President Miguel Díaz-Canel speaks before the General Assembly of the United Nations. Photo: Cuba Presidency

Speech delivered by Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, at the General Debate of the 78th Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, on September 19, 2023, "Year 65 of the Revolution".

(Shorthand versions - Presidency of the Republic)

Mr President;

Mr. Secretary-General;


I bring to this Assembly the voice of the South, that of the 'exploited and the vilified', as Che Guevara was heard saying in this very Chamber almost 60 years ago.

Diverse peoples with common problems. We have just confirmed this in Havana, which was honoured to host the Summit of leaders and other high-ranking representatives of the Group of 77 and China, the most representative, broad and diverse grouping of nations in the multilateral sphere.

For two days, practically without rest, more than 100 representatives of the 134 nations that make up the Group raised their voices to demand changes that can no longer be postponed in the unjust, irrational and abusive international economic order, which has deepened, year after year, the enormous inequalities between a minority of highly developed nations and a majority that fails to overcome the euphemism of "developing nations".

Worse still, as the Secretary General of the United Nations recognized at the Havana Summit, the G77 was founded six decades ago to remedy centuries of injustice and neglect and in today's turbulent world its members are entangled in a tangle of global crises, where poverty is increasing and hunger is increasing.

We were united by the need to change what has not been solved and the condition of main victims of the current global multidimensional crisis, of the abusive unequal exchange, of the scientific and technological gap and of the degradation of the environment.

But we have also been united, for more than half a century, by the inescapable challenge and determination to transform the current international order, which, in addition to being exclusive and irrational, is unsustainable for the planet and unviable for the well-being of all.

The countries represented in the G77 and China, where 80% of the world's population lives, not only have the challenge of development, but also the responsibility to change the structures that marginalize us from global progress and turn many peoples of the South into laboratories of renewed forms of domination. A new and fairer global contract is urgently needed.

Mr. President,

With only seven years to go before the deadline set for the fulfillment of the hopeful 2030 Agenda, the outlook is grim. This august institution has already recognized it: at the current rate, none of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals will be achieved and more than half of the 169 agreed targets will be unmet.

In the twenty-first century, it offends the human condition that almost 800 million people suffer from hunger on a planet that produces enough to feed everyone. Or that in the era of knowledge and accelerated development of information and communication technologies, more than 760 million people, two thirds of them women, cannot read or write.

The efforts of developing countries are not enough to implement the 2030 Agenda. They must be backed by concrete actions on market access, financing on fair and preferential terms, technology transfer and North-South cooperation.

We are not begging or begging for favors. The G77 demands rights and will continue to demand a profound transformation of the current international financial architecture, because it is deeply unjust, anachronistic and dysfunctional; because it was designed to profit from the reserves of the South, perpetuate a system of domination that increases underdevelopment and reproduce a model of modern colonialism.

We need and demand financial institutions in which our countries have real decision-making capacity and access to financing.

There is an urgent need for a recapitalization of the Multilateral Development Banks to radically improve their lending conditions and meet the financial needs of the South.

The countries in this group have had to allocate 379 billion dollars of their reserves to defend their currencies in 000, almost double the amount of new Special Drawing Rights allocated to them by the International Monetary Fund.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel speaks before the General Assembly of the United Nations. Photo: Luis De Jesús

There is a need to rationalise, review and change the role of credit rating agencies. It was also imperative to establish criteria that went beyond gross domestic product to define developing countries' access to concessional financing and adequate technical cooperation.

While the richest countries fail to meet their commitment to allocate at least 0.7% of their gross national product to Official Development Assistance, the nations of the South have to spend up to 14% of their income to pay interest associated with external debt.

Most G77 nations are compelled to devote more resources to debt servicing than to investments in health or education. What sustainable development can be achieved with that noose around his neck?

The Group today reiterates its call to public, multilateral and private creditors to refinance debt through credit guarantees, lower interest rates and longer maturities.

We insist on the implementation of a multilateral sovereign debt workout mechanism with the effective participation of the countries of the South, which allows for fair, balanced and development-oriented treatment.

It is imperative to redesign debt instruments once and for all and include activation clauses to provide relief and restructuring, as soon as a country is affected by natural disasters or macroeconomic shocks, problems so common in the most vulnerable nations.

