REMARKS BY DR. FIDEL CASTRO RUZ, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA, TO THE XIII CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF STATE OR GOVERNMENT OF THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT. KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, FEBRUARY 25, 2003.
Your Excellency and very dear friend Mahathir bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia:
Esteemed leaders and members of delegations:
These are hard times we are living. In recent months, we have more than once heard scarily words and statements. In his speech to the West Point graduating cadets, on June 1st, 2002, the United States President stated: "Our security will require transforming the military you lead, a military that must be ready to strike at a moment’s notice in any dark corner of the world…"
That same day, he proclaimed the doctrine of a pre-emptive strike, something that no one had ever done in the political history of the world. A few months later, while referring to the unnecessary and almost certain military action against Iraq, he said: "And if war is forced upon us, we will fight with the full force and might of the United States Army."
That statement was not made by the government of a small and weak nation, but by the leader of the richest and mightiest military power that has ever existed, the same that possesses thousands of nuclear weapons –enough to obliterate the world population several times over-- and other fearful conventional military systems and weapons of mass destruction.
That is what we are: "Dark corners of the world." That is the perception some have of the Third World nations. Never before had anyone offered a better definition; no one had shown such despise.
The former colonies of powers that divided the world among them and plundered it for centuries constitute today the group of underdeveloped countries. There is nothing like full independence, fair treatment on equal footing or national security for any of us; none is a permanent member of the UN Security Council with a veto right; none has any possibility to be involved in the decisions of the International Financial Institutions; none can keep its best talents; none can protect itself from the flight of capital or the destruction of Nature and the environment caused by the squandering, selfish and insatiable consumerism of the economically developed countries.
After the latest world carnage in the l940s, we were promised a world of peace, the reduction of the gap between the rich and the poor and the assistance of the highly developed to the less developed countries. It was all a huge lie. We were imposed an unsustainable and unbearable world order. The world is being driven to a dead road and within hardly 150 years, the oil and gas it took the planet 300 million years to accumulate will have been depleted.
In just one hundred years, the world population has grown from 1.5 billion to over 6 billion people that will have to fully depend on energy sources that are still to be researched and developed. Poverty continues its expansion while old and new diseases threaten whole nations with annihilation. The soils are eroded and lose fertility; the climate is changing; breathing air, drinking water and the seas are increasingly contaminated.
Authority is snatched from the United Nations, its established procedures obstructed, and the Organization itself destroyed; development assistance is reduced; there are continuous demands from the Third World countries to pay a 2.5 trillion US dollars debt that cannot be paid under the present circumstances while one trillion US dollars are spent in ever more sophisticated and deadly weapons. Why is that? What is that for?
A similar amount is spent on commercial publicity, sowing consumerist expectations that cannot be realized into the minds of billions of people. Why is that and what for?
For the first time the human species is running a real risk of extinction due to the insane behavior of the very same human beings, who are thus becoming the victims of such "civilization". However, no one will fight for us, that is, for the overwhelming majority, only we will do it.
Only we can save humanity ourselves with the support of millions of manual and intellectual workers from the developed nations who are conscious of the catastrophes befalling their peoples. Only we can do it by sowing ideas, building awareness and mobilizing the world public opinion and the American public opinion.
No one needs to be told this. You know it very well. Our most sacred duty is to fight, and fight we will!
Thank you, very much.