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In the face of attempts to defame Cuba and overshadow our achievements, we will defend the truth

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, during the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council, called for international cooperation in the struggle for a just, democratic and equitable international order, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rodríguez, also a member of the Party Political Bureau, recalled that the pandemic has exacerbated the serious problems and challenges humanity faces, and has revealed new threats, including the fragility of health systems, emphasizing, “The promotion, protection and respect for the right to health acquire special relevance in this context.”

He noted, “In Cuba, the existence of a free, quality universal public health system guarantees the right to health for all Cubans,” and although this reality has not entirely prevented lamentable loss of lives, it has allowed us to confront the pandemic and achieve positive results.

Referring to Cuba’s medical development, Rodriguez pointed out, “Today we have four anti- COVID candidate vaccines in different phases of clinical trials, thanks to the development of Cuban science and the selfless work of our scientists. We expect to immunize the entire Cuban population this year.”

Rodriguez continued his remarks noting that 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 implementation of ruthless neoliberal policies that impact the most vulnerable with even greater force, making their most basic rights impossible dreams,” he stated.

He recalled that ten of the richest nations in the West are monopolizing means to fight the disease, purchasing 95% of the anti- COVID vaccines produced on the planet, according to data provided by the World Health Organization in January.

“Prioritizing personal interests over the general welfare will increase suffering and deaths, even in industrialized countries.”

Rodriguez pointed out that Cuba, from the very beginning of the pandemic, has shared its experience in confronting epidemics, and sent 56 medical brigades from the Henry Reeve International Contingent to 40 countries and territories to confront the new coronavirus.

“Politically motivated, slanderous campaigns against this cooperation will go unheard in the world’s nations, which can always count on the solidarity, altruism and humanism of Cuban health professionals,” he stated.

“We continue to advance in the construction of an independent, sovereign, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable nation, based on the proven resilience and creativity of our people, in spite of the cruel economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the U.S., tightened to an extreme level by the outgoing administration of President Donald Trump. The most recent example was the inclusion of Cuba on the spurious unilateral list of state sponsors of terrorism,” he said.

Speaking during the virtual meeting of the Human Rights Council, composed of 47 member states including Cuba, Rodriguez reaffirmed that although some attempt to distort Cuba’s reality and subvert our constitutional order, “We will continue with firm steps, perfecting our economic and social development model, and strengthening our legal-institutional framework for the protection and promotion of all human rights for all, guided by the new Constitution of the Republic.”

Since its establishment in November of 2019, the National Program against Racism and Racial Discrimination is working to combat and eliminate any vestige of such behaviors.

Also adopted as a government program, in the same month of 2020, the National Plan for the Advancement of Women was launched, to continue promoting the advancement of Cuban women, beyond the remarkable achievements made by the country in terms of gender equality.

He stated that Cuba has given irrefutable proof of its firm commitment to the promotion and protection of the human rights of its people and other peoples of the world. The manipulation of this noble cause for perverse political interests is unacceptable.

“In the face of attempts to defame the nation and overshadow our indisputable achievements in the field of human rights, we will defend the truth and never renounce our sovereignty and independence,” he asserted.

He reiterated that Cuba, as a member country of the Human Rights Council, will speak with its own voice, defending respectful and constructive dialogue, as opposed to punitive approaches, political manipulation and selectivity; and assured that the Cuban government will continue to honor its commitment to cooperate with all human rights mechanisms of universal application.

The Foreign Minister concluded insisting that the peoples of the world demand deeds, not words; solutions, not promises. They deserve a dignified life and a better world, which is possible. “We can only move forward if we put a global and united response to the challenges imposed on us above our differences.”



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