Mr. President,

No sensible person disputes that climate change threatens the survival of all, with irreversible effects.

It is also no secret that those least influential in the climate crisis suffer the most, particularly Small Island Developing States. Meanwhile, industrialized countries, voracious predators of resources and the environment, shirk their greatest responsibility and fail to meet their commitment under the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.

To cite just one example, it is deeply disappointing that the goal of mobilising no less than $100 billion a year and by 000 as climate finance has never been met.

Looking ahead to the 28th Conference of States Parties to the Framework Convention (COP28), the Global Review exercise will be priorities for the countries of the Group of 77; operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund; the definition of the framework for the Adaptation Goal and the establishment of a new climate finance target, with full adherence to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

The G77 is convening a Summit of Southern Leaders, to be held on December 2 in the context of COP28, in Dubai. This initiative, unprecedented in the framework of a Conference of the Parties, will be a space to articulate the positions of our Group at the highest level in the context of the climate negotiations.

COP28 will thus demonstrate, beyond the speeches, that there is a real political will of the developed nations to reach the urgent agreements that are required in this matter if they act in this way.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel speaks before the General Assembly of the United Nations. Photo: Cuba Presidency

Mr. President,

For the G77, it is a priority task to change once and for all the paradigms of science, technology and innovation, which are limited to the environments and perspectives of the North, thus depriving the international scientific community of considerable intellectual capital.

The successful Summit in Havana launched an urgent call to nuclear science, technology and innovation around the inalienable goal of sustainable development.

There we decided to resume the work of the Consortium of Science, Technology and Innovation for the South, in order to promote joint research projects and promote productive chains that reduce dependence on Northern markets.

We also agree to promote the convening, by 2025, of a High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization on Science, Technology and Innovation for Development.

The 17 cooperation projects that Cuba has formed within the framework of its G77 Presidency will contribute to channeling and triangulating the potential of South-South cooperation. We urge wealthier nations and international agencies to participate in these initiatives.

Cuba will continue its efforts to boost the creative potential, influence and leadership of the G77. Our Group has much to contribute to multilateralism, stability, justice and rationality that the world needs today.

🎥| @DiazCanelB: #Cuba will continue to strengthen its democracy and its socialist model, which although under siege, has shown how much a developing country with small dimensions and little natural wealth can do." #DíazCanelEnONU 🇨🇺 #UNGA #ElSurTambiénExiste

— Presidency Cuba 🇨🇺 (@PresidenciaCuba) September 19, 2023


In addition to all the problems and challenges that characterize the reality of our nations and mobilize peoples, unilateral coercive measures, euphemistically called sanctions, have become the practice of powerful States that seek to act as universal judges to weaken and destroy economies and isolate and subjugate sovereign States.

Cuba no es el primer Estado soberano contra el que se lanzan medidas de ese carácter, pero es el que por más tiempo las ha soportado, a despecho de la condena mundial que cada año se manifiesta de manera casi unánime en esta Asamblea, irrespetada y desoída en su voluntad expresa por el Gobierno de la mayor potencia económica, financiera y militar del mundo.

No fuimos los primeros y no somos los últimos.  Las presiones para aislar y debilitar economías y Estados soberanos, hoy afectan también a Venezuela, a Nicaragua y, antes y después, han sido el preludio de invasiones y derrocamientos de gobiernos “incómodos” en el Oriente Medio.

We reject the unilateral coercive measures imposed on countries such as Zimbabwe, Syria, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Iran, among many other countries whose peoples suffer the negative impact of them.

We reiterate our solidarity with the cause of the Palestinian people.

We support the right to self-determination of the Saharawi people.

Let us fight for a world of peace without wars and conflicts!

Five years ago I spoke for the first time from this podium, where the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, and Army General Raúl Castro Ruz were previously present, to expose those truths and the ideals of peace and justice of a small archipelago that has resisted and will resist at the height of dignity. the courage and unwavering steadfastness of its people and its history.

But I cannot pass through this world rostrum without denouncing, once again, that for 60 years Cuba has suffered a suffocating economic blockade, designed to depress its income and standard of living, suffer continuous shortages of food, medicine and other basic inputs and restrict its development potential.

