First and utmost, accept our congratulations on your appointment to conduct the work of the Fourth Committee, which we extend to the members of the Bureau.
This year brings us once again to an anniversary that must not go unnoticed in the struggle against colonialism. November 2021 will mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Special Committee on Decolonization pursuant to resolution 1654 (XVI) of 27 November 1961. This anniversary is a propitious occasion to highlight the full validity of its precepts.
The process of decolonization, which made possible the self-determination and independence of many peoples, is one of the most significant transformations of the 20th century. However, multilateral mechanisms are urgently needed to eradicate this scourge still suffered by several territories, including the 17 registered with the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization.
Cuba joins the international call to put an end to colonialism, 61 years after the adoption of the historic "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples", adopted by General Assembly resolution 1514(XV).
The colonial question of Puerto Rico has been considered for over 43 years in the Special Committee on Decolonization. On 18 June, the resolution recognizing for the 39th time the inalienable right of the Puerto Rican people to self-determination and independence was adopted by consensus.
It has been more than 63 years since Puerto Rico was imposed the so-called status of Free Associated State, which attempted to mask the island's colonial situation. The great farce was revealed by the US Supreme Court, the Congress and even by the government itself, when in 2016, they clearly and unequivocally pointed out that Puerto Rico lacks sovereignty of its own and is completely subject to the powers of Washington, that is, it is a US possession, a colonial territory.
Puerto Rico is a Latin American and Caribbean nation, with its own unmistakable national identity, which Puerto Ricans have been able to defend despite the long process of colonization to which they have been subjected. The current status prevents the Puerto Rican people from making sovereign decisions to meet their needs and define their future, especially to address the economic and social problems that affect them.
Cuba upholds the right of the people of the Western Sahara to self-determination on the basis of respect for the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the relevant UN resolutions. We call for a mutually acceptable political solution between the parties, which envisages the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV).
We support the legitimate right of the Republic of Argentina in the sovereignty dispute over the Falkland (Malvinas), South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas, which are part of its national territory. We reiterate the call for a negotiated, just and definitive solution to the question of the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands as soon as possible.
Cuba's commitment and solidarity with the peoples from the non-self-governing territories has been shown over the years also through cooperation actions.
As is customary, Cuba's contributions in this area are contained in the Report on Offers by Member States of study and training facilities for inhabitants of Non-Self-Governing Territories, this time under the symbol A/76/72. A total of 2073 scholarship recipients from Non-Self-Governing Territories have graduated in Cuba to date. Seventy-six students from the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic are currently studying in Cuban institutions of the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Higher Education, and another 23 new scholarships were offered for the current academic year.
We commend the work of UNRWA and its staff, who have carried out effective work, despite having scarce financial resources.
We reiterate our rejection of the so-called "Deal of the Century", which disregards the two-State solution that has enjoyed the historic support of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other international actors.
The unilateral action of the United States government to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to establish its diplomatic representation in that city, disrespecting its historical status, as well as the decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Syrian Golan, constitute flagrant violations of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the relevant Security Council resolutions.
Cuba will continue to support a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, on the basis of two States, which would allow the Palestinians the right to self-determination, to establish a free, independent and sovereign State, with its capital in East Jerusalem and with the pre-1967 borders; as well as the right to return of the refugees.
Cuba advocates the legitimate right of all States to have access to outer space under conditions of equality and without discrimination, while reiterating our opposition to its militarization. That is why Cuba urges the strengthening of the applicable legal regime with the adoption of a multilateral treaty for the prevention and prohibition of the placement of weapons in space.
With regard to special political missions, we appreciate that they are part of the United Nations response to the growing challenges to world peace and security. In the recent past, Special Political Missions have been established by the Security Council. Cuba reaffirms the decisive role of the General Assembly in the adoption, implementation and follow-up of special political missions, so that the considerations of each Member State are taken into account, in a fully democratic exercise.
We reaffirm the role of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, as the only UN forum with a mandate to comprehensively consider the issue of PKOs in all its aspects. PKOs must include realistic and feasible mandates, as well as specific and clearly defined objectives. The principles of impartiality, consent of the parties and non-use of force, except for the cases of self-defense, must continue to guide the work of the PKOs. We reject the manipulation of issues related to the protection of civilians and human rights in general, for the purposes of achieving political objectives and interfering in the internal affairs of States.
As recognized within the framework of the Committee on Information, the new Information and Communications Technologies must be made available to all countries without discrimination.
It is virtually impossible to advance in the development of information and communications technologies when illegal unilateral coercive measures, such as the blockade imposed by the United States government against Cuba for almost 60 years, are applied against countries.
We strongly reject the systematic radio and television aggression of the United States against Cuba, which contravenes the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and various provisions of the International Telecommunication Union. On average, in 2021, 2140 weekly hours have been illegally broadcasted from the territory of the United States to Cuba through 22 frequencies.
Likewise, Cuba rejects the decision to establish a "Cuba Internet Task Force", with the declared objective of promoting a "free and unregulated flow of information in Cuba".
In contrast, my country is committed to continuing to promote access to new technologies and to improve the development of telecommunications infrastructure and services for all. An example of this is the progress made in e-government in Cuba, which is included as a project in the country's National Program for Economic and Social Development until 2030.