From: Art b Rosenblum <email@example.com> Date: 08 September 2000 14:33
Subject: Fidel Castro Speaks to the U.N.
In case you haven't heard, Dr. Fidel Castro is one of the world's most
long-winded speakers. In Cuba he goes on for hours. All expect that.
Well, today each of the 150 or so world leaders meeting at the U.N.
Millennium summit were given just five minutes to say their thing. Clinton,
of course was one of the first and spoke for nine minutes about achieving
Middle East peace. He got a polite applause.
Finally Dr. Castro rose, took out a handkerchief and covered the clock,
saying "You won't need this". There was laughter. He then spoke for only 3
1/2 minutes and received an entusiastic standing ovation.
Here's the translation:
TRANSLATION OF THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE COUNCIL OF STATE SPEECH:
In our world, chaos reigns within and beyond borders. Blind laws are
presented as divine norms that will bring the peace, order, well-being and
security so much needed by our planet. That is what they want us to
believe. The 30 developed and wealthy nations which have the monopoly over
economic, technological and political power are meeting here with us to
offer us more of the same prescriptions that have only served to make us
steadily poorer, more exploited and more dependent. There has not even been
any mention of radically reforming this longstanding institution, which
came into existence more than 50 years ago when there were only a few
independent countries, of converting it into an agency which is truly
representative of the interests of all the peoples of the world, without
anybody having access to irritating and undemocratic veto power, and of
initiating a sane process to extend the number of members and the the
representativity of the Security Council, and convert it into an executive
body subordinate to the General Assembly, which should make the decisions
on issues as vital as intervention and the use of force. We have to state
with total conviction that the principle of sovereignty cannot be
sacrificed to an exploiting and unjust order in which a hegemonic
superpower, with the backing of its power and force, attempts to decide
everything. Cuba will never accept that.
The fundamental causes of current conflicts are to be found in the poverty
and underdevelopment prevailing in the immense majority of countries, and
in the unequal distribution of wealth and knowledge reigning in the world.
It should not be forgotten that this underdevelopment and poverty are the
direct consequence of the colonial powers' conquest, colonization, slavery
and plunder of most of the earth, the emergence of imperialism and bloody
wars fought in order to carve up the world again and again. Today they have
the moral responsibility to compensate our countries for the damage they
have inflicted on them over centuries. Humanity must become aware of what
we have been and what we continue to be.
Today, our species has acquired sufficient knowledge, ethical values and
scientific resources to advance toward a new historical stage of genuine
justice and humanism. Nothing in the existing economic and political order
is of service to humanity. It cannot be sustained. It has to be changed. It
is enough to recall that we are now six billion inhabitants, 80% of whom
are poor. Centuries-old diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and other
equally mortal illnesses have not been overcome in the Third World nations;
new epidemics like AIDS are threatening to extinguish entire populations,
while the rich nations are investing fabulous sums in military spending and
luxuries, and every day a voracious plague of speculators are exchanging
currencies, stocks and other real or fictitious assets valued at trillions
of dollars. Nature has been destroyed, the climate is visibly changing,
water for human consumption is contaminated and insufficient, the oceans'
source of food for humans is being exhausted, nonrenewable and vital
resources are being squandered on luxuries and vanities. Anyone can
comprehend that the fundamental objective of the United Nations in the
century which is upon us is that of saving the world, not only from
warfare, but from underdevelopment, hunger, disease, poverty and the
destruction of the natural resources indispensable for human existence.
And this must be done in haste, before it is too late! The dream of
attaining norms that are truly just and rational to rule over human destiny
would appear to many as an impossible one. Our conviction is that the
struggle for the impossible should be the theme of this institution which
has brought us together today! Thank you very much.
(I'm told it was a standing ovation received by very few - Art.)
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