Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC
FBIS-LAT-94-115 Daily Report 14 Jun 1994 CARIBBEAN Cuba

Castro Addresses Ibero-American Summit Meeting

CM1506134594 Havana Radio Rebelde Network in Spanish 2300 GMT 14 Jun 94 CM1506134594 Havana Radio Rebelde Network Spanish BFN [Speech by President Fidel Castro at the Fourth Ibero-American Summit at the India Catalina Convention Center in Cartagena de Indias -- live]

[Text] Esteemed President of Colombia Cesar Gaviria, Your Majesty, Excellencies: Our summits, initiated in Guadalajara, have been an inspiring example for our countries to draw closer and to unify. We have reaffirmed our decision to meet without the permission of third countries and without any significant exclusions. Our efforts have borne fruit in many respects; the advances of the Latin American Integration Association, the Andean Group, the Central American Common Market, the Southern Cone Common Market, and the increasingly important Latin American economic system demonstrate this.

It seems that some were worried by this new, independent method of action. Our powerful northern neighbor now calls for another summit that is to take place in Miami, of all places; it is for a mature hemispheric association. There have already been alliances for progress and initiatives for the Americas that no one remembers today. From decade to decade and centery to century, we have gone from slogan to slogan, from deceit to deceit. There were also wars, interventions, and conquest of territories at the expense of our America. What can we expect from that powerful country, invariably expansionistic, egotistic, and hegemonic.

Cuba, a country attacked and blockaded for over 30 years, is prohibited by the alleged owners of the hemisphere to participate in that meeting. How much cowardice, mediocrity, and political poverty is truly reflected by this exclusion. Cuba does not oppose, however, that summit. We are pleased that the brother countries of Latin America and the Caribbean will have an opportunity there to defend with complete firmness and strength the interests of our peoples.

First of all, it is time to demand a right to healthcare; education; an honest paying job; a cultural and ethnic identity; that all forms of racial and sexual discrimination cease, an end to abandoned and homeless children as well as victims of all types of exploitation, violence, and sexual abuse; an end to honger; a cessation of conditions that allow millions of people to die each year who could be saved. These are among the fundamental rights of man and should be respected.

Cuba has resolutedly supported the revolutionary struggle for democratic processes in Central and South America and is happy that the current U.S. Administration will not foster, as others have done, cruel military dictatorships subordinate to U.S. interests. Cuba cannot tolerate U.S. efforts to become the model and supreme judge of Latin American political guidelines.

Cuba determinedly defends the principle of national sovereignty. It would be willing to defer only to a united Latin America, but under no circumstances will it tolerate the meddling of U.S. power circles in the internal affairs of countries in the region.

Nothing would please Cuba more than to see the United States offer all countries of the region, especially the lower income countries, free access to its markets as a contribution to the economic development of those countries.

Cuba also finds foreign investment, including U.S. investments, necessary as a contribution to development on this continent, but Cuba is concerned about the denationalization of important sources of wealth and natural resources, a process under way in the countries of the region.

Trade and foreign investments are not enough to guarantee the development of national economies. It is necessary to increase the influx of development aid, something that the current U.S. Government has reduced.

Now that the Cold War is over, that country should use part of its currently unjustifiable military expenditures to establish a fund to promote the development of Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The United States should foster a radical and definite solution to the region's foreign debt, which is already $487 billion. It should stop using intellectual property as a negotiating weapon. It must derogate the arbitrary Super-301 special disposition that unilaterally punishes trade partners. It must exempt the Latin American and Caribbean countries from the brutal demand of having unrestricted access to services, a demand imposed at the Uruguay Round.

Cuba is happy that the United States is proposing, at least theoretically, the implementation of what it has called second generation economic reforms to resolve the continent's social problems. The resources allocated for this, however, are absolutely insufficient.

Cuba is pleased to hear that the United States wants to modify inter-American security precepts prevalent during the Cold War and to work for a new relationship not connected to the presence of U.S. military bases in the region.

To be consistent with that policy, the United States must dismantle the Guantanamo Naval Base and return to Cuba a territory it has occupied for almost 100 years.

It must withdraw its bases from Panama, as the treaty establishes, and from any other Latin American country.

If the United States is concerned about sustainable development in the region and environmental pollution, it must sign Agenda 21 of the Rio summit.

Cuba agrees with the establishment of mechanisms of hemispheric cooperation to fight drug trafficking. This must not be at the expense of the sovereignty of the involved countries, however.

The concerns of the continent's armed forces which refuse to act as counternarcotics policemen are valid. The demands for a reduction in U.S. drug consumption are also valid.

The United States must change its immigration policies for Latin America and the Caribbean. It must promulgate a law that automatically legalizes the status of citizens from this region who enter the United States, as it is doing with Cuba's citizens.

Now that the Berlin Wall no longer exists, the wall erected along the Mexican-U.S. border should come down.

Cuba deems positive the U.S. idea of convoking the continent's nongovernmental organizations to make recommendations about the agenda, but all such organizations must be invited and the demands of Indians, women, peasant organizations, labor unions, and other representatives of civil societies, who have much to say about the issues to be discussed at the summit, must also be heard without unfair exclusions.

Finally, this is a fitting occasion to demand that the United States comply with the UN resolutions on the criminal and unjust blockade against Cuba, the intention of which is to spill blood and force our people to surrender out of hunger.

If these issues are discussed at the Miami summit, Cuba wishes it success, but if all it comes down to is an attempt to draw lines on the hemisphere, to isolate Cuba, to control the Latin American and Caribbean market, and to check Europe, Japan, and the rest of the world, then we would have to recall what Jose Marti said in judging a similar meeting that took place in Washington 105 years ago: After seeing with inquiring eyes the record, rationale, and factors involved in the invitation, it is necessary to say, because it is true, that the time has come for Spanish America to declare its second independence.

Thank you.