May 21 (Granma International) Cuba is a founding member of the United Nations Organization, which it joined in 1945. Ever since January 1, 1959, Cuba has actively promoted the principles of multilateralism, preservation of peace, and respect for the sovereignty for all countries.
The island has raised its voice within the UN in defense of social justice; environmental protection; sustainable development; the struggle to eradicate hunger and malnutrition; the right to food and food security; peace and nuclear disarmament; the need for a new international economic order; the rights of children and women; as well as to health and education.
Cuba has also been among the first nations to respond to calls made by the UN and to offer its cooperation to countries affected by natural disasters, for example following the earthquakes in Pakistan, Haiti, and Mexico, as well as hurricanes in the Caribbean and Central America, and the tsunami which affected various Asian nations, including Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
Special mention should be made of Cuba’s response to the call by the United Nations and World Health Organization to combat the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014.
A total of 262 Cuban doctors and nurses, specializing in health emergencies, traveled to the worst affected areas in Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, and Liberia, where they worked non-stop for almost seven months, before finally controlling the epidemic.
Cuba’s work in Africa is one of the greatest examples of its revolutionary internationalism. In May 2017, during the 70th World Health Assembly, the World Health Organization (WHO) presented the Lee Jong-wook Memorial Prize to the island’s Henry Reeve medical brigade, in recognition of their work during natural disasters and serious epidemics.
Among other distinctions, the country was also awarded the Rey Sejong Literacy Prize in 2006 by Unesco, for its “Yo sí puedo” (Yes, I can) literacy method, which has helped over 10 million people in dozens of developed and developing countries learn to read and write
Meanwhile, speeches by Che, Fidel, and Raúl before the UN General Assembly feature among some of the most important in the organization’s history.
Whether in the remarks of its most senior leaders or experienced diplomats, Cuba has always raised its voice on behalf of the world’s just causes, against imperialism, and in support of peace.
For its part, every year the UN General Assembly supports the island’s “resolution for an end to the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America on Cuba.”
On 26 consecutive occasions the vast majority of UN member-states have voted to end the hostile policy, designed to bring the nation to its knees by subjecting the Cuban people to starvation and scarcity.
Cuba secured a historic victory in 2016, when 191 countries voted in favor of lifting the blockade, while the United States, led at that time by President Barack Obama, abstained from the vote along with Israel.
In 2017, the same 191 countries rejected the hostile policy, with only the U.S – under the Donald Trump administration – and its Zionist allies, in favor of its continuation.
Cuba is currently committed to the reform process being undertaken within the UN and supports all efforts to make the organization more democratic and responsive to the problems, needs, and desire of the world’s peoples. The island country also continues to promote UN efforts to support global peace, sustainable development , and full respect for all human rights, free of selectivity and exceptions.
CUBA AT THE UN
Fidel Castro Ruz: “Do away with the philosophy of plunder and you will have done away forever with the philosophy of war,” stated the Comandante en Jefe on September 26, 1960, before the UN General Assembly, in a speech that lasted four hours and 29 minutes and went down as one of the longest and most applauded in the organization’s history.
Pressure from Washington meant that the Cuban delegation was forced to leave the hotel where they were scheduled to stay while in New York. However, Fidel received an invitation from the humble Theresa Hotel in Harlem where he received dignitaries from around the world.
Ernesto Che Guevara: Che gave another historic speech during the 19th period of sessions of the UN General Assembly in 1964, remembered above all for his warning to the peoples of the Third World to “never trust imperialism, not even a little bit.”
Raúl Roa: Cuban Foreign Minister Raúl Roa is renowned for his compelling remarks before the General Assembly in defense of the Revolution, but most particularly, for his April 1961 speech. While mercenaries were attempting to invade the island at Playa Larga and Playa Girón, Roa presented irrefutable proof of the direct involvement of the U.S. government in this vile affair. From that moment on and forever more Roa became known as the “Foreign Minister of Dignity,” among the Cuban people.
Raúl Castro Ruz: The Army General participated in the general debate of the UN General Assembly’s 70th period of sessions. On September 28, 2015, he spoke before the General Assembly during which he summarized Cuba’s role within the organization: “The international community can always count on Cuba to lift its sincere voice against injustice, inequality, underdevelopment, discrimination, and manipulation; and for the establishment of a more equitable and fair international order, truly focused on human beings, their dignity and well-being.”
MAIN CUBAN SECTORS THAT HAVE RECEIVED SUPPORT FROM THE UN
Science and technology linked to the development of the Cuban economy
Efforts to promote local sustainable development and improve food security
Environmental protection, biodiversity conservation and the sustainable use of resources
National disaster response systems and strengthening risk prevention and management practices
Consolidating achievements reached in sectors such as education and health, as well as supporting HIV-AIDS awareness and prevention
The rights of the child
Promoting the rescue, conservation, and development of national cultural heritage
(SOURCES: CUBAMINREX, GRANMA ARCHIVE, UN)