Statement by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba at the 46th Period of Sessions of the Human Rights Council
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the serious problems and colossal challenges that humanity already faced and revealed new threats, including the fragility of health systems. The promotion, protection and respect of the right to health acquire special relevance in this context.
In Cuba, the existence of a free health system, of quality and universal scope, guarantees the right to health of all Cubans and, although we regret the loss of life, it has allowed us to face the pandemic with positive results. Today we have four vaccine candidates against COVID-19 in different phases of clinical trials, thanks to the development of Cuban science and the selfless work of our scientists. We hope this year to immunize the entire Cuban population.
The pandemic has triggered a serious economic and social crisis. Inequalities, hunger and discrimination are growing exponentially, in a world already burdened by an unjust and undemocratic international order and by the application of a ruthless neoliberalism that impacts with force majeure on the most vulnerable and turns their most elementary rights into chimeras .
We observe how the richest nations in the West try to hoard the means to fight the disease. As reported in January by the World Health Organization, only ten countries had purchased 95% of the COVID-19 vaccines produced on the planet.
Privileging petty interests over the general welfare will increase suffering and deaths, even in industrialized countries. The internationalization of cooperation is urgent. It is imperative to fight for the establishment of a fair, democratic and equitable international order.
Cuba, in solidarity, shared its experience in dealing with epidemics from the beginning and has sent 56 medical brigades from the “Henry Reeve” International Contingent to 40 countries and territories.
The politically motivated slanderous campaigns against Cuban medical cooperation will never have an echo in the nations of the world that can always count on the solidarity, altruism and humanism of Cuban health professionals.
We continue to advance in the construction of an independent, sovereign, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation, based on the proven capacity of resistance and creativity of our people, even despite the cruel economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the The United States, exacerbated to extreme levels by the outgoing government of President Donald Trump. The most recent example was the inclusion of Cuba in the unilateral and spurious list of States Sponsoring Terrorism.
When some try to distort our reality and subvert the constitutional order, we continue and will continue with a firm step perfecting our model of economic and social development, and strengthening the legal-institutional framework for the protection and promotion of all human rights for all, guided by the new Constitution of the Republic.
Since November 2019, the National Program against Racism and Racial Discrimination has been in force, to combat and eliminate any vestige of this manifestation. It is coordinated by a National Commission headed by the President of the Republic.
Also as a government program, in the same month of 2020, the National Plan for the Advancement of Women was approved, to continue promoting the advancement of Cuban women, beyond the notable achievements made by the country in terms of gender equality .
Cuba has demonstrated its firm commitment to the promotion and protection of the human rights of its people and of other peoples of the world. The manipulation of this noble cause based on twisted political interests is unacceptable. In the face of attempts to denigrate the nation and overshadow its indisputable achievements in the field of human rights, we will defend our truth and we will never renounce our sovereignty and independence.
As a member country of the Human Rights Council, we will speak with our own voice, we will defend respectful and constructive dialogue, as opposed to punitive approaches, political manipulation and selectivity. We will work to strengthen international cooperation and solidarity for the effective promotion and protection of all human rights for all.
Also, we will continue to honor our commitments to cooperate with all universally applicable human rights mechanisms.
The peoples of the world demand deeds, not words; they demand solutions, not promises. They deserve a dignified life and a better world, which is possible. We can only advance if we put before