Statement by Ambassador Pedro L. Pedroso Cuesta, Permanent Representative of Cuba, at the extraordinary meeting of the COB-NAM regarding the events of 11 July 2021. New York, 21 July 2021

At the outset, allow me to thank the Chair of the Coordinating Bureau for convening this meeting, to address a matter of the utmost importance for Cuba. I would also like to thank the participation of the members of the Movement, as well as the many messages of solidarity with Cuba and the Cuban government in this juncture.

In recent days, Cuba has suffered an intense political and communications operation, orchestrated and financed by the government of the United States and the political machinery in Florida to destabilize the country, discredit its government, incite to violence and promote hatred among our people.

The overall objective is the same old purpose of the Government of the United States regarding Cuba: to bring the Cuban Revolution to its end and overthrow the Constitutional order we have freely chosen in exercise of our right to self-determination.

To attain this objective, the US government, together with radical groups based in Florida, have promoted violence, social unrest, internal disorder and criminal activities in our country, to present Cuba as a nation in chaos and in need of a foreign intervention.

They are taking advantage of the complex economic situation in Cuba, which is the result of the combination of the unprecedented strengthening of the US blockade, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In that regard, I must recall that it was the context of the COVID-19 pandemic the scenario chosen by the previous US administration to strengthen the economic, commercial and financial blockade to levels never seen before. I must also indicate that the 243 unilateral coercive measures imposed on Cuba under the Trump Administration, are still fully in place. This has seriously affected the functioning of our economy, by critically reducing income from exports, access to fuel, medicines and medical supplies, and generating shortages and scarcities that affect the population. In maintaining the blockade and tightening it during the pandemic, the US is trying to exert the greatest possible pressure.   

The perverse international campaign mounted against Cuba is also aiming to discredit the country´s response to the pandemic, by manipulating the epidemiological indicators, promoting the idea of a collapse of the health system, and calling for a “humanitarian corridor”. With this, they are trying to create fear and anxiety in the Cuban population, to contribute to social unrest.

These actions of the US government are very cynical. First, because the complex situation we are facing regarding the availability of goods and resources to secure the quality of life and welfare of our people is a direct result of the blockade. Second, because the Cuban response to COVID-19 has been quite successful, despite the blockade. 

Our efforts in confronting the pandemic have allowed the country to show a 0.67 COVID-19 mortality rate, quite below the rate of our region (2.64) or the world (2.16). Cuba is the only Latin American country that developed a vaccine of its own and has another four vaccine candidates. We were also able to send 57 medical brigades to support the response to COVID-19 in 40 countries and territories. It is clear that there is no such failure.

The current operation against Cuba is not spontaneous. On the contrary, the participation and responsibility of the United States is demonstrated. This operation has included acts of non-conventional warfare, such as calls to social outburst, violence, sabotage, attacks against law enforcement officers, vandalism, and the fabrication and use of handmade weapons and explosives against public institutions. It was designed and executed from the cyberspace under the jurisdiction of the US government, by companies and groups in Florida that receive federal and local funds to finance these activities.

Social media and media outlets have been used to deliberately spread lies and misinformation. Very expensive automatic tools and devices, including artificial intelligence and big data, were used to generate a fictional reality, commit acts of cyberterrorism, show a country in chaos, call for a general uprising and incite to violence in Cuba.

These groups even had the complicity of a powerful social media transnational, who allowed them to violate with impunity its own regulations, and decided not to address the legitimate complaints of its users. They also financed, pressured, harassed and blackmailed international influencers to take part in this communication operation against Cuba.

At the same time, the websites of the Cuban Presidency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the main media outlets in Cuba have suffered intermittent attacks and denegation of services, in the midst of a demonization campaign against the Government. In doing so, they are trying to silence any alternative narrative to the one they are unfolding, with shocking and manipulated front-pages and headlines.

This operation provoked the incidents of 11 July in some localities of Cuba, which resulted in disturbances of a limited scale and did not gain the support of the majority of the Cuban people. Let me be clear, there was no social outburst or general uprising against the Government.

There was vandalism and violent attacks against public institutions, including hospitals, police precincts and stores, and against law enforcement officers and police patrols.

However, the plan failed, thanks to the combined action of the Government and people of Cuba, whose overwhelming majority continues to defend the country´s constitutional order. The normal functioning of the public institutions is maintained, under the conditions imposed by the health emergency. 

We denounce, in the strongest terms, the violent acts promoted and executed by criminal elements, including attacks to law enforcement bodies and public institutions, as well as the incitement to violence, mostly from abroad.

At no time, the authorities called for confrontation and violence. The instigation to divide Cubans comes from abroad.

As part of these destabilization actions, legitimate concerns of sectors of the population were manipulated, to use them to amplify the idea of a general uprising, which was never the case. In that regard, the Government remains fully committed to address such concerns, as it has always done for the benefit of the entire Cuban population.  

We also reject the false allegations of human rights violations in responding to the incidents of 11 July. Law enforcement authorities responded to violence, vandalism and other criminal activities, as it would have happened in any other country, in full conformity with the Cuban Constitution and laws and international obligations.

There has been no acts of torture, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions or arbitrary arrests, as has been falsely claimed.

The international campaign against Cuba is still ongoing. After 11 July, further actions to promote violence, criminal behavior, vandalism, social unrest and confrontation have been registered and documented.

In that regard, we urge the members of the Movement not to echo or support these actions against Cuba, to assess this situation based on objective, non-politicized and confirmed information, and to avoid falling in the trap of fake-news and disinformation.

I must also denounce that at this very moment the government of the United States is engaged in a sordid campaign of brutal pressure on governments of third countries, especially in Latin America, to force them to make condemnatory statements against Cuba. The objective is the same, to tighten the blockade and the political siege against our country.

What is happening is a direct attack on Cuba’s sovereignty and self-determination. It is also an attempt to undermine the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace, as agreed by the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in 2014.

If anyone wants to support Cuba, and all well-intended help is welcomed, the first thing to do is to denounce the US blockade and call for its immediate end. Nothing has a heavier toll over the daily life of the Cuban people than the blockade.

The Cuban government and people will continue to defend the Constitutional order that we have freely chosen, in exercise of our right to self-determination.

We are and will continue to be a country of peace. Against all odds, we will continue pursuing the construction of an inclusive, democratic, prosperous and sustainable society for all, and strengthening the unity of the Cuban people, as the most important shield against the domination appetites over our country of the United States government.

Once again, allow me to thank you for your participation and kind attention.

Thank you very much.