The year that is ending has been marked by the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which adds new challenges and complicates others that already existed for the international community.
Most eloquently, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the unjust nature of the international order in which we live, which multiplies the privileges of rich countries and perpetuates the shortcomings of the poor.
In an unsustainable paradox, inequality, poverty and hunger are advancing in a world with all the resources, knowledge and technologies to prevent it.
Unilateralism is also advancing. In the midst of the pandemic, the application of unilateral coercive measures that are contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and international law, and further hinder the ability of affected countries to fight COVID-19, far from diminishing, has been strengthened.
At the same time, we have witnessed how selfishness has prevailed in some of the richest countries, which have unleashed a competition to secure for themselves the means and technologies to respond to the pandemic, forgetting that we live in an interconnected world, and that the pandemic is a global problem, which we must all solve. As always, this competition will only affect the countries of the South.
The pandemic has also been the context chosen by some, such as the United States, to promote racist and xenophobic ideas, which only stir up confrontation; or to withdraw from the World Health Organization.
Except for COVID-19, none of these phenomena is new. Inequality, exclusion, unilateralism, intolerance and lack of solidarity are the same problems that prevent further progress in the implementation of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace.
There can be no peace without economic and social development, justice and equity for all, within and between countries. Nor can there be peace or the consolidation of a culture conducive to it, if the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and international law are not strictly observed, in particular the prohibition of the use and threat of use of force, the non-interference in internal affairs, the respect for sovereignty and self-determination.
The culture of peace, an objective that Cuba shares, cannot be advanced, as long as supremacist, racist and xenophobic ideas which are scientifically false and morally unacceptable continue to be promoted.
As long as multilateralism is not privileged and our legitimate differences are not respected, a world of peace will remain a utopia.
Cuba is well aware of the value of peace and the importance of promoting a culture and environment that are conducive to it.
We have had to face, for six decades, the effects of the criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States, tightened in times of COVID-19; as well as its unconventional warfare actions and subversion agenda against our people.
However, as before, we will remain fully committed to peace. We will continue to uphold the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, as well as the Declaration of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, adopted in 2014 in Havana, within the framework of the Second CELAC Summit.
Based on this commitment, Cuba has decided to join the Group of Friends of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
We are convinced that the promotion of a culture of peace is the path towards a better, more just and sustainable world.