Cuba and the Non-Aligned Movement

Cuba has articulated a foreign policy that lays thrust on strengthening the cooperation of Global South based on the principles of multilateralism. The country has undertaken a number of initiatives to give an effective collective voice to the developing world. The most significant forum through which Cuba follows the idealist norms in it foreign policy is through the membership of the Non-Aligned Movement. As one of NAM’s founding members and, of those, the only Latin American country, Cuba has twice hosted the Movement’s triennial summit of heads of state or government, chairing the Movement until the subsequent summits.
Through the NAM forums, Cuba has undertaken a number of initiatives that are in consonance in establishing a world order on the principles of equality of nations, peaceful co-existence, and anti-imperialism as envisaged by the Non-Aligned Movement. In one of such significant initiatives, Cuba provided unqualified support to South African blacks in the struggle against apartheid: diplomatic, economic, ideological, moral and psychological. From 1959, when the Cuban revolution brought Fidel Castro’s Communist Party to power, the Cubans supported the anti-apartheid movement in diplomatic interventions not only at the Non-Aligned Movement, but in UN and other forums as well.
During the first tenure of Cuban chairmanship of NAM (1979-1983), Cuba sought to achieve the unity of the Third World through making the movement’s processes functioning properly. Fidel Castro, the Cuban head of state in his opening address delivered at the 6th NAM summit in Havana (1979) stressed the need for ideological plurality among NAM nations while striving for their unity at the same time. To quote Castro: “We will work with all member countries—without exception—to achieve our aims and to implement the agreements that are adopted. We will be patient, prudent, flexible, and calm. Cuba will observe these norms throughout the years in which it presides over the Movement”. The declaration of the 1979 Havana Summit mentioned that policy of non-alignment, by acting as an independent global factor, represented an important step in mankind’s search for freely established, peaceful and equitable relations among nations, irrespective of their size, geographic location, power or social systems. Under the Cuban chairmanship, it was reiterated that the policy of non-alignment constituted an important and indispensable factor in the struggle for freedom and independence of all peoples and countries for world peace and security for all States, for the universal application of active peaceful co-existence, for the democratization of international relations, for the establishment for the New International Economic Order and for economic development and social progress. The most significant contribution of the Cuban chairmanship of NAM was the emphasis that unity through solidarity was tantamount to the success of the Movement in achieving its goal. It was largely because of the efforts of Cuba that principles of NAM extended to the countries of the Caribbean and Latin America.
Cuba hosted the NAM summit for the second time in 2006. Once again, the Cuban leadership laid a great thrust on the unity of the Non-Aligned countries. Raúl Castro, in his closing address, characterized the Summit as incredibly positive and noted that the ability of members to reach consensus on even complex issues demonstrated their decision to focus on unifying issues and so be better able to change the international economic and political situation through shared solidarity. As chair of NAM, Cuba undertook various initiatives to ensure the effective dissemination of the information pertaining to movement’s activity. Cuba made efforts to ensure that the activities and principles of the NAM were easily available in both print as well as electronic media.
Cuba also undertook efforts to frame a collective NAM response in forums such as UN General Assembly. But, perhaps the most significant contribution of Cuba was an up gradation of the NAM principles based on the complex realities of the 21st century international order. It was largely due to the Cuban initiatives that NAM member states organized meetings on a host of relevant international issues. Cuba held monthly meetings of the Non-Aligned Coordinating Bureau (NACB) at an ambassadorial level at the UN and convened the NACB to issues statements on prominent global issues. At the 17th NAM Ministerial Conference held at Algiers, 2014, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno remarked that the objectives and principles of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) are fully valid to face the current international scenario.
Thus, Cuba has always infused the Non-Aligned Movement with vigour and a sense of purpose. It was largely because of Cuban efforts that the principles of the Non-Aligned Movement were updated and thus the ideology, missions, and goals of NAM were formulated in consonance with the existing global reality.

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