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Cuba at UN on Behalf of CELAC

Cuban Chancellor address UN Security Coincil on behalf of CELAC. Photo: cubadebate.cu     Madam President:

Allow me, first of all, to thank you and the government of the Republic of Argentina for the invitation conveyed to the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which is honored to preside, to participate for the first time in the UN Security Council debates.

The history of Latin America and the Caribbean has changed. Two hundred years after our independence, the ideas of “a Nation of Republics” and of “Our America” envisaged by Bolivar and Marti are taking shape.

Thus, our Heads of State and Government decided that, and I quote, “in accordance with the original mandate of our Liberators, CELAC must move forward in the process of political, economic, social and cultural integration, based on a wise equilibrium between the unity and diversity of our peoples, so that the regional integration mechanism can become the ideal space to express our rich cultural diversity and also the forum to reaffirm the Latin American and the Caribbean identity, our common history and our ongoing struggles for justice and liberty.”(Caracas Declaration, paragraph 21).

They also agreed that, “recognizing the right of each nation to build freely and peacefully its own political and economic system, in the framework of the corresponding institutions according with the sovereign mandate of its people; the processes of dialogue, exchange and political negotiation carried out by CELAC must be done taking into account the following common values and principles: respect for International Law, peaceful settlement of disputes, and the prohibition of the use and the threat of use of force, the respect for self-determination, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the non-interference in the internal affairs of each country, the protection and promotion of human rights and democracy.” (Caracas Declaration, paragraph 23).

The Latin and Caribbean America has resolved to “walk in close ranks, like the silver in the roots of the Andes.”

We have provided ourselves with institutions which allow us to promote unity within our diversity; integrate ourselves and cooperate; discuss, among ourselves, the issues that are germane to us; and be in solidarity to one another to solve the pressing problems that still encumber Latin America and the Caribbean. We intend to develop ourselves, live in peace, protect human dignity and preserve and enrich our culture.

We congratulate ourselves on the fact that CELAC has managed to reach common views in areas such as social development, education, health, environmental protection, energy and finances, among others, and now is preparing to work together in the areas of cooperation, nuclear disarmament, the combat of corruption, agriculture, science and technology.

I hereby pay tribute to President Hugo Chavez Frias, one of the founders and principal architects of CELAC. I can feel his presence among us.

Madam President:

Upon founding CELAC, our Heads of State and Government reiterated, and I quote, “our commitment to the building of a more just, equitable and harmonious international order based on respect for International Law and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, including the sovereign equality of States, the peaceful settlement of disputes, respect for territorial integrity and non-intervention in the internal affairs of States”. (Unity Summit Declaration, preambular paragraph).

They reaffirmed “our commitment to the defense of sovereignty and the right of any State to establish its own political system, free from threats, aggressions and unilateral coercive measures and in an environment of peace, stability, justice, democracy and respect for human rights.” (Unity Summit Declaration, preambular paragraph).

They expressed their conviction that “unity and political, economic, social and cultural integration of Latin America and the Caribbean constitute (…) a requirement for the Region to successfully confront the challenges before us”. (Caracas Declaration, paragraph 7), and determined “to promote and project a unified voice for Latin America and the Caribbean in the discussion of the principal issues, and in the positions of the Region on the relevant global events at international meetings and conferences, as well as in the dialogue with other regions and countries.” (Caracas Declaration, paragraph 9).

Likewise, they reiterated that “CELAC is an important mechanism to promote the interests of developing countries in multilateral organizations to reinforce our capacity to react coordinately to the challenges of a world in the process of a deep economic and political change” as well as “our commitment to strengthen CELAC to promote and project the interests and concerns of Latin America and the Caribbean on the main issues of the international agenda” and “to bring together positions and coordinate ourselves, when possible, at international meetings and conferences of global reach. In that regard, we highlight the efforts developed by the Permanent Representatives of CELAC member States to the United Nations Organization, who have agreed on an internal mechanism for concerted participation in the discussions at the various committees to which the consensual position of CELAC has been put forward. As a result, we commit to strengthen coordination efforts at the United Nations Headquarters, including encouragement of joint initiatives on issues of interest to the region.” (Declaration of Santiago, paragraph 41) End of quote.

On several occasions, CELAC has put forward before the UN its common vision about some of the main challenges faced by the maintenance of international peace and security and the prevention of conflicts.

In relation to the current UN peace-keeping efforts, CELAC believes that, with the purpose of achieving stability in the long term, as well as to prevent the recurrence of conflicts, it is necessary to strengthen the strategic, comprehensive and coordinated presence of the United Nations in the field, not only in the peace-keeping area, which is essential, but also by strengthening national institutions and promoting reconstruction and economic and social development in the areas of conflict. In this regard, CELAC is calling for greater interaction and coordination between member States and all UN relevant organs. Regional and sub-regional organizations have an essential role to play in conformity with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. On this matter, CELAC recognizes in particular the contribution made by the African Union, which has proved to be most useful in some peace-keeping operations, where this cooperation has complemented the UN efforts.

CELAC reiterates that there can be no lasting peace without development and the eradication of poverty, hunger and inequality. This principle is the essence of the solidarity and cooperation of the CELAC members countries towards the sister nation of Haiti –a nation whose heroic role in the independence of the countries of the region continues to inspire our present integration efforts. While recognizing the fundamental role of the UN presence in Haiti through the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the efforts of the international community to support Haiti, CELAC reaffirms that those efforts would be effective as long as they are part of a long-term sustainable project under the leadership and guidance of the Haitian Government, with full respect for its sovereignty.

It is high time for our region to contribute to the “equilibrium of the world” with all the might of its almost 600 million inhabitants who are seeking equal opportunities; its abundant natural resources, over which we shall permanently exercise our sovereignty; its economic capabilities, even in circumstances of global economic crisis; its extraordinary and ancestral culture and the unyielding determination of our peoples to achieve peace, development, justice and progress.

The fact that numerous countries and organizations have found in CELAC a valid interlocutor with Latin America and the Caribbean is a source of satisfaction.

We are pleased that the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States is able to participate in this Security Council debate. CELAC has already started to appear before the United Nations as a united force. Our common stands in numerous topics of interest for the international community portend our possibilities.

At the First CELAC Summit “… we renewed our countries’ commitment to multilateralism and to a comprehensive reform of the United Nations system, and to democratization of international decision making instances, in particular, the Security Council.” (Declaration of Santiago, paragraph 42)

Latin America and the Caribbean is a Zone of Peace, Free from Nuclear Weapons. CELAC has adopted a unanimous position with regard to some far-reaching topics of the international agenda, such as, for example, Argentina’s legitimate claim in the dispute on the sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands and the so-called nuclear disarmament. About Cuba, which keeps up with its struggle, I should say nothing on this occasion in which I am speaking on behalf of CELAC.

Now we must continue to move on. Do not allow any of our differences to stop us. Let us keep united. Do not allow anything to prevent us from honoring the legacy of the Liberators of Our America.

Thank you, very much.

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