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      "We will persevere, with the consensus of our people and especially the patriotic commitment of the youngest Cubans"
      A Speech by Bruno Rodriguez, Foreign Minister of Cuba

      Excerpts from the speech by Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, on the "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba," in United Nations headquarters, New York, November 1, 2017

      Mr. President;
      Your Excellencies permanent representatives; Distinguished delegates;

      U.S. citizens and Cubans resident in the United States who are present in this hall:

      I express the most energetic condemnation of the disrespectful, offensive, and interventionist statements made by the United States Ambassador to the United Nations against Cuba and against the Cuban government, a few minutes ago.

      I recall that the United States, where flagrant violations of human rights are committed, of deep concern to the international community, does not have the slightest moral authority to criticize Cuba, a small, solitary country, with an extensive, recognized international record; an honorable, hard-working, and friendly people.

      She spoke in the name of the head of an empire that is responsible for most of the wars in progress on the planet today, and which murders innocent people, and is the decisive factor in instability worldwide and the very serious threats to peace and international security, trampling international law and the United Nations Charter, which she has just cynically evoked.

      It has not been 55 years, Madam Ambassador, you erred in your first sentence; it has been 26 of these sessions, and more than half a century since the events being discussed today originated.

      She lies, uses the same style that predominates in U.S. politics today. This all began before the Cuban nation even existed. When the Cuban people, for the first time rose up in arms in 1868, the appetite for annexation and domination, of what was and is today U.S. imperialism, had already been unleashed.

      In 1898, using a pretext - as is characteristic of the modern history of the United States: the explosion of the ship, the Maine, in a Cuban port, they entered as allies of Cuban independence forces and then occupied the country as invaders, and imposed the Platt Amendment, cutting short the independence and sovereignty of Cuba; they conducted three military occupations, imposed 60 years of total domination that ended January 1, 1959, with the entry of the Rebel Army to Havana and the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, that continues to this day carrying on the same struggles that have inspired our people for over 100 years. (Applause)

      She lies, she used a phrase, attributing a statement on the so-called October or Missile Crisis to a supposedly Cuban source. I invite her to state the source, to state its author, to present evidence. It sounds like one of the tweets proliferating in this country, in these times of hate, division, and dirty politics. (Applause)

      When the Cuban Revolution triumphed, the United States set regime change as its objective. The policy announced by President Trump on June 16 is not new; it is the same policy, it is an old policy anchored in the past. [...]

      I speak for my people, and I also speak for those who cannot call President Trump or the U.S. Ambassador by their name, but feel and think like me.

      At least she has recognized the total isolation of the United States in this hall and in the world. You are alone on the issue of the blockade of Cuba! (Applause) [...]

      Mr. President:
      This past June 16, President Donald Trump proclaimed the blockade the fundamental axis of his anti-Cuban policy, and announced a series of measures meant to reinforce it.

      In an antiquated, hostile anti-Cuban speech, reminiscent of the Cold War, and before an auditorium composed, among others, of rancid Batista henchmen, annexationists, and terrorists, the U.S. government returned to worn-out allegations of supposed human rights violations in Cuba to justify the tightening of the blockade. From this podium, heard this morning was his echo, his echo chamber.

      President Trump does not have the slightest moral authority to question Cuba.

      He leads a government of millionaires who intend to implement brutal measures against the poor and low income families of this country, minorities and immigrants. He follows a program which encourages hate and division, and promotes a dangerous idea of exceptionalism and supremacy disguised as patriotism, and which will lead to more violence. He ignores the will of voters: two thirds of U.S. citizens and Cuban residents in the United States, as well, support an end to the blockade.

      Current U.S. policies harm citizens; corruption reigns in politics which have been hijacked by so-called special interests, that is, by the interests and the money of corporations: no support for education, health, or social security; restrictions on union organizing; and terrible gender-based discrimination.

      Deserving of condemnation are the use of torture; police murders of African-Americans; civilian deaths caused by its troops; the indiscriminate, racially motivated death penalty; the murders, repression, and police surveillance of immigrants; the separation of families; the detention and deportation of minors; and the brutal measures threatening the children of undocumented immigrants who grew up and were educated in the United States.

      This is the government that lost the popular vote.

