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Speech by Cuba’s First Vice-President, José Ramón Machado Ventura, at the 16th Non-Aligned Movement Summit

| Tehran (Iran)
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Mister President,

We thank the government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran for organizing this important Summit Conference and for the warm hospitality given to our delegation. On behalf of President Raúl Castro Ruz, the people and government of the Republic of Cuba, we wish you all success in leading the Movement during the next three years and reiterate Cuba’s total support.

Please allow me to also express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people and government for the loss of human life and devastation provoked by the earthquakes which recently ravaged the northeast of the country and our appreciation of the timeliness with which measures were taken, preventing worse consequences.

The Arab Republic of Egypt also merits special mention for its leadership and work undertaken as president of the Non-Aligned Movement in the midst of difficult international circumstances.

Mr. President:

Today we are confronting the most serious and complex economic, social, political, environmental and moral crisis recalled by humanity. Once again, our peoples are the principal victims of this crisis.

Instability, speculation, external debt, poverty, the degradation of the environment, inequality and the abyss between the North and the South are multiplying. With 54% of the world population, the countries of our Movement only hold 20% of world wealth.

Just and lasting solutions are not appearing. International discussions are proliferating, but regrettably, not with the participation of all countries. Decisions are being made by a few countries behind the back of the international community.

Overt or covert interventionism is being imposed under the cloak of multilateral action. New doctrines of intervention are being implemented and the concepts of "responsibility to protect" and "human security" are being manipulated. These, alongside the policy of "regime change" and NATO’s new strategic concepts, augur another division of the world if we do not respond to this imminent threat. In the face of the major powers’ avarice for natural resources and their geopolitical desires, it is imperative to create a defensive barrier to preserve the independence and sovereignty of our nations.

Recent precedents, characterized by the unleashing of deadly wars as part of the strategy of the powerful to divide nations in order to re-colonize territories and reestablish areas of influence, are in flagrant violation of international law.

The principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of states are inviolable. Without them, small and weak nations would be abandoned to the mercy of the large and strong. Cuba is opposed to and will oppose any act of force which violates international law and the United Nations Charter.

Cuba is making a call for unity and allegiance to the founding principles agreed upon in Bandung and the Declaration of Objectives and Principles and the role of the Movement in the current international juncture, adopted at the 14th Havana Summit in 2006.

What occurred last year with Libya and the most recent events in the Syrian Arab Republic demonstrate that the government of the United States, with the support of its European allies in NATO, is promoting – without any dissimulation whatsoever – the overthrow by force of sovereign governments. We have supported, and reaffirm today, the right of the Syrian people to the full exercise of self-determination and sovereignty, without foreign interference or intervention. We trust in the ability of the Syrian people and government to solve their internal problems through dialogue and negotiation.

Mister President:

The promotion of peace, solidarity, social justice and sustainable development, is the only way to ensure the future.

If the Non-Aligned Movement does not assume its role of coordinating and defending our positions in the face of the great challenges which humanity is confronting; if it does not promote the defense of our collective interests; if it does not act as a diverse bloc, but rather as one united in solidarity; if it does not undertake to halt selective, double standards in the treatment of human rights and the imposition of hegemonic standards in terms of democracy; and if it fails to oppose attempts to impose "pensée unique" (single thought) as a universal standard, we will have done very little. And we can do nothing dispersed and separated.

While the serious threat represented by the 20,000-plus nuclear weapons existing in the world persists; while global military spending continues to increase – almost half of that concentrated in one sole country – nuclear disarmament will have to remain one of our priority objectives.

It is unacceptable and immoral that more continues to be spent on weapons than on promoting development.

As compañero Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban Revolution and a historical figure of our Movement stated in a summit like this in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 1986, and I quote: "Enough now of the illusion that the problems of the world can be solved with nuclear weapons. Bombs can kill the hungry, the sick, the ignorant, but they cannot kill hunger, sickness or ignorance."

While the manipulation of non-proliferation prevails, based on double standards and political interest, on the existence of a club for the privileged, and on denying the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy to the countries of the South, as is taking place with the Islamic Republic of Iran, this issue must continue being the subject of our constant attention.

We support the cause of the Palestinian people and their inalienable right to self-determination in an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital. We shall not cease in our demand in favor of Palestine as a member state of the United Nations.

We firmly support the legitimate right of Puerto Rico to its independence.

We firmly support the demand of the Argentine Republic to recover sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands.

We oppose the insolent and unsustainable patterns of production and consumerism inherent to developed societies and which are gradually being transferred to our nations.

We advocate a new world order in information and communications, in which history is not interpreted and written from the point of view of the powerful, in which stereotypes are not created out of convenience, and in which the most irrational degree of consumerism is not promoted.

We insist on the need for a profound reformation of the United Nations and the democratization of its Security Council so that it acts in the name of all and within its mandate.

Mister President:

The heroic Cuban people have had to pay a very high price for the defense of their independence and sovereignty. They have resisted political pressure, insidious campaigns of lies, subversion and terrorism, military invasion and the threat of nuclear extermination, and the most merciless, lengthy and cruel economic blockade in history, imposed by the world’s greatest power. But Cuba remains steadfast in defending the accomplishments of our people, and in perfecting our system, without external impositions.

In the name of our people, I thank you profoundly for the solidarity and support which the Non-Aligned Movement has always given us. Equally, the Movement can always count on Cuba’s honest contribution in solidarity to our common battle.

The Movement today is more necessary than ever. We must insist on and defend the appeals of billions of human beings living in the South demanding their rights.

The challenges are great, but our determination must be greater. We know that we have reason on our side and we have faith in the struggles of the peoples. We will never renounce a world of peace, justice, equality and development for all.

Thank you very much.

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