee on Contributions, whose statement today we subscribe in full.

It is no secret the unjust economic blockade to which Venezuela is subjected, in particular by the United States. This has prevented that, despite the continuous efforts to transfer the necessary resources to settle its debt to the Organization, this nation, up to date and in spite of enormous efforts and steps, has not been able to pay its debt.

We are not talking of Venezuela´s lack of political will or inability to pay, which did not chose to be in arrears. What we are denouncing is the actions taken by the United States, who abuses their host country status and prevents a Member State from meeting its obligations to the Organization, thus violating the Headquarters Agreement and the principle of sovereign equality, enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

It is true, as the United States representative will probably affirm, that a license was recently granted through the Department of the Treasury so that Venezuela could make the payment through UNFCU, but what is the point of this license if Venezuela cannot access its monetary resources since international financial institutions freeze these assets or refuse to make the transfers for fear of the sanctions the United States might impose on them.

That is why we consider that Article 19 of the Charter was not fully addressed at the Committee on Contributions. I particularly refer to the section of said Article which stipulates “The General Assembly may, nevertheless, permit such a Member to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the Member.”

Mr. Chairman,

We agree that the matter should continue to be addressed in its entirety within the Committee on Relations with the Host Country. However, the Committee on Contributions, as the technical committee, could have played a better role and considering that Venezuela´s inability to make the minimum payments is clearly due to factors beyond its control, it could have made a more thorough analysis of this case, also bearing in mind that it is the first time that this country appeared before the Committee.

Ultimately, the power to decide on this issue still depends on the Member States. When analyzing this issue, political considerations must be put aside. What we are debating here is the respect for the UN Charter and the Headquarters Agreement. Today it is Venezuela, but tomorrow it could be any of you who are affected, just because you do not share the same ideology of the host country or simply because you exercise your right to bilaterally interact with whomever you choose based on sovereignty.

I therefore conclude, Mr. Chairman, by appealing for a deep reflection to all that not supporting Venezuela on this issue is to violate the rights of Member States and an irreparable ignorance of Article 19 of the Charter.

Thank you.