NEW YORK: Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez Parilla, has called for a reform of the United Nations, starting with the 15-member Security Council, saying that the Secretary-General should be “an advocator and guarantor of international peace and security”.
While addressing the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly Debate last weekend, Rodríguez Parilla said the UN needs to defend its principles.
“The Security Council should be rebuilt upon democracy, transparency, a fair representation of the countries of the South that are discriminated against among Permanent and Non-Permanent Members, credibility, strict observance of the United Nations Charter, without double standards, obscure procedures or the anachronistic veto,” he said. “The General Assembly is to exercise the prerogatives entrusted to it by the Charter given the currently dangerous and unstable international situation, which is full of threats and challenges.”
Rodríguez Parilla also called on the international community to “respond vigorously” to the UN appeal for help to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
“It is urgent to consider Sub-Saharan Africa a priority. It is necessary to jointly and resolutely confront, through a sufficient and genuine co-operation, the Ebola epidemic that is affecting some countries of the continent,” he said.
Rodríguez Parilla said that Cuba decided to maintain its medical cooperation in 32 African countries where more than 4,000 Cuban specialists are working and expand it, under the leadership of the World Health Organization (WHO), to other affected countries.
“We call upon the international community, particularly the industrialized countries with abundant resources, to vigorously respond to the appeal launched by the United Nations and the WHO, so that it could be possible to immediately count on the financial, health and scientific resources required to eradicate that scourge and prevent it from taking a higher toll on human lives,” he said.
Rodríguez Parilla said “all the necessary resources should be contributed” in support of the Agenda 2063 of the African Union, which has established the roadmap for the development of that region.
In five decades, he said 325,000 Cuban health workers have assisted 158 nations of the South, including 39 African countries, where 76,000 cooperation workers have served.
Rodríguez Parilla said a total of 38,000 medical doctors have been trained, free of charge, in 121 countries – 3,392 of them from 45 African nations.
“If Cuba, a small and blockaded country, has been able to do it, how much else could be done in favour of Africa with the co-operation from all of us, particularly from the wealthiest states?” he asked.
On the eve of observing the International Decade of Afro-descendants (2015-2024), Rodríguez Parilla reminded the global body that that this year marks the 210th anniversary of the independence of Haiti, “whose revolution for independence and against slavery was the forerunner of all liberation movements in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Haiti deserves a special contribution for its reconstruction and development, under the sovereign leadership of its government, for which we call upon the entire international community. We support the Caribbean’s claim for reparations from the colonial powers for the horrors of slavery,” he said.
Stating that the U.S. State Department has again included Cuba in its “unilateral and arbitrary list of States that sponsor international terrorism,” Rodríguez Parilla said the department’s “true purpose is to increase the persecution of our international financial transactions in the whole world and justify the blockade policy”.
However, he said Cuba is ready to re-establish diplomatic relations with the U.S.
“Cuba, for its part, keeps calm and ready to establish a mutually respectful and responsible dialogue with the U.S. Government based on reciprocity,” said Rodríguez Parilla.