Mr. Bermdez, speaking through a pre-recorded video, stated that the COVID-19 epidemic has highlighted the importance of the United Nations at a time when international cooperation has been insufficient and “neoliberal formulas” have decreased States’ ability to satisfy the needs of their populations.
In his statement to the high-level General Debate at the United Nations on Thursday, Cuban President Miguel Marion Daz-Canel Bermdez emphasized the importance of multilateralism and the United Nations.
The Cuban President cited UN labor agency ILO predictions that there will be 205 million unemployed people worldwide by 2022, raising concerns that the UN objective of eradicating poverty by 2030 will not be met. He went on to say that the vast majority of COVID-19 vaccines have been given out in medium and high-income countries, whereas hundreds of millions of people in low-income countries have yet to receive their first dose.
Mr. Bermdez argued that changing the world’s unequal and antidemocratic international system could be one solution. He went on to say that developed countries are primarily to blame for the current predicament and that they have a moral need to accept responsibility.
He said that the Cuban people have the right to live in peace, security, development, well-being, and social justice and that a rejuvenated, democratized, and strengthened United Nations is needed to help them achieve this goal.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuba has demonstrated solidarity with other countries, sending over 4900 health personnel to 40 countries and territories impacted by the virus, according to the Cuban President.
Mr. Bermdez noted that 15.8 million vaccines made in Cuba had been distributed, with roughly 37.8% of the country’s population now fully vaccinated. The government anticipates the entire population to be vaccinated by the end of 2021.
He also expressed solidarity with the governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua, as well as support for Caribbean nations’ requests for slave trade reparations, and underlined Cuba’s stance that Puerto Rico should be free.
He continued by reiterating Cuba’s commitment to peace in Colombia, an end to foreign meddling in Syria, and a just resolution to the Middle East conflict. The President underlined his support with the Saharan people, condemning the “unilateral coercive measures” made against Iran and the “unilateral and unjust” sanctions applied against North Korea.
Mr. Bermdez wrapped up by discussing Afghanistan. He claimed that the last two decades have demonstrated that bombs cannot prevent or combat terrorism, that occupation only results in destruction, and that no government has the right to impose its will on sovereign states.