Speech delivered by Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuban foreign minister, at the Conference on Disarmament. Geneva, February 2020.
Safeguarding multilateralism and respect for the goals and principles of the UN 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.
Plundering wars and the arms race are spreading; unconventional warfare, acts of aggression, unilateral sanctions, the manipulation and politicization of human rights and lack of respect for the right to self-determination of people are increasing.
The development of new nuclear weapons systems and the updating of existing forces and armaments; the strengthening of the role of those weapons in the military defense and security doctrines of the United States, the largest owner of nuclear arsenals; the increase in its military budgets; the threats of military invasion and the disregard for international commitments on disarmament and arms control undermine international peace and security and weaken the United Nations disarmament machinery.
In 2018, the global military budget rose to 1.8 billion dollars. US military spending grew, for the first time since 2010, by 4.6 percent, reaching 649 billion dollars in 2018. It is alarming that every year huge funds are invested in the war industry, instead of being used to foster peace, fight hunger and poverty and implement Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
In that context, the behavior of the current US government and its strategy of military domination is of deep concern. The US government maintains more than 800 military bases and institutions around the world; it continues to advance projects of militarization in outer space and cyberspace, and secretly and illegally uses 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 represented by the US Nuclear Posture Review, which lowers the barrier for the 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.
When addressing the challenges facing mankind, we highlight the importance of preserving the agreements on disarmament and arms regulation, which are the result of international cooperation and multilateral negotiations, which should be resumed in the Conference on Disarmament.
This multilateral forum is ready to negotiate simultaneously a treaty banning the arms race in outer space and another providing effective security guarantees for States such as Cuba, which do not own nuclear weapons.
Cuba reiterates the full effect of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace adopted at the 2nd Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in Havana, in 2014, in moments when unilateral and meddling policies aimed at destabilizing our region prevail and when the U.S. government applies a foreign policy inspired by the Monroe Doctrine.
We denounce the US campaigns against political forces, leftist leaders and progressive governments in Latin America and the Caribbean. We reject the unconventional war being carried out 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 choking of our people.
Nowadays, more than ever, it is essential to focus on our demand that all States should avoid 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 achieve progress towards a democratic, just and equitable international order that responds to the demand for peace and sustainable development of all people. That world will be possible if we fight 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 declared: "The greatest danger facing the earth at present comes from the destructive power of modern weapons that could undermine the peace of the planet and make human life impossible on the face of the earth" (end of quote).
Let us work tirelessly for general and complete disarmament, especially nuclear disarmament; let us save future generations from the scourge of war and achieve a lasting and sustainable peace for all.
Thank you very much.