Fidel Castro Speaks in Defence of the
Rights of Worlds People
"While before we spoke of apartheid in Africa, today we
can speak of apartheid in a world where four billion people are deprived of the
most elemental human rights: to life, health care, education, safe drinking
water, housing, employment, and hope for their own and their childrens
future," emphasised President Fidel Castro during the closing session of
the South Summit on April 14.
"We are struggling for the poor countries most
sacred rights, but also for the salvation of the First World, which is
incapable of guaranteeing the existence of the human species, of governing
itself amidst its contradictions and selfish interests. Only through our
struggle can we keep the boat which is this world from crashing into an iceberg
and drowning us all," he insisted.
Speaking to the heads of state and government and
delegations attending the first summit of the Group of 77, Fidel reiterated the
proposals and aspirations of the developing countries in their struggle for
achieving development in a globalised world with an unequal and unjust economic
At the start of his speech, which lasted barely 20 minutes,
Fidel expressed his admiration for the unity of criteria he observed among the
leaders of the Group of 77. He noted that the Summits discussions
revealed the talent of the leaders of this community of nations, and their
ability to bring together ideas and experiences. At the same time, the
discussions confirmed the depth of the crisis facing these nations and the
difficulties and calamities their peoples suffer.
Fidel noted the unanimous opinion that globalisation
benefits only 20% of the world population, barely aiding the other 80%, and
that the gap between rich and poor countries is growing larger.
There is also unanimity, he noted, around the idea that the
United Nations and the international financial system should be transformed.
He denounced the trade system which is unequal and unjust
for the countries of the South, the failure to provide promised government
development aid, difficulties in gaining access to know-how and technology, and
the shameless brain drain.
He said that there is a widespread demand that the Third
World debt should be considerably reduced, if not completely eliminated, which
would be the fairest thing to do. Just 1% of the income from speculative
operations would be enough to finance the development of the poor countries.
"Dont listen to anyone who tells you that it wouldnt be
possible," the Cuban president warned.
He charged that in this century of great advances in
communications and science, there are still hundreds of millions of people who
are hungry, malnourished, illiterate, unemployed or sick. Furthermore, there
are colossal numbers of children with insufficient weights and heights for
their age, without schools or medical care, and obliged to do hard labour.
Fidel summarised the consensus of this summit, which was
aimed at joining forces, strategies and forms of co-ordinating efforts, with
the goal of guaranteeing the Souths economic rights.