Statement by Ambassador Pedro L. Pedroso Cuesta, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations, at the debate of the eleventh emergency special session of the UN General Assembly. Consideration of draft resolution A/ES-11/L.6 “Furtherance of remedy and reparation for aggression against Ukraine”. New York, 14 November 2022.
Cuba upholds the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all States and the strict respect for the Charter of the United Nations and international law, in all circumstances.
We will always defend peace and the peaceful resolution of conflicts and we will oppose the threat or use of force. In this context, we will continue to advocate for a serious, constructive and realistic diplomatic solution to the current crisis in Ukraine, by peaceful means and with unrestricted adherence to the norms of international law, which guarantees the security and sovereignty of all, as well as regional and international peace and security.
Our country is firmly committed to international humanitarian law and calls on all parties to protect the civilian population, their property and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. We deeply regret the loss of innocent lives in that country.
We support efforts to alleviate the humanitarian situation and minimize the suffering of the population in the conflict zones. In this context, we recognize the contribution of the humanitarian entities of the United Nations system.
At the same time, we reject double standards, partiality, selectivity and discriminatory and opportunistic approaches that are intended to be imposed in this Assembly.
The draft resolution submitted to us is an example of this.
There are many cases at the international level of legitimate claims for compensation for damages and reparations filed for many years by Member States, without any progress being made.
It is ironic, to say the least, to note that some of those who strongly oppose the consideration of these cases are among the main promoters of the draft we are discussing today.
Cuba defends the legitimate right to just compensation, but we should begin by listing and addressing the historical, accumulated and totally ignored cases.
We strongly support the just demand that year after year the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) present before this Assembly for economic compensation for the damages and horrors of the transatlantic slave trade and the genocide of their native peoples, caused by the former metropolises.
Seventy million aborigines were massacred as a consequence of European conquest and colonization, and tens of millions of Africans were sent across the Atlantic as slaves.
Yet nothing has been done. On the contrary, we are witnessing the opulent selfishness and impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these crimes against humanity associated with the historical development of capitalism.
The same silence and reluctance to act are evident with respect to the legitimate demands of our brother African and indigenous peoples for reparations for the historical wrongs caused by colonialism during 500 years of plunder and ignominy.
We demand reparations for the inhuman exploitation of three continents, which forces more than 6.2 billion people to live the challenges of underdevelopment. Poverty is not a divine punishment. Its origins date back to the beginning and development of colonization. The technical and financial resources exist, if there is a real will to start paying for the damages.
It is ironic that several of the proponents of the draft resolution under consideration today have obstructed the inclusion of an item on the agenda of the COP27 negotiations for the discussion of a financial mechanism for compensation for loss and damage caused by climate change.
We demand that the call of developing countries for the creation of such a compensation mechanism, particularly for Small Island Developing States, be urgently addressed.
The General Assembly has never established a mechanism for compensation for damages and reparations to Member States suffering the terrible consequences of unilateral coercive measures contrary to the Charter and international law, including genocidal economic, commercial and financial blockades.
Would Cuba be compensated for the damages accumulated during six decades of application of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on us by the United States? Would the government of the United States meet the just demand of the people of Cuba for compensation for the lives of the 3,478 Cubans killed and the 2,099 disabled as a result of terrorist acts? Or will the United States compensate Cuba for the illegal occupation of part of our national territory in the province of Guantanamo?
Would the General Assembly demand that the United States compensate Mexico for the annexation of half of Mexico's territory? Would the General Assembly support the United States compensating the Vietnamese people for the lives lost, the diseases that still affect many today and the economic damage caused by the use of Agent Orange during the imperialist intervention in Vietnam?
Why are the just claims for compensation and reparations of the Pacific Islands, victims of radiation and contamination caused by many of the more than 2,000 nuclear weapons tests conducted since 1947, continuing to be ignored?
When will the families of the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed, who joined the list of so-called "collateral damage" and the millions of displaced persons, due to the aggressions against Iraq, Libya or Afghanistan, be compensated?
How much and how is compensation for the life of a Palestinian child and the killing and imprisonment of the Palestinian civilian population being considered?
Will Syria be compensated for the damage to its patrimony, economy and population as a consequence of the war that has been imposed on that nation?
Limiting and accelerating the creation of a reparations mechanism in a given conflict, while continuing to ignore many other legitimate and well-documented historical grievances, is not only unjust and morally unacceptable, but also does serious damage to the credibility of the General Assembly.
I thank you.