That is the nature and these are the objectives of the policy of economic coercion and maximum pressure applied by the Government of the United States against Cuba, in violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

There is not a single measure or action by Cuba to harm the United States, to harm its economic sector, its commercial activity or its social fabric.

There is no act by Cuba that threatens the independence of the United States, its national security, harms its sovereign rights, interferes in its internal affairs or affects the well-being of its people. U.S. conduct is absolutely one-sided and unjustified.

The Cuban people resist and win creatively every day in the face of this ruthless economic war, which since 2019, in the midst of the pandemic, opportunistically escalated to an even more extreme, cruel and inhumane dimension. The affectations are brutal!

The United States Government pressured entities not to provide the medical oxygen and pulmonary ventilators needed in Cuba to face the pandemic peak.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel speaks before the General Assembly of the United Nations. Photo: Cuba Presidency

Our Cuban scientists created the vaccines and developed the pulmonary ventilators that saved the country and that we made available to other countries around the world!

With viciousness and surgical precision, Washington and Florida have calculated how to inflict as much harm as possible on Cuban families.

The United States pursues and has sought to prevent supplies of fuel and lubricants to our country, an action that would seem unthinkable in peacetime.

In a globalized world, it is not only absurd, but criminal, to prohibit access to technologies, including medical equipment, that have more than 10% American components.

His action against the medical cooperation provided by Cuba in numerous nations is shameful. It goes so far as to openly threaten sovereign governments for requesting that contribution and responding to the public health needs of their populations.

The United States deprives its citizens of the right to travel to Cuba, in defiance of its own Constitution.

The tightening of the blockade has had an impact on the high migratory flows registered in our country in recent years, which represents a painful cost for Cuban families and adverse demographic and economic consequences for the nation.

The United States Government was lying and doing enormous damage to international efforts to combat terrorism when it baselessly accused Cuba of being a sponsor of that scourge.

Protected by that arbitrary and fraudulent accusation, they extort hundreds of banking and financial entities in all parts of the world and force them to choose between continuing their relations with the United States or maintaining their ties with Cuba.

Our country is suffering a real siege, a cruel and silent extraterritorial economic war. It is accompanied by a powerful political machinery of destabilization, with millionaire funds approved by the United States Congress, in order to capitalize on the shortcomings caused by the blockade and undermine the constitutional order of the country and citizen tranquility.

Despite the hostility of your government, we will continue to build bridges with the people of the United States, as we do with all the peoples of the world.

We will strengthen, more and more, the links with Cuban emigration in any corner of the planet.

Mr. Chairman,

The promotion and protection of human rights is a common ideal, which demands a genuine spirit of respect and constructive dialogue among States.

Unfortunately, 75 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the reality is very different. This issue has become a political weapon of powerful nations that seek to submit to their geopolitical designs independent nations, mainly from the South.

No country is exempt from challenges, just as no country has the authority to consider itself a paradigm on human rights and stigmatize other models, cultures or sovereign States.

We defend dialogue and cooperation as effective ways for the promotion and protection of human rights, without politicization or selectivity; without the application of double standards, conditions or pressure.

In that spirit, Cuba has presented its candidacy to the Human Rights Council for the period 2024-2026, in the elections that will take place on October 10. We thank you in advance for the confidence of the countries that have already given us their valuable support.

If elected, Cuba's voice will continue to be raised with a universal vision, always from the South, in favor of the legitimate interests of developing countries, from constructive commitment and unwavering responsibility for the full realization of all human rights for all.

Cuba will continue to strengthen its democracy and its socialist model, which, although under siege, has shown how much a developing country with small dimensions and scarce natural wealth can do.

We will continue our transformative process in the search for ways out of the siege imposed on us by US imperialism and ways to achieve the prosperity with social justice that our people deserve.

In that endeavour, we will never give up the right to defend ourselves!

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Heads of Delegation and other representatives,

I conclude by extending an invitation to everyone to work to overcome differences and face common challenges together, with a sense of urgency. To that end, the United Nations and this General Assembly, even with their limitations, are the most powerful instrument at our disposal.

Always count on Cuba to defend multilateralism and together promote peace and sustainable development for all!

It will always be an honor to fight for justice, sharing difficulties and challenges with the peoples of the South, ready to change history! And we will overcome!

Thank you very much (Applause).