      The United States Ambassador has expressed her dream. I prefer to repeat that of Martin Luther King, when he said, "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." Let freedom ring. (Applause)

      She has come to tell us that she recognizes that the future of the island rests in the hands of the Cuban people. She is telling an absolute lie. It was never this way, throughout history. It has been a history of domination and hegemony over Cuba.

      The announced policy proposes turning back relations to a past of confrontation, to satisfy the spurious interests of extremist circles within the U.S. right and a frustrated, aging, minority of Cuban origin in Florida. The Presidential Memorandum establishing the policy toward Cuba includes, among other measures, new prohibitions on economic, commercial, and financial relations between U.S. companies and Cuban enterprises. It additionally restricts the freedom to travel of U.S. citizens with the elimination of individual trips under the so-called category of “people-to-people” exchanges, and increased surveillance for the rest of visitors from that country.

      In recent weeks, President Donald Trump has reiterated on four separate occasions, (including before this Assembly this past September), that his government will not lift the blockade on Cuba unless it makes changes to its internal order.

      Today I reiterate that Cuba will never accept preconditions or impositions and we remind the President and his Ambassador that this approach, applied by a dozen of his predecessors, has never and will never work. It will be just one more example of a policy anchored in the past. [...]

      Mr. President:
      Cuba presents today, for the 26th consecutive time before the United Nations General Assembly, the draft resolution (entitled) “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”

      In the current situation, this text acquires special relevance in the face of the setback that the actions of the new government of the United States against Cuba signal.

      The blockade constitutes the greatest obstacle to the country’s economic and social development and the implementation of the National Plan, in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda. It is the main obstacle to the development of economic, commercial. and financial relations between Cuba and the United States and the rest of the world.

      According to calculations rigorously conducted by Cuban institutions, the blockade caused, in the year from April 2016 to April 2017, losses to the Cuban economy on the order of 4.305 billion dollars.

      This figure is about double what would be needed as annual direct foreign investment for the Cuban economy to advance substantially toward development.

      The accumulated damages reached the enormous figure of 822.280 billion dollars, calculated considering the devaluation of the U.S. dollar vis-à-vis the price of gold. At current prices, this is the equivalent of 130.178 billion dollars.

      Dozens of banks in third countries have been affected in the last period by the extreme and tenacious persecution of Cuban financial transactions.

      The blockade is contrary to International Law and its aggressively extraterritorial application damages the sovereignty of all states. It also harms economic and business interests in all latitudes.

      Mr. President:
      The Ambassador of the United States failed to mention that the blockade is a flagrant, massive, and systematic violation of the human rights of Cubans, and constitutes an act of genocide under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It is also an obstacle to the international cooperation that Cuba provides in humanitarian areas to 81 countries of the South.

      The human damages caused by the application of this policy are incalculable. There is not a Cuban family or social service in Cuba that does not suffer the deprivations and consequences of the blockade. Cuban émigrés also suffer discrimination and prejudices. [...]

      Mr. President:
      We are deeply grateful to all the governments and peoples, parliaments, political forces and social movements, civil society representatives, international and regional organizations that have contributed with their voice and their vote, year after year, to support the justice and urgency of the abolition of the blockade.

      We also extend our gratitude to the vast majority of the American people for their support of this commendable goal. [...]

      Mr. President:
      We especially commend all those who have expressed concern and their rejection of the coercive measures announced by the current U.S. government.

      The Cuban people will never give up building a sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation. (Applause).

      We will persevere, with the consensus of our people and especially the patriotic commitment of the youngest Cubans, in the anti-imperialist struggle and in defense of our independence, for which tens of thousands of Cubans have already fallen and we have run the greatest risks, as we demonstrated in Playa Girón and in the face of all threats.

      We will maintain eternal loyalty to the legacy of José Martí and Fidel Castro Ruz. (Applause).

      Mr. President:
      Distinguished permanent representatives;
      Esteemed delegates:
      Our people are following this debate with hope. On their behalf, I request that you vote in favor of draft resolution A/72/L.30, “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”

      Many thanks. (Prolonged applause).

      Exclamations of: "Viva Cuba!" "Cuba sí, bloqueo no!"

      Full speech available on: www.granma.cu

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