Address by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, at the Conference on Disarmament Geneva, February 2020
Preserving multilateralism and respect for the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and international law is essential in an increasingly dangerous and complex international scenario, where the security and well-being of our nations face unprecedented challenges.
Wars of pillage and the arms race are proliferating, unconventional warfare, acts of aggression, unilateral sanctions, the manipulation and politicization of human rights and disrespect for the right to self-determination of peoples are intensifying.
The development of new nuclear weapons systems and the modernization of existing forces and arsenals; the strengthening of the role of those weapons in the military defence and security doctrines of the United States, the largest nuclear arsenal holder; the increase in its military expenditure; the threats of military intervention and the disregard for international commitments in the area of disarmament and arms control, undermine international peace and security and erode the United Nations disarmament mechanisms.
In 2018, the global military budget amounted to $1.8 trillion. US military spending grew, for the first time since 2010, by 4.6%, reaching $649 billion in 2018. It is alarming that every year exorbitant sums are invested in the war industry, instead of spending those resources on promoting peace, combating hunger and poverty and implementing Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
In this context, the conduct of the current United States government and its strategy of military domination, which maintains more than 800 military bases and institutions around the world, is generating deep concern; it is advancing projects for the militarization of outer space and cyberspace, and is covertly and illegally using information and communication technologies to attack other States.
We reject the decision of the United States Government to withdraw from the Treaty on Short- and Intermediate-Range Missiles signed with the Soviet Union in 1987, as well as from the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan or Nuclear Agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The international community cannot remain passive or silent in the face of the threat posed by the US Nuclear Posture Review, which lowers the threshold for consideration of the use of nuclear weapons, even in response to so-called “strategic non-nuclear threats”.
We urge the US government to renew the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START III) with Russia.
In order to meet the challenges facing humanity, we stress the importance of preserving the agreements on disarmament and arms regulation, which are the result of international cooperation and multilateral negotiations, and which should be taken up again in the Conference on Disarmament.
This multilateral forum is prepared to negotiate simultaneously a treaty banning an arms race in outer space and another providing effective security guarantees for non-nuclear-weapon States such as Cuba.
Cuba reiterates the absolute validity of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace adopted at the II Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in Havana, in 2014, at a time when unilateral and interfering policies that seek to destabilize our region prevail and when the US government applies a foreign policy inspired by the Monroe Doctrine.
We denounce the campaigns of the United States against political forces, leftist leaders and progressive governments in Latin America and the Caribbean. We reject the unconventional war being waged by the United States to try to overthrow the legitimately constituted government of President Nicolas Maduro Moros in the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
The government of President Donald Trump persists in its attempt to destroy the Cuban Revolution through the economic suffocation of our people.
Today, more than ever, it is essential to heed our demand that all States refrain from exerting pressure or coercion on other countries, including the application and promotion of any unilateral measure of a coercive nature, contrary to International Law.
We reaffirm Cuba’s unwavering commitment to multilateralism and to efforts to move towards a democratic, fair and equitable international order that responds to the call for peace and sustainable development of all peoples. That world will be possible if we work together to achieve it.
I conclude by recalling Fidel Castro, Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolution and tireless fighter for peace and disarmament, who in April 2016 stated: “The greatest danger facing the earth today derives from the destructive power of modern weapons that could undermine the peace of the planet and make human life impossible on the surface of the earth” (end of quote).
Let us work tirelessly for general and complete disarmament, especially nuclear disarmament; let us save succeeding generations from the scourge of war and achieve a lasting and sustainable peace for all.
Thank you very much.